Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Explanation and My New Blog Policy

After the unfortunate events of last week, I am still a bit upset. I was far more upset initially than what I confessed to any of you. I was more upset than I have ever been over any negative comments that have ever been made in this blog. What caused me to be extremely upset is that someone whom I thought was friendly to me turned on me.

Since I am still left with a lingering unpleasant feeling that an unknown number of people now regard me with disdain, I feel that I must explain about the interpersonal disputes of which many of you who are fairly new to collecting are unaware. I have stayed out of these disputes, but with the comments of last week, I find that I am slowly getting sucked into them. It must stop now.

These disputes go back at least around 20 years. I first came online in late 1996 and came into contact with other collectors in around early 1997. We had two primary places in which we discussed series books: the Nancy Drew message board hosted by Applewood books and the alt.books.nancy-drew newsgroup. When I first visited both of these locations, they were great places to discuss books. That soon changed.

We had a group of two or three collectors who did not like each other. I believe that the conflict began in some form as far back as the early 1990s or possibly even as far back as the 1980s over a simple difference of opinion. The difference of opinion turned into vicious mudslinging and defamation of character.

The actions of a few ruined both the Nancy Drew message board and newsgroup. In order for collectors to have a place free from controversy to discuss books, Gayle Kaye and Jennifer Fisher created the Nancy Drew Sleuths group. That group became a safe haven from the war which still raged.

That war still rages today, which is why I get anonymous comments in this blog that slander others. At this point in time, it little matters who started it. I believe that the cause was a simple difference of opinion which escalated into something far worse. It is not my position to judge.

In fact, what happened 20 years ago is like what happened last week. Person #1, who is one of the major players in the interpersonal disputes, decided that I was bashing Farah's Guide. He chose to refer to my comments as "rude." Person #2 (me), responded in anger explaining my point of view. Person #3 decided that I was to blame since I showed anger and did not see anything wrong with the first comment.

The end result is that I became the person who looked like the cause of the trouble. This is what has happened over and over across the years in the interpersonal disputes between series book collectors. Often, the person who starts the trouble is not the person who gets blamed. The person who responds takes the blame, even though they did not start it.

Therefore, from now on, whenever someone posts a comment which adds nothing to the discussion and is interpreted by me to be rude, I will delete it. I will use the selection in the delete feature so that people will not see the deleted comment but will see a statement indicating that a blog administrator deleted a comment. I will then make a short nonemotional comment that those types of comments are inappropriate. That way, I don't look bad, and those people don't take over this blog.

What kind of comments are considered rude? Any comment which uses rude words including the word "rude" or is worded in such a fashion as to appear to attack another person's opinion. Here is one example. Someone responded to a comment with "Let's see. ON that Hidden Clue auction. The buyer was happy, the seller was happy. The only unhappy person was you. So what? You had nothing to do with the auction. Deal with it." That person could have made the same point in a far more constructive fashion.

In the future, such comments will be deleted with no response. And of course there are the comments I have always deleted immediately, such as the one where someone called someone else a "crybaby." Really not appropriate.

Last, I ask that people who know about the interpersonal disputes refrain from posting any names or information concerning that situation. If any such comments appear, I will be forced to delete them.
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Edit from 8/12/2011: I have decided that some hateful comments will not be deleted. A few collectors post negative comments and use their real names. It seems best to leave those comments so that other collectors know what those people are like. If a collector wishes to dig himself into a deeper and deeper hole, I do not wish to intervene.

14 comments:

Paula said...

Sounds fair to me!

Crystal Blue Attitude said...

This way of handling it seems entirely reasonable to me. I've been down this road and I'm sorry it happened to you, Jennifer.

BTW, I really, really enjoy your blog!

stratomiker said...

I didn't see any posts that I thought were bad, so you must have deleted them. As I've probably said before, if you have a voice in the series book world, you will get attacked.

You are now the leading voice. No one else is of much consequence anymore. The fanzines are trite and boring with no new info, and other blogs don't offer actual 'discussion'. So there are plenty who are jealous of you. But don't let that stop you.

Mike

Jenn said...

Gee Mike, sounds so conspiratorial...

Well The Sleuth is most definitely not trite nor boring (and Jennifer's contributions to The Sleuth are definitely not trite nor boring!) and we offer a lot of new content and interviews with insiders that always gets us kudos. And I for one Jennifer, am most certainly not jealous of you :) But you and I have talked about those kinds of issues with certain types of people via e-mail before...

Jenn:)

Jennifer said...

BTW, I really, really enjoy your blog!

Thanks! I'm especially happy that some of you who met me on Bonanza like it!

As I've probably said before, if you have a voice in the series book world, you will get attacked.

When I first created this blog, I was very nervous. I was afraid I would be attacked, and I was on edge. I no longer worry much about it, but I do consider my words very carefully.

I read over my posts multiple times, not only for spelling and grammar errors but for clarity of content and especially for anything that might offend somebody. It is unfortunate that some regular readers continue to believe that I am being "rude" or disrespectful to someone when I am so careful how I word my thoughts (except for in that one comment I wrote last week that I deleted).

I have mentioned sellers of series books who leave low DSRs to other sellers of series books. I am careful to be vague, and I avoid mentioning gender. I go out of my way to avoid making negative statements about specific people.

The Sleuth is the most interesting series publication I have ever read, aside from some issues of The Mystery and Adventure Series Review. If you like girls' series books and/or Nancy Drew, The Sleuth is highly recommended.

I don't know whether anyone is jealous of me, but I do know that people seem to get very upset about my comments regarding eBay auctions. Each time I or someone else is flamed, eBay is always part of the topic. I guess you could say that eBay brings out the worst in people.

Jenn said...

Jennifer,

I think, like you, I tend to worry about whether I will upset people--I used to more than I do now, because I've learned that there will just be rotten apples out there and you can't do anything about them or change them. And you can't let them get you down. Like the person who regularly complains about stuff (stuff that no one else would ever think to complain about) going on at a certain discussion group offlist-someone waaay to sensitive for their own good, or the person who wrote me a nasty note about writing an intro to the 80th G&D Old Clock because they reprinted the revised text instead of the original and how dare I associate myself with that (oh the horror ;-) ), or the person who lambasted me for having a typo on a page of my website as if I was breaching some kind of national security protocol. And on and on. It's beyond ridiculous some of the stuff we have to put up with from certain types of people. Sometimes as hard as it is to do so, you just have to go with the flow...

Jennifer said...

Like the person who regularly complains about stuff

I recall when I was chided privately about supposedly bragging about my "eBay prowess." That was upsetting. And that person was apparently the only one who took offense.

I have a blog post about my best eBay finds that I wrote two years ago (!). I never published it, because I knew some people would think I was bragging. I was seriously considering publishing it in the next week or so, but I am reconsidering once again.

It has to do with that first printing of Diary with the first printing jacket that I found for $25 on eBay. I am reluctant to publish that post because I expect someone to chide me for bragging or for not paying the seller more than $25 when the seller was the one who set the price.

the person who wrote me a nasty note about writing an intro to the 80th G&D Old Clock because they reprinted the revised text instead of the original and how dare I associate myself with that (oh the horror ;-) )

Some of the people who prefer the original text are way too easily offended in situations like the one you mentioned. I try to choose my words very carefully when I mention how I prefer many of the revised texts, because some people will get offended at the very idea that someone might prefer the revised text.

the person who lambasted me for having a typo on a page of my website

I am sure I have some typos in this blog. While I do read over my posts for mistakes, some get through anyway. I have viewed old posts and found occasional typos. It happens regardless of how hard we try.

I am about 99% over being upset. Writing this blog post was my final therapy. :)

Jenn said...

I think most collectors are reasonable people--so if you posted about your finds or how you came to acquire something unique or how you might put a 2nd+ dust jacket that matches a first together with a 1st book, that's neat stuff. I think we all like to hear about those kinds of finds. Those that have a problem with it, also probably have a problem with many other things in life and are therefore kind of irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. So please do make your blog posting, we'd love to hear about it :) I've started to post more about my finds at my Blog and I do so to educate people about what's out there and highlight interesting collectibles or books that fans can then try and search for for their collections.

stratomiker said...

Yo! I certainly didn't mean to minimize The Sleuth or Jennifer. This shows how easily we can write stuff in a way that it gets misunderstood.

I guess I should have said that your blog deals with topics that the others don't talk about, and for that you'll get blasted at times.

The fanzines and other blogs talk about all the nice stuff. You are willing to talk about some of the stuff that isn't so nice, but is still good to know if you are a serious collector. So you'll get criticized. More power to you.

I guess, like all our politicians, I chose some stupid words. But that's probably because I can see Alaska from my house, even though it's in Ohio.

Meanwhile, I learned how to print and pay for mailing labels at home, which is kind of nice, but I still take them in person to the post office and wait in line because they now scan them and give you a receipt with the confirmation numbers on. I haven't looked into home pickup yet, and probably won't. I like getting out and going to the P.O.

The clerk told me that the buyer fraud from eBay and Amazon is so bad that the USPS security department has now had to take over overseeing it and investigating claims. This whole you-have-to-guarantee-it thing that eBay and Amazon pursue is just encouraging buyers to cheat and try to get their money back. They have created a problem and it will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Mike

Jennifer said...

Meanwhile, I learned how to print and pay for mailing labels at home, which is kind of nice, but I still take them in person to the post office and wait in line because they now scan them and give you a receipt with the confirmation numbers on. I haven't looked into home pickup yet, and probably won't.

My understanding on the carrier pickup is that you have to have at least one priority mail package. I seldom have priority mail packages. I also tend to have just one package at a time since my items are all fixed-price, and people buy them at random times.

Robert said...

Jennifer,

Sorry you've had to deal with some inconsiderate posters. I always enjoy reading your blog posts about various series books, so please keep on blogging!

Jenn said...

Mike,

No harm no foul. You said the fanzines have gotten trite, not that some fanzines have, so in case a reader here thinks therefore they're all trite, I had to make a comment about The Sleuth. We are proud of our TS issues :)

Mike/Jennifer:

As for the mailing labels--I've never tried printing mine before, but I probably should as much as I ship from now to Oct. with the Halloween business along with ND stuff. I always just go stand in line but our P.O. is so fast and I have all my stuff ready to go with very little extras that it goes quickly. I probably should check it out at some point. Is it a pain to use the scales and do the online shipping or does it go pretty smoothly?

Jenn:)

Lian said...

Jennifer,

Let me add my encouragement with the others in commending you in trying to keep a blog active and interesting, while at the same time, keeping things flowing with a friendly, educational dialogue.

I know that you have taken much time to make this blog an informative one, and you work so hard at NOT getting annoyed when I know there were times you had the right to really lambast some folk. I have been on the receiving end of at least one of your bloggers (the one example you noted which was fine) and it does make you feel hurt and attacked.

I think if you feel a post may be hurtful to you or anyone, please delete it. I don't understand people who get so bent out of shape about the silliest things, I always wonder what they are like in real life, but all I have are their comments. If people would just think before they type, I think we would not be addressing this.

I love your ebay comments about treasures or horrors. Please continue with them. If people don't like them and comment, then just delete..delete. Ha.

Just know Jennifer, that there are many who truly appreciate all that you do and know how much time and effort you put into it; I have learned so much just from reading this blog the last couple of years. Thank you!

Jennifer said...

It is so annoying to have a long response typed, go to edit it again, and accidentally close the window...

Is it a pain to use the scales and do the online shipping or does it go pretty smoothly?

PayPal shipping is easier than having to copy and paste people's addresses into a document, print, and affix to the package. If you have a digital scale, the process is easy.

The only time I had trouble was the first time when I didn't know what I was doing. I had to make PayPal an exception to my pop-up blocker so that the label would display. Fortunately, we can reprint the label if the first time fails.

When people mail a money order or pay through Google Checkout, I have to use this page to print my label.

https://www.paypal.com/shipnow

It is a secret link that PayPal does not have displayed on its site. I got it from an eBay message board years ago.

The only labels which cannot be printed through PayPal shipping are First Class International. The Priority Class International can be done.

It took me a couple of years before I switched to online labels. I would never go back, now that I am doing it.