Saturday, January 06, 2007

History, Etiquette, and probably a few stray things as well

This blog really began nearly a decade ago as a weekly email to my sister, who lived far away. She found it amusing and read it to her co-workers. Some other siblings got word of it and started asking to be put on my list. My grandparents got on the internet and wanted to be included. Pretty soon there were quite a number of people on the list, and it began to get unwieldy to keep track of the addresses, not to mention taxing on my memory to remember all the amusing incidents of the week and write them down at the end of it.

Shortly after I got married, I discovered the possibility of blogging. It was the perfect solution: I didn't have to keep track of the email addresses, I could post things as they happened, and there was a place to store it off my computer, which kept crashing in an un-backed-up state.

I've never made my blog private for several reasons. One is that I want it to be easy to pass on to family members who may not be very comfortable on the internet. Another is that I've never wanted to bother with it. The main one, though, is that I like to meet new people. I've made many good friends through blogging. I even like to meet people who disagree with me, as long as they're civil about it.

What I don't like is people who are rude. Yes, a blog is public, but even guests who come on an open invitation should be polite. It's still my blog. It's like opening up my house for an open house; I'm happy for you to come and nibble at the snacks. I'll even let you use the bathroom. But don't poke in the cupboards. Don't start insulting me the minute you walk in the door, and then act surprised when I am less than gracious in response. (Perhaps I should be. But I am a mere mortal, and even the immortals aren't fond of being insulted.)

Responding to a general post on family events by insinuating that I abuse my children is just rude--particularly when you've never uttered a word on my blog before. I don't need to answer someone's questions when they do that, because rude questions can be politely ignored. Perhaps ignoring them entirely or deleting the question would have been the better course of action, but I have a hard time resisting the urge to dialogue.

So here are some rules for discussion:
If I express an opinion, feel free to disagree. But do so in a civil tone, addressing the opinion and not personally attacking my character or motives.

If I recount an event, feel free to recount contradicting experiences. Be cautious about jumping to grand conclusions about my beliefs or general practices on the basis of an isolated event. At any time, attacks on character and motives are rude.

I decide what rooms are off limits. Some things are private. It doesn't mean they're bad, or that I'm ashamed of anything in my life (I'm not) but there are some things I don't want to discuss in public. The mention of something connected doesn't give people the right to pry. You can ask, politely, but don't get all huffy if I don't answer. Call it self-centered, but I don't owe you anything, including information. It's. my. blog.

I am going to delete the discussion in question. It wasn't getting anywhere. In the future, I will most likely do the same with any personal attacks or excessively nosy questions. I will continue to welcome polite disagreement.

And hopefully now I will get back to the regularly scheduled programming. I have pictures of projects accomplished during Wondergirl's visit, a book reading plan for the year, and musings on some new books. I may even dare to mention the ducklings (whom, for the record, I do not hit, ever) again before too long.