Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Perfectionism Gets In the Way

The title is by way of apology to you, and chastisement to myself. It won't have much to do with the entry. It's just very frustrating to pile up topics (like women's magazines, and children), and not let myself write about them because I want the entry to be perfect.
Today I want to talk about trolls.
I have another blog, a craft blog, a non-pseudonymous blog. I like the community of people in that particular sphere; I created the blog so that the writers I wanted to talk with had some way to learn more about me.
On of the things I like about craft blogs, in general, is that commentors are almost uniformly positive. Even if -- or rather, when -- the blog veers into personal territory, the commentors are generally supportive. If the blog refers to a touchy topic -- politics, religion -- those readers who disagree tend to not comment. They may stop reading the blog, or they may just avoid those entries, but, for the most part, they don't engage the author, even in a respectful manner, on that topic. The blog, and the community, is focused on the craft.
This is not to say that there are not trolls in this craft community. Maybe some of you reading now would say "trolls" is too strong a word, considering how nasty people can get on political/academic blogs, but they aren't very nice to other bloggers. However, they tend to criticize on their own blogs, where they get the support of their own readers.
Wait, ceresina: isn't that what you do?
So, yes. I respond to issues here instead of on the blog that brings them up.
But no. I don't criticize.
One of the main reasons I respond here, on my own blog, is that I am working through my own feelings; I don't think it's appropriate for me to write an entire blog-entry about me in someone else's comments.
The other part of the "no" answer is that I am never criticizing the author. I am a "good girl" who prefers not to criticize people in public, who tries to find the nicest reason for someone's bad behavior. (I am not saying this as a "I'm better than you because I do this;" along with other criticisms of such behavior, I am well-aware of how annoying Pollyanna is.) But even if that weren't the case, I have not yet read a single blog entry, in this sphere, where I thought that the writer was badly behaved. I have read entries that were hurtful to me (specifically), but I knew that was due to my own sensitivity. I knew there was no ill intensions -- or some lesser snarkiness -- on the part of the author. And so there was no reason to criticize what the author had said.
The craft bloggers I call trolls, on the other hand, use their blogs as an opportunity to say how wrong-headed other craft bloggers are. Thinking about this, I wondered why I was so offended -- not hurt, offended -- by what they write, but I don't think what, say, professors venting about students is offensive.
I think what I don't like about the craft trolls is that they have no patience for beginners. Sure, they claim to, but they don't. Venting professors are venting about... well, I'd call them professional complainers, personally. The students who, a la Cher in Clueless, think they can talk/threaten/badger their way into a decent grade. Craft trolls make fun of people who don't know the first thing about the craft, or who don't approach the One of Ancient Wisdom with enough reverence, or both.
And just because they make me cranky, I will criticize them: they also tend to not like people who are happy.
I had a more profound comparison, but I don't remember it.
Just another problem with perfectionism.


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