Miss Snark took Sandra Scoppetone to task yesterday about her post about her editor leaving. Both Ms. Scoppetone’s original post and Miss Snark’s commentary on it have stirred up the dust and brought the bats winging down from the belfrey. The fan’s on high and snit’s flying everywhere.
I have read Ms. Scoppetone’s post, and I can see both sides of the debate. Both are right, and both are wrong. I fear Ms. Scoppetone is going to pay a heavy price for this post simply based on the nature of blogs and their readers.
Most people red blogs with about the same attention and concentration that they do the Sunday comics. This is not great literature, in spite of the few bloggers who do truly believe their shit doesn’t stink. Most blogs are informal and, usually, somewhat chatty, and most visitors read them with one eye and their mind on tonight’s episode of their favorite reality show.
What I’m saying here is that subtlety in a blog post is not rewarded. In fact, it can cause you great discomfort, even harm. The reason is that subtlety WILL BE MISUNDERSTOOD. There is no maybe, no possibly. Subtlety will be misunderstood, and the snit will fast and furiously.
Ms. Scoppetone’s post was a naturally sad reaction to losing an editor who had been very good to her and worry about her future, since she is between contracts right now. Her remarks were not, to me, excessively inflammatory, but I can certainly see how they could be, and have been, construed as snotty and disrespectful to younger editors. Her one very brief statement about how her new editor will no doubt be a good one, was a little too quick and went unnoticed.
Bloggers have to realize that they must be very clear about what they say. There are far too many middle-school minds out there just waiting for an opportunity to light a fire and pour gasoline on it at every opportunity. Stop, think, then write, and, for God’s sake, don’t flame the commenters. That only makes it worse.