Ask CK: I'm Offended!

I get this comment all the time, in a variety of forms: 

Daniel: I've been a CK reader for a long time. I love your blog, but I was appalled to see you post a link to ______ blog on this week's Friday Links. That post was offensive/stupid/mysogynistic/ill-informed/dehumanizing/ ignorant/wrong.

I hope you reconsider promoting things like that in the future.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I didn't create Friday Links so we could all sit around a cushy bubble and agree with each other all the time. And I certainly don't want us policing each others' thoughts.

Long-time CK readers know that I make a point of sharing links that I don't agree with in order to foster reasoned debate and discussion. To borrow a favorite quote from John Stuart Mill: "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that."

Clearly, not every link is going to resonate with every reader. However, if you do find yourself experiencing a strong, visceral reaction to something you read at CK or anywhere else, I urge you to ask yourself "why am I reacting in this way, and where does my strong reaction come from?"

Quite often that's where you'll find the most important insights.

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Anonymous said...

I, too, am a long-time reader who loves your blog. I don't always agree with everything you post, but you always make me think. That's what keeps me coming back.

Liz T. said...

I think about this a lot, and realized that it is likely the highly offended reader thinks his/her strong reaction is normal, and that everyone is (or should be) reacting the same way, when that's simply not true. In that case, they feel justtified in telling you how wrong you are, when they don't realie they're the ones with the problem, and it's not your responsibility to write to their sensibilities.

I've been reading for years, and I have never seen a truly, across-the-board-offensive link here. If I don't like a link, I move on.

Anyone experiencing such a reaction to your links needs to understand that is it indeed them, and not the link. Also, experiencing outrange at someting in a free blog you go out of your way to read has a very simple solution: It's called an unsubscribe button.

As a former blogger, it never ceased to amaze me that people would choose to come read my stuff then get mad at me for writing it. It's MY blog. I am not a paid columnist. I can write whatever garbage I choose, and you can choose to not look.

Uh oh- I'd better stop. I'm experiencing a strong negative reaction! :)

chacha1 said...

What Liz T. says. :-)

I take a similar attitude when giving free lessons to a local dance club - as long as I am GIVING them a FREE lesson, I'm gonna teach what I want, how I want.

Obviously within context: I'm not going to teach competition technique or advanced flexibility to a mixed-proficiency group of social dancers. But otherwise, yeah. It's my gift; take it or leave it.

Free stuff is what it is. And some people have a really, really low threshold for offense. I've have people at these free lessons taking offense because I taught technique and not just "patterns." Feh!

Those people simply cannot be accommodated, because they are usually going out of their way to be offended about *something* at any given time.

Joanne said...

Well I am proud to say that I've been a reader for around three years and have never been offended by anything you wrote! I really like that foster discussion...and how could there be discussion if everyone agreed all the time!

Daniel said...

Thanks for the comments so far, I'm grateful for the thoughts and feedback.

What I've always wanted here at CK was an intellectual "safe zone" where people could think through issues--even controversial or out-of-the-box issues--without fear of reprisal.

And yes, on some level, it's my blog, so I can write about what I want. But at the same time, I depend on my readers for the *rest* of the conversation--and I couldn't be happier with the discussions we have here. Thank you!


Katie Mack said...

Your Friday Links posts are my favorite wrap up on the web, bar none! I've discovered many blogs I would not know about through your posts...Simple Dollar, In Over Your Head, Rowdy Kittens...just to name a few!

Hey, guess what? I don't agree with everything I read on the internet. That is life. And you, Daniel, are not responsible for my views and opinions!

The only thing I've been close to being offended about on your blog are comments similar to the one you published as the subject of this post. But even then, I'm not truly offended. Everyone has their point of view.

I've often wished you categorized your Friday Links into a separate category so everyone can find them in a quick click. You may have done this and I can't find it. But I feel it would be a great tool for new readers to be able to appreciate your wide range of interests.

Also, I can't tell you the amount of times I have poured through your site to find a Friday Link of yours that I needed to read again!

Daniel said...

Katie, thank you. Really appreciate your thoughts.

And as to your question about categorizing the Friday Links posts, one way to access all the links posts as a collective category is by clicking the links label at the bottom of each week's post. Is that what you meant?