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January 23, 2009

How Do You Blog A Complaint?

One front page story at Philippine Star a few days ago involved four students of the Quezon City Science High School (a government-run science-oriented institution) being suspended due to several blog posts being severely critical of the school’s administration, particularly its principal.

Officials of the Quezon City Science High School (QCSHS) recently suspended four students who allegedly posted a blog that criticized the school’s principal.

The concerned blog … contains articles and photographs against Sadsad’s policies and person as well as the students’ gripes over irregular lunch hours and required subjects, among others.

The personal attacks against Sadsad in the blog even included violent declarations such as “Sadsad must die.”

While much of the students’ blog postings are on locked Multiply accounts–meaning they not for public consumption, but rather accessible to friends only–the Star cited another Multiply account as subject of the controversy.

I’m not taking sides on this issue yet. For all I know, the students’ gripes might be valid. But i usually get taken aback when people overdo it when they air their gripes online–especially if one resorts to personal attacks. This often results in a knee-jerk reaction, which can similarly be personal in nature. As bloggers, are we becoming a community of whiners? And because of this, are other people becoming overly defensive and over-reacting whenever they are attacked online? And why do we resort to ad hominem attacks?

On some forums and sites that I manage, I have experienced being on the receiving end of personally-directed attacks, too. Some are through private emails, some through public comments. Sometimes the argument gets lost in the midst of name-calling, swearing, and typing in all caps (probably the worst of ‘em all, eh?).

Then again, there’s a difference between launching an attack on one’s person and the recipient’s taking a valid argument too personally. But whether it’s one thing or the other, the perception of people reading rabidly-written complaint blog posts might not be too good. read more

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