Mad Google Skillz, and some other standard responses.

I really ought to write a Curmudgeon Guide about what to expect when you're commenting online. More than a few blog posts I've written have been about persnickety and humorous online disagreement, and I always find it fascinating how you can predict the responses. You'll find some sort of parry-riposte involving these phases:
  • Grammar police/semantics
  • Attack the messenger
  • Discredit the messenger
  • Dox the messenger
  • Etc. Yada Blah Meh
  • You're an emotional female
  • You stupid b***h if I ever met you in person I'd ______.
That's a basic summary. Anyway, a recent post of local interest created some dustups online, and I found the responses intriguing.

These are the particulars for this instance, but they tend to follow the usual patterns of response.

"What's your vested interest?"

When you get asked that question late in the conversation game after several verbal hands have been laid out on the table by a fairly certain fake Facebook account, you can rest assured the person hiding behind the fake person actually has the real vested interest.

During the recent pipeline protest, this was a constant question asked of me after I made the website and other items to combat the online "propaganda wars." Everyone was so certain that the only reason I would do any of it was because I was getting some kind of payout from either the oil companies or local law enforcement or TigerSwan or whatever.

I was not then. I am not now.

It's pretty sad if we're in a day and age where people won't care about something enough to take a stand without having a "vested interest" in it. Is it that odd that someone might be moved enough about a story to decide to write and defend and publicize? I don't think so.

For the record, yet again, this time to some of the folks who I stood with during the protest: I have zero vested interest. I'm not lying. I have received no payment, offer of a job, or free trip to Disney World.

And for the record, no. I am not Jim "I'd holler a question during a funeral eulogy and cry about it on Twitter" Acosta.

"You're just doing this to get blog traffic."

So, one guy said that.

Hilariously, I've not actually shared the blog post in question except to my friends list on Facebook. That's it. That's a limited list (I have many FB list levels of access). And, in the comment section in which this guy's accusation was stated, I only mentioned I'd written a blog post, but didn't post a link.

If I'm looking for traffic, I am going about it in a super crappy way.

I've blogged for about 20 years. I've written thousands of blog posts simply because I love to write. I had a viral blog post in 2008 (I think), and another one in 2013 about Diet Coke. Seriously. Both times were a crap experience. I never wanted massive traffic, I hated it when I got it, and if there's anything I've learned, you can't predict what post takes off.

I mean, if I was a traffic whore, I probably wouldn't have ignored the requests for radio interviews from stations on the East Coast who wanted to talk about why the Diet Coke post touched such a nerve, would I? No. Because that's how you get traffic.

If I was all about traffic, would I have pulled down the entire blog even when the viral posts were still hot? No. But that's what I did.

I don't monetize my site (no ads, because they suck), and my main static HTML website has zero cookies or trackers. I'm not collecting any data from any visitor, i.e. there's no real huge benefit for pursuing traffic with that setup.

I'm famous for not publicizing my work. I haven't sent an email out to my list in about two years. I got a bunch of email subscribers last year and I was annoyed. I made a habit of deleting Twitter followers when it hit over 1000 so it would be a more manageable 300.

No. I don't care about traffic. I don't write for traffic. I write because I like words, and I picture my audience as close family and friends. That's my expectation.

"Look what I dug up on you!"

Watch out for those Deep Web Google Skillz. They get put to use by people who, when faced with someone in strong disagreement who is willing to discuss that disagreement, try to discredit or attack the person.

Have fun. Most of my social photos are of cats. There is this one really old photo somewhere out there (thanks to a sister) in which I'm wearing a red T-shirt with a Ronald Reagan silhouette that says "Viva La Reagan Revolucion." I'm also carrying a handgun and walking around a barn, wearing an Australian outback hat, so it's a real cherry of a photo. You might get some meme traction with that one.

Seriously, you'll find no more boring person than myself. I don't know if I've ever held a red party cup.

In this particular situation, the genius Gandalf of Hackers found...a public listing of one of my many jobs. Yes, along with freelance writing, marketing, graphic designing, art, web design, and whatever else my hands find to do, I sometimes help an investigator with online stuff. Why? Because I know how.

Forgot my phone number, Deep Throat: (555) 867-5309.

I had to snicker a bit when I saw the speculation about who I was working for and whatever else.

I only wish I had such a life. Right now I'm mainly working for the ridiculously overloaded tomato plants in the garden, cooking up sauce, but sure. I'm MI6 or something.

"Semantics! Grammar! Tone!"

There are a few places people duck into if they aren't sure how to proceed in an argument.

1. They look for typos. Because that's super meaningful. Imagine it now, the glorious Lincoln Douglas Debates, in which they interrupted each other constantly to correct the other's pronunciation and verb tense. I really do need to re-run my old blog post about the non-existent contribution of the grammar police. That post, by the way, was also viral.

2. They chastise you for tone. You know what it means when someone tells you to watch your tone? They need a safe place, because the way you put the words on the screen made them feel bad feelings. That's their problem, not mine. If they don't like the tone, walk away and stop engaging. That's the solution. I can't tell you how many times I think I'm having a really good discussion online and someone freaks and says I "sound mean." What does that even mean?

3. They verbally nod to your troublesome womb. Ah, the glorious Victorian era, where all disagreements with women had to do with female hysteria which originated in their female organs. Gross, but that's how it was. So, when you see a guy telling you, a female, to not be so emotional and calm down, feel free to kick him in the groin. We'll see whose organs are the problem then. In this case, I got the double whammy of guys hinting I was an emotional woman while also getting after my tone because "as a writer" I ought to be aware of it. Which is it, male dudes -- do you want me to sprinkle it all with emoticons and parenthetical descriptions (scolding) of how I'm trying to make you feel (feel stupid now) so you grasped my intended tone, all while still wearing the badge of the sensitive emotional female (still feel stupid)? Please. (eyeroll) (right now, my tone is sarcastic)

I feel like the Honey Badger gets a bad rap, while Bjork is overrated. Just some thoughts.

"You're Hitler, or some roundabout version of that."

Guys, I can't make it up. Godwin's Law, every time. Every. Time.

Look, find a different metaphor. If you have to go for hyperbole, be original. Use Pol Pot or Ghengis Khan or something. They were horrific and blood thirsty, too. Just Google "murderous historical figures."

There's some "screeching blog awful woman" predictable stuff in the middle section that isn't terribly interesting, but regarding physiological, yes, it does relate to biological. If this weirdo is interested in my biological responses and/or normative functions in the comments section, gross. I surely hope he meant psychological, though really, it's clear he thinks it's all gynecological.

Seriously, that comment had it all: typo/grammar sniping, Hitler reference -- I couldn't have asked for more. I sincerely thanked "Adam Schulz" because he closed out the day with perfect teaching examples.

As I wrote about before, I have a one-day-only engagement policy, so I'm done with those fellows and I've turned off notifications on the post.

Fake Adam, who desires to possibly smash his eyes out with my phone, seems a bit sketch, so me and my female hysteria will probably give him and his vested interest a wide berth. For the most part, though, they're probably decent guys. Gary has a beautiful and enviable Appaloosa, from what I can tell on his profile, so there's that.

And so ends a Facebook comment section dissection.

UPDATE, AUGUST 17, 2018:

Ha ha.

"You made this about you!" No, dear, you made it about me when you started making it about me by dragging up various personal information and by talking about me and my responses instead of simply responding to the responses.

Since I've never mentioned the young man's name once in any of my posts, I probably won't start flappin' muh gums and mentioning him after the fact.

This is just a dumb response.

From a fake Facebook account of a guy hiding behind the profile image of Ricky Vaughn. So original.

It's sort of like a digital seppuku, if he keeps it up.

Vaughn, by the way, is a character from the movie Major League, which, incidentally, has one of my top five favorite characters of all time. Only Burt Gummer can top Harry Doyle.


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