On having just received my first piece of Legitimate Hate Commentary UPDATED with a decision

I am not counting impassioned disagreements/questions/challenges. I am talking about something that 1) comes out of the blue by someone who I either don't know/have no connection to in the blogosphere (e.g. a known reader) or who is disguising themselves so as not to be recongnized (in this case there is a name, but not one I recognize and it is without an email or web address so the individual is, for all intents and purposes, still anonymous) and 2) is typed in all caps and full of name-calling and venom.

Two months ago when I was not in such a good space emotionally or mentally something like this would have upset me inordinately. Good thing I didn't attract such attention then. Now? Now I just think the comment serves as an example of some of my points. Still, it's nasty and I'm not sure I want to leave it around stinking up the place. (On a related note: Kristin wants me to inform the blogosphere that SHE cleaned up the dog diarrhea. Not I. She. She is AMAZING.)

So, my question. While I will never delete comments by people who are merely disagreeing with me (even if they are doing so in a particularly forceful way), especially if they are doing so non-anonymously, does a comment like this one deserve some of my storage space? Is this free speech and am I required to honor it so as not to be considered a hypocrite? What would you do?

Email me if you don't want to post a comment. If you've never emailed me before, just ignore the Verify your Address part and just send the email. I'll get it (I should get it, I've gotten others).

Ok. I've decided to delete the comment. That's my new policy. Hate Commentary as I've defined it will not be tolerated nor given space to. I just might save them all, though, and make a funny post of them later...

Thanks for everyone's feedback, I found it all very helpful.

Posted by Trista @ 1:52 PM

Read or Post a Comment

Well, I do not delete comments just because they disagree with me. I DO delete anonymous hate mail comments though. Well, I have deleted one. If you want to leave hate mail, have the balls to leave your ID with it. But this person is just being an ass. I don't think many people are going to go digging for it, so I don't really think it matters. It's not a current post. Keep it, kill it, it's your call. I deleted one that called me a mother fucking cum sucker, but only because it was anonymous. If someone had posted that with their info, I would probably have left it, repsonded with "Well, I fuck my son's mother, and I guess I suck cunt" and left it at that.

Posted by Blogger Estelle @ 2:50 PM #

i don't believe hate speech should always be protected as free speech. of course, identifying when someone has crossed a line is incredibly subjective. but, i think one also has to consider the forum. falwell may have every right - regardless of how appalling - to stand in front of a boy's funeral holding a sign with hateful sayings. but certainly hrc wouldn't allow him inside one of their events holding the same message. there is something to be said for fostering debate *as well as* a comfortable place for that debate. (that was a really convoluted way of saying if it's hateful and not constructive, i vote: don't waste your space.)

Posted by Blogger betsy @ 2:59 PM #

I would say that Hate Commentary that exists purely to voice (ignorant) hatred probably does not deserve to be published. If it voices or articulates some legitimate concern that you'd like to address (or have readers address in their comments), then maybe it is worth posting. All caps name-calling does not sound particularly enlightening, especially when someone is not willing to stand up for their ideas. Free speech means people can say what they want and not get sued, not that their ideas must be repeated or respected even if you don't deem them worthy of it:)

That said, now I'm curious:)

So, what should you do? It's your blog; do whatever you think serves the purpose you want your blog to serve.

What, you thought I'd write something helpful or decisive? You know me better than that.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 3:05 PM #

It's your blog, and you decide what to delete and what to keep. I think it's completely craptacular to send hate mail to people with no provocation, and not much better to send hate mail to people with provocation. So do what you feel like!


Posted by Blogger Faith @ 5:47 PM #

Free speech only applies to the government. The government cannot infringe on free speech (unless it's obscene, fighting words, incitement to violence, time-place-manner restrictions, blah blah blah). Private citizens and entitites can MOST DEFINITELY infringe free speech . . . unless their applicable state constitution says otherwise.

I know you were't looking for a legal answer, but that's tough shit. I think about legal crap all the time now.

This is your space. Your domain. You can delete, create, alter, or otherwise fuck with whatever you want. How glorious! :-)


PS - maybe you can collect hate emails and make a whole blog entry about them, when you acquire enough to make for a sufficiently satisfying entry. *shrug* Or send it off to the place where deleted mail goes. (Does anybody know where that is?)

Posted by Blogger breather @ 8:32 PM #

MB said what I was going to say -- no one has a right to free speech on your blog. The First Amendment only applies to the government suppressing speech -- private individuals are permitted to suppress speech as much as they can manage.

Trust your gut. Venomous nasties can help all of us remember that even though this feels like a community, it IS a public space and the people who hate us can find us here. But you have no obligation to provide them with a forum. It is entirely up to you.

Posted by Anonymous Liza @ 8:51 PM #

I always figure that nasty people are nasty because they are deeply unhappy. The best defense is sunshine, light and the delete button.

Posted by Blogger Sacha @ 10:29 PM #

The delete button is there for a reason. Spam and hateful comments always bite the dust over at my blog. I don't mind a healthy debate, but I draw the line at name calling and general nastiness.

Hateful commenters are stupid people and stupid people bug me. I don't want to be reminded of them next year when I'm browsing through my old entries.

Posted by Anonymous Molly @ 10:58 PM #

It's YOUR blog -- so if you don't like something you get to do something about it. There are so many shits out there & you shouldn't let them soil what a wonderful place you've got here.

Posted by Blogger Calliope @ 11:22 PM #


I say remove it. If someone does not have the courage to be known for their comment, and only wants to spew hate, I feel you have no obligation to allow them the public forum to spew it. They can go get their own blog.

I vote for calling the unknown person an asshole, and using the delete button for it's intended purpose.

Posted by Blogger WendyLou @ 10:25 AM #

Well, this is after the fact (a whole week with no internet and no blog-reading, phooey) and I (gladly) didn't see the comment, but I concur! The only hateful comment I've gotten met with the delete function as soon as a noticed it- your blog is not a public street- it is your space. Another thought I had at the time was what I wanted the readers I like to see/read/experience when they come to "my house". I care a heckuva lot more about them than the anonymous hater and want it to be a good experience for them. So since debate is good and interesting while hatred is bad and haunting, the hateful crap goes. It's your party and you can delete if you want to!

Posted by Blogger starevelina @ 8:39 PM #

i wanna read the idiot's hate mail!!! post it so we can all make fun of him/her. hee hee.

Posted by Blogger Amanda @ 9:36 AM #

I've had my share of freaks. I've decided they're middle-aged men living in their parents' basements in Texas, Republicans of course, looking for porn and getting my blog instead. Nothing worse than a horny, repressed Republican... they can't but spew something. You did the right thing.

Posted by Blogger Lorem ipsum @ 9:57 AM #

Not that I claim to speak for horny, repressed Republicans everywhere, but I would have left the comment up as a constant reminder of the hate and ignorance that still exists. The worst thing we can do is hide it away as if it would go away if we just ignored it enough.

Posted by Blogger Anonymous Assclown @ 1:44 PM #

Fine point, AC. The problem is when the following commenters start yelling at the troll (a) lowering themselves to his level and (b) feeding his ego. Agreeing to disagree is one thing. Ad hominem attacks are another.

Posted by Blogger Lorem ipsum @ 4:42 PM #

Right. Also, it's important to consider other readers. It may not be possible for a straight person to understand how hurtful and damaging it can be for a GLBTQ person to see/read/hear/experience homophobic hatred. Some people have a thick skin and slough it off. Others (yours truly) are affected by it for a long time. Being a responsible blogger is a fine line to walk- yes it's important to acknowledge and discuss the world at large, but it is equally important to provide a safe space for readers and assign them the respect that damaging and disruptive commenters don't deserve. And I imagine no good blogger wants anonymous haters to see their comments left up on the blog and come to see it as their podium- it isn't- if it's your blog it's your space and should be respected as such.

Posted by Blogger starevelina @ 9:16 PM #

If someone was visiting your home and started ranting and spewing hateful, angry diatribes at you, would you consider yourself a hypocrite for showing the person the door, thus taking away his/her right to continue speaking freely? If someone spray-painted hateful words on your front door, would you feel guilty for removing them?

This blog is your home. While it has a certain publicness to it, in that anyone can stumble upon it and read it, that doesn't make it a wall on which any kind of graffiti someone chooses to spray up will be forever memorialized with its own space.

Let the person start his/her own blog and fill it with hate speech until the wee hours of the morning. Meantime, you might choose to maintain your home as a place of honest inquiry, discussion, and musings, where dignity and respect reign.

Posted by Blogger StateShift @ 1:17 PM #
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