Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Just the other day Jen on the Edge posted about people making mean comments on blogs and personal attacks on bloggers. That day my sister sent me a link to an article about her husband who was selected to be the new Fire Department Chief in another state.

The article had a nice photo, comments from the selection committee who chose him unanimously over all the other candidates and how much they admired his career and his attitude. It also mentioned that he is from California and that he had retired from his previous position as Assistant Chief.  (He is 51.) It listed his new salary.  It also mentioned that he and his wife have a second home in Coeur d'alene Idaho, which is about 40 miles away from the location of the new job - so they have local ties.

Scrolling down to the comments - wow.  What a bunch of haters!  Out of the 20 or so comments there were only 2-3 that were positive and welcoming.  Mostly they were nasty about being from California, which I ran into when we moved to Washington State back in the '90's.  I would have thought after all these lean years that the benefits of business, tourism and money to buy homes flowing in from California and other states would be appreciated - apparently not. I guess they prefer for their economy to be stagnant rather than have to interact with us lepers from California.

The second wave of vitriol was about the fact that he had retired and was now taking another job.  He is only 51.  He has a son in college and a daughter in high school.  They don't know the circumstances of his "retirement" or how much his benefits are or when they even kick in but they are attacking him for "double dipping" in the public sector.  They also don't know that my sister is permanently disabled from complications of breast cancer treatment so they do need an  income.

Third wave of criticism?  That they have a vacation home.  Like the good financial planning of my sister and brother-in-law and the way they choose to invest should be on the table for discussion. Not to mention that my sister worked over 20 years as a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse - no taxpayer money involved.

I suppose commenting on blogs and postings has taken over from the days of gossiping over the fence or at the water cooler.  Except in those days it was kinda done behind the back of the person involved - fewer hurt feelings.  My sister and brother-in-law sort of laughed off the comments, but we all know it leaves a residue of hurt and mistrust behind, no matter how we try to rationalize it away.

We all need to remember that we don't always know the whole story and walking a mile in someones shoes is the least we can do before we go all judgemental and snarky.


Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Oh gosh, how awful. What a terrible way to start an exciting new job.

michiganme said...

I never read the comments on news articles any more. It's just a forum for sarcastic, rude and snarky comments; it's so much easier to be thoughtless, cruel and mean when you don't put your name with your comment. Guess there are a lot of bitter people out there...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That's really a shame. You just wonder what is wrong with people.

Nan said...

I pass on reading comments most of the time, too, on news sites like newspapers and CNN unless there's some attempt at moderation or it's impossible to be anonymous. I noticed the overall tone of the comments on our local tv station's web site improved considerably when they decided to link it to Facebook. Want to comment? You have to log in through FB. There's nothing quite like having everyone know who you are to remind people to be polite. There are still a few haters, but the comments section following a news article is no longer the cesspool it used to be.

Scientific American (IIRC) had a long post on one of its blogs recently on why it's important to moderate comments to keep anonymous trolls from poisoning the waters for everyone. The haters are a tiny, tiny percentage of the population but they sure can make life unpleasant for the rest of us.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

If the new job is in Spokane, that would be par for the course for The Spokesman Review. Never, ever read the comment section of that newspaper! I had made that mistake 3 times, and the results are always negative.
I hope that they can enjoy their new surroundings and meet kind people.