Don’t Be A Troll Part 1
|January 23, 2020||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
I recently had a post on this blog go viral. Honestly, it took me by surprise. Here I’ve been, plugging away for over a decade, writing about things I’m passionate about, sharing some of my deepest darkest thoughts, and doing my best to entertain you – My Dear Reader – by poking fun at myself as I stumble and careen through the great outdoors.
Last night I logged into my site, like I do every couple weeks, to approve new comments and decide whether I have the energy to turn one of the bullet points on my “blog post ideas” list into a post. Waiting for me were 68 comments to be approved. SIXTY-EIGHT REAL NON-SPAM COMMENTS. What the…
Even if the
50 60 THOUSAND hits* on this blog in the last 48 hours wasn’t a clue that **something was going on,** the arrival of a certain type of commentator on the blog certainly was.
*(this blog is lucky to see 300 hits in a month now that I’m down to posting about once a month)
The grammar nazi.
Some one wants to make sure that I get my possessives straight because a wayward finger hit an apostrophe that I didn’t catch on a re-read through the post before posting. You know, a post that I’m not getting paid to write, that is going on a site that I maintain with my own money, in my free time.
I find it interesting that Society for Proper Usage to Prevent the Degradation of Our Holy Written Language only want to correct the obvious mistakes. The one where I accidentally replaced “my” with “me.” Or, my inability to catch all the auto corrects and brainless word replacements that sort of look OK when you are skimming a million words a minute, because you are procrastinating a paid project to get a post done. Using “can” when I obviously meant “can’t.” You know, that sort of thing.
“Oh,” they say, “it’s important I point this out. Your credibility is at stake. How will you ever learn the correct way?”
You know what’s funny?
You know what I have a really hard time with? Do you know what I really have to think hard about, review in grammar books, and beg my editors to evaluate carefully?
My comma usage.
The Citizens for English Language Quality Control apparently don’t care that I don’t know how to use commas.
Did you know you don’t stick a comma in a sentence every time you draw a breath if you were speaking the sentence?
I literally learned that LAST YEAR.
Want to know what else the The People’s Coalition to Support Sentence Diagraming In Our Public Schools doesn’t appear to care about? Ironically, since it runs rampant on this blog and I make damn sure it is all cleaned up any time I write and publish anywhere else other than my **own** blog?
My “creative” use of punctuation.
In addition to the Proper Use and Function of English Grammar, I’m also aware that these things called “Style Guides” exist. They tell me what I can and can’t do with my punctuation when my writing is “for realz.” BTW, I spent HOURS editing my book to conform to my chosen style guide making very sure that any exceptions were consistent throughout the entire thing, and were exceptions for a reason.
Here on the blog I use punctuation not-for-its-intended usage. Sometimes I use punctuation “non-traditionally” because it’s important that the words are broken up certain way. Or, I’m trying to convey a specific emotion that takes more than just grammatically and punctually correct sentences on your computer screen.
Yet, not one diligent english language protection agency clerk commented on my use of dashes, redundant quotation marks, or how apparently my naughty little right-handed ring finger likes to put FOUR periods into an ellipses, not the accepted three.
I’m going to tell you a secret.
When you give unsolicited advice in an online forum, you are being a troll.
It’s not a teaching moment.
It is not constructive criticism.
You are trolling.
There are of course exceptions to the “do not give advice if the author doesn’t ask.” For example, if you are friends with the author you can get away with all sorts of things. Or, if you have some life experience that would provide a solution to some conundrum that the author has. Or, if the error in the manuscript is so egregious you can’t figure out the author’s meaning and need to clarify.
Many years ago I offered up a choice to my readers: I can either rarely post and deliver beautifully edited pieces, or, I can post every chance I get in some vague approximation of correct english mechanics.
My readers whole-heartedly endorsed the latter.
Confession time. Most of my posts are frantically written in a single day, proofed quickly, and published almost immediately. I always catch and fix another couple of errors when I get around to reading it “live” on the site, but that’s it. These posts are raw in more than one way. My life isn’t pretty, my emotions aren’t always pretty, and sometimes the writing here isn’t pretty.
I’m OK with that.
By the way, I feel like you may have gotten this far in the post and may have some impression that I am trying to justify the writing as it appears here on the blog. Nope. I’m cool with it.
Maybe it’s for the trolls themselves…win them over with a persuasive argument?
Let’s get real. Anyone who wants to pick apart the many MANY writing errors that appear in my posts didn’t make it this far in the post.
So why am I even wasting 1500 words on this post, rather than finishing the “Don’t be a troll” post that is horse-related, and that has been in draft-form since mid-2019?
It’s because I hope that this is an encouragement to others that want to share a piece of themselves online but are afraid they can’t make it pretty enough.
Write from the heart and do the best you can. The world will be richer for you having shared a piece of yourself with your fellow human beings.
Don’t let anything you see in the comments here on this blog, or anywhere else where the People for Oodles Of Proper English RefereeS (POOPERS, for short) feel compelled to comment, dissuade you from sharing your writing.
I don’t deliberately publish posts with errors. The truth is that it’s really hard to edit your own work. It’s the reason I have a fellow writer edit, or at least do a read through, of almost everything that is published “for realz” outside of this blog. I do the same for her.
It’s long been my policy to publish every single comment that isn’t obvious spam. Moderation only exists to filter spam. Today, I’m changing that policy. If your comment exists merely to point out that there is some grammar or spelling error, your comment will not be published.
The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I shouldn’t do something as radical as publish something that could vaguely be interpreted as whiny and self-righteous **right after a post went viral and there might be a bunch of people here actually reading this.**
I mean, don’t I want to keep you’all happy? At least for a while?
Let’s face it. This is probably a once in a life-time experience. Something *I* wrote here on the blog touched you’all enough that you showed up and subscribed to this humble little project of mine in overwhelming numbers. You shared your stories with me. You made me cry in a good way. You trusted that this was a safe place to talk about subjects that can be really hard to talk about. Don’t blow it Mel! (my co-author of an upcoming fiction book is probably sobbing as she peeks between her fingers, unable to look away at this catastrophe that is my decision to publish this post).
You should know something about me from the very beginning if you are new here.
I talk about what it takes to run ultras and sometimes it means peeing your pants to beat cut offs, and sometimes it means trying to determine whether a certain lump on your lady bits is a tick or a blood blister from the chafing.
Sometimes I cuss.
Sometimes I post about things that scare me so much I can’t even title my posts, I drink a beer before hitting publish, and then I don’t link on facebook so I can pretend that no one I actually know is going to read my words.
I’m really bad at this blogging thing. You are going to learn all these things about me sooner or later.
F*ck pretty. F*ck perfect.
Let’s embrace “good enough” and share some stories.
Now I really should go and try to finish my original “don’t be a troll” post that featured the trolliest of all trolls….horse people.
PS for this post only I will be accepting comments on various grammatical insufficiencies of the above post. Now’s the time to get it out of your system.
PPS Bonus points if you can tell when I started drinking a beer while composing this post.