Call Out or Communicate?

Filed as Features on October 31, 2008 4:51 am

A friend is going through an issue that I believe is becoming more common. He wrote on a forum that we both frequent that someone he actually knows is trying to “call him out” on something using blog posts and comments rather than going direct.

Is this something you have seen before? I have, and more often recently.

Rather than sort out the issue (which is, as usual a simple misunderstanding) via email or contact form, the person in question has left accusatory and inflammatory comments.

Now perhaps there is some logic to going the indirect route, when someone makes a critical post because they have no direct contact with the person, but when they know the target of their anger/confusion/jealousy, surely the first thought is to get in contact with them?

This leads me to believe that rather than a change of behavior (which is the stated goal), the attacker is going after making the blogger either step down or shamed.

If I didn’t offer a solution then I guess this post would be kind of hypocritical, after all I am in a way calling out someone for their bad behavior :)

  • If you have a problem with someone then contact them about their behavior – Not an attack on the person but point out the behavior and why you have an issue with it.
  • Sometimes we think that somethign is written about us when in fact it isn’t, which of course some bloggers count on so they can say what they think with plausible denyability, so make sure before you take action.
  • When someone is visibly hounding you then they obviously want attention, either from you or your audience, don’t give them the venue to talk to your audience, take it offline and contact them directly
  • At some point you either have to decide the issue is done or walk away, don’t get heated or escalate, and never make it personal. Discuss don’t argue. Say your piece and leave it.

I guess this kind of thing is a symptom of bloggers being used to expressing their thoughts and having a safe and remote way to do it, but it can cause more pain than I think people realize.

Has this kind of thing happened to someone you know? Please share in the comments …

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  1. By Tammy Lenski posted on October 31, 2008 at 6:29 am
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    Hi, Chris – This year I had someone use one of my blogs to shame someone I’d written about. The commenter was quite public about the person’s transgressions. Since I write about conflict resolution, I couldn’t decide whether I should be aghast at the commenter’s ineffective approach or laugh at his obliviousness to the topic of my blog.

    In the end I wrote and told him that I’d removed his comment because it was in violation of my blog’s comment policy and because it was not ok to use my blog to go off-topic and call someone else out. I also offered him, gratis, a little conflict resolution advice about that method almost guaranteeing that the disagreement would get worse, not better.

    He wrote back and apologized, explaining his frustration with getting the attention of the other person. I encouraged him to talk directly with that person, with whom he’d not spoken in apparently years. Hope they work it out. If they don’t, I know where they can find a good mediator. :)

    Reply

  2. By Chris Garrett posted on October 31, 2008 at 4:09 pm
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    Well if you are going to abuse a comment area you might as well abuse an experts, how silly must they have felt that they didn’t notice what your blog was about :)

    I can see the temptation in trying to get someones attention that way, but like most things in the heat of the moment, it rarely works out well does it? :)

    Reply

  3. By Laura Bergells posted on November 6, 2008 at 8:20 am
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    Think of the bad boss who belittles or criticizes employees publicly, within ear shot of coworkers. Bosses like these seldom get the best work out employees, because everyone is too afraid to posit their most creative or outlandish ideas.

    Same scenario with folks who trample on comment areas to publicly call someone out. Aside from the obvious comment-area abuse, the lack of positive conflict resolution and social skills says more about the criticizer than the object of their ire!

    Reply

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