Saturday, August 14, 2004

Thlngs Go Wrong On The Internet

Comments About Comments In Comments

My comments about comments usually appear in my Comments section and are therefore expressed “in a dark alley”. That’s how I think of it, for quite a few people on the Internet never hit an extra button, never see the available hyper references (Links) or the comments left in response to a blog post.

Now and then, a comment is left on my blog that I can’t decipher. Usually it’s a brief comment, and I can’t tell if it’s negative, friendly, or neutral. Usually it’s not an anonymous comment. Sometimes I even know the commenter (in the Internet sense of “know”) and sometimes I don’t, but either way, I don’t know what they mean.

Some of the elliptical commenters, when queried, either answer that they no longer know what they meant or else do not respond to my query at all. Of course, I myself often only ask them about it in the comments, saying no more than, “What?” So maybe they think I’m being as cute as they were and that I don’t really desire an answer that makes sense, that I’m too hip for that, that I’m in on the deal and too cool to be curious.

Elliptical Remarks

Sometimes I don’t mind this sort of thing and sometimes I do. I’m quirky and quixotic—it won’t hurt you to know that. So if you look back some day and see that you left a comment but now it has disappeared without salutation from me, maybe it fell into that undeciphered category that I call The Elliptical Remarks. Had your remark been hateful enough, it might have been more interesting and remained. Full-blown hatefulness is often interesting, however ugly. If your remark had been kissy-kiss enough, surely I would have had no question about your intent. One way or the other, I might have offered you more to kiss!

Poor Misunderstood Internet Monkeys

Of course, I have been misunderstood or misinterpreted myself out here in cyberspace. I wrote to one blogger lately and tried to express a liking for her blog in a manner that was too teasing for her. She seemed to conclude that I was a stalker and a liar and a creep of the first water. I wanted to write Miss Prissy and inform her that at the most I was a damn fool for teasing someone I didn’t know, though I’d found that a great many bloggers could dish it out and take it, too. But it seemed to me that this was a case where someone really Internet-stupid has misinterpreted the words of a stranger and has made retaliatory statements with such strong language that all possibility of clarification had been removed. There is no going back. I could talk more, but as a stranger I could never be heard. I feel just as insulted as she does, but Strangers can’t be reconciled—there is no connection there to begin with. It’s just another small detail of how things go wrong on the Internet.

So I don’t know what’s “right” for anyone to say to anyone. I just know what I do about certain things. Sometimes I wade toe-high into the mêlée. Other times I scurry into the cracks like a cockroach and hide.

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