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Wednesday, 02 November 2011

Comments

Ctein - you are so right. As a regular contributor to the photo "Challenges" on DPReview.com, I never cease to be amazed at how vitriolic people can be from behind the anonymity of a username. They seem to think that they are exercising their right to free speech and that it's your problem if you don't have a hide like a Rhino. Rights come with responsibilities.
Where criticism is sought I always try to be objective and constructive.
I do admit to shouting at other drivers from the comfort of my car, but I do it knowing that they won't hear what I'm saying. I wouldn't dream of saying it to their face (but that's probably more self preservation than politeness).

In my experience, rude comments are generated by people seeking attention. I think it is best to simply ignore them. Easier said than done.

"...I don't put up with that kind of crap..." I find it amusing that you do not mind calling other people's opinion "crap", yet object if someone calls your work the same.

In the vein of Kirk Tuck's "Say something nice once in a while"...

Sweet. And clarifying. I needed that.

I save my energy for work I like & connect with, then champion it in my own very small way. It's a better use of time

That not a critique on your picture. I happen to think it's the best you've posted


Cheers

Sean


Actually I think it's a very cool picture. The tones of the greens and blues..very neat.

If an artist sets out deliberately to be "obnoxious and gratuitously rude" to make a point, does my response have to be not artistic?

Civility has certainly taken a beating in the past decade. Not just on the net but in most forms of human interaction. As JFK said "civility is not a sign of weakness".

People spend most of their time in non face-to-face forms of communication these days. Instant messaging and texting have replaced a simple and quick phone call. Brevity to the point of using weird abbreviations is a badge of honour.

For the most part people have lost the ability to carry on a civil verbal conversation. Manners, respect and reticence are dead in almost all forms of communications. Well at least in North American anyway. On my latest trip to Turkey I was pleased to see the old ways of communicating were still widely used. Before any business is conducted some tea was shared and idle conversation was enjoyed. To just walk in and begin to drive for the bottom line as we do in North America would have been disrespectful and not tolerated.

I cannot count the times I have sent emails to clients answering ALL their questions only to have them read the first two lines on their Blackberry and then send me a nasty reply asking why I hadn't answered all the other questions. They are showing a lack of respect that is epidemic

To expect these same self important superficial (I'm having a real hard time not using bad words here) "very busy people" to actually spend the extra nano seconds it takes to formulate a civil reply to anything they do not like is apparently asking too much.

On the other hand employers are pushing their people to do ever increasing amounts of work rather than employ the necessary number of workers it would take to actually do the job efficiently. A quality product is not something that matters anymore. Short term profits are all that matters.

Until workers say in mass they have had enough and won't be pushed around anymore it will only get worse. Tempers flare, civility is dashed to the ground as we race to the bottom of the pit of human interaction fueled by capitalistic greed.

Gone are the days when being diplomatic was considered a human virtue. Not to long ago people had the ability to tell you your art was crap but you still felt good about it. Now we just tell the artist their work is crap. Not only their work is crap but that the artist is a simpleton who could not create anything of substance in several lifetimes.

This is one of those occasions where a 'like' button would be great.

Wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment of the column and, by the way, I quite like the photo as well.

"It seems like half the people on the Internet have come down with the web equivalent of Asperger's Syndrome: they think that they may blindly speak the truth as they see it with no regard to other people's feelings and that people should not take offense simply because they are speaking their mind. Well, sorry, Charlie, that's not how people work. At least, not the emotionally whole ones."

I don't know if this paragraph is meant to suggest that people with Asperger's are something less than emotionally whole, but if that is the suggestion, I have to respectfully disagree. I have spent a lot of time with a high functioning autistic, and it's just a lot more complicated than that. I understand that you are cracking on rude people, not on people with Asperger's, but the comparison stung a little bit.

Over on Luminous Landscape Alain Briot has already finished part 1 and 2 of a three part series "Understanding Criticism" that touches on this very subject. It seems reasonable and well thought out and a good reference for aspiring or even the established artist.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful retort to rude comments! I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

"I am not.", indeed!

I'm grateful also for the time and effort Mike takes to prevent the abuse described in this column. It's one of the TOP reasons I spend so much time here-and support it. I used to spend a great deal of time on another well known and popular site, but the abuse leveled on so many innocent souls who asked an often simple question was too much. It's one thing to not suffer fools-and another to attempt to showcase one's 'brilliance" at the expense of others. I'll take Ctein up on his offer to utilize the response he has crafted. Thanks.

Asperger's Syndrome? More likely Tourette Syndrome, given a lot of the comments on the WWW.

As a former reporter, newspaper columnist and now a novelist, I have taken a great deal of abuse, much of it public (in letters-to-the-editor, in comments sections of Amazon, etc.) I also get letters sent to my publisher, and they're often abusive; an amazing number of people can't stand the fact that my continuing fictional cop-hero is a Democrat. ButI wouldn't send a letter like Ctein's, because it would waste even more of my time. If I get an abusive letter, it goes in the shredder. (Even, as was once the case, when the letter included a stamped, self-addressed envelope for a reply...though it sorta made me laugh.)

But...I dunno. There seems to be a lot of free-floating abuse going around. Do you think it's because of Fox?

We are doing a lot of cleaning and purging right now, and my wife ran across two prints I acquired from Ctein last year. She announced that they were the most beautiful things she had ever seen and that I was to get them framed immediately (which I was planning to do anyway.)

It suffices to say she's never reacted like that to anything I've ever printed :-)

Well, I have to confess I wonder whether anyone will have the gall to disagree with you after a lead-in like that. I am almost tempted out of pure puckishness. ;-) But alas, I am too chicken. I often wonder what HTML archeologists in generations hence will think of us when they sift through the vitriol of our collective digital experiment in these early Internet days. Imagine sifting through 100 years of Canon vs. Nikon. Oy vey is mir.

Ben

Along these same lines, see the articles by Alain Briot entitled "Understanding Criticism" over at The Luminous Landscape:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/understanding_criticism_part_1.shtml

As an artist I find myself very sensitive to criticism. Painfully so. My passion for drawing was distroyed during art school by careless and insensitive teachers. My blossoming into photography was through the gentle nurturing and encouragement from a couple of wonderful mentors and teachers, who pushed me gently into expressing my true self.

When it comes to art, if you don't like it, feel the need to berate it, then say nothing. If you have nothing positive to add to your suggestions for improvement, then say nothing... For this is the way I teach and mentor my students, and all I get is blossoming artists and my rewards for being positive are indescribable.

You are so right, not every one will love or like your work. The most important person to love it is you. If you love your work, chances are someone else will too.

What about the Beatles? They may actually be an exception to your rule, or at least they were back in the day. Otherwise, I find that artistic excellence and broad popularity are mutually exclusive.

All things considered, articulate critiques are more useful than bland complements.
On the other hand once I got a "but you'r merely perpetuating the reification of the view!" as a critique.

Interesting post. I agree wholeheartedly (well,other than the fact I wish more people were awed by my art ), but I have one slightly off topic caveat. I am not a writer (try as I might) and often my email/comment/correspondence does not read as I intended to sound.
So I guess I owe a number of apologies...

Ctein, seems the "I am not" ending to the letter should come before the sentence just prior to it, thus clarifying the statement about your being obliged. The last sentence would then express regrets for any inconvenience.

I mean this in the nicest way; no offense intended. :)

thanks.
maybe i'll steal this response letter :-)

and, by the way, i like the picture. unfortunately, i am unable to tell why.

s.

Once upon a time you either spoke to people face to face, or wrote them a handwritten letter. The internet and email permit rapid response without either the self discipline required of face to face communication or the reflective time to compose a thoughtful letter. So in a sense the technology is partly to blame, allowing those without self discipline or consideration to vent their thoughts and feelings uncensored.

I think an increasing lack of kindness and polite consideration is inevitable with the rise of electronic communications. I wish it weren't so, and I hope I'm proven wrong. For those who abhor rudeness, moderated sites are the way to go.

You can add me to the list of people who like your work - I recently purchased one of your prints, and it gives me much pleasure to admire your colour artistry and technical excellence.

I completely agree with the idea that an artist (or any human or other life form for that matter) deserves courtesy and respect.

However, I don't think the artist has the right to expect it. After all, artists provoke. As an audience to a work of art, I don't know what the art is going to show me, nor can I predict my reactions to it. As an artist, I don't know who is going to view my work and how they are going to interpret it. If there is truth in both artist and observer, there is also a greater truth in the uncertainty of the process. There are innumerable instances in which 'artists' have been persecuted, jailed, exiled or killed just because the statements they have made (or were trying to make) caused 'displeasure' or 'hate' in those viewing them. If I were an 'independent' observer in the war between artists and their audience, I would probably learn that my investigations (into this strife) would be focused on anything but the artwork itself.

Humans are responsible for their words and actions - why should artists be any different? The artist has chosen to communicate. The artist does not know which door he or she is opening. Then why is the artist surprised at what comes through it?

I really like the photo Ctein. Nature indoors subverted by human industry, almost as if seeking shelter.

I have not had the (mis)fortune to get such rude comments myself. I suppose that means I am no artist. However, I can imagine that a polite rejection from an admired critic might often be harder to swallow than a hundred rude barbs from the faceless public.

One reputable gallery in Sydney which specialises in art photography offers a service--for which the hopeful photographer pays--of assessing and commenting on submitted work. I imagine that there are similar situations in US and Britain etc.

It would be almost worth the price of admission to see how they handled a bad picture. I would hope for honesty (and probably get it) but also a soft landing.

Great response Ctein. It beats my previous favourite which was "I am returning your letter, as I do not wish to soil my trash bin with it." Keep up the good work you beardy old #*%#@ ! ;-) [No need to reply].

I like it too, weirdly! I usually consider rude comments on the net as an indicator or the lack of relative maturity of the commenter and ignore them accordingly. Being English, I'd be really uncomfortable at being so little able to adequately express myself that I had to resort to abuse. You know, we even have something called 'The Polite Society': http://www.politesociety.co.uk
I'm a big fan!

The internet tells us something about how human beings (some of them) can behave once any threat of physical retaliation is removed.

Which is odd, because I can't remotely imagine Ctein hitting anyone, whatever they said about his work!

It's a consequence of actions which have no consequences. Would people interact like this face to face, or even if they were identified? Of course not.

I like the metafilter approach, in order to contribute/comment you have to pay to register, be a jerk and your account is tossed without appeal or refund.

Incidentally I can see 2 featured comments without any other comments, featured or otherwise.

Dear Mr Ctein

I can relate to this. It resonates with my own experiences. People told me my photos were crap. I couldn't understand why such vitriol was produced just by looking at my photos. Why not just ignore them and pass on?

Then someone took me aside and said that the reason was not the photos themselves, but the fact I tried to use them in a patronising and pompous way to support my own views about how good I was, how I knew lots of stuff and had an academic background and my intelligence would always prevail over their own arguments.

It was me they were taking offence to, not my photos.

Anyway, I've mellowed a lot since then - I don't even call myself an artist any more.

People with Asperger's Syndrome (I'm one) struggle with the recognition and understanding of body language, facial expressions and spoken cues.

I don't know what it's like if you do not have AS (are 'neorotypical') but I find communicating with many people hard. Hardly a day goes by without me thinking, "what am I supposed to say here?" and hoping for a clue during a conversation. I'm 52 and I've struggled all my life to improve my communication skills, but it's still difficult.

Because of these problems some people with AS are rude without meaning to be, but this is all rather different from someone being willfully rude on the internet, knowing they'll get away with it because they will never meet the person that they are being rude to or about.

People with AS are not deliberately rude any more than anyone else. Please don't associate us with those on the net who are.

I love your retort -- I wish I had the nerve to use it.

I participate a lot on an Internet group which shall remain nameless. For the most part they are a friendly group, but there are a few who believe that they and they alone know what "real photography" is and aren't afraid to hand out critiques. If I receive one of these critiques, I usually go over and take a look at the offender's body of work. Most of the time, I come away feeling that my work is as good, if not better, that the offender's (no false modesty here). Sometimes I learn something.

I go along with those who have said that between the ease of the "reply" and "send" button and the anonymity of the Internet, civility has taken a beating. I worked for many years as a legal secretary and our policy when dealing with a possibly volatile situation was to draft the letter and wait at least a few hours before we sent it out. Needless to say, the letter needs to be read again before it goes out....

"Well, sorry, Charlie, that's not how people work."

No need to make it personal ;-)

It has taken me a long time to accept that I can't make a majority of people like my work... I'm now happy with a few people liking it, but really I'm most happy when I like it.

Ctein -

When I was writing for the mags, I had a form letter not dissimilar to yours. It read,

“Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for the submission of your crank letter.

Sincerely,

Bill Pierce”

Unfortunately, an editor found me mimeographing copies (I thought the blue type and cheap paper added to the message.) and insisted I stop. I wonder what is the mimeograph of the email age?

Civility should go hand-in-hand with humility.

Ctein, I would respectfully point out that you may attract more than your share of un-civil response because of the tone much of your writing takes is rather, shall we say, un-humble. There are other words for it but some of them are not too polite.

That said, I agree with the overall thrust of your post that internet comment is too often much more rude than necessary. Sometimes, however, the writer seems to be asking for it . . ..

Way I see it, all art is subjective. "One man's meat is another man's poison," and so forth.

I don't expect everybody is going to like my work--maybe not even most people, and maybe not even most of my work. But I'm OK with it, if one certain person likes what I've done and thinks I did a good job: myself.

"What would happen if everyone could yell at their television and be heard by the players?"

This:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovYWY4Pf9_M

A healthy fear of physical retribution has always had a calming effect.

Dear Peter and Sareesh,

Those are VERY good points I hadn't thought about. Without question, some artists intend to provoke and inflame. If that's their goal, then an inflammatory response seems appropriate, even sought out.

I don't think most artists are trying for that. Though if they are...

(there are no absolute rules. 'cept for this one)

There's also a matter of appropriate level of response. Some correspondents appear to think the correct response to being subject to a Level 1 offense is a Level 11 counterattack.

~~~~~~

Dear Jeff,

Oooh, you're right. Much more Miss Manners that way. Thanks!

~~~~~~

Dear Slobodan,

You are confusing style with substance, the general with the specific, and a critical remark made at large to one made to one's face.

If someone, somewhere on the Internet posted that "photography was crap" would you take it the same way as if someone wrote to you, specifically, and said "your photographs are crap"?

In case I need to make the matter clear, my column was not a passive-aggressive slap at anyone in particular or about anything that's happened to me recently. It was inspired by external events. It's not directed at any TOP reader in the specific, it wouldn't ever apply to any of them I know. When I say I won't take that kind of crap, it's not directed at anyone in particular or within earshot. It's a policy statement.

~~~~~~

Dear Rob,

I'd like a music historian to weigh in on that (there must be one in the house), but I *think* that back when the Beatles existed, a majority of (Western) music listeners weren't even favoring R&R. Let alone liking the Beatles.

~~~~~~

Dear JC,

Yes, practicality would have to enter into it if I had to deal with your volume of readership.

'Sides, given your level of fame, the recipient of such a letter might consider it a keepsake!

~~~~~~

Dear Alan,

Most of us are imperfect writers AND readers. I cut correspondents a lot of slack, accordingly. You have to be explicitly insulting to be the recipient of my kiss-off letter. Honestly, doesn't happen much more than once a year.

A recent missive I used it on started with this, and went downhill in civility from there (I won't subject you to the whole thing):

"For someone who is as boastful as yourself, I wasn't entirely surprised that your photographs don't support your boasting. Your photography is no more than in the mediocre to average range. As with most boastful people, you talk a good job but fail to live up to expectations. ..."

I don't think poor writing was an issue [wry smile]. Although the editor in me says you shouldn't be using "boast" three times in one short paragraph; it's weak style.


pax / Ctein
==========================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
==========================================

Lynn -- once upon a time, if you were upset with somebody about an at-all-public situation, you could write a stiff letter to the Times. And even with editorial oversight and the knowledge that it was in libraries and archives forever, the degree of anger displayed was sometimes fully up to internet standards, even if the language was more controlled.

Ctein, I certainly agree that artists, and everybody else who you don't have extensive history with justifying otherwise, deserve a basic level of respect.

You're a better man than me. I have no problems with returning in kind and have been known to do so. Occasionally. :-)

It's not the matter of civility. I really don't see a point in behaving civilly towards people who are not civil to start with.

The best I can do is ignore them.

I wanted to start swearing and screaming at the author after trying to read that white text on black in that luminous landscape piece!

Aside to Slobodan Blagojevic: Ctein wasn't saying those people's opinions are crap. He said the way they express them is crap.

OT: In general I agree with Ctein's view on this, and almost without qualification I agree with the over-riding idea that people should be civil towards each other. But I know I've been guilty of throwing the occasional dagger. Sometimes I later regret it, but not always.

I also know that there is a dark side to civility. That's the side you venture into when you force yourself to suppress your true feelings for the sake of appearances. The English -- home of the stiff upper lip -- know a lot about this, and the result is a constant clash between said stiff upper lips and the ragged yobs that try to derail them. It's a polarized society along those lines (less so now, as there aren't a lot of stiff upper lips left in the UK).

We live in a big round world that is constantly shrinking. People from different cultures have different ways of expressing themselves and of dealing with those expressions. As the world shrinks (and on the web it has shrunken to sub-atomic levels) these differences clash more and more.

Look at the classic latin way of living -- in particular, European latins, such as Spanish and Italian people, and those from the south of France. They value the kind of in-your-face directness that absolutely shocks most people from California. Nice anthropology lesson, but over here in 2011 those Spaniards and Italians are sitting right there in your web browser. You don't have to take a plane to find them.

But that's not even what Ctein is talking about, as far as I can tell. I think he's talking about the kind of gratuitous under-the-bus throwing that your average neanderthal-next-door likes to engage in when he doesn't like your photo (or doesn't like you). For that kind of thing, I agree that IGNORE or the cool "I am not" response is the most appropriate, primarily because the ignoramuses who spew them are not worthy of anything else.

But artists have always had long knives, and they've always been fond of drawing them. And because of that, an artist requires a thick skin. Art isn't easy. It's not just about pretty pictures. It's about commitment to ideas and effort, acceptance of failure, and the endurance of detractors.

If everyone is always nice to each other we might as well all be on Instagram where everyone constantly "Likes" anything that has a baby in it or looks like it was shot with a Holga.

So really, what it comes down to is this: there are four kinds of criticism:

(1) Useful and constructive criticism (positive or negative) that you can learn from.

(2) Useful and constructive criticism (positive or negative) that you can learn from but you disagree with and essentially ignore (at your peril).

(3) Useless positive commentary that comes from your mother or your friends on Facebook/Instragram (etc.), which can safely be ignored because it has nothing to do with your art.

(4) Crap from yobs, which you absolutely must ignore.

(Hmm. I used to write long blog posts. Now I just write long comments on TOP.)

I like it as a document, regardless of the aesthetics.

Dear Richard,

There seem to be two major schools of thought on the usage of the word "artist." One school says that your work has to be good, the other just says that you're trying. Personally, I subscribe to the latter usage. I have no problems calling myself an "artist" with the clear understanding that others will decide whether I'm a good artist or a bad one.

~~~~~~

Dear Roger,

My sincere apologies. It was a throw-away crack, and I am sorry that I wrote something that hurt/offended you. It was not my intent; it was the result of my carelessness and I regret that.

~~~~~~

Dear Charlie,

Y'know, with 30K readers, I really gotta be careful namin' names [vbg].

~~~~~~

Dear Jeff,

Actually, I DON'T. I get maybe one such letter/email a year. When I first started "ghosting" the Net, a good 20 years ago, I was a bit bothered by how many negative comments I could find in the Usenet Newsgroups. Then I did searches on comparable authors' names, and, boy, I was getting off easy!

So far as I can tell, I attract fewer of these than most. Don't know why, but I am grateful.

BTW, I gave myself three rules when I started ghost-reading groups. (1) have a rhino-thick skin, (2) have a huge sense of humor and (3) never, ever reply to a comment I've ghost-read. I vowed that if I couldn't keep to those rules, I shouldn't be looking. I am pleased to say that i've followed them 100%, although it's been a strain sometimes.

I am not humble. Nor am I arrogant. Many today incorrectly think it's an either/or choice, that you have to be one or the other. Wrong. One need not go to either extreme. Years before "arrogant" became the epithet-du-jour, someone accused me of immodesty. My reply then (and now) is that I don't believe in modesty, I believe in accuracy.

It's just one part of my ineffable charm. [s]

~~~~~~

Dear Erlik,

We are none of us perfect. I can be provoked and really lay into someone. I wouldn't advocate it as a course of action, though.

People who expect you to be a saint are mostly looking for an excuse to ignore you 'cause you ain't. Don't let them get to you.


pax / Ctein
==========================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
==========================================

Ditto Jeff Glass' comment.

I'll try to say this as politely and respectfully as I can. I don't think you're being fair to your photography. No matter how people view your work, the continual self-praise that pervades your website and almost every article you write will continue to incite and inflame many of those who comment. Heaven knows how many comments we don't see because Mike had to edit them out.(Maybe this one won't make the cut either.) Quit waving a red cape and maybe the bulls will ignore you. Why not try dialing down the ego a few notches and let your work speak for itself. Perhaps then you'll see the comments start to become more constructive and civil.

"Dear sir, I am writing to thank you for your detailed and heartfelt critique of my work. It is very encouraging to know that someone with your level of taste, eloquence and intelligence finds it so challenging."

"'Dear sir, I am writing to thank you for your detailed and heartfelt critique of my work. It is very encouraging to know that someone with your level of taste, eloquence and intelligence finds it so challenging.'"

Love it. I think I'll steal that one--may I?

Mike

Like most participants here, I agree with the basic direction of Ctein's argument, and I like his suggested response letter (even though I like Steve Jacob's approach even more). There is, however, one aspect to the discussion which I think is missing: I can understand, if people react in a vitriolic way to being made part of whoever's artistic ventures, directly or indirectly, without being asked. This may hold in particular, if these people have the impression that what they are being made a part of is more 'venture' than 'artistic'.

(I am aware, that there seems to be little foundation for such a kind of conflict in the portfolio Ctein shows on his website.)

Aside to Slobodan Blagojevic: Ctein wasn't saying those people's opinions are crap. He said the way they express them is crap.

That's a distinction without a difference, especially in the context of this piece. Civility should apply either way.

Mike,

Feel free!

As long as you back me up if I ever have to prove I penned it. I guess this post is proof of copyright and my granting of a license to you ;)

Addendum to Current and Future (Internet) Art Critics:

I spend quite some time, perhaps too much, around museum curators, art historians, and gallerists these days. Here are a few small tidbits I'd like to offer to the aforementioned audience.

1. There is a language for art criticism (beyond "It Sucks!"). Like any means of communication between like-minded individuals its vocabulary strives for a degree of efficient precision. If you anticipate spending any degree of serious time viewing and evaluating art (including art photography) I think you'll find it useful to study art criticism. It will be both a self-test of how insightful your observations really are and an educational experience in learning how to look and what to see.

2. I have never heard any art professional categorically dismiss anything. "I don't find this work engaging..." is about the strongest negative reaction I hear from some of the best art eyes and minds in the world. Non-judgemental and always open to revision.

3. Art is about ideas, not purely visuals. This very much includes the tiny slice of the art world occupied by photography. The next time you're faced with a work that you think "sucks" suppress any emotional urge to immediately dismiss the work. Try to understand what the artist is trying to convey. Try especially to look at a body of the artist's work (even just 3 or 4 pieces), as one piece is often uninformative or misleading. This is especially true in photography where a single shutter click is meaningless. The primary reason why many of the "great" photographers are recognized as such is because their bodies of works collectively represent powerful and consistent styles of observation and commentary. One frame from, say, Bruce Davidson's "Subway" series may be lovely but at most it's only a souvenir of the full body of work.

Dear John (and anyone else who thinks this is about me),

As I said to Jeff, I DON'T have a big problem with this, maybe one "deserving" email a year. Further, compared to the sh*t I know other authors get, I get very little, even including the comments Mike does not allow.

This column was motivated entirely by external events a month or so back. It just sat in the queue for a while.

Also, if it WERE about me, my style would still have nothing to do with it. Nobody, regardless of how you may personally feel about them, their style or their ego, deserves to be trolled or harassed by the little sociopaths who think that personal insult is the highest form of wit.

That is the lesson you ought to be taking from this, not trying to figure out how it is the (imagined) victim's fault.

pax / Ctein

Dear Folks,

Entirely in keeping with this topic, you must read last week's "9 Chickweed Lane" beginning here:

http://www.gocomics.com/9chickweedlane/2011/10/24

pax / still-gigglin' Ctein

Dear Robert,

The difference between style and content is anything but a meaningless distinction. It is at least as important a difference as that between ad hominem and a general remark. Or attacking an idea or attacking the individual presenting it.

You may wish to argue for extreme civility in all those arenas (a laudable and worthy goal, even if I do not agree). But claiming there is no difference that matters is a little hard to swallow.

pax / Ctein

Ctein

Apology fully accepted. I was offended but not hurt. I agree with the rest of your column. Of course, the people on the internet you wrote about have no intention of apologising to anyone for anything.

Regards
Roger Bradbury

I don't remember who said that "insults often tell more about the person who insults than about the person who is insulted" but the same can be said about rude comments which is why I'm not often feeling offended by them.

My policy is that if I don't like somebody's work I simply don't comment on it. I only try to make positive comments (if they reflect what I really think) and constructive criticism if somebody explicitly asks for it.

It's very true that words can be extremely poisonous. Oh yes, extremely poisonous...

Dear Ian,

I am very intrigued by your comment. In some measure because I'm not at all sure I understand it. Would you please expand on it? thanks!

~~~~~~


Dear Steve,

Oh, I'm gonna steal that one, too. It would have actually been a better response to use with the "boastful" troll than my standard.

Much thanks for the additional toxin [g].

pax / Ctein

I'd like to add one more thing. This post helped me to survive an aggressive onslaught on my photos on one of the Singapore's largest photography forums. Thanks for this Ctein.

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