Lessons Learned In Cyberspace

Health issues and the preparatins for the coming winter have prevented us from doing as much blogging as we'd like. Which is unfortunate, as we seem to have missed a little dust-up over on Vox Day's blog. More on that later.

The whole affair brings to mind a few rules which all would do well to follow when cruising the Information Superhighway:

#1. In cyberspace, nothing is private. Possibly not even if it's hidden behind a secure server (where the URL begins with https://). Even "private" blogs are not all that private.

#2. Unless the person is a public figure (e.g. Vox), or well known to you, it's a good idea to co-ordinate any linkings in advance.

#3. There is context and there is context. Before flaming someone, be sure you've read enough of that person's writings to have a feel for what that person is really all about.

#4. Make sure that your point is clear enough that the average person gets it.

The whole fiasco got started when someone (see Rule #2) innocently followed a series of links and wound up at one of Vox's more controversial -- and less understandable posts. (The point of which still eludes us. See Rule #4.) Being offended by what she read, she wrote a post to her own blog, intended only for friends and family.

Unfortunately, due to Rule #1, Vox became aware of her post and chose to post a retort to his own blog (see Rule #2). Then things got completely out of hand, ending up with the poor young lady getting run over by the Voxwagen. Vox's regulars are a rowdy lot (self excluded), even though he does try from time to time to rein them in (leastwise as far as his own blog is concerned).

What is truly distressing here is that these two people probably have a great deal more in common than either realizes. Having read Vox for a couple of years now -- and having also scanned thru the young lady's blog -- we see striking similarities. Both are writers. Both are apparently trying to pursue a Christian lifestyle. Both appear to be decent people. (Going out on a limb here, as we've met neither in person and know them only from their writings.) The young lady in question is hardly some frothing-at-the-mouth, male-bashing feminazi intent on attacking Vox for no other reason than that Y chromosome he carries. To the contrary, her writings show her to be intelligent, articulated, and well-mannered. In this case, Vox would have been well served by Rule #3.

This was undoubtedly the worst introduction anyone could have had to Vox and his writings. (And the situation was not helped by some of his regulars ganging up on her like a pack of junkyard dogs). Had she discovered him by any of his other articles or postings, the outcome would surely have been different. As it stands, the young lady will probably never read Vox again and is thus deprived of the intellectual stimulation and moral encouragement the rest of us enjoy. For his part, Vox might have forever lost an ally in the war against evil.

There was no link on the young lady's blog to send her an e-mail, and comments are limited to LiveJournal users. It is regrettable that we cannot offer our condolences directly.


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