If I Surrender Will They Go Away?

I’ve been given a new job on mihow.com. I’m no longer only Chief Irritating Officer, and founder of this Web site. I have also been given the job of Police Chief.

I usually catch the nasty and/or overly disgusting comments before anyone else has a chance to read them, which is probably why no one knew about my new role as police chief. And I know it’s kind of lame of me to delete all the good gossip before everyone else has a chance to read it, but I don’t want to encourage them and in giving them a voice or platform in order to take such a cowardly stance I feel like I would be encouraging them.

There have been times where I’ve missed some of these comments because I have work to do or something I simply must take care of, like, I don’t know, my life. For example, in November someone verbally attacked both Tobyjoe and me and continued to do so even after we asked him to stop. He was so persistent it took him over 24-hours before he finally got bored, 24-hours of the two of us zapping each and every comment. (Why I didn’t agree to have Tobyjoe block his IP address immediately, I’ll never know. I guess I thought that he’d stop on his own.) Eventually, he did stop. We think he realized that he was spending far too much money dialing into Canada in hopes of throwing us off regarding his identity, (an identity we eventually did figure out).

Yesterday, in the three hours that went by without my watchful (and paranoid) eye, I discovered that two such comments had been posted.

Sometimes the hateful comments send me into a whirlwind of self-loathing and doubt; I begin to question everything. Yesterday I felt very much the same way and since Tobyjoe is traveling, I didn’t have my usual sounding block around. I wasn’t sure what to do so I emailed a few friends (who also run Web sites) and asked them how they put up with it. How does it affect them? Do they let it go? Does it bother them as much as it bothers me? All of them said that hateful comments bother them. One woman wrote back to say that it bothers her for days. All of the people I wrote to are kind, talented, and beautiful women. It irks me knowing that some of these women spend even one hour feeling badly because of what some anonymous coward wrote on their Web site.

We put it out there, so I guess that automatically opens us to the occasional not constructive, and generally hateful criticism. But even if the comments have an ounce of truth to them, we shouldn’t have to read it on our Web site. And it certainly shouldn’t come from someone too weak to use a name. There’s a time and a place for such criticism. There’s a tactful way to do it as well.

I was (still am) very wary about pushing this post live. And there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll take it off of the homepage. I’m wary for several reasons. For starters, I like to pride myself in standing above this petty, Internet crap. Even if I can’t ignore it personally, why bring more attention to it thereby letting these people know that what they’re doing is actually working? I know that this post reassures the anonymous and cruel that their words do actually bother us. Of course it bothers us! But if it comes down to winning or losing, I lost a whole hell of a lot more yesterday feeling badly about myself than I have in writing this post. And it’s important that others know that.

In the past several months my google ratings have become much more high profile. In turn, I see a lot more traffic to this Web site. Every month since January, my traffic has doubled. This is great news if I want to make a few extra bucks on advertisements (and I do mean a few) but with all the good stuff, I’m seeing a lot more hate as well. This has me eying a less anonymous comment system for this Web site. That would mean forcing people to use Typekey before commenting, something really don’t want to do.

I cherish the comments I receive here. I am particularly fond of the regulars. Many of you have helped me through (and with) so much over the years, and I worry that if I start asking people to sign in I might lose some of that incredible information and correspondence. The thing is, I’m not sure that I can handle another day like the one I had yesterday. I’m far too pregnant, far too sensitive, and far too self-conscious these days.


  1. I swear it wasn’t me!

    Speaking of being blocked, did you get my email?


  2. StFarmer: Sent a response.


  3. seriously? I’m not allowed to leave anonymous hateful comments anymore? jeez…you guys take away all my fun. ;P


  4. Email received and replied to.

    You guys need to hire someone to screen your postings and get rid of the ugly ones befoere you see them.


  5. StFarmer, the thought crossed my mind. Even if I have it so that a comment needs to be approved first, I still have to read it. Although, Tobyjoe doesn’t let this stuff bother him at ALL. It must be a guy thing. I have no idea. But he can take just about anything and not get offended. Maybe it’s just a Tobyjoe thing.

    Anyway, maybe I’ll learn how to deal with it in time. I just find that I’m becoming more and more sensitive the older I get.


  6. Blame it on being pregnant. Raging hormones, ya know?


  7. Michele, I’m sorry for those sucky people. Now I sound like I’m in grade 8 again!
    I often feel bad for even commenting, since you don’t actually know me, but I feel like I have stuff to say that could be useful!


  8. Okay, I need to proof-read. I’m sorry those sucky people are leaving lame-ass comments. How’s that? ;)


  9. Don’t ever feel bad about commenting. I genuinely like the information a lot of you give. The people I am talking about are the ones who call us names. It is seriously like we’re in 8th grade again. The guy yesterday was obviously an angry gay man who had a thing for Tobyjoe and a not so kind thing for me. He was just cruel and he used a fake name. Point is, there is a certain anonymous thing that takes place from time to time that is specifically meant to hurt us. Plain and simple.

    Do not ever feel badly about commenting.


  10. It is really upsetting to me that some people feel the need to make themselves feel better or cooler or more important by being petty and small and mean to others, and in particular that the anonymity the internet affords gives those sorts of people the balls to do the equivalent of coming into your home and taking a dump on your couch. You have every excuse to rant about it, and you wouldn’t be human if the mean-spirited comments didn’t get to you just a little.

    Hopefully, the good comments will always outweigh the bad, and the bad feelings the nasty comments stir up will be short-lived.


  11. I was going to give you the talk I give to my 8th graders who are being bullied, but jenblossom said it first. :)

    A bully’s goal is to hurt you—not to give an opinion, not to try to change your mind, but to hurt you (or whoever is nearby) to make himself feel better. Use your sensitivity to your advantage by feeling sorry for him rather than feeling badly about yourself.


  12. Cyn, I’ll be in DC this week, can I sit in on one of your classes? hahah, just kidding.


  13. This isn’t on topic at all, but have you ever heard the Drive Like Jehu song “Luau”? In my head, I pronounce Mihow like they sing Luau, i.e. fiercely. Take no shit from bullies!


  14. haha! John.

    Also: I love Drive Like Jehu! I need to dig them back out. Wow, thanks for the reminder. We’re taking a roadtrip tomorrow. I need to create some set lists!


  15. Sure! I have a 6th grade boys group on Tuesdays talking about getting ready for Middle School. They are convinced they will be stuffed in lockers and getting noogied and wet willied all day long.


  16. Hey Mihow—Just wanted to say that I wouldn’t mind having to use a TypeKey account to log in before commenting. Other bloggers do it and it doesn’t seem to discourage (healthy) comments on their site either. Chin up!


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