My views on blogging

Since the influx of new comments on my Male Privilege in Jiu Jitsu article, and the increase in vitriol and other feedback I’ve received, I wanted to put out a statement on how I view blogging. I’d like my tone to be clear – imagine the tone I’d use if I were talking about eating lunch. Not hostile, not overly enthusiastic – just a regular, friendly tone:

So here’s how I see things:

1. Some things are just a bitter pill to swallow. My job is not to make those things not bitter, but when I write about difficult things, I do my very best to write using neutral language and not to attack people. It’s why I will generally wait out strong emotions and not drop a FeelingsBomb.

2. I’ve been maintaining this blog for 3 years, written more than 250 articles, and having a few one offs that are not “bjj is all hearts and flowers and love and omg” is absolutely normal and natural. ANYTHING you do has ups and downs and mediums. Simply put, while I recognize that some people are new readers who may never venture past the single article, anyone who takes less than a minute to look at the blog will see that overwhelmingly my blog is very pro-jiu jitsu.

3. Not presenting the “whole story” is also not the job of every article. Just as I may have a crappy day and write about that, I don’t feel like I have to treat BJJ as though it’s a crappy abusive relationship where I say “This sucks, but don’t worry – it still treats me well!” Similarly, when I have awesome posts like my “I LOVE BJJ” posts I don’t feel like I need to balance that by saying “but there are, of course, downsides.”

4. I think it’s important for people to feel like there are others who have experienced those hard things. It sucks when you feel like things are all in your head, or you are alone – I say that from experience. So if it’s between making male grapplers feel better about this situation and making female grapplers feel like they are not alone and it’s not all in their head, I choose the latter. Fair or not that’s my viewpoint, and I’m comfortable about that.

5. I respect that not everyone will agree with me. That’s fine and cool and awesome! And feel free to speak up! However, do it respectfully. I decided a long time ago that my website would NOT be full of assholes. If someone writes in to tell me to STFU and train – guess what – it’s not being published. This is not Youtube. I’m a human being and would like to be treated kindly. Do I love when people send me kind words? YES! Do I love getting (nice) comments? YES! Do I like when people agree with me? Of course! And really – I’m fine if we agree to disagree. Being human, sometimes I do read my own emotions into other people’s comments. When that happens, feel free to clarify your tone. – I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

e-mail generally increases the likelihood of conflict and miscommunication. One reason for this is that we tend to misinterpret positive e-mail messages as more neutral, and neutral ones as more negative, than the sender intended. Even jokes are rated as less funny by recipients than by senders. – Kristin Byron, Syracuse U.

Again – thank you to everyone who helps make this blog a success and not just me sitting in front of a computer writing to myself. You help bring these ideas to life, help inspire me, and help motivate me. In short, you rock, even if my magic spell to make everyone believe exactly how I believe has obviously failed (ps that was totally a joke).

  1. FWIW, I read a LOT of blogs and I think yours does an excellent job of being honest without being obnoxious. Even when people post comments where they disagree with you, you always respond respectfully. And you are a great writer! 🙂 Keep up the good work.

    • I sincerely had to step away from the comments on the last – I’ll get to them, but I did get a bit flustered, emotionally, and very little good comes from talking on the Internet in the heat of the moment. I will admit that Meg from megjitsu.com and Megan from Tangled Triangle are two of my blogging heroes for precisely their ability to respond to anger with an even tone.

  2. Hey, very interesting read. As an absolute newbie at bjj (3 months) I’ve found a lot of interesting posts on here over the last month or so since i found your blog. I haven’t seen or heard anything inappropriate at my school yet, but then I’m the guy off to the side busy trying to remember the things I’ve learned, so not really interacting with others too much. Sadly as a volunteer at a local women’s refuge in perth (Australia) I have seen and heard so much that I’m often disgusted with how some guys treat the women in their lives, and I know entrenched sexist behaviours are pretty common. So I think if your blog has prompted a lot of response, hopefully at least some of the people who read it are actually thinking about the content and will perhaps view things from a slightly different perspective from now on. Hopefully. 🙂

    • I really love when people post things that make me think – even if it’s in opposition to what I’ve written. For example, the comments and things people said gave me pause and I thought about it for a while and decided to write this. I also love responses – so long as they’re respectful. I think it’s very possible to disagree with someone and not be a douchebag about it. I think that when people disagree OR agree, they add to the article. For example, even if people on the Male Privilege article just said “I think this is true” it makes more voices that say it’s true, not just me. If people disagree, it gives the opportunity to clarify or to give me things to think about. Ultimately interaction makes for better content, I think.

  3. I don’t think you should ever feel the need to post or accept comments that are outright abusive. Someone told me once that people become the most obnoxious and abusive when they come the closest to having their eyes opened to some injustice that they are complicit in; when you elicit that kind of response in people, you’ve said something that came so close to shaking their worldview that their little brains couldn’t handle it. So delete the abuse and stay secure in the idea that you may have rocked someone’s pedestal of ignorance just a little bit 😉

    • I remember the first time an abusive comment came in and I published it because it felt like “well, everyone should have a right to their opinions.” I’m much more delete-happy these days. I can’t imagine the comments you got after reddit got onto your article about gendered insults. Yikes.

      Definitely it’s easy to stumble onto emotional landmines, ones that happen because they cause anxiety about some personal thing that’s close to home. I like how you put it. ^_^

    • Well, part of it is deleting comments that present valid points but do it in a hostile way. I decided ultimately to delete them because I want people to respond in a polite manner and not bring in hostility or rudeness. I don’t give a crap if you disagree with me, but I do care that you do it nicely.