Harsh, but fair…

Those of us who write blogs are used to deleting spam messages containing computer-generated and generally semi-literate gushing praise. But recently, I deleted a spam message that had this to say:

“Maybe if you could write better, I could be bothered to read this crap.”

I’m now wishing I hadn’t deleted it. For it does have a ring of truth to it…


13 responses to this post.

  1. Personally I am still trying to get off-line life in order and online has to go on the back burner for a while

    I have a book now – “Word Press for Dummies” so there is hope

    That post was very rude – Antagonistic – Provocative Crap – One does not write for Iconoclasts – or those
    who have pretensions to Education

    I think Iconoclast is the right word – but if I mean something else – do please let me know

    Sending my Best

    Patti – aka

    Patricia Francis-Wilson


    • Hello Patricia, good to see you again.

      Spammers write any old rubbish on their spam messages, and it would be daft to take any of them seriously. I just found this one rather amusing!


  2. Posted by Erika W. on March 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Hurtful nonsense. Whenever I read of personal attacks on blogs I worry about the unpleasant oddities who live in the world, hopefully not around me. The worst spate recently was directed against the classicist Mary Beard. She dared to appear on British television dressed in a relaxed way and with her grey hair unconfined. (I have to add, very happily, that my husband said “she looks as attractive as you do–very unusual” ) The sick venom and misogyny that surfaced were frightening.

    I have the problem that I feel doubtful about commenting with pleasure on blogs–does it sound patronizing? Like a pat on the head if I say “Oh good” or some such?

    Jokes and irony can misfire dreadfully also. Email really is a new form of communication isn’t it?

    My very best wishes, Erika


    • That Mary Beard affair was a disgrace, but sad to say, it didn’t surprise me. The level of abuse that is hurled around on the net is shocking: I think we inhabit a very civilized part of the net here in BookBlogLand.

      On a different level (thankfully) from the nastiness hurled at Prof Beard, it does raise the question of how we should speak to each other on the net. As has frequently been noted, we can’t communicate with facial expression, tone of voice, or with body language. So inevitably, what we write may easily be misread. I try not to use emoticons, but one has to at times, just to indicate that one isn’t being completely serious. And even then, it doesn’t always work: if a “smiley” ( 🙂 ) accompanies what looks like a piece of personal abuse, then I don’t know that I’d be inclined to take the “smiley” very seriously.

      I generally try not to mind very much; and also, to give the benefit of the doubt: what comes over aggressively is not always intended aggressively. In my own writing on the net, I give myself the freedom to criticise books (sometimes vehemently if I think it deserves to be vehemently criticized) but I try to abide by the rule of never criticising the reader. So “this book is shoddily written” is acceptable, but “only semi-literates could enjoy a book such as this” isn’t. Of course, some may say that if I am particularly severe with a book, then it is quite likely that someone who loves the book may well get upset. At this point, it becomes difficult: one doesn’t want to offend anyone (and if something you love deeply that’s severely criticised, then offence is quite a natural reaction); but at the same time, one doesn’t want to be merely anodyne. I do think there’s an awful lot of really shoddy writing out there: I try to focus generally on what I like rather than on what I don’t, but it’s not feasible having a book blog without being critical at times.

      But I totally agree with you about the Mary Beard affair. Vile, misogynistic nastiness.


  3. Ha, Ha You are too hard on yourself Himadri.

    I really may be wrong about this, but taking a look at the spam comments that I am getting seem to be random sentences taken out of other people’s blogs. I assume that some type of automated program is constructing these. Thus it may be a computer that is being nasty to you.


    • Well, I guess spam comes in different forms. I have bene getting quite a few spam comments that are sentences from articles to be found around the net dealing with the subject of your post – e.g. if I post on Anna Karenina, say, it’ll get spam messages quoting bits from other articles on Anna Karenina. Unless Aksimet spots these (and they usually do), it’s easy to mistake these for real comments. At least this one made me laugh!


  4. Amusing indeed, Himadri (and annoying). How does the spammer know it’s “crap” if he or she (or, more likely, it – as Brian suggests) hasn’t bothered to read it? It’s with lines like this that spammers hang themselves.


  5. Now, now. Don’t listen to trolls.


  6. Posted by alan on March 24, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I’m more than happy to read your crap.
    One should always start from a position of charity.


  7. Posted by David on April 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Well,you never write to me so I shall not be writing to YOU !


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