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Thursday, 8 May 2008

Day 5,6 & 7 of the Challenge

image: Salford Floods 1946

I decided to combine the activities of these days as they seemed to fit together well. Day 5 was to disagree with a blog post and day 6 was to engage a blog commenter in a conversation. Day 7 is then to reflect on what I have learned so far.
I found it hard in the beginning to find something I disagreed with, so I went to blogs outside of my area to see what I could find. I found this even harder as I really felt I had very little (if anything) to contribute. (I note that this is an activity for Day 8 so will wait until then to face my fears!!).
So, I returned to my comfort zone and noted that one of my comments on Sarah's blog had been responded to- the one I talk about in Day 4 of the challenge to do with anoymous posting.
The response read (I felt) as rather curt and off hand - maybe a result of having to write it/no face to face contact. I copy below for your info:
Anonymous Anonymous said...

probably - but anon is quicker and easier - using a first name means going through a process of signing in - and I can't be bothered. The name you are using (Angela) means nothing to me - I have no idea who you are from that - so really does no more to identify the contributer than anon so whats the difference?

My immediate reaction was to be defensive. I felt quite shocked that someone had taken the trouble to be so rude given they obviously felt time pressured. Why bother responding if you're not going to be constructive? My intended response was to point out their shortcomings.
And then I took a step back - and thought about what I had been learning:

a) netiquette is to be learned and is not inherent necessarily at the begining of a blogging career

b) disagreement adds to a discussion whereas - whilst affirming and valuable - agreement tends to end discussion

c) I may have misread the tone and the intention
d) don't take things personally

So, I kept my reply as constructive as I was able - I let you judge for yourself (did I manage it do you think?):

Blogger Angela said...

I understand the point about speed - but by identifying yourself you open up a potential for a more informed discussion should you choose to. I guess the difference is that once signed in then the name can be clicked to give a brief overview of that person's profile - whether they have a similar or very different background (I'm speaking of a professional background here)that may inform their opinion/comment etc. and in this way generate a more thoughtful and considered discussion. It also means that you could contact that person directly to further a thread of discussion. Thanks for the debate.

In this way I have met day 5 and 6 of the challenge.

I need to gain more experience in engaging bloggers in constructive discussion and debate. I think this is what I find hard at the moment. So far I have not had a bad experience - but I'm sure that the more I gain an on-line presence, the more I open myself up to disagreement. I need to develop a mantra - maybe "it's not personal" - what do you think? Oh yes, and I need to comment more on other's blogs.

Here's to the next seven days.


Sarah Stewart said...

I thought your reply was really good. You got your point across but in a polite, conciliatory way. I am pretty sure that the person who replied to you in the first place was a colleague of mine. She hates the idea of blogging but I think she is enjoying interacting on my blog. She usually signs her name but must have forgotten in this instance. But the whole discussion about anonymity is an interesting one. I would prefer that people identify themselves but at the same time , I understand why people would choose to be anonymous when they are commenting on contentious issues.

Kim Cofino said...

Excellent response! And kudos to you for taking a step back before responding angrily - which is so easy to do (I like to think of it as the new form of "emotional emailing" - always a dangerous action).

You explained quite clearly why it's important to identify yourself when commenting - and I do believe it is. How else can you engage the author in discussion if you don't know who wrote the post? And if you don't want to engage in discussion, why are you commenting in the first place?

Well done!

Angela said...

@Sarah and Kim
Thanks for your positive responses. I find it interesting to see different viewpoints and how individuals are connecting and gaining something from each post.
Good to hear from you both