Thoughts on aggressive readers

This is an old Facebook note that I thought needed a more public repost and a bit of a do-over. It springs from a discussion I had today with two of my colleagues – where somebody sent an email that read pretty much: “UNSUBSCRIBE ME FROM THIS FUCKING MAILING LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Seriously, who do you think you are?

I’m tired of being yelled at by readers who think that an Internet connection means they are entitled to express every single feeling that they have – in as rude a manner as they possibly can. Thankfully, I like to think I’m pretty good at my job so I don’t get as many complaints as some people do. But when I do, it hits pretty close to home – even after three years on the job.

Some thoughts.

1) First and foremost… I’m a human being. I have feelings. Calling me stupid or suggesting that I’m bad at my job actually hurts. If I make a typo, you can point it out in a polite, constructive manner. “Holy shit who the fuck do you think you are how did you get your fucking job you’re obviously a fucking retard and this site fucking sucks and this is why I never come to this website”… Really? Is this how you would speak to a bank teller? A cashier? A doctor? A lawyer? I don’t think so.

2) Think before attacking me personally or before being aggressive or rude in a comment/email/Facebook post. I don’t sit behind your chair and call you names while you’re trying to do your job, do I? It amounts the same thing.

I’ve been called a cunt, a slut, a whore, a dumb bitch (amazing how much has to do with the fact that I’m a woman)…

3) If you don’t care, don’t read. Don’t comment. Please. Writing “Who CARES?!!!” on an article is just a waste of everybody’s time. [And clearly, you do care… You care enough to comment.]

4) On that note, I am fully aware that celebrity gossip is not everybody’s cup of tea. However, can we just agree that it is of interest to millions of people in South Africa and that it actually does deserve a spot on our website? Please?

It’s quite simple: If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

5) Lay off the Caps Lock, bad grammar and the truckload of exclamation marks. You really lose a whole lot of credibility when you use the above to point out my failings. (I actually had an email, in which a reader pointed out an error of mine, then ended her email with “PUH-LEEEEZ!!!!!!!!!!”)

6) If your comments are racist, homophobic or sexist or could be considered as any of these, I can and will delete them. If you continue in this manner, I will ban you. Even if you come back with another email address, I can (and will) find you and ban you again. And again. Don’t email me to complain – you should have read our Terms of Use.

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