"I am enjoying the series of posts you are doing on the role of women at home and the rich value in their being there. I think this series is desperately needed in this world, particularly to encourage women at home who are struggling or those who are seeking for a way to return home.
Some of the comments, though, seem to detract from the wonderful points you are making.
As I read these comments, I find myself feeling a little defensive, second-guessing my choices. Coming to the blog is not as peaceful when these nay-sayers are "present", and it is a little stressful sorting through the comments that are there to prove you wrong or to express "the other side". I wonder if other women might also feel less strengthened than they might if these negative comments were not there, especially women who are younger than I am or having a harder time dealing with the realities of life at home and the social pressures to be in the workforce.
I know that moderating the comments can be time-consuming. And I can imagine that you have disallowed many more comments that are far worse!
There are many, many other places to read thoughts like these, but so few to read your point of view! And so few places to see the place of women at home elevated to the position it truly deserves.
I feel that, as a visitor to someone's blog, we should behave as we would when visiting a friend "in real life." If our real-life hostess brought up a deeply held conviction or point of view, we would assent to the aspects of it that we could, but beyond that we would keep our thoughts to ourselves. We would not tell her that "There are other points of view than yours"; or, "I'm glad I have made other choices than you have made"; or, "I have seen people who made those choices fail" or anything along those lines. We would not attempt to turn the discussion away from her purpose and direction into a forum for broadcasting our own viewpoints and lifestyles. To do this in real life would be very rude, and breach one of the most basic rules of etiquette:"Follow the lead of the hostess". It would invite a spirit of contention and strife into the gathering; could lead to hurt feelings and strained relationships; and shows a general lack of respect for the hostess and her generosity in allowing us into her home.
The only exception I can see to this is if the hostess specifically opened up the discussion by saying, "What do you think about this subject? Let's all share our points of view!"
I see this type of thing happen so often on blogs; but I would love to see "visitors" acting in a way that is respectful of the direction set by the blog owner ("hostess"). And that would mean, if I can't write in support of a particular point of view mentioned in a particular post, that I would remain silent instead, and jump in whenever there is a post that I can comment productively on, in keeping with the tone and direction set by the blog owner. Let's help restore civility to the internet!"
Here is my slightly abridged reply:
You are absolutely right in guessing that the negative comments you see are only the tip of the iceberg. I only allow a fraction of nay-saying, and only if it's polite enough and can contribute to the discussion in some way. I have rejected many comments that were rude, angry, too argumentative, personally insulting, not to the point, and/or comments with a dose of antisemitism, Israel-hating, or missionary messages. I have received messages such as "I hope your baby dies in your womb" (I was pregnant back then). Once, a lunatic even sent death threats, directed at me, not just to my blog but to the blogs of my friends.
I also have to deal with angry emails from people whose comments weren't published, who accuse me of "only wanting applause", "not being ready to hear a different opinion" and "preaching to the choir." I do understand the frustration of those who put the time and effort into writing a long, contemplative comment, only to have it deleted by me. I never lie and say it was just swallowed up by a blogger glitch (as sometimes it indeed happens). I state my reasons, but I must admit, it's exhausting.
You are right, there are so many places on the web to hear the PC points of view, but only one blog where I can express my opinions. At first, I felt I must answer every comment that argues against what I say, but I have long since given up on the idea of making everybody happy. I cannot answer every comment, and yes, I do press the "reject" button much more often than before. I am tempted to do it even more often, for the peace of mind of myself and even more, readers such as you, who only want support and encouragement and come across plenty of naysayers as it is.
But you do see some comments many of my readers feel we could do without. Sometimes, it's because I simply don't have the heart to reject a long, thoughtful and well-written comment, in particular when it's written by someone I already "know" and don't feel comfortable to just write off. Rejecting anonymous comments is much easier, because then I know that person probably doesn't stand behind what he or she said anyway. Sometimes the arguments are valid and I feel I must respond.
Anyway, I'm just giving you a glimpse of how time-consuming and difficult a matter such as comment moderation can be. I have sometimes considered cancelling comments altogether, but I do love the supportive network of the friends who visit and comment.
I will continue striving to find the balance, and hope that you have the patience to continue to bear with me!