Kill Them With Kindness

Kill Them With Kindness

So.  It seems everyone some are upset with me about the anonymous blog survey posts. I have mixed feelings about that, which I don’t think I’ll go into.  Instead, I’ll say that I promised I would post all the responses… and I did regardless of how I felt about some of them.  Like almost everything in life, I don’t think that little blogging series was wholly good or bad.

This is not a post about that though, even though it was spurred by some of the responses I got.

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Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve been met with all kinds of kindness.  There are new real life friends from blogging, people I talk to online on a daily basis about our horsey hopes and fears and of course thousands of comments from all of you lovely readers.  I can’t begin to describe how much your comments have lifted my spirits and helped me through rough times or cloudy days.

Then, there’s the flip side.  I’ve been ripped apart on Chronicle in the past over posts on this blog.  I’ve cruised up to fellow bloggers sites that I enjoy, and found negative content seemingly directed at me in-between the lines.  Not often, but occasionally I get a snarky comment here about how I am failing at something in life or in my blog.  They are most certainly outweighed by the positives, but these things I mention still linger out there.

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I know I’m not alone with this.  Whenever we blog, we open up the world to less than kindness… but what do we do about it?

Usually if I identify a relationship that isn’t giving me much value in life and does more dragging me down than lifting me up, I respond by cutting it.  No drama.  No fighting.  Just back away slowly.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200. Do not engage.

Still, though I try to maintain a degree of professionalism around here I’m still quite human.  Deep down, I want everyone to like me and I don’t want to create any enemies.  I believe that the conversation element of comments is an essential part of blogging, and I’d rather quit blogging than disable comments.  I know some write just for writing’s sake, but that’s not me.

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I guess this is just to say (and I know I’ve said it before) that the internet provides a mask of anonymity.  Sometimes it’s through a 100% anonymous survey, and sometimes it’s through a blog that we feel we can rant on because we won’t really ever meet most of these people in real life.

We can choose to sit behind our masks and write whatever we want, or we could choose to kill the internet with kindness.  Do we really need to write an entire blog post directed at someone because we don’t like how they have too many bits/have too many bridles/ride in purple t-shirts/inject their horse/don’t inject their horse/ride eventing/ride hunters/ride a water buffalo?

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I ask myself the same question I propose to y’all, because I don’t think I’m above it all here.  I’ve certainly been guilty of being a bit too heavy handed with my opinion.

There will always be reasons, need and opportunity to be negative on our blogs.  I think that’s natural, because life isn’t all positive.  I’m not saying we should all start lying to ourselves, but there is a degree of kindness that I believe could be implemented more often.

At the end of the day, I am much more interested in boosting y’all up than putting you down.  I’ll try to work on that more in the future.

53 thoughts on “Kill Them With Kindness

  1. This may be one of my favorite non-Simon posts on this blog. Also, one of the big reasons I love your blog is that you come through as a real, likable, person and keep the drama and unnecessary negativity at a distance.

  2. I’m with you on this one… we’re all human, none of us are perfect, and I find that most people in our little blogging world try to stay positive. If people jump all over you and get negative and snarky… it’s usually because they have their own issues. Thanks for being honest and “real”… it’s a good quality to have as a blogger!

  3. I agree with you, but I also think some blogs are peoples outposts – so if they want to spew negativity they are free to. It sucks, but maybe some day they will read through their posts and see how lame they were back then and have hopefully grown.

    Another side note – sometimes when people comment to be helpful or with constructive criticism it can be taken the wrong way with a negative tone – and I hope all the bloggers realize that when they receive these comments.

    1. Yeah, those are both excellent points. With comments, I think it depends on how sensitive the blog writer is about a certain topic. For example, I could write a post about my equitation (which I am NOT sensitive about at ALL) and none of the comments could be offensive… yet the same post about say, lameness, and everything could hurt my feelings.

      It’s important to keep in mind *your* feelings about something before reading comments… which I admit I have totally failed at in the past 🙂

  4. Yeah I think Tone with text a lot of times is projection on how we already feel about the subject. And sometimes its good to reflect and then edit because we know that what we get back isn’t what we want to receive.

    That being said no one can get me to stop riding water buffaloes. Hate away!

  5. I feel like I can be more honest sometimes. it is one of the reasons i started writing. I don’t mean to be so guarded and wearing masks in my life, but figure if i can handle some internet hate (which i have not received thankfully) i’ll be ok. Help me be a better me in the ‘real world’. I have been able to open up in ways I can’t with people i know in real life. People who spew hate and foulness are really making it about them and their issues. Some people like to step on others to hold themselves to look down on everyone. Human nature is amazingly giving and shockingly despicable, all the same coin.

    Keep doing what you are doing. Make you and yours happy, trot on! 🙂

  6. I thought the anonymous blog survey posts was a fascinating social experiment. And while some people may have had negative things to say about it, in the end – THEY READ IT. And in the world of media, that is a good thing. 🙂 I like your blog because it is real. Blogs that are all like “my horsie poops rainbows” bore me really quick. People are so quick to judge and write hateful comments. But they are reading the blog aren’t they? In the end, that means you win. 🙂

  7. I’m just like you – I end to try and cut all negativity in my life. It’s hard (especially cutting whole people out of my life) but I manage. That is partially why I review all comments made on my blog. I accept constructive criticism wholeheartedly, but my blog is not a place for excessive negativity addressed towards people. I can be negative about my horse & my situation, but I seriously try to refrain from being negative about others. What is the point? If that person is directly effecting my life, I’ll deal with it. if not, I’m not going to go out of my way to be nasty towards them either on my blog or on theirs. I find it childish. That was why a lot of the comments submitted to your series of blog posts really shocked me. I understand the need to rant, and that is fine, but some of them were downright hateful. It makes me want to ask them: why are you so angry/hateful? Does it really make you feel better to spew that kind of animosity?

    1. I think some people just want to drag others into a negative place when they’re having a not so great time in their lives. It’s unfortunate, not fair, but also human nature I think.

      1. Very true. I honestly wished more people would have submitted true confessions – like the ones you had listed under ‘true blogger confessions’ in the first post. That was what I expected to see in the first place.

  8. I’m surprised people had such negative reactions to the anonymous blog survey posts! I thought they were interesting and about in line with what I expected.

    Then again, I have a hard time with internet h8rz anyway. People can be unbelievably rude and inappropriate online! I feel like there’s never any reason to write a post directed at a specific person unless you’d confront them offline. (Which is probably what you should do anyway!) Don’t like it that some people run their horses in gag bits? Write a post on it explaining why you feel that way instead of writing thinly-veiled criticisms of how you think Sally Sue is a terrible, over-horsed amateur who’s dangerous and shouldn’t be riding.

    You keeping doing you, Lauren, because you’re totally awesome!

  9. Sometimes written communication is the toughest, in my opinion. You don’t get to hear someone’s tone of voice or see their body language on blogs… which I think sometimes causes misunderstandings.

    I’m glad you took the time to respond to some of the drama around your survey series 🙂

  10. To qualify, I am a daily reader of your blog and many others. I do not have a blog of my own (too lazy LOL). I was really surprised at how upset many people got over the responses to your anonymous blog survey. I mean, the things we usually keep to ourselves are the things we are taught from childhood not to say out loud. The old, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” routine. I WAS expecting more true confessions type responses, where people revealed more about themselves, they way they felt about their horses/trainers/barn/discipline, even their personal life. The true confessions responses resonated with me the most, because they were heartfelt. I didn’t think the responses were overly negative. Yes, there were a few that targeted other bloggers, but really? Maybe while one or two stung a little, they offered a little perspective. In any case, it made for interesting blog material and good reading. Rock on with your bad blogging self, Lauren!

  11. I thought it was an interesting series. Though some responses were surprising and some sad it was still interesting. It also gave me some spin off blog ideas 😉
    I am shocked that people could treat you poorly but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by people. Social media and Internet fuels the people who troll and seek to put others down. Seriously, blog posts entirely dedicated to ripping another blog?? Keep going and hold that head up high knowing that others look forward to your posts!

  12. Count me among the surprised there was such a negative reaction! But then, I apparently have been living under a rock the last few weeks. I also don’t understand why people talk about other people’s blogs on their blog. Who cares? I guess I don’t? I mean, I love reading about people’s life on their blog but if it’s something I don’t agree with, I just move on.

  13. If someone writes a post regarding a topic I feel passionately about I can certainly get a little “heavy handed” in comments by accident- but it’s always written with the best of intentions even if it veers towards devil’s advocate. That being said- those comments are few and far between. I’m a big fan of the simple “Go Girl!” It means- I’ve read, enjoyed, and you rock!

  14. I might be the odd one out, but I enjoyed your anonymous survey. I didn’t add anything, but only because I’ve been to busy to keep up with anything. However, I read each post and enjoyed it.

    There’s a lot to be said for the way we each approach our love for horses. Some people are more laid back, others take things seriously. Some people have a low tolerance for mistakes and a lack of knowledge, and others are more accommodating. I think your posts drove home those differences, and at the end of the day showed us that it’s really all about the horses to each and every one of us.

  15. Although I didn’t comment on the anonymous survey, I enjoyed it. I wasn’t really surprised at the negativity, but I also enjoyed some very thought-provoking comments. And I felt bad for some of the commenters… I wish they felt more able to be themselves online or even in real life.

  16. Great post and comments so far! Lauren, you come up with original ideas and it sounds like people were shooting the messenger (holding you responsible for what other people said in the survey).

  17. I liked the anonymous blog posts series. I’m really surprised you got backlash for it. Controversy breeds readership, so if readership is a goal then i say be controversial if you want. if its all kumbaya all the time then a blog runs the risk of being super boring anyways.

    1. I think some of it was backlash, some of it was politely worded concern, and some of it was disgust in what people had to say. Either way, I wanted to address the issue today.

  18. I found it a little funny that you got a negative reaction to it. I thought it was wildly entertaining to read and I totally participated. I was a little surprised by some of the negativity both in the posts and then the comments, but I tend to sort of be surprised by that in real life, too.

  19. I actually really enjoyed the anonymous survey. It’s interesting to hear other peoples thoughts on different subjects that I wouldn’t have even thought about being an issue and I think it should make us all pay more attention to what and how we post on our blogs. Then again, I’m not exactly the most subtle person in the world so I’m used to the bluntness. Your blog is one of my favorites because you don’t just write about silly things 24/7 and that you don’t run away from controversy. People will always shoot the messenger, oh well!

  20. It was a very interesting experiment. I was not upset by it, although some of the information shared surprised me.

    Controlling tone can be very challenging in writing. Controlling protection of the readers thoughts and feelings is nearly impossible, which is why no commenter has a perfectly clean record.

  21. I actually enjoyed the survey. Sure, some things got a bit heated but in what world does everyone agree? I didn’t get bothered by it ONE bit and I “fall into” some of the categories mentioned.

    Sheesh, those people should just single-file themselves out of the blogger world!

  22. I loved the survey series, I am shocked at the negative feedback on it! It was a fascinating look into what people are thinking, I was sad to see how negative some it was. I hope you continue to write like you always have, you keep it real and I like that!

  23. i love your blog and love what you write. so please don’t ever stop! the anonymous survey def provoked a variety of responses – but maybe bc it was so unusual? idk, really, i just thought it was interesting to read

  24. Laughing my butt off that people are upset about responding to a post asking for what they would say anonymously that you said you would publish.

    You have my support. I read your blog and your FB posts and I will continue to do so. I love your story with Simon and sometimes you make me laugh.

  25. I also really enjoyed the anonymous survey series. From reading a lot of blogs, most tend to take on a more positive note so the negative things people said stay off the blog. I try to abide by the “if you can’t say anything nice rule”. Keep up the good work. Your posts are original and I really like that!

  26. I read the anonymous posts with interest. I’m new to the blog community, so I don’t really know the history here, or what certain posters tend to do, or whatever, but I’m familiar with the Internets and horse people and the two mix in pretty interesting, and often toxic, ways.

    During your series, I didn’t even expect any comments about fellow bloggers. To my mind, it was directed at RL stuff. I participated and that’s what my comment was about.

    My blog is much too small to attract much in the way of comments, so I haven’t experienced the nasty criticism that may one day appear. I was really careful about posting video and photo because of this but, at the end of the day, it’s my blog, and I want a memory book. I try to be frank and honest about my shortcomings without getting too down on myself, since it’s definitely possible to bully yourself, too.

    In general, I think a lot of the nasty commenters – here or on COTH or Diva or wherever – are insecure or depressed about themselves and their lives, in some way or another. That level of judgement and bullying is not exactly healthy. In its own way, that, too, is sad.

    I love your blog, though, and you’re what inspired me to start blogging in the first place. Keep up the awesome 🙂 Excellent post, BTW.

  27. Very interesting that you should write this today. I had something similar happen this morning. A “friend” who knows me personally, blasted me in a Facebook message over what I wrote today. I stewed about it all morning until all of the positive comments came flooding in. Hers was the ONLY negative comment.

    I’ve been following you for quite a while (2 years?) and have yet to read a single post that I felt warranted any negative comments, and nothing that warranted a rant on COTH. And even had I read something controversial, this is YOUR space; write what you want.

    Personally, I loved the anonymous post thing. Many of us write only positive things on our blogs, but there are obviously things we’d love to say but can’t because WE aren’t anonymous. I found many of the comments quite funny, snarky, sad, and just plain interesting. That’s what writing is for – to make us think, squirm, laugh, and get mad.

    Press on girlfriend. I’ll keep reading. :0)

  28. I agree with everything you said in this post one hundred percent. I really need to learn how to cut loose relationships (of the friend variety) that drag me down. I’m bad about hanging on hoping it will improve. :/

    On my blog I used to post everything I did, thought and felt… then I got horrible emails from a really evil woman calling me a cancer of negativity… so now I just don’t post if I’m feeling negative. I’m still honest. I post when I mess up, when my horse gets hurt, when I’m disappointed, etc. but I try to avoid the “woe is me”, “life isn’t fair”, “my life really sucks” kind of posts. I’m trying to learn to look on the bright side, let go of the negative and focus on the positive in my life, so I do the same thing with my blog. 🙂

    P.S. I enjoyed this series and all of the conversation in the comments. I feel the same way about comments that you do.

  29. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the anonymous blog posts. I found them interesting and entertaining. A little offensive at times, but hey, this was an ANONYMOUS thing about what people DON’T actually post on their blogs. I know I put things out there on the internet and therefore I’m susceptible to criticism for it. I hope people will be understanding and kind, but that doesn’t always happen. I always love reading your blog though, regardless of the content!

  30. I’m actually kind of shocked that people blame you for negative responses o your survey. Really? It’s like shooting the messenger.

  31. I just want to say I think you’re awesome – I love your blog and I would be sad if you ever changed your style or decided to stop writing. All the haters can just suck it!

  32. I thought your anonymous survey was fascinating. It was great to see that many of us are thinking the same things when it comes to boarding, riding, competing and training horses. But at the same time I was bummed to see the stabs some people took at other bloggers the second they could hide behind the curtain of anonymity. Seriously? What is up with people thinking they can be so rude and nasty on the internet just because they can’t be identified? I guess in the end it wasn’t surprising. But I was surprised at some of the negative backlash you got for your experiment. I think you were very brave for doing it, and I think, for me, it just reiterated the fact that we need to be careful about what we post on the internet.

    I try to keep my blog positive for two reasons: a) I can be a pretty negative person and it’s my exercise in positivity, and b) you simply never know who is reading. A coworker, a barn mate, your trainer, your boss. You just don’t know, and you can’t control who reads or not unless you make it a private blog. I already had an issue with a “friend” at my previous barn who tried to get me in trouble with my BO over a post I wrote. Instead of the “friend” approaching me directly with her concerns, she simply tried to rat me out directly with the BO. Thankfully, I had already told my BO the whole issue and had not written anything that I wouldn’t have wanted her to read! It was still incredibly upsetting and mean coming from that person not only because of the intent behind the gesture but also because it was coming from a person that I had previously considered a friend.

    I loved this post, and I love your blog because you keep it real. Don’t ever change! 🙂

  33. It’s very easy for people to be negative and downright cruel when they can hide behind a screen name. Remember, our blogs are only a reflection of a small part of our lives. often, I’ve found that the people doing the attacking are very unhappy themselves. I thought this project was a fun one, and I’m glad you did it. Also, I think you’re awesome 🙂

  34. Ha, I did participate in your experiment, and I tried to think of something negative to say, and I couldn’t…. #fail. or #win ?? 🙂 I wouldn’t worry too much about any negative response to the series- it’s not like YOU were supporting every single comment made. You set the rules up front, and you followed through.

    water buffalos? laughing so hard.

    I love my blogger friends and I’d say 99% of it has been so much support. I get to nerd out with so many cool horse girls now 🙂 I want each and every one of you to be so successful! So, while there is the occassionally negativity, the positivity is totally worth it

  35. Initially I liked your blog, I really did. You do interesting articles and you make some points and also bring up issues that I rarely think about. That being said, your recent blog post do not seem like you try to “kill them with kindness”. You seem to be adding to all this drama in your blogging life and barn life by your blatantly passive aggressive approach to your problems. Please stop making stabs at people between the lines of your blog, this used to be a good read now it’s done a complete 180 and has become bitchy garbage. I’m sick of it. If you have a problem with someone man up and say it to their face or actually practice what you preach and shut your mouth. Sad to see it all go downhill. Though I’m pretty sure you will edit this comment out, just thought you would want some feedback as you seem to be asking for it.

    1. You’re entitled to your opinion. I guess if you come back you’ll be surprised to see your comment here since I certainly don’t edit them!

    2. Holy cow, Elizabeth! Lighten up. I don’t know Lauren outside of social media, but just through that superficial interaction I can say I know her well enough to say that bitchiness and passive aggressive behavior are not any part of this blog.

      The comments that she posted (one was mine!) were the thoughts and ideas of OTHER PEOPLE. And for heaven’s sake – if you don’t like what she writes, GO AWAY.

  36. You can please some of the people, some of the time…
    but you can’t please all the people all the time.

    I find few cases of bias (not disclosed) or a negative propensity of work.

    Keep on, keeping on!

  37. I had to go back to read some of the negative posts but I was surprised that people took it so badly. People can choose to take “anonymous” as either a positive or negative exercise. It just so happens that the things we want to say but can’t are often negative. Sometimes people just need to rant, and like some of the above comments, I’m surprised that people are blaming you. I personally enjoy your blog very much and I am interested in all your perspectives and great ideas. Let the haters hate.

  38. I know, once or twice, I’ve accidentally crossed the line on someone’s blog and provided feedback that turned out to be … insensitive. It’s hard because the internet filters out things like tone and facial expression, and sometimes a comment can come across seeming aggressive that’s actually meant to be helpful. On the same coin, I’ve had a few people come to my blog and leave comments that made me feel a little persecuted. It’s definitely a hard line to walk. Interaction = good. Unasked for criticism = bad.

    But, like you, I’ve learned more and more that kindness trumps the trolls, every time. If you compose an angry rebuttal, it tends to only beget another nasty response. Whereas if you just say, “Thanks for your opinion,” that ends the conversation.

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had some negative interactions with other horse bloggers. For my part, I think what you’ve built here is remarkable.

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