One of the things I loved about Wellesley is how outspoken and passionate we are about any topic, whether its Gay rights, Troy Davis’ death, or grammar. One of the major challenges, however, for our community to communicate *politely.* I recall students saying horrible things about others on old community via first class that they would never have the guts to say to the persons face, or at least they never did to my knowledge.

Similarly as alums, we have created forums for ourselves, like Community on Facebook as well as this blog here— and we are bound to disagree or find it necessary to correct one another (example the spelling of Cee-Lo Green). But when the conversation goes from disclosing a divergent opinion to name calling or shaming, thats a problem and its a problem we should have gotten over by now.

Tumblr gives us a certain advantage b/c we can remain anonymous (I may advise folks that if you wish to stay anonymous, perhaps you should not have your real name posted on your tumblr or your twitter account profile). However even if you have a pseudonym, that doesn’t give you license to bash others in our community by calling them morons or what have you

But as another Wellesley alum suggests, perhaps when such a comment is made, its best to avoid it all together:

Dear Miss Manners,
As you know, blogs have become an increasingly popular way for people to share experiences and ideas. Much of what is written is personal, and even dull. But sometimes, important topics are broached.  

I don’t usually offer input to bloggers, but recently, I read a blog about a major topic with which I am deeply concerned. I disagreed with the stance of the blogger, and posted a polite and carefully worded suggestion that differed from hers. 

My note was met with such rudeness and vitriol, it took my breath away. I restrained a crushing reply; at the same time, I realized this person was not really interested in dialogue.

What would you recommend in such a situation? Is it worthwhile to respond to bloggers at all, and if one does, how should one respond to rudeness?

Gentle Reader,
Anyone who has a driver’s license ought to know how to deal with belligerent strangers: Speed away as fast as you can.

That is not to say that everyone out there is waiting to run you down. But some are. The proper response, Miss Manners assures you, is not to.

I hope that we as a community of alums, who for the most part respect and admire one another, can learn to go beyond flame wars where we bash one another personally rather than focusing on the issue at hand— that is at least what I hope for with respect to this blog.

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