Granted, blogs aren’t the best source of information in the first place (usually the content is rather mundane, one-sided and superficial) but to be told to buzz off and ‘do your homework’ is a first. So much for common courtesy and cooperation in spreading martial-knowledge. A simple refusal would have been enough, I don’t need your condescending attitude, nor your useless advice. -- Zara
While somewhat miffed, I'm a bit surprised that I haven't run into this kind of conflict as a blogger previously. I am somewhat averse to public forums because I've got sucked into flamewars in the dim and distant past, where relative anonymity, plus lack of verbal and visual cues often leads to a downward spiral into insults and baiting.
In this case, however, I clearly lit the match, albeit inadvertently.
Let me explain my side:
Zara's initial post asking for some advice on a specific problem was sincere, and definitely not trolling, but I was hesitant to give a detailed reply because I am reluctant to even try to teach techniques over the internet. I don't know anything about Zara besides what he has written in his initial comment, and -- unfortunately -- because there was no way to contact him directly I either had to respond publicly or ignore him.
So I posted a somewhat curt reply and a low-level follow-up post with the kind of general advice that I normally give on this blog: Ideas that will help people with a clue already, but not specific instruction.
I hoped that he might get a bit out of it, and respond with a more specific enquiry, providing details of what he had tried and where he was getting stuck, etc. I probably should have given less advice and invited him to email then and there, but there you go.
Then I went off to attend to my daily chores, and that evening played around in my jiu-jitsu class a bit with one of the scenarios that Zara described, using it as a theme for part of the class, and tested out what to do in a tricky situation. I'll write more on that in a later post.
Late that night I read Zara's responses and thought: Whoops! You can read my comments at the end inviting him to email me, and pointing him to one more post.
Conclusion: From my perspective, I was pleased to get the interest, but cautious about how I responded. With hindsight, I should have taken more time responding, and asked Zara to be patient, and started off with an offer to take the conversation to email straight-away.
So, on reflection, I want to thank Zara for:
- Asking good questions, which will stimulate some more blog posts (once I figure out how to respond more usefully, without breaching my self-imposed boundaries)
- Prompting me to reflect once again on the nature of conflict, and to work on my tone and clarity when responding to comments from the privileged position of blog-proprietor
My offer stands to get in touch with me by email: email@example.com.
By the way, a brilliant book about applying martial arts concepts to conflict resolution is Terry Dobson's Aikido in Everyday Life: Giving in to get your way. Clearly I still have a lot to learn.
[Edited following Zara's reply to refer to Zara as a he, not a she.]