My thoughts about angry bloggers and why they exist

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010

I heard some constructive criticism about my blogging, and I'm going to put it to use.

The criticism was, stop being so factual (it's kind of boring) and share your thoughts and opinions. That's what blogging is — sharing your thoughts and letting people comment on them. So let me give this a try. Understand that this is more difficult for me than you realize. I'm much more in touch with the male side of my brain than I am with the female side of my brain. So here I go.

I heard some very wise words once. There is never a behavior without a cause. So I began to wonder, why are some bloggers so brutal when they post their comments not just to my blog, but to any of them? Do they even know the person they are blogging about?

I realize the negativity is because they don't agree with what was said, but why do the comments have to be degrading, mean, insulting?

Here are my thoughts on the matter, and I look forward to reading what you think about my assessment.

It is the need to feel powerful.

To degrade, bully and insult are ways of exerting power. No matter how it's done — in person or on a blog — there is a thrill and a sense of superiority to publicly criticize someone you strongly disagree with. I suspect that those who choose to blog in a bullying, offensive manner get a real rush they can't get in their personal face-to-face relationships.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

We all have a need to be needed. We need to feel our life is meaningful.  When there is lack of purpose or meaning in our lives there is a vacuum. And that can't feel good.  In fact, I suspect people fill this vacuum with pent-up negative thoughts and feelings. Anger and nasty blog remarks produce a sense of self-worth/purpose/meaning in their lives.

It is because they have too much mental energy.

It takes time and energy to write some of the offensive — and sometimes filthy — stuff that gets posted. Then to monitor it and write back something a little more insulting/offensive/harmful takes more energy. I've heard it said that "goodness" has to be taught and that "evil" already exists within us. What do you think? Is verbal bullying something that occurs with little effort? Is it our second nature?

What would happen if the same time and energy that are used to blog insults were used in a different manner?  What if blogs followed a rule of having to respectfully challenge the blogger's thinking?

I think we would get some great blogging.

Let's give it a try.

Comments

Anonymous

Come on out to Cabana Jacks for the Distractions reunion this Friday from 9 to 1pm!!!!!!!!!!! Meet the Band!!!!!!!

Rick Studer

For “Resentnomore”

Si votre cerveau était aussi grand que votre âne vous serait un génie !

Anonymous

I don't think there are as many people posting degrading, mean and vulgar things as people think there are. I think a lot of these very nasty comments that appear to be made on ALL the blogs are coming from just two maybe three people. Also wanted to let you know, Sue, I think you do a fantastic job! I've been following your advice for a long time. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous

angry bloggers have no outlet for the frustrastions they feel in life, be it career, personal relationships or something unimaginable. no one can ever know what another is truly feeling. so hiding behind a false identity and lashing out at the world for things that they have the ability to change if they would just get involved with life, mainly their own! your heart is in the right place you do what you do because you love to do it!!

Anonymous

Ms. Daugherty, Your blog subject and many of the subsequent comments have reminded me of the following quotes:

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.” - Washington Irving

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

Anonymous

I also wonder how Sue is getting caught up in the SR blog, never expected you to be this way. I hope you don't turn into a Matt, please don't. Seems the whole paper is angry and needs to express their opinions to openly, I don't think they should be.

Anonymous

I think that Harvey's comments were right on the money. If it weren't for the SOS levy and the medicare and social security that I am forced to pay, I could afford a bigger house and a bigger SUV. Sue, you failed to explain why the rest of us have to keep writing the check for those who failed to plan. The generation you reference did catastrophic damage to the rest of us with their entitlements, handouts, Vietnam, etc. We owe them nothing, they owe us.

By the way, there is a great youtube video of elderly people in Vegas with walkie talkies and cellphones creating bus raids on free casino buffets, I will try to post it.

Paul S.

Anonymous

INSANE CLOWN POSSE:

Ya might as well lay back, relax, and try to enjoy the ‘experience.’

You’re shouting at the ocean, attempting to stop the tide. Wait’ll the Boomers come of age – you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The seniors vote and they’ve got the largest partially taxpayer funded lobbying group in the U.S. – AARP.

I’ve been invited, but I won’t join ‘em, ‘cause I’m diametrically opposed politically to most if not all of the socialist ward-of-state garbage that they support.

Coming up, my spouse and I learned to live on 90 percent or less of our income, while saving and investing the balance.

(Check out Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – ‘Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!’)

Gulliver

TO JEFF - I enjoyed reading your contribution. I admire how you & your wife were so self-disciplined that you could save 90% of what you made! YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THAT! I'm impressed -- Very impressed!!

I enjoyed your quotes... Especially this one - The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell "

So, will you do me a favor? Will you please comment and make a criticism (or multiple criticisms, for that matter!) to something I've blogged. It would be an example of how people can disagree with the blogger, while at the same time respectfully exchanging ideas that are in opposition to one another. It appears as though some of the readers are having difficulty with this concept. (I say this sincerely... NOT sarcasticly.)

I'll look forward to your opposing remarks. -- Sue

Kelly

Ummm Sue? They LIVED on 90% and saved & invested the rest.

Gulliver

TO KELLY. LOL... Thank you, Kelly. That's what I get for "skimming" while I read and not "reading" while I read. Your interpretation makes much more sense! :) Hast does make waste, doesn't it? Thanks for the laugh (at myself). -- Sue

Anonymous

I thought it was "Haste does make wast."

Signed,

Typo Nazi

Kelly

I just wanted to point it out before someone else did..probably in a not-so-nice way.

Anonymous

Are you a psycho-therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or a behavioralist therapist? If the answer is no to any of the above, your opinion as to why people choose to say what they really feel believing that he or she is hiding under the cloak of anonimity is worthless to me. Case and point this is a small town filled with small minded people who pounce on the opportunity to post mean, hateful, racist filled comments that hurt because they can. The register gives those closet bigots the opportunity to come out of their closets spew hateful things and then sit next to those that they hate so bad at employee lunch table.

Anonymous

small minded people who pounce on the opportunity to post mean, hateful, racist filled comments that hurt because they can. The register gives those closet bigots...

You mean like you are doing now? Pot & kettle, baby, pot & kettle.

cm.sandusky

Bullying is the act of intentionally causing harm to others, through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion such as manipulation. Bullying can be defined in many different ways
Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate. It has also been suggested that a deficit in social skills and a prejudicial view of subordinates can be particular risk factors
Bullies will even create blogs to intimidate victims worldwide.

i so agree that some of the nasty blogs are exactly that. bulling!!! it is a lack of social skills.
i found that if you voice your opinion, there has to be an attack on it. i have never attacked anyone on their opinion, i might not agree with them, but to me attacking someone because we differ is a very poor way to communicate. myself i love to listen to others, because i feel like i could learn from them.
as far as these very nasty comments, i try to ignore them (which is a task sometimes). i too agree, that bloggers should have to sign up on SR. their IP address should be captured. that might help some.

Anonymous

CM, I enjoy your postings. However, I wonder why you (and so many other people) are wedded to the idea that revealing an IP address somehow gives away a poster's identity. It doesn't, plain and simple. I have seen numerous posts where 'bullies' who have been called out will reply to their antagonist and at the end of their reply will state something like "by the way, your IP address is ________". That information is almost totally useless to all but the most sophisticated computer user.

cm.sandusky

well, to tell you the truth..i am certainly not a sophisticated computer user.(not even close) i guess i am not educated enough about this subject...
i'm just hoping that there is a way (almost sure, in today's technology) to weed out people that most of the time do nothing but insult others. i have read so many posts that have nothing to do with the story itself.
i have no problem with people who disagree with ME or OTHERS, but the personal insults are way out of line, if you know what i mean.
there has to be a solution to this. i enjoy reading the blogs online, but sometimes i get really turned off by the maturity level of some.

Anonymous

Sue, please keep foamy man home on Commission meeting nights. He gets too emotional over things that really don't even concern him. He acted the fool again. Does he just need a cause to cry about now since your precious Nuesse is gone? Maybe if her house sells, foamy man can build her a foam house somewhere far away from here.

Sam

I agree with I thought he was going to cry. Why does Sue deserve a blog? She , foamy man, Kimmie and Mattie should take a long walk out of town!

Anonymous

I don’t care for the name “foamy man”. I suggest some of the following. “The Foamster”, “The Foam-anator” “Styrofoam Jones” “Windmill Bill” “Mark- of Excellence” “Mark ECO- Mark ECO”

Gulliver

IN ATTEMPT TO STAY ON TOPIC, LET ME ASK THE READERS THIS QUESTON...What would happen if the same time and mental energy that are used to blog insults were used in a different manner? What if blogs followed a rule of having to respectfully challenge the blogger's thinking? WHAT WOULD HAPPEN? -- Sue

cm.sandusky

i think the posts would be alot shorter--lol. it seems as though the task of challenging some peoples thinking would be to hard for SOME. it must be just easier to insult someone elses thinking than come up with a respectful counter argument.
it would be great to be able to come to the blogs, follow a rule and have great discussions.

Anonymous

What would happen if the same time and mental energy that are used to blog insults were used in a different manner?

The same thing that would happen if all the time and energy (mental and otherwise) that is used to campaign for public office, research and write grants for free public funds, sit in a court room while lawyers (paid by the hour) drone on needlessly, work slower than you want to because of union policies; verily if all these things were done away with, the time freed up could be applied to the truer pursuits of helping mankind, creating great works of art or developing new weapons of mass destruction.

But alas, with the dumbing down of society and the touchy feely movement foisted upon us all, I fear more time and energy will continue to be wasted on useless things.

Anonymous

Useless things like "Foamer Simpson" ?

Anonymous

In our country everyone has the freedom to express their thoughts and views---whether brilliant or foolish. OCCASIONALLY something of value can be gleaned even from the comment of the narrow minded, ilinformend, or ignorant, JUST as occasionally something of value can be gleaned from the comments of the elitist, privilidged, self-righteious, superior despots who "lead" the news threads.

Anonymous

Ms. Daugherty:

Check out a very thin book by the late Neil Postman entitled ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.’

For one, Mr. Postman helped to give me insight into how the modern media has shaped what the public views as news.

Currently I have nothing on which to disagree with you. Trust me however, I am a skeptic as well as an iconoclast and I’ll eventually find some idea of yours with which I will disagree. In all likelihood it will be performed in a mannerly way.

To use a cliché: It is perhaps important to disagree without being disagreeable. Disagree with the idea, but not with the person unless that of course becomes necessary.

I admire you for ‘sticking it out there.’ I’ve been in the public arena and have been exposed to its cruelty and vindictiveness, but also it’s gratitude.

As to the saving of 10 percent of income, that was on a graduated basis with virtually every penny going to sustain a standard of living in the beginning. When raises and bonus were received, we didn’t use the added income to appreciably increase our life style but tended to save it. Fortunately, both my spouse and I are perhaps too fiscally conservative, if that’s possible.

One can think of saving for retirement as a form of old age insurance. If one insures for one’s life and property, insuring for the hoped for eventuality of one’s ‘golden age’ is appears to me to only make sense.

A quote from another of Mr. Postman’s book that I tend to take to heart:

'The most important intellectual ability man has yet developed - the art and science of asking questions - is not taught in school!'
- Neil Postman, Teaching As A Subversive Activity

Perhaps too often, bloggers shoot first and never ask the all-important first question in order to help understand the mind of the other blogger.

How does one learn if one doesn’t ask questions?

Anonymous

What if blogs followed a rule of having to respectfully challenge the blogger's thinking? WHAT WOULD HAPPEN? -- Sue "

The Register would have to get rid of Michelle's blog

Gulliver

TO CM: I have to agree with you that coming up with a good counter-point does require more thought and less emotion -- much less emotion. In fact, when emotion leads the conversation there is less substance to support a position. EXAMPLE: "FULL OF YOURSELF wrote: Get over yourself Sue. Take care of the old people like you are supposed to do. You are not all that, hanging with Foam House clowns. "

My best interpretation of this argument is that "Get over yourself" means this blogger beleives that I am impressed with myself and I shouldn't be blogging. He takes the position that I should just be working at my job. He sounds frustrated that I would have a blog. And he has a strong dislike for foam.

Now if I got that right, what would make it interesting and substantive is if comments would explain in an objective manner 1.What is it that I do that leads one to believe that I am impressed with myself. 2. Why I should only take care of old people and nothing else? 3. What is it about foam makes it such a huge source of frustration to others?

TO JEFF, I enjoyed reading your comments and will look forward to the time when you will demonstrate your disagreement with me. I'm confident that I will learn from it! -- Sue

Anonymous

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