Thursday, March 20, 2008

Raging Waters (i.e. Community Blogging)

Sometimes, I jump into raging waters.

These waters, also known as the bloggernacle (i.e. Mormon community blogs filled with intellectuals who love nothing more than a rousing debate), are dangerous for little ol' nobody's like myself. Especially when I call them out and don't actually have the means necessary to back up all my assertions.

Earlier this week, I did a bad thing. It is extremely inconsequential, seeing how I stopped commenting after two comments and didn't antagonize more banter. You can read about it Here. Please note that I stop commenting when 7 people jumped on me. To their defense, I think I said what I said just to rile them up. It was rude of me, truly. I deserved their disdain (even if I believed what I said --oh, I believed what I said!).

This next debate meant something to me. If you have the time, you can read through all the comments; but the best one is comment #62. Why do I love this comment so much? Well, I'd be lying if I didn't say it was because I agreed with him. That it backed up what I believe. What makes it so much better? It's someone with authority on the subject.

During the last few years, I've lessened my time discussing things on community blogs. Especially as old subjects are being recycled. Again. And again. Seriously, you know you've been around a while when community sites are constantly talking about old stuff. With new spins, yes, but the debates are the same, and both sides are usually represented by the same bloggers.

I've also grown up a bit, too. I don't get offended as much by what people say; I find that it's just as easy to close the window and refuse to comment as it is to give into my primal urge to defend my opinion. This is why FMH is no longer on my blogroll. I'm a feminist, yes. But I just don't have confusion, bitterness, anger and hate --things necessary to swim in those waters, my friend.

But, I recognize the need for community blogs. Places like Tales and MMW are great places for Mormon mothers to find some help and insta-friends. And some people need FMH. Or the intellectual stuff. Everyone needs a place to belong, and these different community sites help serve that purpose.

Now, this brings me to the purpose of this post. How do you, dear reader, feel about blogging on community sites? Where do you draw the line for you? What do you stay out of? What do you insist on discussing? What are your favorites? What do you avoid?

P.S. Stuff about my life to come tomorrow. Yeah, like you're waiting for it, or something. Something... :)

29 comments:

Desi said...

I pretty much stay away from responding on community blogs. I am a very opinionated person, but I don't want to have to justify my opinion or worse, not be able to justify it with any sense of adequacy or eloquence, therefore I just lurk and read what others have to say.

Great subjects that you choose to respond to though. Both were very interesting and #62 was a great post. I’ll have to check out the bloggernacle more often and possibly respond if I’m ever feeling particularly moved by a subject.

Jolene said...

I can't participate in those kind of debates. They are way too contentious for me. I am, however, grateful for the voice of reason that comes through in the comments. You seem to be that voice of reason in these arenas. I think it is great that you do it.

I have strong opinions but like desi, I don't alway have the desire to defend them. My mission president always counseled us to NOT debate the Jehovah's Wittnesses or other groups who were armed with "scripture" trying to prove us wrong. It just becomes too contentious.

Last year, after October conference, I stopped reading Mormon Mommy Wars. I read it again now, but I don't have it on my blog because of a post about Sister Beck's talk. I didn't like the tone of the post, questioning her talk, even though I admit that I felt bad about myself after that talk. I even commented to that effect and then felt so bad about it that I wished I could have removed it.

I guess what I am saying, is that I am a wimp. I don't like confrontation. I love healthy debate, but I am not up for participating in it.

Stanton and Julie said...

I've never visited a community blog. I don't really plan to, as I much prefer to spend my time on line seeing what my friends are up to. So, I'm looking forward to tomorrow on your blog!

Janelle said...

I follow the happy people. I don't spend time on blogs that are downers. Intellectualizing and spiritualizing are two different things. Debating gospel topics does not lead to good things. If there is revelation on it and it is cited fantastic. If you can't find an answer in revealed info or if revealed informaton seems contradictory - ask God.

So in answer to your question... I only read blogs that are uplifting and inspire me to do good. Well actually I only read blogs of people I know, but I could branch out more than that.

Be careful out there! Oh and I do absolutely need an update on your life, like a time schedule. AW and I are leaving till Monday. I don't feel well enough to throw a party but I can organize a get together at a park.

Sorry for the long comment.

The Wiz said...

jolene, sorry you left MMW. But I get why. Glad you came back. :)

I never comment on the big intellectual blogs. I'm too scared. I don't like FMH either.

bythelbs said...

I like to read debates that seem like the participants are trying to understand each other's points of view. I don't like argument for arguments sake. But either way, I prefer to be a bystander rather than a participant.

I think FMH is just beyond me. Or something.

LAHansen said...

Nah...I don't visit community blogs...why?...I think I spend too much time blogging anyway.

I'd rather just spend the time reading and commenting on blogs that are positive, uplifting, etc. Maybe it's that old 13th Article of Faith..."anything virtuous, lovely, praisworthy..." I dont' know, but I do love your blog!!!

LAHansen said...

So I can't quote or spell...sorry, 'anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.'

Jill said...

I've never visited community blogging before (but had to see what it was all about by following your links), and I don't really have time. When something is being discussed that I have a strong opinion on, it seems to take over my life, so I will pass. I did appreciate your comments on both links, though, you were right on on both issues. The first one just made me annoyed, and I totally agree with what you said. It may make people angry but it was the truth.

Susan M said...

My favorite LDS community blog is MMW, good and entertaining writing going on. Even though I can't relate to a lot of it---my kids are all teenagers, I'm not your typical Mormon Housewife, etc.

Actually, my biggest favorite is Kulturblog.com, but it's not an LDS blog, it's a pop culture blog. I blog there.

I also blog at nine-moons.com, my other fave. I can't relate to most of what gets posted on LDS group blogs, or I'm not interested in it---and usually end up making some comment poking fun more often than not. (Is there anyone who loves the sound of their own voice more than a lawyer?) Nine Moons is more laid back. And I try to be the change I want to see in the blog world by posting stuff that's more uplifting.

Cheryl said...

Desi-
I understand your fear of justification. I share that with you, although I find myself jumping into the fray anyway. Thank you for your comment here, though! Keep coming back. I looked at your blog and I thought it was fabulous.

Jolene-
I try to be a voice of reason, but I'm afraid many people would disagree with you; I think they find me annoying. Most of these bloggers WANT to debate; they aren't looking for reason. They are looking for entertainment. The Sister Beck thing was all over --not just at MMW, and I'll agree with you that it bothered me, too! I don't think you're a wimp, though. And I love what you have to say!

Julie-
Just the fact that you grace me with your presence nearly every day makes me super happy. :)

Janelle-
You rock. I emailed you my schedule. Oh, and I like happiness, too. Most of the time, although I'm all for some healthy depression. Okay, no I'm not. It sucks. By the way, I'm totally gonna blog about your new term "harmonist" that you posted about today at your blog. I loved it!

The Wiz-
I feel better somehow knowing that the great and powerful Wiz is scared and doesn't like FMH. Awe.Some. Seriously, you made my day! And somehow, my respect for you just grew even more... :)

bythelbs-
Arguing for argument's sake is silly, but yes, it is very common on some of these sites. Whatever floats their boat, I guess. I'm gonna be forever happy that you're not a bystander on my blog, though! Don't know what I'd do without bythelbs, making me feel all normal and such...

LAHansen-
Time is a big thing, true. So many blogs, so little time! I like your reference to the 13th Article of Faith; it makes a lot of sense.

Jill-
Stop making my ego grow! :) But seriously, thank you for agreeing. Not that I'm expecting it of my readers (and it's okay if my readers disagree!), but it's nice to see I'm not completely crazy. Yes, you have to put a lot of energy into debating, this is true...

Susan M -
I love it when you post at Nine Moons. Especially when you post your photography. Gorgeous! I lurk at Kulturblog frequently (ah! I outed myself!), but I feel so inadequate in my pop culture knowledge to actually comment. I think I have only once or twice. Maybe I'll start "coming out" more to do so in the future...
FWIW, I think your comments are awesome. Anytime I see your name, I know I'm in for something hilarious, a voice of reason, and/or just plain cool. I love it. :)

Susan M said...

Thanks Cheryl. I meant to say I always enjoy your comments, too, but totally forgot. (Really, I meant to.)

You're AI coverage is more thorough than Rusty's at KB!

LAHansen said...

So...I just read through my comment(s) again...not sure if I came off the right way...Anyway...just wanted you to know, I did follow your links to see what you were talking about & ...I completely agreed with your comments. Thanks!

Steve Evans said...

Cheryl,

It takes guts to stick your neck out on a big community blog -- it can seem pretty intimidating. Even if I don't really agree with your comment, I am glad you participated in the discussion.

Let me ask -- why did you want to rile people up?

Cheryl said...

Susan-
Wow. Thank you! I got a warm fuzzy from that compliment, I really did! Don't tell Rusty about my detailed AI, though. He might get jealous. :)

LAHansen-
No, I understood you, I just think I responded incorrectly. What I meant is that I understand how little time we have to even read the blogs that we do, so I understand how it would feel necessary to frequent only the blogs that uplift us. That was what you meant, right? And I agree. :)

Steve Evans-
Well, I certainly was not expecting such a blogger to grace my personal blog (I mean that as a sincere compliment, because I find your Friday Firestorms to be both hilarious and fitting)!

Why did I choose to rile people up? I think it's because I was tired of the implication that if one did not ascribe to certain levels of spirituality OUTSIDE the realm of Mormonism, then somehow their Christianity was in question. It bugged me. Bad. So, I figured I could let it bother me, or I could just say what I was feeling/thinking. However, having improved in blogging, I did not let the reactions to my comment affect me. Thus the absence of any follow-up comments by yours truly.

So, I admit it was probably not a nice thing to do; I should have either A. Not said anything or B. At least had a follow-up comment or something. Ah, well. Ce la vie.
(did I spell that right?).

[By the way, Steve, I love that you're Canadian. My parents (and grandparents, and great-grandparents) all hail from Alberta. Well, the greats started in Utah...]

Jamie J said...

I think MMW is the only big group blog that I read. I try to only read uplifting things and some of the discussions on other blogs are just downers. If I come across them and there are things I don't agree with I usually don't have the guts to comment because I don't want to be committed in case someone calls me out. I just let it go. People have their opinions. But for the most part I just steer clear of them...

Amanda said...

I tried FMH and couldn't get into it. I don't really consider myself a feminist, I must say. I occassionally (sp?) read MMW, and I enjoy it for the most part. I skip over some posts :).

Interesting topics that you were commenting on. For me, I have my beliefs but I don't always know how to back them up. If I believe something then that is enough for me, so I avoid the confrontation.

Interesting topic!

Katie Kilpatrick said...

I don't do too much community blogging. I got a little riled up once on FMH. I am not sure they are very helpful. But, I agree it is fun to rile people up sometimes...even if you do regret it sometimes.

Cheryl said...

Katie, Amanda, and Jamie-

Yeah, I think that's the consesus of most of my readership! (how does one spell consensus? consensis?) Funny how I'm finding that I'm only one of a few around these parts who venture out into these raging waters. Crazy. I'll be sure to keep a life raft for you guys, okay? :)

Oh, and it's cool that you don't like to read the riled up stuff. I'm just glad all of you like to read me! It's awesome.

Rochelleht said...

Never been to one. I guess guest-blogging at Segulah qualifies is going to a community blog, but I don't actually go there any other time. I can barely read people's regular blogs. And I don't like contention, so I avoid it even in cyber-space.

Can't wait to hear how the move is going.

Cheryl said...

Rochelle-
It's going well! Well, about as "well" as a move can go. :)

Segullah is an awesome blog. I should have mentioned that and A Prayer of Faith; those are two blogs where their purpose falls directly under the 13th Article of Faith that LAHansen was talking about...

Madsens said...

I can't comment on community blogs anymore - cause my feelings are too strong in certain areas and i just feel i am right - and no one can argue me on that :) ha ha!

I think that FMH does more harm than good - i am not up for debate on that one, just how i feel. Our job as women in the church and as members of a world wide Relief Society is "Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood" and that is just where it stands.

Anyway, i just read and laugh most of the time :) And now i basically stick to the LOVES of my life - which are family and friend blogs :)

Good luck with the move!!

Ann said...

Well, I don't get into the community blogs too much. I tend to get into debates sometimes on forums, though. Usually about one of my passions...carseat safety, babywearing, homeschooling, hypnobirthing, vegetarianism....you know, the stuff that makes me a "weirdo" in mainstream Mormondom. But when it comes to gospel-related stuff, I try not to get into it because everybody's in a different place with their testimonies, and I don't feel the need to "prove" anything to anybody else (not that that's what you're doing, but it's what I'd be doing). And while I'm passionate about other things, my feelings about the gospel run too deep and too personal for me to want to get into heated debates about it. Maybe if it was with a non-Mormon who was bashing us, but I don't see the point in debating a fellow Mormon.

That being said, I did get into a debate about motherhood in the comment section of an article recently. One woman was trying to convince people that daycare was good for all children and that if kids didn't attend daycare, they'd somehow be socially inept. Well, I couldn't let that one go, so I did get quite heated in my arguments with her.

I need to call you, Cheryl!

Cheryl said...

madsens (it's so hard not to just call you Christy, you know?):
I hear you loud and clear. And although I'll continue to community blog, I'm more careful about what I engage, for sure.

Ann-
CALL ME! Ha! I laughed when I read about all the things that "make you weird." I'd love to debate you in those things, except we think so much alike that I'm afraid you'd "convert" me to some of them. :)

Ann said...

I'd LOVE to debate those things with you...and believe me, you would be converted on at least some of them! Come over to the weirdo side, Cheryl! It's such a great place to be!

Cheryl said...

:)

Stephanie said...

My SIL introduced me to blogging recently. I tried FMH and the other two "big isles" on the bloggernacle. I guess I went into it with the assumption that I would be talking to other active members who love the gospel. Boy, was I wrong. The first time I tried to "stand up for truth and righteousness" against an idea I thought was obviously against church standards, I was soundly attacked. I tried a few more times on a few different posts, but even if they have no good argument, they just resort to calling names. The last time I was in a situation like that was when I was 10 in the school yard.

The other surprising thing to me is that the Spirit left me during this time. I even started arguing with my husband and yelling at my kids. I didn't understand how standing up for what is right could have such negative effects on my life. But, contention is of the devil. So, I am going to avoid those sites now (especially FMH). I am looking for other uplifting blogs to read. Perhaps you won't mind if I lurk here for a bit? :)

Cheryl said...

Stephanie-
I would love nothing more for you to lurk here! However, you have to promise to comment and not just lurk. :)

You have described, perfectly, what life was like for me when I was involved in FMH (and other blogs, but mostly FMH). My life wasn't awful...I just...let myself get swept into it all. I even argued with my husband on doctrine --he was just as appalled as I was at my urgent need to A. Spread righteousness! and B. start "understanding" the plight of these blogs and slowly give in to their persuasions. I know that sounds as if I'm claiming these sites to be "evil" or something (and I'm not), but something must be said for situations like ours where it did bring evil into our lives, you know?

Anyway, I'm glad you found me. How did you find me? I'm just curious to know where my readership comes from...

Stephanie said...

My SIL sent me some links to blogs I might find more uplifting than FMH. :) She sent me the link to Regally Blonde's blog, and I clicked over to your blog on her post about feminism.

I definitely think there is something to be said for the negative effects those websites have (particularly FMH). I kept thinking, "This is like the philosophies of men . . . mingled with [very little] scripture". But, what really hit me was when I read this quote in the April Ensign: "When you spend your time the way the Savior would spend His time, you become closer to Him". I just don't think the Savior would spend his time arguing the way I had been. :(

I'd love to hang out here and comment (if I have anything useful to say). :) Thanks.