Growing up I remember the almost genteel civility practiced by my grandparents and their generation. Topics that today would more likely than not incite harsh tones and words, were discussed, even debated without rancor or a mean spirit. I handle myself with their model in mind. Sometimes my calm demeanor based upon rational thought triggers those who aren’t happy without either drama or the spotlight, to turn up the heat.
When this happens ‘in person’ I’m almost always successful in steering the conversation to calmer waters, or to its end. If it’s a phone conversation, I still succeed at that more than not, but less than face to face.
Anonymity in my experience can tell much about a person’s character. I was raised the old fashioned way. In our family you were just as likely to be scolded or given a quick swat on the butt by your aunt as you were your mom. We were taught that the true test of character is what you do when nobody’s watching. Of course with five ministers in the family, we all pretty much believed we were never really unobserved. We behaved — even without witnesses. The lesson? Good character isn’t good only when the camera is on.
Which brings us to blogs. I’ll be brief and to the point.
Anonymity breeds false courage in some. They use this ability to become invisible to say things in print they’d never dream of in person. Most of them in real life have been dealt significant disappointments, mostly in real estate apparently. They fancy themselves as Lone Rangers fighting the good fight, fearlessly lobbing grenades at people whose good character allow them to write their thoughts (posts) in a public forum — and sign them with their real names. Their blogs not only identify who they are, but generally have an ‘about’ page which goes into more depth. In other words bloggers as a group, at least in real estate, are pretty transparent. Many even have their pictures on their blog’s home page. Character, pure and simple.
I’ve tried Grandma’s approach. Treat bullies and cowards with respect she taught us, and they’ll respond in kind. As a child I saw her do it many times. She was amazing. I wonder how she’d handle a comment that was purposefully insulting, meant to incite, without a shred of respect, and vulgar? Nothing empowers a coward more than the cover of darkness. By definition a bully is a coward. The problem is no matter how harshly they are confronted, since they’re totally protected by the guarantee of anonymity, which of course a blog provides, they know they can never be held accountable for their cowardly behavior.
I believe it’s time to take the lead, and require commenters to be fully identified. I encourage all real estate related blogs to do the same. Enough is enough. Cowards contribute nothing of value, so we’d be adding by way of subtraction. With the light turned on brightly only the cockroaches will scatter.Related posts: