A message to the jerk who tried to ruin my blog

I contemplated for a long time whether or not I should write something about this. After all, the (most likely unemployed and sexually frustrated) man who has been amusing himself by writing dirty comments on my blog is simply seeking attention. Therefore, by writing something about him, I’m probably doing exactly what he wants.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that for whatever reason some jerk has been writing dozens of horribly inappropriate comments on my blog, using either “Dominique Strauss-Kahn” or “Michael Arrington” as his name. Most of you have probably already seen them, but if not here’s a sample of some of the comments I’ve received (nice job hacking and using this IP address and this one*)

 

Now, some people have told me this is part of the job – that being a blogger in the public eye has it’s drawbacks. OK, I agree, after all, Michael Arrington has had his fair share of being called horrible things. And someone went as far as to spit on him. But I highly doubt that any man has ever received these types of comments on his blog.

Quick fix.

It’s not a huge deal and fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix the problem:  I’ve decided to moderate comments on my blog. Therefore, anytime someone wants to comment, I will receive an email and validate the comment before it appears on my site. This does not stop the good old jerk from attempting to post his terrible comments and crowding my inbox, but at least my blog can go back to looking professional again.

No man’s blog.

The sad thing is that this kind of kills my blog (ok, I’m exaggerating, but still…). One of the main features of a blog that distinguishes it from more traditional media forms is that readers can comment and exchange thoughts – in real time. Not only does comment validation mean that I will receive fewer comments (because now people will feel that they need to pay more attention to what they write), it also takes away from the real-time aspect of my blog.

More than lipstick and a pair of shoes.

Yes, it probably sounds a little melodramatic. I’m a girl, a tech blogger and here I am getting digitally harassed by some loser online. Oh boo-hoo. But then again, writing is my job and this blog – no matter how silly it may seem – is how I got my current job.

And I’ve gotten a variety of rather odd/insulting comments from men as a result of my being a female in the tech world. For example, A male classmate of mine last year told me that he “saw me as a man” because I spent so much time in front of my computer. Ha, really? Another time, I was given a demo of a content platform where the entrepreneur thought I would understand better if he used “shoes” as the example for the demo (now that I think about it, shoes have been used to demo several times). Little did he know that my knowledge in shoes is comparable to my ability to speak Chinese – which is almost non-existent. I’ve had people attempt to explain things to me in overly simplified terms as if I wouldn’t understand otherwise – and I’ve also had numerous people tell me that being a girl in tech is not very “feminine”. Um, OK. But I got my favorite comment when I was at a conference in San Francisco: someone told me to quit my job and put my photo on some trashy website! Errr…no thanks.

I don’t really think I’m being hypersensitive; these types of comments aren’t usually that offensive, just annoying.

Not the only one.

People often ask me “What is the point of Girls in Tech ? Is there really a need for this type of organization?” Well, Girls in Tech is NOT a feminist group. I am not trying to say girls are better than boys or any of that nonsense. I’m just trying to help empower women in the tech space, to encourage them and to show them successful examples – and here is a perfect example of why. I know for a fact that there are other women that have had to deal with similar issues. For example, if a female founder raises a lot of money, all of a sudden everyone says she’s sleeping with her investors. I could give you more examples, but I’ll stop here…

Blah blah blah.

Honestly, I just hope that if anyone wants to give me a valid comment on anything, that they will continue to do so despite the fact that I now moderate comments. I promise to post all comments unless they are spam or mature/inappropriate as seen below.

*In the original post, I thought that the comments were coming from a unique IP address (that of Choopa.com) but this is not the case.

PS: I appreciate all the feedback, comments, emails, tweets, etc that I have got regarding this post. Not to worry, this will not become a regular subject. The main reasons I published this post were to 1) shed light on a rather ugly problem and 2) explain to my readers why I will be moderating comments from now on.

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “A message to the jerk who tried to ruin my blog

  1. Hey Roxanne-

    It was great meeting you a few weeks ago at “TC recipes”. Kudos to you and the TC team for the great event.

    I’m really sorry that you’ve been harassed in such an ugly way. I think you’ve made the tough but right decision to moderate comments, and I love ze techbaguette and don’t mind at all.

    Take care and, as always, thanks for sharing with us techbaugetteers— a new word ? 🙂

    Cheers, Brad

  2. Hey Roxanne,

    I had to face with the same situation for Beansight few weeks ago. A guy posted insulting comments on my website. What can we do? Nothing. So the best things to do is to moderate and ignore them and hope they will find better things to do.

    Don’t worry about that, it’s the price to pay to be exposed in the community. You will always have to manage that kind of situation.

  3. Hi Roxanne,

    Why you don’t set your moderation setting to block only the message containing a list of words (as ass…) and validate or erase only these one?
    It is not a perfect solution but with the proper list of word it is quiet efficient allowing the real time interaction and avoiding to have your email full.

    Cheers,

    Gary

    • Hi Gary, thank you and valid suggestion. Although if I do this, it will also block words including the particular word. For example, “ass” would also block “association”. I figure this may be easier for now.

  4. I have my comments set so people have to be validated the first time they post (after that, they can comment in real time)… I suppose someone could say something “useful” and then post nasty crap… Anyway, sorry you have to deal with this.

  5. Thanks for lightening my mind more than ever that human is human,doesn’t matter where the place is! Lots of people imagine such a these things only happen in a particular environments and places!
    I have to admit that your blog posts and viewpoints are truly useful for me.
    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences and as your permanent blog reader,want you to keep going stronger than ever. 🙂

  6. It is sad to see that kind of reduction about girls in tech.

    You’ve accomplished a great job, and kudos to you regarding this.

    As you mentioned, these people are usually just average lame bor(ed¦ing) people with no much karma to accomplish worthy things. When they do you, they may be labeled as *put in whichever comment you’d like*.

    Anyways, this should not prevent you from keeping up the good job, your blog. Even if the alternative is to suffer from delayed publications of the comments, their quality are worth the wait. I don’t think people will disengage from here because of that.

    Cheers!

  7. This is a problem we’ll have to face again and again, and I think Ask Wappling of Adland put it best: when asked what the difference was between men who deal with inappropriate behaviour and women, she said that women start to live in a state of daily terror.

    It’s hard to say these kinds of things without making out like you’re lifting your fist for a feminist war cry, but she’s right.

    When American VC Ruthann Quindlen posed the question to women in tech on why more women aren’t at the forefront of companies, the response surprised her: they overwhelmingly said they just don’t want to deal with this kind of harassment, which worsens the closer to the front you get. Gay Gaddis of T3 has said the same.

  8. Pingback: The Trouble with Blog Comments is the French law | The Rude Baguette

  9. I’ve landed up here from the link on Rude. When I see stuff like this I feel an incredible sense of sadness. This is certainly not what the openness and freedom of interaction the internet grants should be used for. Fortunately, the kind of person that would post that is in the vast minority. Thank you for being honest and brave enough not just to deal with it, but to present it, and highlight it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s