An Open Letter to Anonymous Commenters

Anonymous Commentors,

I want to preface this letter with a note: I’m honored whenever someone takes the time to post a comment on this blog. I check every day to see how many people visit this website, but I never know if people have any sort of reaction or enjoyment from what I write unless they post a comment. I want to make that clear. Jamey loves comments on his blog.
That said, there have been a few anonymous comments made recently that have peeved me a little bit. However, I’ve left them in the comment feed. They’re right there next to my main entry of the day, a running feed of the last few posts, regardless of what entry they were written in regards to. I do that so that this blog has the potential of being a conversation instead of a one-way communication from me to you. I do that out of respect for you. Thus I have the following points to make to any anonymous commentor:
  1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
  2. Although I may take offense or exception to what you say in your comment, I will always respect your thoughts and opinions.
  3. As part of me respecting your thoughts and opinions, I want to be able to reply to your comment in a constructive manner. I can’t effectively do that on the comments board–that’s something Blogger just isn’t very good at.
  4. I can’t say it better than this: Reveal yourself. You know my name. What’s yours? At the very least, give yourself a tag. If you have something incisive to say, do it. But represent yourself in doing it. Otherwise your comment just one more nebulous comment floating around on the web.
  5. If you’re going to say something incisive, back it up with a little substance. The comment that set me off on this letter referred to my recent entry “Yep, It’s a Dude” as “pretty homophobic and sexist.” And that was it. No explanation. It’s really easy to throw around labels like that, but a lot harder to give them some substance. What about that entry was homophobic? What about it was sexist? What can I do better in a future entry so it’s not homophobic and sexist?
  6. This is a humor blog. That doesn’t mean that it’s always funny; it doesn’t even mean that I’m always trying to be funny. But about 95% of the things I say on this blog are tongue-in-cheek. I don’t mock people or make fun of people in this blog (rare exceptions made for Mike Tyson and Paris Hilton)–I’m not here to inflame or hurt feelings. If I’m doing that unintentionally, let me know.
  7. I can’t devote entire entries to replying to comments. However, I can devote e-mails to that purpose. If you haven’t been able to find it (it’s on my profile), my e-mail address is jamey.stegmaier@gmail.com. If you think a blog entry I wrote is “homophobic and sexist”–that’s a pretty big deal to me–send me an e-mail with your concerns. I don’t want this blog to be inflammatory. That’s not my intent. So I’d rather quell those flames before they turn into fires.
  8. I will admit when I make a mistake. Privately and publicly.
  9. Again, use your name, or at least a tagline, when posting a comment, particularly an incisive one. It’s just discouraging for me to reply to no one. That’s what replying to an anonymous comment is like. It’s like taking the time to write a letter, putting it in a blank envelope, and dropping it in the mail. Maybe someone will receive it, but I’ll never know.
I want to make it known that from now on, any and all anonymous comments are fair game for deletion. I said it in point 4: you know my name, so what’s yours? I don’t want to delete any comments, but it’s really easy to say anything on the Internet–anything–anonymously. There’s great freedom in that. But there’s even greater freedom to saying something on the Internet and putting your real name next to it. I’ll respect your comment with the prime location at the top of my main page if you’re willing to use your name or any sort of tag.
Thanks for reading–and commenting,
Jamey Stegmaier