I wanted to take a minute to address some of the recent criticism I’ve been getting. Every couple of months, it seems like I post something pretty polarizing and am suddenly faced with lots and lots of criticism and negativity. Sometimes, like yesterday, I expect it and brace myself for it. Other times, it catches me off-guard. And always, there is criticism that is constructive and I take to heart, and criticism that is just hateful and I try my best to ignore. For example, this comment suggesting that I could have framed yesterday’s “From the Mailbag” letter differently made total sense. I had used the same intro that I used for the first – and only other — “From the Mailbag” letter I featured even though the letters were totally different in spirit, message, and tone. It was a lazy move on my part and one that I’m sure got a lot of people riled up. I regret that oversight and will do better in the future. I also appreciate the commenter pointing out this mistake to me in a thoughtful and measured way.
On the other hand, there was this comment, which called me out for being “mean” and “bossy” and “choosy,” but used no specific examples to back up that argument. Actually, she did use an example — she said I was “bossy” and “choosy” in the home tour submissions I selected to feature. But I featured every single submission I received, so how in the world does that make me “choosy”? At the time of writing this, her comment got something like 50 “likes.” That’s a lot, and I guess I’m supposed to feel bad about that. I’m sure that was the commenter’s intention — to make me feel bad. It certainly wasn’t to help me make this site better, as was the intention of the other comment I’ve referenced here. She simply wanted me to feel like shit, as did the 50+ people (out of the thousands) who “liked” her nonsensical comment. Maybe she even wants me to quit writing this site.
But here’s the thing: I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Yes, every few months, I get a slew of nasty comments and hateful emails that make me wonder what the fuck I’m doing investing so much of my energy into something that some people obviously don’t like. I wonder why I’m paying well over a thousand dollars a year to a company to host this site so people can shit all over it. I wonder why I hire a babysitter a couple mornings a week so I can have time to work on this site only to have people shit all over it. I wonder why I spend part of my evenings and weekends reading and responding to emails. And it’s because I love what I do and I believe that despite the mistakes and missteps that I’ve made, for the most part, this is a site that does good. I believe we’re making a positive impact. And when I see the number of readers grow every month — there are thousands and thousands of you now — I know there’s something that keeps people hooked (and I hope very much it’s more than the occasional controversy or desire to watch me fail).
Sometimes, when I’m feeling low about the state of things, I remember times in my life when I felt so much worse. Like when I was 22 and my boyfriend dumped me and I was unemployed and all my college friends had moved away after graduation and I felt so very alone and confused. I think back to that time and imagine if I’d had a community like the one here to pick me up and make me feel heard, or an advice columnist who would have actually read my letter and taken time to respond and maybe even given me a dose of tough love when I needed it most, I wouldn’t have felt so incredibly isolated and lost and alone. So often, I write for that girl I used to be. I wish I would have had a community like this when I was still her, and a more experienced woman who had been through it to tell me I was going to be ok.
My father has a saying: “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” At different times in my life, he’s repeated it frequently. I repeat it to myself a lot these days. There are people who are bored, angry, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, jealous, and BORED (did I mention bored yet?) who want to bring people down so they don’t have to feel so alone in their misery, and I’m not going to let them.
I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to keep being the me many of you either hate or you love. I’m going to keep being direct — sometimes painfully so. I’m going to keep calling it like I see it. I’m going to keep being snarky when the mood strikes and the tone fits. I’m going to keep being compassionate and thoughtful and tough. I’m going to keep being me, and if you don’t like it, you can go away. And if you do like it, but have an issue with something specific that’s out-of-character or doesn’t fit the tone of the site or benefit the community, tell it to me in a constructive way. I’ll listen. I can’t promise I’ll agree, but I’ll definitely consider your argument.
I’m not going anywhere. And for those of you readers who can’t stand me and are reading in hopes of seeing me fail or lose my shit or something, I’m not going to give you that satisfaction. For those of you who read in hopes of seeing hateful comments directed to me that you can anonymously “like” from the comfort of your office or home, I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of that either. From now on, any comment directed toward me that is critical in nature without being constructive, like this one for example, which was written by someone who didn’t like the advice I once gave her and now posts hateful comments in an effort to “get back at me,” will be deleted. Any comment whose sole purpose is to make me feel like shit will be deleted. Maybe you don’t think that’s “fair.” Well, guess what? It’s my site — I pay for it, I invest hours and hours of my time into it every week, I think about it constantly, and I’m going to do what I need to to keep it a place I enjoy coming to. If that means it’s a site YOU no longer like coming to, I can’t say I’m sorry to see you go. It’s time to weed out some of the haters, anyway.
JK May 1, 2012, 10:05 am
Wendy, you know there are so many of us that love this site (and you), the haters are probably just more vocal about it!
katie May 1, 2012, 10:07 am
actually, i think us lovers are more vocal… i mean that one comment was one out of how many? a bunch.
katie May 1, 2012, 10:08 am
217!! take away a few more for the crazies that agreed with her, and a few for the responses she gave, and your left still with like 1 comment out of about 200. and i think thats being generous. lol
JK May 1, 2012, 10:14 am
Yeah, I meant to say more like they´re louder than the rest of us (so one talking crap is going to stand out more than however many of us saying the truth).
katie May 1, 2012, 10:18 am
ah yea i know what you mean. like out of the 200 other comments that one really gets under your skin. yea… very true.
MissDre May 1, 2012, 10:20 am
Dr. Phil always says for every one negative comment a child hears, it takes 10 positive comments to cancel it out. Yes, I still love Dr. Phil 🙂
parton_doll May 1, 2012, 12:07 pm
I too love Dr. Phil 🙂
kalipso May 1, 2012, 6:48 pm
My dad used to say “10 atta boys to 1 aww shit.”
camille905 May 1, 2012, 10:08 am
I followed you over here from The Frisky for a reason- you give good advice. You make people think harder about their situations then they probably really want to and you tell them the truth. Now some people can’t handle the truth and those are probably your haters. But that’s okay because the rest of us like the truth.
Heather May 1, 2012, 10:09 am
That comment was ridiculous. Not because she shared her opinion, but because she literally had nothing to back it up. That tour example was just…what?
If nothing else, I just want you to know that I highly doubt the majority of people feel the way that commenter did. If it had so many likes, maybe those people could have backed her up as well, but they didn’t.
So fuck em! You’re awesome, you’re great at what you do, and I love this site.
CatsMeow May 1, 2012, 10:27 am
And imagine how many purple thumbs there would have been!
Michelle.Lea May 1, 2012, 10:09 am
it’s not a democracy, it’s *yours*! they can complain all they like.
katiebird May 1, 2012, 10:13 am
you go wendy.
FireStar May 1, 2012, 10:16 am
Not everything for everybody. That applies to hot pants, spicy food and advice columns. If you, as a functioning adult, can’t discern what is for you and what isn’t – then you need more help than an advice columnist can give. And if something is not for you – well – let’s just say it isn’t going to be the WORLD that will flex to accommodate you.
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 10:21 am
Go Wendy Go! I love Dear Wendy and you and it pained me to see 50+ likes (seriously?!) on that ridiculous post about you being “more mean” and bossy and choosy.
In honor of you, today I’m gonna take off the pajamas I’ve been in since … Sunday? … and I’m taking a shower. Then, I’m gonna go be a productive member in society, by reading Fifty Shades of Gray at a coffee shop so I can participate in our next book club thread! (Also for personal kicks and jollies.) Don’t worry, I’m reading it on a Kindle so no one can see what I’m reading and judge me for it.
bagge72 May 1, 2012, 10:33 am
Nice work! and I did like your vegan joke!
Budj May 1, 2012, 10:32 am
E-readers are awesome, because if I’m reading some dirty/raunchy romance novel I can lie and say I’m reading something sophisticated like War and Peace.
Roxy_84 May 1, 2012, 1:13 pm
I do that too with my e-reader. Thanks for the reminder about 50 shades of grey…was just thinking of what I wanted to get for my flight tomorrow. It’s going to be that and Insurgent.
Sue Jones May 1, 2012, 10:22 am
You go! I love your site because I also wish there had been a column like this when I was in my 20’s and confused about boyfriends, friends, life and career. I may have been more efficient and selective about the men I dated and not wasted so much time, with one guy in particular. Now at 50 it has all turned out quite well via a somewhat winding path AND I am the wiser for it, but still I wish it had been so. Sometimes girls in their 20’s (30’s, 40’s so on) need to be bitch slapped upside the head!
MissDre May 1, 2012, 10:26 am
I actually think Dear Wendy is an incredibly positive community and that’s why I love it here!! If some people really think this is a negative place, they should try checking out the comment boards on Bossip. Nothing but hate, sexism, racism and more.
Seriously though Wendy, I think you always give very thoughtful advice. I love it that you actually take the time to interact with the community as well. It’s amazing that we actually feel that we know you somewhat… which I think gives your advice even MORE merit!
Keep doing exactly what you’re doing, because there are so many of us who LOVE what you do and are so grateful for such a positive and respectful community.
ReginaRey May 1, 2012, 10:29 am
Or Yahoo or Huffington Post. I’m honestly amazed at the intelligence, maturity and groundedness of the people on this site after going to those sites! I actually get a little scared for humanity when I see the quality of commenter that exists outside DW…
jlyfsh May 1, 2012, 10:38 am
CNN scares me the most
bittergaymark May 1, 2012, 6:27 pm
No. If you want to be scared. Try Foxnews. Go to any GAY related news story. The hate you will find there is palpable. And mind-blowing. And most disturbingly… young.
jlyfsh May 1, 2012, 6:49 pm
actually your right i think i blocked all memory of that site.
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 11:02 am
HuffPost comment section is straight up cray cray!
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 10:30 am
That’s a really good point about the advice having more merit because we know her a bit and know she’s not some crazy lady. We know she has a nice family, nice home, normal life, etc.
IDreamofElectricSheep May 1, 2012, 10:58 am
Agreed! I’ve been at other sites where they either 1) don’t allow comments or 2) allow comments, most of which end up being odd, racist/sexist/homophobic/religion-slamming/ethnocentric/country-state-city centric insults that are not even specific to the question.
As in: “Hey, that’s what you get from living in XXX, here at ZZZ, that would never happen!” What? Really? Never? Or: “What do you expect? The LW is a _____, you know they are all ______”. And you know those are negative blanks, not positive ones (“The LW is a cute woolly lamb, you know they are all so very snuggable!!”). This community is pretty awesome.
Rachel May 1, 2012, 12:09 pm
It’s true though. Cute wooly lambs are all very snuggable. Some stereotypes are based in truth!
TaraMonster May 1, 2012, 11:28 am
This is exactly why I come back everyday (even if I don’t always comment, I’m lurking!). My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy because I tell him about things that happened on DW like it’s real life. I always say “but it’s a community!” and he rolls his eyes.
NYC is having its meetup soon, so maybe he’ll stop teasing me about loving an online community so much!
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 11:48 am
Oooo I didn’t know there was an NYC meet up in the works?!!! That’s where I’m at, I will def be there.
TaraMonster May 1, 2012, 12:57 pm
Yep! Check out the meetups forum. I think it’s this Saturday in Central Park (May 5- just realized that’s Cinco de Mayo!) or a nearby bar if it rains. 🙂
Wendy May 1, 2012, 1:53 pm
Actually, I’m sorry, but I had to cancel that one. I hope to schedule someone either later this month or early next month. Of course, other NYCers are welcome to schedule a meetup, too!
MissDre May 1, 2012, 11:49 am
Hahaha I tell my boyfriend about things that happened on DW too. And I just talk about “Wendy” like she’s my friend. “Wendy said this!” or “Wendy posted the cutest pic of Jackson!”. I even remember before Wendy gave us the news about being pregnant, I said to my bf at breakfast, “You know, I think Wendy might be pregnant!”.
He’s used to it by now. So is my mom, I always show her the pics that Wendy posts of Miles and Jackson.
I love this place 🙂
bethany May 1, 2012, 11:53 am
My husband mocks me all the time when I talk about Wendy and everyone else!!
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 1:40 pm
Me too! Every time I meet up with friends and the subjects of life, love, family, work, or friends comes up (um, which is usually always), I at least once say, “This came up on Dear Wendy and commenters say … “
mandalee May 1, 2012, 12:07 pm
I talk like Wendy is a friend of mine also and my husband used to think I was completely crazy. I wrote on the forum a few times for advice and I told him about it. So, now when I have a problem and I go to him, he’s says “I don’t know what don’t you go on Dear Wendy and ask them?” lol
This is a very positive community. Aside from a college football blog I frequent because they go off on some pretty amazing beer/food tangents, this is my favorite website!
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 12:25 pm
Is it weird the first thing I thought when I added a terrarium to my living room was that I was mad I already sent in my reader home tour submission?
Samantha May 1, 2012, 12:44 pm
Exactly! This site has such a great community – pretty amazing for an internet comments section! I love that it feels so personal, and that, after lurking for months, it’s been pretty easy to join the group.
Wendy, you’re awesome, your website is awesome, and it’s a testament to your good work than anyone that offered hateful criticism wasn’t able to back it up. And when someone did offer criticism that was helpful you took it. It’s reassuring that there are people like you willing to give advice and help others!
bethany May 1, 2012, 10:30 am
I’m going to keep being me, and if you don’t like it, you can go away.
Iwannatalktosampson May 1, 2012, 10:31 am
This is my thing – and I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here because I know I’ve said it before – but if you don’t like the content of this site, Wendy’s advice, or the community here – don’t fucking come. I will never understand people that bitch about something and then continue to engage. Does it feel good to bang your head against the wall even after you’ve acknowledged that it hurts? If you don’t like it don’t come here. There – now you will have nothing else to bitch about. (Except that you will – because people that want to be negative debbie downers will always find a way).
Brad May 1, 2012, 10:45 am
I think some people just enjoy whining/criticizing and will do it for the sake of it whenever they can. They’ve likely been doing it since the started using the internet in 1999 and have now rewired their brains to have the reward centers of their brains trigger when they do it.
DebMoore May 2, 2012, 7:14 pm
I was going to like you untill I got to the debbie dower part. I hate that phrase!
Jo May 1, 2012, 10:31 am
You’re not like the other advice columnists I read who simply tolerate hate and negativity from loser commenters. I like that you actually read the comments and interact with your readers. You are awesome.
ReginaRey May 1, 2012, 10:39 am
You know, just because no one else has done it doesn’t mean Wendy is wrong to voice her feelings. And I’m also kind of tired of everyone saying, “Suck it up! Jobs can suck!” Yeah, they can, but when you’re your own boss, with no employees, and people are making you feel like shit…then you have every right to tell them to fuck off. There’s no rule that says you have to deal with something you don’t care to deal with.
ReginaRey May 1, 2012, 10:42 am
Change of tune…?
Wendy May 1, 2012, 10:43 am
Oh, did I say that hateful comments would be deleted? What I meant to say was that they will be edited for clarity.
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 10:46 am
Could you edit some of my flirtatious replies to Budj so they sound less psycho and more, more, je ne sais quoi? Or am I on my own?
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 10:51 am
Wait. What’s going on here? I’m assuming Jo wrote a not so nice message originally? This fun, let’s edit each other’s comments.
bethany May 1, 2012, 10:56 am
Crap. I liked Jo’s comment after it was edited to be nice. I hope Wendy knows I didn’t like it when it was mean!!
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 11:05 am
Ha! This is what I get for going out for a cigarette break. I have no clue what’s going on. I liked your comment “bethany May 1, 2012 at 10:54 am Boy, LBH is really my favoritest person ever. She’s so pretty and smart and funny”
bethany May 1, 2012, 11:55 am
TaraMonster May 1, 2012, 11:32 am
LOL! I did the same thing! I didn’t know!
Kris May 1, 2012, 10:59 am
Yes, the original comment was basically that Wendy shouldn’t be complaining because other advice givers don’t.
lol, I think the comments sections would get very confusing if it was constantly getting edited.
buttoned May 1, 2012, 11:13 am
agreed. editing of the comments will make me think every comment has been edited.. can we get like an asterisk after the comment, to signal editation lol?
Wendy May 1, 2012, 11:15 am
Sure, you want an asterisk? I can do that.
MissDre May 1, 2012, 11:18 am
I think you did that before, didn’t you? Something like *this comment has been edited because it was rude and hateful.
Kris May 1, 2012, 11:24 am
yes, please 🙂 So when I’m not normally procrastinating like I am today, I don’t wonder why the commenters that got to it before it was edited sound a bit off.
buttoned May 1, 2012, 3:06 pm
thank you! :3
ele4phant May 1, 2012, 12:11 pm
I agree. Wendy absolutely should delete or edit hateful comments, but it is confusing when you come to a thread and read a perfectly neutral post that set off a firestorm and have no idea why. It’d be helpful if the post was at least tagged as being modified, so even if you don’t know *what* it said you knew it was something worthy of creating a fuss.
AmyRenee May 1, 2012, 12:43 pm
to keep from confusing newer readers (because you are going to keep getting new readers, I recommend the site to everyone I talk to!) for future columns, I would recommend you come up with a tag line to replace deleted comments with, along with a link back to this column. And maybe some people were “liking” that hateful comment because they like you being bossy? I like that you are bossy and tell it like it is!
Kris May 1, 2012, 10:45 am
I’m going to have to politely disagree. One of the main differences between Wendy’s site and other advice givers (which I have also been reading for years) is that she has built up a community of commenters that also give good advice and she has spent a lot of time trying to keep this site troll-free. So when trolls come out in mass, I think she has a right to rant because it goes against what she is fundamentally trying to do. I love Wendy’s site over other sites because she has this community that while they may be sarcastic or snarky is aimed at helping the LW. It’s not just about the rude comments to her but it’s also about those people trying to ruin the positive community that she has built here.
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 10:55 am
Completely agree. Though there are times when commentors strongly disagree there is never anything nasty or hateful or disgusting on this site.
savannah May 1, 2012, 10:51 am
While I really feel that this community is wendy’s to shape and that it’s her prerogative about censorship and other issues, I have to agree with parts of what you are saying. While I agree with most of what Wendy wrote this: ‘And for those of you readers who can’t stand me and are reading in hopes of seeing me fail or lose my shit or something, I’m not going to give you that satisfaction’ makes me wonder about what Wendy thinks about the nature of having/hosting a website in this day and age. This is not to say that people are not invested in the site but no one is more invested in this site than Wendy. The idea that people want her to somehow ‘fail’ in anyway seems misguided upon reflection. While a totally normal, reasonable and typical reaction, there is hate/negative feedback out there I’m sure feels very personal to Wendy and that must be hard, I just don’t believe that these people are out to get Wendy- not because they are not mean or nasty people but because they don’t care enough about her or this site. The nature of the internet as it is now lets people say cruel and nasty things to complete strangers with little or no repercussions. If they are nasty on this site, they probably are on others too. It feels so so personal and that’s a huge part of why putting yourself out there online is so intense. But you have to rise above it if you’re going to keep your sanity. To those haters, you’re just another distraction from their lives and nothing more- which can be a comforting thought if you can see it that way.
Guy Friday May 1, 2012, 10:53 am
I don’t entirely disagree with this point, though I think it probably could have been presented a bit more civilly. But, yeah, I’m not trying to begrudge you your website, Wendy, and you obviously have the freedom to do whatever you want with whatever comments you want, but I don’t know about that last paragraph. I get that you’re fed up with the negative responses, but to quote my grandmother: “Sometimes the best thing we can do is to take a breath and walk away and come back to it later.” It’s not like you don’t have a wide net of supporters here.
Also, regarding the whole “50 thumbs” thing, I’m not sure that’s an accurate reflection of the actual support for the comment, since I suspect that there’s a glitch in the website coding that allows a commenter to give multiple thumbs up to one comment. As a test, I clicked the thumbs up button, closed my browser, then went back to the site and comment, and I was able to add it again (which it obviously shouldn’t have been able to do). I was even logged in both times, which makes it odder. So, you know, it may just be one guy clicking 50 times.
Wendy May 1, 2012, 10:59 am
No, I’m not going to just take a breath and come back later because the same haters will still be here. I’m tired of “just taking it.” This is my site and I don’t have to take such hate. I don’t have to and I won’t. I don’t care that other bloggers and other advice columnists do. I’m not going to anymore. And with all due respect, I’m guessing that your grandmother doesn’t have a website where a bunch of anonymous losers come shit on it every day.
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 11:04 am
Honestly Wendy you take alot of resources and time out of your day to keep this site up and running. You don’t need to “just take” anything that you feel is abusive towards you.
Guy Friday May 1, 2012, 11:07 am
And, again, I respect that. But what do you define as “hate” exactly? Because the comment of mine you deleted was not, in my opinion, hateful in any means. I’ll admit I called the editing of comments “off-putting”, but I think that’s a pretty far leap to “OMG WENDY I HATE YOU DIE DIE DIE”, you know?
I’m 100% behind being respectful in the language we use here and the way we phrase things, but are you saying that disagreeing with your opinions or those of others here is tantamount to hating you? Because I’m not sure that’s a fair characterization.
savannah May 1, 2012, 11:27 am
I don’t think Wendy is down for criticism today…perhaps reasonably. I’d lay off and approach at a later date if you think its important.
Guy Friday May 1, 2012, 11:29 am
Well, she let it post (or there was a lag and then it posted; I never know whether WordPress is being glitchy or not), which I appreciate and respect.
savannah May 1, 2012, 11:38 am
True- I just had the same experience you did, and being a semi-reg. commentator who tires really hard to always be positive and respectful, if not totally in agreement all the time it was as you said off-putting.
katie May 1, 2012, 1:06 pm
guy, i can personally attest to the fact that wendy doesnt delete comments that disagree with her. i have disagreed with wendy before (shocking- i know! its only happened once or twice), and i simply said, i disagree with the advice wendy gave. i think x,y,z. ive never had a comment deleted! ….atleast that i know of. wendy, please dont elaborate. haha
its as simple as that! as long as you are not a jerk about it…
Wendy May 1, 2012, 11:12 am
The internet is full of terribly abusive, nasty trolls. I take pride in maintaining a site where we have few cases of that. I mean, this is a site that gets over 20,000 pageviews and hundreds of comments a day, very few of which are hateful. Do you think that’s because I just take a breath and walk away every time someone says something abusive? Really?
NO! That’s not why. It’s because I do not tolerate that shit. I delete those comments. I delete, delete, delete until the same haters who keep trying and trying get bored and go shit on another site. And I’m going to keep doing that. I’m going to keep protecting this space, and protecting myself. I don’t think that makes me thin-skinned or too emotional or too bossy or too mean or whatever other adjective you (the general You, here) want to call me — adjectives, by the way, I highly doubt would be attributed to me if I were a man.
MissDre May 1, 2012, 11:14 am
You’re the best, Wendy 🙂
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 11:15 am
There are trolls whose sole purpose of posting on websites in to be rude and incite drama and anger and digust.
FireStar May 1, 2012, 11:35 am
I don’t know why the thought of not putting up with disrespect is so revolutionary. I have my own business and I fire clients who don’t behave themselves. Just because Wendy is online and the service she provides is free to us doesn’t mean she has to tolerate what ever people dish out. Admittedly it will take more work from her to cull the trolls from the herd but I think all that work is what makes this community so great. So thanks Wendy.
Brad May 1, 2012, 11:49 am
Does word press give you an option to allow users to flag comments for being inappropriate/abusive, or do you think that you’d get too many false positives to find it helpful?
Moneypenny May 1, 2012, 12:20 pm
That could be a good idea. Like you said, it could get abused, but it could help us sort of self-police the site.
Leroy May 1, 2012, 2:01 pm
You probably wouldn’t even want to see most of the stuff that she’s pruning. Also the problem w/ this approach is that once people see the troll, they feel compelled to respond, and it just spirals out of control.
Troll control is big issue w/ a lot of sites. Unfortunately Wendy is exposed to them directly. She doesn’t have a team of interns to deal with it. So I can appreciate that she’s pissed.
caitie_didn't May 1, 2012, 12:10 pm
And that’s why I read your site so faithfully- because I know almost all the comments here are going to be civil, thought-provoking and (wonder of wonders!) grammatically correct and free of racist, homophobic or otherwise ignorant content unlike most other places on the internet. You have truly created an incredible community here, Wendy, and those of us who have become a real part of this community will support your efforts and keep coming back here to the safe space you’ve created.
katie May 1, 2012, 1:08 pm
i really like your style, wendy.
if your gonna do something, do it right or dont do it at all, right?
The_Yellow_Dart May 1, 2012, 10:33 am
Wendy, I have a similar story. I’m a teacher – and I recently got the results of my course evaluations – 30 of them were extremely positive, 2 were neutral to negative, and 1 was completely vitriolic! Even though about 90% of the reviews were great, the 3 bad ones (especially the 1 extremely negative one) really got me down for a while.
What I am trying to say is, it’s impossible to get everyone to like you – be thankful for the positivity (for me, the 30 happy campers), try to learn from balanced neutrality (my 2 neutral commenters gave me good things to work on), and ignore the haters (some people, like my 1 angry commenter, are just plain mean). And the fact that they bother you isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it just means that you care! Keep up the good work – and I’m looking forward to talking about the Tropper book soon!
Odradek May 1, 2012, 10:38 am
I don’t know of an advice column or website in which the advice giver both gives good, considerate advice (like Wendy) and is as nice as Wendy. Don’t all advice givers sometimes have to give advice that one might not 100% agree with, or else they would be reading your mind and reconfirming all of your decisions and behaviors (even if misguided, confused, or leading somewhere bad)? If you want to read something that you always agree with, write a blog for yourself, respond to yourself, and be your only and own reader. Although I have to say, Wendy has never said anything I didn’t find really smart and well thought out, maybe she is reading my mind.
Brad May 1, 2012, 10:38 am
Wendy, some people are just addicted to hateraid. If it isn’t this site they’re hating on it’s some other one. It’s easy to be a harsh critic behind an anonymous computer. I wouldn’t start worrying about it until you see a serious drop in web traffic. Haters are gonna hate.
jlyfsh May 1, 2012, 10:41 am
I know the less than nice comments sting but I hope you know how many people truly enjoy reading your site and the community you’ve created. Your advice has helped me better help my friends who are in situations that are less than perfect and need someone to tell it like it is in a way that is effective and helpful!
IDreamofElectricSheep May 1, 2012, 10:45 am
I am both inspired and scared by this letter (as in, wow, kick ass-mother lioness-tomb raider-warrior goddess scary, not bad scary)!
I like this site and am glad that you’re going to keep at it. Thanks for putting yourself out there by giving advice on this website and trying to help others! I first started reading your column on TF and haven’t stopped since. Keep it up!
Guest May 1, 2012, 10:48 am
Just wanted to say how much I admire you not putting up with shit from losers who have nothing better to do but leave hateful comments on sites they don’t like. What a bunch of sad, pathetic losers!
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 10:51 am
Way to go Wendy. Honestly, you didn’t really need to defend yourself. Myself, and the many other people who read your site daily and those who submit letters, love your advice. There are hundreds of advice site on the web and many I think are complete crap and the person giving the advice is a straight up idiot, but thats my opinion and Im sure those crappy sites have tons of fans. But thats the beauty of the internet, we can pick and chose the sites that speak most to us. Let people complain and “hate”, why should you care, they aren’t your target audience anyways. You don’t need to change for them, they will find the site that caters to what they want to read. You will continue to get more readers to take their place.
And yes, one thing I would agree with is many times the comments section detours completely away from the letter into almost a “chat” amongst a few posters, but thats just natural for a free-writing blog type site. I just skim over it. Also, sometimes I feel there are commentors that are trying to build their own “advice column” in your comments section. Which at times is kind of annoying (stop mooching off of Wendy”s space and make your own site!!!) but I truly enjoy reading their posts as well 🙂
Keep up the good work. Be confident with the advice that you give, it’s spot on!
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 10:54 am
Today my cat gave me the evil eye again. My coffee was slightly colder than usual. Discuss.
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 10:58 am
Brad May 1, 2012, 12:33 pm
You do realize your cat probably considers itself a prisoner and is probably plotting it’s escape and your death. Best sleep with one eye open from now on and hide the coffee mix for fear of it being poisoned.
Trixy Minx May 1, 2012, 11:41 am
Has anyone read friend or foe? Shittiest advice ever.
JK May 1, 2012, 11:45 am
Yes! It´s awful. Half the time she doesn´t even give advice.
Trixy Minx May 1, 2012, 11:52 am
I sometimes read it just to see how bad it is. I feel bad for the LW’s cause the advice they get is terrible
sarita_f May 1, 2012, 12:08 pm
Totally agree. It’s awful. Ask Amy and Dear Prudence are pretty lame too. I like Carolyn Hax though – same solid advice as Wendy, just a different tone.
JK May 1, 2012, 12:25 pm
Prudie I like (sometimes). Don´t really like Carolyn Hax, plus most of the time ´they just show readers comments on old letters.
Lets not even mention the Annies and Dear Abby!
brendapie May 2, 2012, 1:34 am
I’ll admit that I skim over the chit chat too. I have only found it slightly annoying in a couple instances where the majority of the comments were irrelevant to the post and if it is a “Your Turn” article I don’t find those conversations at all useful. I agree with your other point but if Wendy has no problem with the “advice column” replies, it isn’t an issue.
Suzanne May 1, 2012, 10:51 am
I love this site. My favorite columns are the ones where Wendy tells people to MOA already! I wish I could say that to my friends. Too many people are in jobs/relationships/friendships/life choices that are not good for them. If Wendy can get people to start questioning why they put themselves in those situations, her column is a benefit to society.
L May 1, 2012, 10:52 am
I for one have been so thankful to have this site especially in the past few months. I’m navigating many transitions in my life right now and it has helped to post about some of those things on here and get some quality advice from the amazing commenters. You’ve created an amazing community, Wendy.
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 10:53 am
And may I also add, it truly enriches your site when you share not only your personal writings but stories about your life and family. It helps the LWs understand where your advice is coming from through learning about your personal experiences.
Jenny May 1, 2012, 10:53 am
I’ve been reading your column since you were on TheFrisky. I genuinely enjoy your writing and although I don’t always agree with your advice, I don’t think you’re ever cruel just for the sake of being cruel. You do offer “tough love” that a lot of LW’s need.
However, something that was addressed a bit yesterday…although I feel that you have been able to find that fine balance of being tough but compassionate, many in your community have not. I think a few of the commenters occasionally gang up on others, and can intimidate people and keep them from commenting. And that’s a shame.
I do want your website to succeed, Wendy, but I think a few loyal readers may be unintentionally hurting your cause. I’ve seen comments lately about laughing at “stupid people” that I think are just nasty. I do think a lot of LW’s need tough love, but many of your commenters have not figured out how to do this properly.
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 11:22 am
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 1:36 pm
She’s talking about Addie Pray! The nerve! Remember that time I admitted to being the other woman and people sang my praise? I want to go back to those days.
iwannatalktosampson May 1, 2012, 8:38 pm
Ha that was the funniest thing ever. People love you – you can do no wrong in our eyes.
Trixy Minx May 1, 2012, 11:44 am
You’ve got a point Jenny. I rarely comment but one time i got a nasty reply from a regular commenter. Kinda bummed me out for a long time.
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 11:56 am
I hope it wasn’t me :/
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 1:37 pm
kittyk May 1, 2012, 11:52 am
Just wow. Message received loud and clear. I’ve got better things to do with my time. Good luck to you. I really did enjoy your site for a long time and will miss it.
There’s this thing called constructive criticism. Not everyone is a hater.
Wendy May 1, 2012, 12:01 pm
I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Yes, I edited Jenny’s comment because she unnecessarily called out a specific reader by name for being “mean and patronizing.” Why drag someone else into this? It wasn’t right and I deleted it. Not every edit is done to protect me. I delete and edit many, many, many comments that are hateful to other people.
theattack May 1, 2012, 2:26 pm
I didn’t see the comment before it was edited, but I appreciate that you allowed the comment to stay and just edited out the specific name. Jenny’s point is a very good one that I hope people read. There’s at least one flock of commenters who aren’t very nice to people outside of their own posse. And there are several other individuals with the same issues. Not trying to cause a stir, but I do hope people think more about what they’re saying to other readers.
Jenny May 1, 2012, 8:21 pm
I understand why Wendy edited out the name of the specific commenter I mentioned. But, I think it stands to reason that if you’re wondering if I or others are referencing you when we talk about people being rude or hurtful, perhaps you need to examine how you’re coming across to others.
If I needed advice and wrote into Wendy, I would expect to get an answer that is tough but well-intended. Wendy is not the type who posts inflammatory things just for page views. I believe that she genuinely wants to help others. However, I would not appreciate some of the commenters who, I think, believe they are taking on a similar tone to Wendy, but really are missing the mark. Think about why you’re posting a comment to a LW…is it because you want to be helpful, or is it because you want to be funny, or vent, or you think they’re a moron and just need to tell them so? If it’s because you want to be helpful, you need to seriously consider how you word what you say.
I am a social worker, and I frequently work with parents who have lost custody of their children due to neglect or abuse. I would LOVE to say, “You stupid meth head! Get your shit together and stop neglecting this child! You don’t deserve to be in their life!” That’s often what is going on in my head. But is that going to help the child, or help the person become a better parent? Absolutely not. If you want to help people, you need to be direct with people, but in a way that they’re going to be perceptive to and be willing to accept. As I stated before, Wendy is very good at this (even though the occasional LW or commenter gets bent out of shape. That’s inevitable!). Many of Wendy’s most vocal supporters are not quite so good at this. We want to support Wendy by clicking the Amazon links and bringing traffic to her site. We do not want to hurt her site by driving readers away with unnecessary snark under the guise of being “helpful”.
theattack May 1, 2012, 11:32 pm
Hey, I’m a social worker (or will be this summer when I graduate)! Connection!!!!!!!!!
Dave Yognaught May 1, 2012, 11:02 am
Wendy — For the record: you’re awesome, I love reading your site and I agree that you’re making a positive impact! Keep doing what you are. There are those of us out there who get it and appreciate it.
I can identify with having loads of people email you with sneering comments and mean criticism. I think part of what’s happening here is, those people are using you as a convenient dump for THEIR OWN insecurities and problems. They’re projecting problems and issues on to you by nitpicking things you write, trying to find every possible objectionable statement, etc. It’s easy to reach out and criticize another from the safety of your computer. But also cowardly.
It’s really sad that some people feel the need to put others down in order to make themselves feel better. Just pity the people who send you all this mean-ass mail 🙂
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 11:12 am
I tried to pity the guy who tried to spit into my car window yesterday because I “accidentally” ran a yellow light, delaying his drive time by .2 seconds. It didn’t work. I just ended up mad at myself for not doing a U turn and following him.
Moneypenny May 1, 2012, 12:26 pm
Whoa, that’s terrible! (Er, the guy, not you!)
Jubietta May 1, 2012, 11:04 am
You know, when a reader gets unhappy with some advice they could always dock Wendy’s pay…oh, yeah, it’s free advice! *headdesk at the sense of entitlement*
Wendy, I admire your tenacity. And I admire the community you’ve attracted through the time you’ve dedicated. I don’t always agree with what’s stated here, and that’s good because I like to consider OPO (other people’s opinions) as a way of investigating my own default beliefs. I feel like I’m a better person for my time here.
Budj May 1, 2012, 10:08 am
Two things are known:
1) Hater’s gonna hate
2) The presence of haters means you are successful enough to be hated….which means you are doing something right.
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 10:17 am
We could possibly be getting thousands of likes on our comments. Step up your game AP!
Seriously though, this post made me happy. Just stick around long enough for when my daughter needs advice too.
JK May 1, 2012, 10:19 am
And then a few more years for my daughters, as well!
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 10:28 am
Seriously, to know thousands of people have come to this site who did not “like” my love confessions to Budj or cheese, it’s insulting. I’ve gottta come up with a new angle…. the new me. The new and improved Addie Pray! I need to hire new PR.
Budj May 1, 2012, 10:35 am
Did you fb stalk our promo pics yet?
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 10:40 am
God, after all our time together, do you not know me at all?! Of course I did. The pictures look great! You guys look worthy of real groupies. I’m jealous thinking about all your groupies.
Budj May 1, 2012, 10:52 am
mmm ego inflating.
Something More May 1, 2012, 1:05 pm
Can I just add that it was a little weird to see “Budj” on my Facebook wall sometime in the last couple days? Having “liked” your band, I get the updates, but strange nonetheless… I did a double-take.
2_J May 1, 2012, 2:23 pm
Well said, i never thought about that. Wendy , you’re awesome, keep it coming, and your Dad is right 🙂
lemongrass May 1, 2012, 11:08 am
We can beat those hater Likes! Everyone who loves Wendy- LIKE THIS COMMENT!
Budj May 1, 2012, 11:10 am
No – like MY comment.
ReginaRey May 1, 2012, 10:11 am
Pardon me, but…Fuck yeah, Wendy!
And honestly, I don’t get it. I don’t get the people who enjoy being nasty behind the anonymity of the Internet. It’s one thing to have an opinion that varies from the norm, and to express it in a thoughtful, measured, constructive way. It’s another to be nasty just for the sake of being nasty. I mean, are people so unhappy with themselves that they feel the need to take it out on other people in a cowardly, anonymous way?
You mentioned this yesterday in one of your comments, and I’d like to share one of my favorite memes that I enjoy pulling up when I’m having a hard day. I mean, you can be as perfect as THIS girl, and still get hated on, so fuck ’em, right?
MissDre May 1, 2012, 10:18 am
Reminds me of a certain “style” writer at TF who continually posted articles about how much she can’t stand Kate Middleton, even though 95% of the comments on the articles disagreed with her “style critique” and were calling her out for just being mean. Sigh.
I like Wendy’s site SO MUCH more 🙂
AndreaMarie May 1, 2012, 11:00 am
TF really went down hill.
TaraMonster May 1, 2012, 11:21 am
I’ve mentioned this on DW before, but I no longer read TF. Once Wendy left the site was just a bastion of negativity and pettiness.
overit May 8, 2012, 5:36 pm
Actually it was the nasty comments that brought TF site’s moral down. I see it just like with this site people came there to be rude for the hell of it and come here doing the same thing on a different site. If you didn’t like the story don’t read it since the site was about multiple topics as opposed to DW being an advice column, mainly.
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 10:23 am
Well, Kate *does* have less than perfect lips when she smiles, imho, …. which means it’s ok to poop on her.
I’m kidding already, geez.
I’m leaving my apartment today. Are you guys gonna be able to handle the comment sections without me today?!
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 10:23 am
Trixy Minx May 1, 2012, 11:31 am
Nooo.. this site wont survive without you.
jlyfsh May 1, 2012, 11:34 am
are you leaving because you ran out of cheese?
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 1:42 pm
I’m baaaaack. Haha, no, if I had left for cheese when it ran out, I would’ve left yesterday– I ran out of cheese around 18:00 (but who’s counting). I left to go feel like a member of the world. I’m back. I didn’t need to be a member of the world for too long.
Budj May 1, 2012, 10:16 am
“I mean, are people so unhappy with themselves that they feel the need to take it out on other people in a cowardly, anonymous way?”
Welcome to the internet?
Kate May 1, 2012, 6:18 pm
You know, if I’m not mistaken I think you can “like” more than once so I choose to believe it’s not 50 jerks, but the commenter liking their own post out of spite and insecurity.
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 11:15 am
Seth Meyer’s Really?
Its not like she’s stealing your social security number and pretending to be you. She’s editing comments under a false name people make up to anonymously comment.
theattack May 1, 2012, 2:27 pm
lets_be_honest May 2, 2012, 9:17 am
lol. This was a reply to a deleted message, must’ve gotten bumped to here.
Sara May 1, 2012, 11:20 am
Wendy, I, too, am working on being better at finding and valuing “internal validation” rather than “external validation.” It is a tough road to walk down, but I need to hone this skill in order to accept the non-constructive criticism that goes along with my job– the comments that people say to make me feel bad/guilty rather than to improve my teaching or research. I guess I’m just trying to say– you’re not (completely) alone in this challenge; though I do acknowledge there are differences since our jobs are different.
amy May 1, 2012, 11:26 am
:'( I’m sorry people are so nasty to you, but I love your column, and I think your advice is always spot on.
I think people get really brave behind their computers. Those people would never have the guts to be that nasty to you in person.
Why waste their time to come on here just to be nasty to you, what are they trying to prove? I think they have some kind of complex and it makes them feel better to be nasty, but they can never do it in their real lives, to they do it in an anonymous way.
Ugh. People make me angry.
kittyk May 1, 2012, 11:26 am
I am glad that you pulled the comment out of yesterday’s thread addressing the template that introduced the letter because it definitely hurt your cause and unintentionally framed the entire thread in a negative light. After the last “From the mailbag” which was actually done at the expense of the writer for the amusement of the masses, this seemed like a bully move, like throwing someone to the sharks. So thank you for clearing that up.
Amy J May 1, 2012, 11:26 am
Wendy – been reading your column since over at the other place and not commenting at all. Just lurking:) Personally, I think you give thoughtful, realistic, insightful and compassionate advice. As do the most of the regulars who comment. There will always be people who try to knock you down. And there will be people who genuinely care and offer wise suggestions. When people beat up on you, it is more about them than you. I have never seen advice or comments from you that was mean or bossy or out of line. This site is awesome and I appreciate the work and time you put into as well as all the people who chime in. Thank you!
Anna May 1, 2012, 11:27 am
Wendy, don’t let the haters throw you off your game. You are good at what you do and that’s why the site is a success. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how thankful I am to you for starting this site and the forum because my fellow DW’ers have been so helpful and supportive during the darkest time of my life. I wouldn’t have any of that without you, so thank you. You really are positively changing lives, and that’s what counts. There will always be haters but they are the minority. It’s impossible to please everyone, so when you work on this site you should do it with the mentality that you’re doing it for US (the ones who love you) and the petty haters can just f off already. I hope that helps. Keep up the good work and we will keep coming back every day to read!
CatsMeow May 1, 2012, 12:17 pm
Me too. When my boyfriend and I broke up, the first thing I did was come to DW. It really is a wonderful community.
MissChievous May 1, 2012, 11:35 am
I would definitely miss this site if Wendy choose to shut it down, even though I don’t always agree with her opinion.
I think we need to do like a “cash mob” for this site! Everyone can click through Wendy’s site and purchase something from Amazon.com. That way Wendy gets a kickback and we all get something we’ve need/want!
lets_be_honest May 1, 2012, 11:36 am
I wish I could’ve deleted the comment where Addie threatened to slap me and it got like 700 likes. 🙁
Addie Pray May 1, 2012, 1:34 pm
Oy. I usually like seeing all the thumb ups … But not on that one. Though, I’m positive they were thumb upping my super funny line, and cute outfit I was wearing that day.
jlyfsh May 1, 2012, 11:39 am
i think it is surprising to me that people think that other sites don’t edit comments for content or delete them as well. it’s not like Wendy is being a total revolutionary with this idea. most sites have moderators who jobs are to do just that. or maybe i’m making a big assumption by thinking that. i know that most of the places i have commented before have said things like comment waiting moderation.
it’s the moderator or in this case Wendy’s right as the site owner and operator to remove comments or edit them for content as she sees fit. I mean really it’s not like she’s going to edit your comment because she doesn’t entirely agree with it. Its comments that are out right nasty or uncalled for.
kittyk May 1, 2012, 11:41 am
Deleting a negative comment that serves no purpose other than to arbitrarily criticize is understandable. The editing of comments, without labeling them as such, is off-putting because it is not an actual representation of the current dialogue, and it is done under someone else’s name.
I totally get wanting to maintain a positive community here. But in changing what a comment says to keep up the positivity you are not giving an honest view of things. I don’t spend enough time here to know everyone’s personality and be able to tell if commenterX’s praise of you is genuine, or edited by you.
Ravage Maladie May 1, 2012, 2:40 pm
I LOVE this site, read it every day and agree with most commenters that Wendy has every right to do what she deems necessary on her own website! This, however, is the one thing that struck me as odd, too. Someone up in the earlier comments said it made the comment section ‘a safe place’, but I wouldn’t feel particularly ‘safe’ knowing that my (or someone else’s) critical comment could be edited at any time to say something completely different under the original name.
Then again, I’m pretty sure Wendy will edit only those comments that merit it – although as I’m writing this I’m thinking, isn’t that a sliding scale?
Hm, tough one. But as I couldn’t imagine Wendy to be despotic, exactly:), I think I’ll just trust her judgement on the editing. Although I do agree with other commenters it would be much clearer if comments that had been edited were marked to say so. Also, I do feel anxious about posting this now, even though I wrote it with good intentions. Meh.
Diablo May 1, 2012, 11:44 am
A couple points, though, you said most of it and others have too. Actors are often told not to read reviews, presumably because there will be no joy gained from it. You can’t take action based on someone liking OR not liking you. As you said, you just have to be you. Your problem is that you are in an ongoing conversation with lots of great people who deserve responses, with a few poison pills thrown in. I would suggest you neither rise to the bait nor take any of it too seriously, positive or negative. I’m sure you don’t go all gooey every time someone says you’re the greatest. You have to take a detached view of this stuff. It’s the internet, and cowards will flame you anonymously. Every news site has someone vetting the comments so that no racist or otherwise offensive comments are displayed. So you don’t need to feel defensive about vetting their comments, and you don’t have to be public with some policy on this. Just quietly delete them. As you say, this is YOUR site, your personal intellectual property. This is only the second comment I’ve ever made, and the first was in response to the first mailbag entry. However, I’ve been reading the site daily since it launched, and read your columns on the Frisky before that for a while. I don’t comment often, because usually ReginaRey expresses all my views before I get the chance. (When does your site launch, RR?) When you feel your temper rising about shit like this, try to bear in mind that your community is bigger than you know. Most of us don’t comment much or at all, because there is not too much of quality to add after you give your advice and your loyal corps of commenters have their say. (Even this comment feels quite irrelevant, since you already know who you are, and what you are going to do, and everyone else has already made good points.) But we are reading, and we couldn’t care less about the haters. Don’t let them steal any more of your energy. Maybe someone like me should call upon ALL the silent DW readers to each make ONE constructive comment about the site. Give things the right sense of proportion. Either way, see ya tomorrow!
sobriquet May 1, 2012, 11:52 am
I love this. The internet would be a better place if comments were regulated more frequently. I think that the comment section is an integral part of every great blog (see: old gawker) and when that goes downhill, it’s all over for me.
I can understand wanting to leave a constructive comment on a website you love before leaving it completely… but the hatred is just pathetic. Someone leaves nasty comments because she didn’t like the free advice she was given?! I am genuinely scared for the people in her life should they ever do her wrong. I suppose she’ll need to find a new hobby now.
And yesterday’s post… the woman who was upset by something Wendy posted that hardly pertained to her at all. Another thing that baffled me. Some people just need to grow thicker skin or go find a boring advice column to read, because I don’t want Wendy to lose her snark any time soon.
Diablo May 1, 2012, 11:56 am
The response to that person should have been “Your anxiety causes unnecessary advice.”
XanderT May 1, 2012, 12:01 pm
Just a quick comment: I once dated a guy that prided himself on being a troll. At that time I had no idea what he meant as I spent 0 time on my computer outside of work. I had no idea that should have been the 1st of many red flags – sheesh. Anyway, he would go onto sites & purposely cause as much havoc as he could. He kept a spreadsheet of which sites he was banned from and for how long so he would know when he could get back on them.
I think Wendy has built an awesome community here. I also followed over from TF. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.
sarita_f May 1, 2012, 12:21 pm
WOW! I always imagined those people as being secretive about what they’re doing – like weirdo porn viewers. It’s amazing to me that they could be Out and Proud about being a pathetic internet troll.
I’m curious as to what his other red flags were… purely curious, is all :).
XanderT May 1, 2012, 12:50 pm
Long story short, he used spywear to record his former wife’s activities and then shared those recordings with me. He stalked her, stalked her boss, stalked her place of employment. Soon after that I realized he was not the one for me & moved on.
Iwannatalktosampson May 1, 2012, 1:19 pm
People like that belong in jail.
Bri May 1, 2012, 12:03 pm
I read your site pretty much everyday from work but have never felt the need to comment before. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your site and all the hardwork you put into it is appreciated.
GatorGirl May 1, 2012, 12:16 pm
While I don’t always agree with your advice, I always appreciate your candor and tough love.
rachel May 1, 2012, 12:25 pm
Wendy, you’re awesome. I just wanted to say that. I love the community that you’ve built here, and I feel like when I need advice about something, I can turn to you or the community and know that I will get honest and thoughtful responses.
Mainer May 1, 2012, 12:27 pm
This is an inevitable problem as any site gets more popular. As your fan base grows and your readership increases, people get so involved (that’s code for “addicted”) that they take any issues they have with the site personally. They build up an idea in their own head of what *they* would like the site to do, and when they don’t see it they get upset and post a comment to express their disapproval, all the while forgetting the true reason they came here or why they kept coming back. Know where else this happens? Facebook. How many complaints do you see of people crying that the latest Facebook change is the worst thing ever. BOOO, I hate the new layout. This “check in” thing is intruding. Blah, blah, fucking blah. Guess what? It’s still Facebook. They’re still going to do what they’re going to do and a bitchy little Mayor of Me-Town is not going to deter it.
But catching this type of complaint-driven behavior early on is a proactive step in stopping it. It’s like detecting cancer at it’s earliest stage. You go in, remove the bits of shit polluting your body, and hope it hasn’t spread to other areas. If you wait until the cancer is so clear and abundant, it is too late to remove it (CNN, I’m looking at you). Rudolph Giuliani took a similar approach in the 90s. Graffiti artists (or just punks) were plastering subways with spray paint. It made for a very visually unpleasant experience to ride the subway, which subsequently led to a mentally unpleasant experience, which lead to fear and unease, which led to an acceptable atmosphere to breed a reason to be fearful and uneasy, which meant a rise in violence and crime. The problem spiraled into a confirmation of a stereotype – that graffiti-laced places were dangerous. It’s known as the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. So what they Mayor did was not accept it. Any subway cart that had spray paint on it would immediately be shopped until the paint could be removed. It would not make a public appearance until it was in clean and visually-appealing order. It cost a boat load at first, but after a certain amount of time, the graffiti artists were no longer seeing their effort rewarded (the mere public display of their work being the reward). They would sneak into the yard at night, do their work, and no one would ever see it. It only took so long for these behaviors to stop. I think Wendy is taking a similar approach here and it is an admirable initiative to ensure a pleasant experience for people visiting HER subway. There will always be dissent on an opinion or a piece of advice that Wendy gives, and I think that is fine – it creates dialogue that makes for a much more entertaining read than just reading a bunch of “I agree”s – but I do think that any sort of personal attacks or ill-will directed at, not only Wendy but anyone, should not be rewarded with the self-satisfaction of being viewable to the general public. While at first glance this action being taken by Wendy may *appear* to be a bit heavy, the overall sentiment in this zero-tolerance policy has a much larger purpose than just “you can’t be mean to me.”
Moneypenny May 1, 2012, 12:41 pm
I really love coming to this site, and it’s become part of my routine. I don’t comment a lot, but I read every column, and I really do appreciate the advice Wendy gives. I like the fact that she does not mince words, and tells the LW’s what they need to hear. Plus, I like the other features, like the alphabet essays, and other personal writing. It’s just really great writing, and I enjoy reading it! As for people who comment negatively, well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if you frame it in a disrespectful, confusing, or otherwise troll-ish way, well, you’re not going to convince many people of your point of view and it does nobody any good to comment that way. I read my city’s online newspaper, and they have a ton of commenters, and so, so many of them are just trolls. I really appreciate the few thoughtful, well written comments, that many times offer an interesting viewpoint or point out something I hadn’t realized. I think the New York Times also generally has a good comments section on their articles, with many well written comments and viewpoints.
Anyways, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to keeping the site going. It is so great that there is such a positive community here. I’m a huge fan!
Fabelle May 1, 2012, 12:47 pm
We love you, Wendy! Don’t let a few weirdos get you down.
As for the website moderation thing, I definitely think there has to be some cleaning up of negativity in order for the community to be maintained. While some people ARE able to, & do, criticise in a respectful, articulate manner, others are just troll-y attacks. It’s easy to differentiate between the two, so I don’t think readers need to worry about loss of integrity of censorship or whatever!
Fabelle May 1, 2012, 12:48 pm
OR censorship, not “of”
Kristen May 1, 2012, 1:04 pm
I just want to echo everyone who has praised the community you’ve built here. You should be proud of all you’ve accomplished and the positive change you’ve made in hundreds of people’s lives. I really appreciate all the hard work you put into making this an uplifting place to come, especially because most of it is all behind-the-scenes and easy to overlook. I love having a site to visit where I feel like I know everyone. I’m so glad you’re not going anywhere!
And I’m sure for every positive comment posted today, there are 10 times that in people who agree but haven’t written. In short: You rock!
emmkat May 1, 2012, 1:15 pm
I totally agree with your father: Don’t let the bastards get you down! I’ve been a loyal reader since the very beginning, reading Dear Wendy since the first day, every single day (though I’ve only recently started commenting). I may not always agree with what you say, but I do think that what you write is thoughtful, painfully truthful when it needs to be, and always interesting.
A lot of people are negative because they’re insecure and need to try to bring someone else down in order to make themselves feel better. I don’t believe in the adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.” Instead, I believe that “if you don’t have anything constructive to say, don’t say it.” Listen to the positive feedback, listen to the constructive criticism, and just flat out ignore the negative nellies who aren’t actually saying anything at all.
Your site is awesome, and if people have a problem with it, no one is forcing them to come here. Wendy, keep on with what you’ve been doing, and I look forward to reading more of your columns!
MsMisery May 1, 2012, 1:16 pm
Why would you write into an advice columnist just to hear warm, happy, fuzzy, kittens of advice? Especially if your life is a bowl of turds? Even Miss Manners gets all OH SNAP on her submitters every once in a while. I’ve never seen Wendy attack a LW’s self-esteem, but I have seen her give them the hard Truth. If you don’t like Truth By Wendy, then like I’ve said before, click dat X.
Nadine May 1, 2012, 1:30 pm
I love this site. Its the only one I have ever commented on, and the only one that makes me feel like a stalker for checking it all bloody day. I really admire you, Wendy, for always addressing issues that affect the community and having the guts and gumption to keep out u
Murray Newman May 1, 2012, 12:39 pm
Hi Wendy (and thanks again to you and Drew for coming to our wedding!),
I’ve read your blog ever since Emily introduced me to it a few years ago. I really enjoy reading it but I’ve never had anything I thought I could add in the comments until this post. I write a local political blog in Houston, and I pretty much piss some people off on a daily basis. When I was a baby blogger, it used to scare the hell out of me to the degree that I thought of scrapping it on a weekly basis.
But out of those comments that disagree or even bash a blogger, you’ll find the supportive ones far outweigh them. Additionally, those negative comments can oftentimes induce some of the most heartwarming responses from those who will defend you and agree with you. Hell, I’ve got one guy that gets so mad at me for what I write that he developed his own blog for the strict purpose of bashing me.
All of it keeps the blog alive and moving. So, my “Dear Murray” advice to you would be to not be upset at all about the criticisms — relish in them. The controversy means you’ve invoked a reaction and isn’t that what writing is all about?
Wendy May 1, 2012, 2:46 pm
Thank you, Murray. Now, go enjoy your honeymoon!
pinkjellyfishy May 1, 2012, 12:40 pm
Another follower from The Frisky and long-time lurker here who rarely comments.. I love this site and I look forward to reading it everyday. I love that you can dish out some tough love in a helpful way, and I’ve found some of your advice to be useful in my own life as well. Thank you Wendy for what you do! And as for the DW community and their comments… yes there can be snark and harsh advice, but that’s what makes this site all the more entertaining!
p.s. I love Mainer’s comment *points up*
RMM0278 May 1, 2012, 2:37 pm
Wendy, I hope you’re reading this.
I read what you wrote yesterday, and I just have this to say. I’ve been reading you for awhile now, and sometimes I don’t agree with some of your advice. (Big shocker.) But what you warned the original LW was almost exactly the same thing my OBGYN said to me last summer — minus the relationship bits.
At that time, I was 33. She told me if my boyfriend and I wanted kids we had to get serious and soon. And if he wasn’t down with kids but I was, then we would have to make some major relationship decisions. My OBGYN added, “I just don’t want to see you in a fertility clinic if that can be avoided. I read the medical research, and I’m telling you. Do not wait.”
So if you were harsh to some people, it’s only because you had a direct point to make. I don’t know if it’s because you’re a woman and such directness can be taken the wrong way or what. But I nodded in all the right places with your original advice.
Don’t worry about the haters. Haters will hate. That’s what they do.* You’ve got a good thing going. Honestly, I’d be surprised if you even had ONE reader that agreed with EVERYTHING you said.
*NYTimes ran an article some months back about making people use their real names to comment. Surprise, surprise. When people had their real identities posted, they were a lot nicer.
landygirl May 1, 2012, 5:28 pm
Whiners be crazy. If there ever comes a day that I don’t enjoy reading DW, I’ll stop reading it and quietly fade away. I don’t understand the point of whiney letters, what do they hope to accomplish? DW is the way it is and if you don’t like it, you’re free to MOA.
Robin May 1, 2012, 5:56 pm
I may not comment often but I love your website. Thank you for all of your hard work and advice. And MUCH love to all of the snarky commenters. 🙂
bittergaymark May 1, 2012, 6:01 pm
This is an interesting response.
Frankly, I wouldn’t even bother to address this sort of criticism. I’d simply ignore it.
But then, that’s me.
That said it certainly does shed light on the headaches of running such a site.
Meredith May 1, 2012, 7:31 pm
I could never be an advice columnist, my skin is just not thick enough. I admire you Wendy and all advice columnists for what you have to deal with as far as the constant stream of criticism. Reading Dear Prudence or Miss Manners, even Ann Landers, they all have tons of haters for every response. I guess when your job requires you to publicly share your opinion you open yourself up to criticism, but I think you’re definitely doing the right thing by editing and deleting the nastiness. There have been so many times in the past I’ve seen nasty comments posted towards you or the advice you gave and was like Dang I would’ve deleted that shit! Good for you.
Red_Lady May 1, 2012, 8:44 pm
I really don’t understand the hate comments – if you really don’t like it, why not just STOP VISITING?! There’s nothing requiring anyone to visit dearwendy.com. I happen to visit pretty consistently b/c I think it’s full of great advice and I enjoy reading it. If I didn’t like it, you know what I’d do? Stop visiting. Simple as that. If only everyone just had some common sense (but then it would be whole different world…)
Skittlegryph May 1, 2012, 10:20 pm
If haters aren’t hating, you’re doing it wrong.
Ecstatic Egg May 1, 2012, 10:31 pm
Wow! Look I just read this post and I was with you 100%. I never once thought your advice was necessarily “wrong” even if I always didn’t agree with it. But of course there will be people who disagree with you, we’re all human and have different points of view. But I always thought you were fair and thoughtful in your responses.
But your response to MsBorgia in the comment you linked to, that seemed pretty unnecessary. I understand kalloween may have been unclear and juvenile in the way she phrased her response, but MsBorgia was not being rude, I think. And I don’t even think this response was directed so much at you as at the commentors, who occasionally can be rude and condescending, which was her point. You aren’t at fault for that because just as you can’t control trolls who try to bring you down, you can’t control commentors who try to bring each other down. Telling someone to get off your site though, because they are expressing an emotion they are feeling seems pretty harsh, especially when they seem to be pretty fair about it.
And like I said, this is the only instance I’ve ever felt this way. I’ve been a loyal reader for a while now I always think you are fair and level headed with your responses. I’ve never seen you be mean or rude to anyone who has written you a letter. I know an online community will always attract trolls, and its not easy to just “not let them get to you”. Delete their comments, do whatever you have to do, but don’t let them “win”. I think this is them winning. Don’t let them, you’re too good for that. This site is amazing and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Amy May 1, 2012, 11:07 pm
It would suck to be as miserable as they are.
I heart Wendy
sarolabelle May 2, 2012, 12:26 am
I run two blogs:
I have to say, if I get even one comment, negative or positive on any post I’m so happy! It means people are reading. It wouldn’t get me down. I’d just go oh well thanks for reading, sorry you didn’t like my post. Similar to the path you’ve taken.
I’m glad you are not going anywhere!
melikeycheesecake May 2, 2012, 10:26 am
It’s your site… you do what you want Wendy! I support you!
Temperance May 2, 2012, 12:49 pm
I was very annoyed by her comment, you “bossy” advice columnist, you, not allowing every reader to share photos of their apartments.
The advice you gave me was very kind and matter-of-fact, without sugar coating the fact that I was being an ass (because, realistically, I was). And honestly, because of your advice (and that of the commentariat!), my relationship is better, and we’re open about everything. Granted, I didn’t write in because of weird cheating stuff or anything like “my boyfriend has a wife, um, is that bad?”, but then again … if you are asking someone something like that, you NEED a swift ass kick.
Natasiarose May 2, 2012, 6:27 pm
I used to write for a large gay news site and I got a lot of horrible hate mail, it really makes you sad for some inexplicable reason. Now that I blog for fun, I get rid of the comments that are openly homophobic. They don’t get the exist in the space I created for myself. I think it’s good for the site that Wendy will be deleting that stuff.
evason May 2, 2012, 8:30 pm
Thank you for having a voice Wendy and standing up for yourself. I’m going to memorize what you said in that response and use it on people who venture into my life’s journey and who are unsatisfied with their lives and indiscreet about it.
MizMe May 3, 2012, 5:07 pm
I’ve been lurking on your site since shortly after you left thefrisky. I was and continue to be happy for you striking out on your own. I haven’t contributed until now because 1.) I couldn’t come up with a screen name that suited me, 2.) because I don’t contribute to ANY web community, and 3.) I didn’t think I had anything to really contribute. Until now. I am so glad that you posted this response to the critics who try to tear you down. From the tone of your response we can see that this both hurts you and pisses you off. One of the things I love about you and your site is that you express what you think and feel. You are doing a great job, and this site is putting a lot of good into the world. You go, girl!
delilahgem May 4, 2012, 11:36 am
Hi! Just wanted to let everyone know that I am a dipshit loser! Have a nice weekend!
* Edited for clarity
Why must you delete? May 4, 2012, 2:14 pm
I thought you were editing for clarity, not deleting? This the final straw. I will be telling people to AVOID your site in the future. How DARE YOU delete abusive, rude, nasty, and hateful comments that belittle you and the website YOU pay for and YOU run. HOW DARE YOU not give assholes like me a voice to express our utter outrage and dissatisfaction!!! This is an injustice!! I demand to be heard! Yes, I will be telling people to avoid your site in the future because everyone KNOWS that when you tell someone to avoid a website, they absolutely will NOT go check it out to see what all the fuss is about. I definitely will be getting even with you when I tell ALL MY FRIENDS to stay away from dearwendy.com, oh yes. I will be getting even for all the times you deleted my asshole comments and wouldn’t let me spread my contempt for you all over the site that you pay for. How dare you!!!! This is the internet!! I should be ALLOWED to be a total asswipe to anyone I please!!!
* Edited for clarity
DMR May 6, 2012, 6:15 am
Interesting post, Wendy.
Can I just say: I really like this site, I enjoy reading the letters and your responses, and I enjoy the comments (although sometimes I skim them as otherwise it will swallow hours of my day).
Also, I think that mostly your advice ranges from pretty good to brilliant.
Having said that, sometimes I don’t agree with you or with the comments, and I have no hesitation in saying so (in the nicest possible way). I hope that this doesn’t get misinterpreted as trolling or criticism of you personally. Please don’t take it personally. You’re awesome!
DMR May 6, 2012, 6:17 am
In hindsight i realized that if anything I had written was a problem it would have been deleted… which hasn’t happened. Every comment I have written here that I can find is still around. *whew!* Please ignore previous comment and continue as you were.
Wendy May 6, 2012, 8:44 am
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I have never, ever banned anyone for disagreeing with me (I welcome disagreements as they foster debate and, frankly, debate is not only fun, it’s good for pageviews). I have, however, banned numerous people for being assholes. As long as you are not an asshole, you have nothing to worry about.
Not surprisingly, it’s the assholes who will be the first to say that I ban anyone who disagrees with me or criticizes me in the least. I did mention that they are assholes, right?
Matthew May 6, 2012, 6:37 pm
Woah, I lurk around a lot, and have occasionally commented, but I’ve been quite busy as of late and must’ve missed some rather frustrating flamewar. However, I wanted to pop in and just say that I’ve always enjoyed reading your work Wendy. Even when I don’t agree with you (yes, it happens plenty), I always have found your advice to be well thought out and well-reasoned, which is why I continue to come back and read!
Please continue to be as smart, snarky, and forthright as you have always been!
Not that my advice necessarily means anything, but also remember to work hard to give others the benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen a lot of people get frustrated with critics and eventually begin to assume that every piece of criticism is malicious, rather than well-intentioned. From what I know of you simply by reading this site, I don’t think you are the type to let this happen, but it always is smart to stay on your toes.
Wendy May 6, 2012, 7:03 pm