No, no, no, no, no!
I believe this is a mistake. If he wants to cut back blogging for its own sake, that’s one thing. But to allow the unsavory mass of syphilitic cretins, the under-dwelling bridge trolls, the ugly philistines to unduly influence him truly is an absurdity, one that cries out for correction.
With any luck, this post is that correction.
We don’t know each other, but I feel your pain.
I want to — selfishly — make a few suggestions, with the hope that a little tough love will get you to resume regular posting.
Please consider all 7 of these suggestions:
1. Embrace the Churn
Every public entity needs to understand churn: Netflix, Mobile carriers, magazines, HBO, Broadband providers, etc. all understand that for each new 10 clients they get, they lose a few. Sometimes, quite a few.
Your widespread publicity means that you will be pulling up a lot of jellyfish in your tuna nets. Its inevitable, can’t be helped.
Understand this, expect it, embrace it. You can start by throwing the jellyfish back.
You do that by:
2. Engage in Triage:
In wartime, medics on the front line make life and death decisions. Sheer numbers mean you must engage in some on-the-fly battlefield medicine. You cannot save everyone, so concentrate on who you can save. This will be the audience that is of value to you, both as a writer, and monetarily.
There will be some difficult choices you will have to make. Some must die so others can live.
You cannot rescue every poor bastard you come across. Out of millions of readers, don’t be afraid to lose the nettlesome, annoying, time consuming pinheads. Even the borderline cases must go — its strictly a numbers game. Given the math, even those “with potential” must get the heave-ho if they are psychically draining.
You will find readers by the thousands that you want to address. Smart, loyal, creative, humble, beautiful strangers whose comments and contributions are a joy to behold.
The rest of the dolts? Well, you need to learn to say:
3. Fuck ’em.
Shake loose some of that California niceness you developed, and re-find your inner New Yorker.
If an in-DUH-vidual is offended or insulted by something you wrote, and feels the need to declare they will never read Dilbert again, well, then Fuck ’em — you didn’t want them reading you anyway.
Trust me when I tell you, for each inflamed hemorrhoid you lose, your world becomes a better place. And, the improvements are cumulative.
This is a staple attitude you must bring to writing on the web. Without it, you will be chewed up and spit out like so much chaw. This is a deep philosophical breakthrough you must achieve in order to survive.
I’ve read many of the comments posted on your blog, and it appears there is no DMZ line. Figure out what is acceptable to you, and post some guidelines (sample). Anything over that line get deleted, and the author’s IP address gets banned. If you are really feeling puckish, you can create a hall of shame.
Hey, its your house. I don’t let my guests piss in the potted plants — neither should you.
4. Intern Up:
Of course you don’t have time for this — thats why on the 4th day, the Lord created interns.
Working for you would be a career highlight for some aspiring writer/literary agent/ass kisser. Train this young sycophant well to follow the edict of #3: All trolls, asshats and weasels get deleted, banned and shamed.
Of course, to do this, you need to:
5. Toughen Up!
The web is a dangerous brew: Mix one part anonymity, another part self-righteous English lit majors, throw in some political trolls, along with a snarling pack of ironically impaired cretins, and Voila! The perfect vehicle for human idiocy to express itself in its fullest flower.
Toughen up! You are not in a small town anymore.
You are a sensitive type — an artiste. But that doesn’t mean you need to eat shit from a bunch of neer-do-wells, pederasts, or Ann Coulter fans.
I find it abhorent that a group of keyboard-pecking monkeys can shout you down. Instead, you should:
6. Respond Appropriately to the Unwashed Masses:
Issue: (Said in a whiney, nasal voice: We don’t want to pay for the book, it was on line for free.
Wrong: Gee, I’m sorry, I didn’t consider that. Maybe that was a mistake on my part.
Right: Hey, asshole — buy the goddamned book or I will run your puppy over with my Sears Craftsman 24 hp 50 inch ZTS 7500 Zero Turn Riding Mower (big endorsement bucks) and mail you back the shreds! What is this, a fucking charity?
Its kind of a subtle difference, but if you squint, you may see what I mean.
7. Remember Sturgeon’s Law: Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon once said “95% of science fiction is crap. Come to think of it, 95% of *everything* is crap.”
If any meatspace law carries over to this series of tubes, it is that one.
Sift out the crap. Keep the best 5%
I hope you found this helpful.
And I hope you keep publishing online . . .
UPDATE: November 28th, 2007 2:45pm
A reader reminds me of this prior post from December 2006: