People behaving badly

The Internet surprises me sometimes. Why is it because we only see a computer screen when we communicate online that we think it gives us permission to act like an ass?

I was really quite shocked to see a post by an author whose books I quite enjoy about how she is being treated in the blogosphere, merely for voicing her opinion. Disagreeing with a person is one thing, but to go on and call her names like bitch and c**t is unacceptable, in my eyes. As a human being (whether she’s a published author or not) would you say things like this to her face? I seriously doubt it. And I don’t really get this whole “well, she’s not nice to me online, so I’m not gonna buy her books.” crap. When I read, I look for an enjoyable, well-written story. I have a few tried and true favourites I read no matter what, and quite frankly, it’s never occurred to me to judge how they behave online to determine whether I’m going to like their book or not. I think the only exception to that would be an author who was posting actual hate messages based on race or religion or was actively scamming readers. But past that? Ppffft. I got better things in life to worry about.

And, yeah, I’ve been in the middle of a few issues myself, where I finally just walked away from the computer to keep from being a little brat and sinking to this level… like my whole lawsuit issue from a month ago. Yes, I could have pointed you all to this author’s website where she has spelling mistakes on the page she’s trying to market herself as an editor, or told you that her book was one of the worst I’ve ever read, and I was only promoting it because of my involvement in it (true or not), but what good would have come of it? It’s my own conscience I have to live with at the end of the day.

So, it upsets me when people get bent out of shape when I honestly try and help. There’s a forum I frequent daily. On it, an author promotes herself as a grammar professor. Only, she’s giving out incorrect information. And THAT pisses me off. But everytime I try and correct her, not saying, hey, you’re wrong, but actually giving citations from style guides and dictionaries, she gets all bent out of shape basically saying that I don’t know what I’m talking about and she doesn’t care. Well. Ok. Fine, don’t care, but if your whole justification is because “SpellChecker” doesn’t catch it? Uh. yeah, there’s a reliable source. I mean, I blame the entire advertising industry for the rampant misuse of the apostrophe, and I’ve seen countless books that misuse of that/which/who, so to say that one copy editor in one publishing house must be right? Yeah, I’d still rather go to the style guides. (which, actually, was my advice.) And, sure I could have been snarky, but what purpose would it serve? I posted the rule. Let other people make the decision for themselves. I don’t see the point in weakening my comments with nasty talk.

Please don’t get me wrong, I can be a bitch with the best of them. Hell, I grew up with three sisters. 🙂 But I try and keep my behaviour online the same as if I were saying these things in person. Because, when you say them, you may not see anything but a computer screen, but there’s still a human being on the other end of that computer screen.

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