Rule #176 of Being a Blogger: Learn How to Take Criticism

Do we embrace criticism, or simply encourage agreement?

The most recent ‘buzz’ around the blogosphere centers around a blog post written by Penelope Trunk, a household name amongst us bloggers, and the founder of BrazenCareerist.com. Her blog, titled ‘I hate David Dellifield. The one from Ada, Ohio‘ illustrates a point that many of us, as bloggers, don’t know how to take criticism – and truthfully, this is the first ideal one has to embrace before embarking on this blog-journey. Penelope’s story goes something like this.

She sends out a Tweet last week which says:

“No school today and the nanny’s on vacation. A whole day with the kids gets so boring: all intergalactic battles and no intellectual banter.”

In response, David Dellifield, a relative unknown in comparison responds by saying:

“@penelopetrunk sorry your kids are a burden, send them to OH, we’ll enjoy them for who they are”.

With this – Penelope went out of her way to approach David by CALLING him at work, to which she got no response, thus she resulted to responding via Twitter,and lastly, she wrote an entire blog post about why she ‘hates’ the guy.

No, Penelope Trunk is not a bad mother

A couple of things before I share any of my thoughts. One: I do not, in any way think that Penlope Trunk is a bad mother to her children – I don’t think her tweet illustrates that at all, and David was clearly being a jerk in his response. Two: Penelope is obviously good at what she does, she draws attention to herself, she get’s people talking, and for better or for worse, she’s created a huge community surrounding her blog and her business community on Brazen.

With that being said – I am disgusted by the way she handled the situation. I have been an avid reader of hers and am highly involved in the Brazen community, but this makes me lose faith in her and what she is about. Many people have written this off as ‘brilliant’ and ‘authentic’ - all it is authentic in is showing how to act like a coward and a child when starting criticism and adversity in the face.

Rule #176 of blogging:

One of the first things we HAVE to realize as bloggers is that criticism is going to come, and we have to be able to embrace it. I am no expert on these things, and don’t claim to know everything about anything, but when you put your OPINION out in public domain, as she did, and someone shares with you an opinion that contradicts you – I say, oh well, you asked for it. People are going to disagree with you, get over it. David was a jerk in the way he responded, I’ll agree with that – but to find him, call him at work, then write a post bashing him? Come on – this isn’t even an eye for an eye – it’s an eye for a pair of eyes, legs, and arms.

My question is, why? Why go out of your way to bash the guy? Why go out of your way to personally call him because he was ‘mean’ to you on Twitter? It all seems like way to sensationalize the issue and drive traffic to yourself. Sure, it’s “real” it’s “bold” it’s “different” – but that’s not always a good thing.

Everyone hates a critic

It seems that overall, as bloggers, we really don’t want any criticism. We say we do, we say we encourage discussion and interaction, but as soon as one is faced with criticism, it immediately gets personal and turns ugly. I want my blog to be an OPEN forum of discussion – disagree with me, tell me what’s on your mind. That’s great – I want to learn and grow. If someone can convince me that what Penelope did was right and just in this situation – more power to you. If not, we can agree to disagree and move on. We can still be friends, we can still relate as human beings on other issues – not everyone has to agree on everything. I’m not talking about verbal abuse – that’s different – if you come here and write a comment telling me I’m a prick – that serves no purpose, but I openly welcome disagreement within discussion.

Recently there have been incidents where bloggers have deleted posts and deleted comments based on the response they received – I think this is ‘breaking the rules’ of being a blogger. You put YOUR opinion out for everyone to see, why can’t someone else? It’s like they say, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has on and they all stink”

We don’t always have to agree. It’s OK. Really.

Learn to take criticism with grace and civility. Embrace criticism as a way to learn something new, learn and grow from it. Besides, reading through a bunch of comments that say ‘Great post, I agree’ is boring and doesn’t add anything to the topic-at-hand.

I encourage all of you to respond here. What’s your take on the P Trunk situation? Do you leave yourself open to criticism? Should we act as self-editors of our blogs when someone posts a comment we don’t agree with? I look forward to the discussion, including the possible criticism and disagreement that will ensue.


310 Responses
  • Akhila Reply

    I totally agree with you on this Matt. I wrote a comment elsewhere about this, but basically I don’t think any of us as bloggers have the right to attack and criticize someone PERSONALLY for something they’ve done online. Perhaps I’d pardon this sort of behavior from a new blogger, but I really can’t understand how and why someone as well versed in blogging as Penelope would do a thing like this.

    This is the epitome of what I dislike in the blogosphere: drama, hating, attacking. Criticism is one thing. It has to be constructive. Perhaps if Penelope had criticized this David dude in a proper way – as in, pointing out that what he had said was wrong and then moved on from that – that would have been perfectly acceptable. Debate and constructive criticism is healthy.

    What Penelope did actually was not healthy debate. It was attacking a person and their character, when in fact she knows nothing about this David guy. It was an unfair act on her part, and we shouldn’t be attacking a person or saying we hate them just based on one line he might have said.

    • Matt Reply

      You bring up a point worth discussing when you say ‘I’d pardon this sort of behavior from a new blogger, but I really can’t understand how and why someone as well versed in blogging as Penelope would do a thing like this’. – I am feeling the same way, she knows what she is doing, she’s good at what she does, so why do this? It is looking more and more like a she did it for recognition, she handled something in a completely over-the-top way and sensationalized it into this post. She got people talking – she got me to write a blog about it. So do you think that she’s sitting in her chair laughing at what a beautiful mess she’s made? Some people might hate her for it, but just as many will love and support her actions – so it all balances out. Does that mean I should write just to push the envelope? You know, about racism, sex, drugs, and other ‘taboo’ topics just to boost traffic? Where is the line drawn? Is there a line? Or is it just another method to drive traffic to your site? Interested to hear your (and everyone else’s) thoughts on this.

      • Akhila Reply

        I don’t know if she was just being authentic and telling her thoughts on her blog, or if her intention was actually to sensationalize and draw attention to her blog. I’m really not sure what her intention was, and we can’t tell from her post. However, I don’t think that it’s necessary WRONG to want to generate discussion and debate, or to get people to challenge you. It’s not preferable, and at least personally I prefer people to be authentic rather than attempting to gain traffic or to get popular…but I think that different people have different priorities. And perhaps it’s not so bad to want to generate debate since that’s one of the main purposes of blogging.

        • Matt Reply

          Agreed, there is nothing wrong with writing to encourage debate. But I think that’s different from writing controversial topics for the sake of unique-ness, which this appears to be. I don’t know – it would just never go through my mind to react like this than personally bash someone on my blog. It seems over-the-top and uncharacteristic of P-Trunk.

          Writing for debate and discussion is good, and something I typically try to do. And while I can appreciate writing controversial topics that others are afraid to touch (that takes guts), this is a blatant personal attack using an extreme example to make a general point on parenting and society.

  • Akhila Reply

    I totally agree with you on this Matt. I wrote a comment elsewhere about this, but basically I don’t think any of us as bloggers have the right to attack and criticize someone PERSONALLY for something they’ve done online. Perhaps I’d pardon this sort of behavior from a new blogger, but I really can’t understand how and why someone as well versed in blogging as Penelope would do a thing like this.

    This is the epitome of what I dislike in the blogosphere: drama, hating, attacking. Criticism is one thing. It has to be constructive. Perhaps if Penelope had criticized this David dude in a proper way – as in, pointing out that what he had said was wrong and then moved on from that – that would have been perfectly acceptable. Debate and constructive criticism is healthy.

    What Penelope did actually was not healthy debate. It was attacking a person and their character, when in fact she knows nothing about this David guy. It was an unfair act on her part, and we shouldn’t be attacking a person or saying we hate them just based on one line he might have said.

    • Matt Reply

      You bring up a point worth discussing when you say ‘I’d pardon this sort of behavior from a new blogger, but I really can’t understand how and why someone as well versed in blogging as Penelope would do a thing like this’. – I am feeling the same way, she knows what she is doing, she’s good at what she does, so why do this? It is looking more and more like a she did it for recognition, she handled something in a completely over-the-top way and sensationalized it into this post. She got people talking – she got me to write a blog about it. So do you think that she’s sitting in her chair laughing at what a beautiful mess she’s made? Some people might hate her for it, but just as many will love and support her actions – so it all balances out. Does that mean I should write just to push the envelope? You know, about racism, sex, drugs, and other ‘taboo’ topics just to boost traffic? Where is the line drawn? Is there a line? Or is it just another method to drive traffic to your site? Interested to hear your (and everyone else’s) thoughts on this.

      • Akhila Reply

        I don’t know if she was just being authentic and telling her thoughts on her blog, or if her intention was actually to sensationalize and draw attention to her blog. I’m really not sure what her intention was, and we can’t tell from her post. However, I don’t think that it’s necessary WRONG to want to generate discussion and debate, or to get people to challenge you. It’s not preferable, and at least personally I prefer people to be authentic rather than attempting to gain traffic or to get popular…but I think that different people have different priorities. And perhaps it’s not so bad to want to generate debate since that’s one of the main purposes of blogging.

        • Matt Reply

          Agreed, there is nothing wrong with writing to encourage debate. But I think that’s different from writing controversial topics for the sake of unique-ness, which this appears to be. I don’t know – it would just never go through my mind to react like this than personally bash someone on my blog. It seems over-the-top and uncharacteristic of P-Trunk.

          Writing for debate and discussion is good, and something I typically try to do. And while I can appreciate writing controversial topics that others are afraid to touch (that takes guts), this is a blatant personal attack using an extreme example to make a general point on parenting and society.

  • Chaalz Reply

    I recently started blogging and poured my heart into a post about being efficient (and the auto industry) and this was the very first response to me as an official blogger:

    “complete crap. competition is what drives capitalism. a monopolostic design is what makes up socialism. take this stupid crap off the net..”

    I have to tell you I was pissed off. And that was with ZERO readers (if you’re not counting the guy who hated my post). But luckily for me, my blog doesn’t define me and I let that go in a few mins.

    But I guess one could argue that you’d be PO’d too if you were called out and embarrassed “in front of” all your 11,550 “friends” on Twitter. Regardless if its a public forum or not, feeling will be hurt especially when you’ve actually become a person on Twitter (as opposed to just a follower).

    Just some thoughts.

    • Matt Reply

      Chaalz – I agree man, I would be pissed too – David was a jerk in the way he responded. Sort of a ‘drive by’ technique of bashing people for not apparent reason. It’s low. BUT, for her to go to these lengths and react like this? I mean, she was on the verge of posting his phone number in the blog so her supporters could harass him. Something is wrong with that. To me, that’s plat-forming yourself and really, she just comes off as sensationalizing a controversial response to criticism. It drives traffic, it gets people talking, it inspires blogs like this around the web, so I guess I can say thank you for stirring some thoughts within me – but it does not have positive feedback on her – it makes me lose faith in a lot of what she’s about and how she’s gotten to where she is today.

  • Chaalz Reply

    I recently started blogging and poured my heart into a post about being efficient (and the auto industry) and this was the very first response to me as an official blogger:

    “complete crap. competition is what drives capitalism. a monopolostic design is what makes up socialism. take this stupid crap off the net..”

    I have to tell you I was pissed off. And that was with ZERO readers (if you’re not counting the guy who hated my post). But luckily for me, my blog doesn’t define me and I let that go in a few mins.

    But I guess one could argue that you’d be PO’d too if you were called out and embarrassed “in front of” all your 11,550 “friends” on Twitter. Regardless if its a public forum or not, feeling will be hurt especially when you’ve actually become a person on Twitter (as opposed to just a follower).

    Just some thoughts.

    • Matt Reply

      Chaalz – I agree man, I would be pissed too – David was a jerk in the way he responded. Sort of a ‘drive by’ technique of bashing people for not apparent reason. It’s low. BUT, for her to go to these lengths and react like this? I mean, she was on the verge of posting his phone number in the blog so her supporters could harass him. Something is wrong with that. To me, that’s plat-forming yourself and really, she just comes off as sensationalizing a controversial response to criticism. It drives traffic, it gets people talking, it inspires blogs like this around the web, so I guess I can say thank you for stirring some thoughts within me – but it does not have positive feedback on her – it makes me lose faith in a lot of what she’s about and how she’s gotten to where she is today.

  • Benjamin Wilcox Reply

    I agree with you on this as well. One of the great things about writing a blog is the community that is gained from the discussion. I LOVE this phenomenon as a new blogger. I have very strong opinions on many topics, but I make an effort to keep every post or comment objective. I am sure we have all heard the advice that everything posted on a blog, twitter or facebook should be clean enough to post on a billboard next to your picture. The internet does not forget. While I have not followed this rule to the full extent, I try to think if I would beembarassed if my younger sister read the latest entry I finished. In the interview process, this only becomes more important when people are googling your name.

    Another point that I would argue is that the retaliation post will not make Penelope feel any better. I would say that she might feel even more angry after writing the post than before. Energy spent on revenge is better used somewhere else. This is much easier said than done, but as a blogger or entrepreneur, you need to have a thick skin to criticism. A good example of this would be how the CEO of Facebook has dealt with the backlash to the latest redesign. I really like Penelope’s writing and will continue to read her blog, but I might see it in a different light from now on.

    • Matt Reply

      Ben – you always make me think, one of the things I really appreciate and value about your input here. First of all, to your point of objectivity, I’m not sure that I entirely agree – I try to be subjectively objective (I know, that’s an oxymoron) but what is a blog without opinion? That being said – I think some people write for the sake of controversy and write very opinionated narrow views on an issue. I will openly give my opinion in my writing, but there is very little that I am not open minded toward. I am a firm believer in the ‘online legacy’ theory that nothing ever is forgotten – so with each post and comment I leave, I understand that I leave a little piece of history behind.

      I agree that this post appears to be written out of revenge. It is a view on parenting and the pressure society puts on parents, but it is gone about in the wrong way. Sharing a story about stalking someone who was a jerk in order to prove a point is way over-the-top. I’ll argue that it probably did make her happy – look at the discussion she sparked, for better or worse, she has a lot of skill at what she does. What are your thoughts on ‘writing for the sake of controversy’?

  • Benjamin Wilcox Reply

    I agree with you on this as well. One of the great things about writing a blog is the community that is gained from the discussion. I LOVE this phenomenon as a new blogger. I have very strong opinions on many topics, but I make an effort to keep every post or comment objective. I am sure we have all heard the advice that everything posted on a blog, twitter or facebook should be clean enough to post on a billboard next to your picture. The internet does not forget. While I have not followed this rule to the full extent, I try to think if I would beembarassed if my younger sister read the latest entry I finished. In the interview process, this only becomes more important when people are googling your name.

    Another point that I would argue is that the retaliation post will not make Penelope feel any better. I would say that she might feel even more angry after writing the post than before. Energy spent on revenge is better used somewhere else. This is much easier said than done, but as a blogger or entrepreneur, you need to have a thick skin to criticism. A good example of this would be how the CEO of Facebook has dealt with the backlash to the latest redesign. I really like Penelope’s writing and will continue to read her blog, but I might see it in a different light from now on.

    • Matt Reply

      Ben – you always make me think, one of the things I really appreciate and value about your input here. First of all, to your point of objectivity, I’m not sure that I entirely agree – I try to be subjectively objective (I know, that’s an oxymoron) but what is a blog without opinion? That being said – I think some people write for the sake of controversy and write very opinionated narrow views on an issue. I will openly give my opinion in my writing, but there is very little that I am not open minded toward. I am a firm believer in the ‘online legacy’ theory that nothing ever is forgotten – so with each post and comment I leave, I understand that I leave a little piece of history behind.

      I agree that this post appears to be written out of revenge. It is a view on parenting and the pressure society puts on parents, but it is gone about in the wrong way. Sharing a story about stalking someone who was a jerk in order to prove a point is way over-the-top. I’ll argue that it probably did make her happy – look at the discussion she sparked, for better or worse, she has a lot of skill at what she does. What are your thoughts on ‘writing for the sake of controversy’?

  • Tom Reply

    I don’t agree. I’ve never read Penelope’s blog before and from your write-up I was expecting something petty and high-handed. Instead I got a well-constructed post using one annoying incident as a springboard into some on-point stuff on the expectations society places on parents and parenting, and how hypocritical that can be. As a parent myself, I agreed with what she wrote, which may have coloured my response!

    Was she wrong to call this Twitter dude out by name and call him up? Maybe, maybe not. Part of the point of the post is that for whatever reason parenting seems to make you public property – unlike almost any other topic complete strangers feel empowered to chip in with criticism and blame. This sense of being public property isn’t very nice – and what’s more it isn’t something men (fathers or otherwise) tend to feel. So a personal attack on David is a neat way of illustrating that point: YES it makes him (and the reader) uncomfortable. It’s meant to.

    • Matt Reply

      Tom, I think you raise a very valid and interesting point about the ‘big picture’ here – the fact that society is quick to judge people on their parenting habits. Please keep in mind – this post was no way a personal attack on Penelope, rather a commentary on her actions and bloggers (collectively) and the way they handle criticism. I don’t disagree at all that David’s comment was brash and unnecessary – I just think the reaction, especially from Penelope, someone a lot of people really respect, was uncalled for and was uncharacteristic of how I personally pictured her character to be.

  • Tom Reply

    I don’t agree. I’ve never read Penelope’s blog before and from your write-up I was expecting something petty and high-handed. Instead I got a well-constructed post using one annoying incident as a springboard into some on-point stuff on the expectations society places on parents and parenting, and how hypocritical that can be. As a parent myself, I agreed with what she wrote, which may have coloured my response!

    Was she wrong to call this Twitter dude out by name and call him up? Maybe, maybe not. Part of the point of the post is that for whatever reason parenting seems to make you public property – unlike almost any other topic complete strangers feel empowered to chip in with criticism and blame. This sense of being public property isn’t very nice – and what’s more it isn’t something men (fathers or otherwise) tend to feel. So a personal attack on David is a neat way of illustrating that point: YES it makes him (and the reader) uncomfortable. It’s meant to.

    • Matt Reply

      Tom, I think you raise a very valid and interesting point about the ‘big picture’ here – the fact that society is quick to judge people on their parenting habits. Please keep in mind – this post was no way a personal attack on Penelope, rather a commentary on her actions and bloggers (collectively) and the way they handle criticism. I don’t disagree at all that David’s comment was brash and unnecessary – I just think the reaction, especially from Penelope, someone a lot of people really respect, was uncalled for and was uncharacteristic of how I personally pictured her character to be.

  • Nathalie Reply

    You made a great point Matt. Her post went a bit overboard. While she did not accept that the guy made a comment that was not constructive, she actually reacted in a similar fashion: by attacking him personally she was not opened to a constructive dialogue.

    To her defense, I think that to say to a mother that she is a bad mother is certainly the worst criticism you can make. So she reacted strongly and let her emotions speaking out. Although, being a popular blogger, she should be aware of the impact of personally attacking someone for something as little as a tweet (a mean one, but still just a tweet). She could have make her points on motherhood and career just as well by letting the guy be anonymous.

    • Matt Reply

      Hey Nathalie – thanks for getting involved in this discussion. Like I said, this wasn’t even an eye for an eye, it was an eye for…much more. David wrote a snark comment on Twitter, and in response, Penelope attacked him by calling him over and over, threatening to post his phone number in her blog, and writing 500+ words on why she hated him. I get it, it proved a point about parenting (indirectly) and and shouted out loud ‘Don’t mess with me!’ but it’s all way too much, and something I wouldn’t expect from someone of her character.

      I guess she chose not to keep his identity because he publicly called her out – but the bottom line is that it was unnecessary and proved more against her than for her (at least in my mind).

  • Nathalie Reply

    You made a great point Matt. Her post went a bit overboard. While she did not accept that the guy made a comment that was not constructive, she actually reacted in a similar fashion: by attacking him personally she was not opened to a constructive dialogue.

    To her defense, I think that to say to a mother that she is a bad mother is certainly the worst criticism you can make. So she reacted strongly and let her emotions speaking out. Although, being a popular blogger, she should be aware of the impact of personally attacking someone for something as little as a tweet (a mean one, but still just a tweet). She could have make her points on motherhood and career just as well by letting the guy be anonymous.

    • Matt Reply

      Hey Nathalie – thanks for getting involved in this discussion. Like I said, this wasn’t even an eye for an eye, it was an eye for…much more. David wrote a snark comment on Twitter, and in response, Penelope attacked him by calling him over and over, threatening to post his phone number in her blog, and writing 500+ words on why she hated him. I get it, it proved a point about parenting (indirectly) and and shouted out loud ‘Don’t mess with me!’ but it’s all way too much, and something I wouldn’t expect from someone of her character.

      I guess she chose not to keep his identity because he publicly called her out – but the bottom line is that it was unnecessary and proved more against her than for her (at least in my mind).

  • Rebecca Reply

    People like Penelope because she makes them think – it doesn’t mean you have to agree with her, her thoughts, OR her actions. Just accept that she does a great job at her job – pushing others to think differently, learn about their own values, form opinions, and create dialogue.

    Like I said in my social media post, I don’t agree with Scott Monty, but I respect what he does. I don’t agree with Ann Coulter either. But you have to admit, she’s good at helping others learn about themselves through voicing her own opinions.

    You’ve only been blogging for three months. Wait until you write something a little controversial, and then do that over and over again, and get slammed over and over again. Penelope is one of the best people I know at taking criticism. She has taken and dealt with immense amounts that none of us will probably ever know.

    But not when it’s a personal attack. Should we have to deal with that kind of abuse as a blogger? If so, I don’t want to blog.

    You also mushed this post up with deleting comments which has nothing to do with Penelope’s post. But in response to that, I follow the Brian Clark (@copyblogger) formula, who recently tweeted:

    Feel free to steal my comment moderation formula: “anonymous + a**hole = delete”

    That’s my two cents. Thanks for the post.

    • Matt Reply

      Hey Rebecca – I want to respond to a couple of your points (thanks for getting involved in this discussion). I whole-heartedly agree that Penelope is an excellent writer and good at what she does, she has proven that time and time again – but this post makes me wonder if it’s all for show. If she purposely went over-the-top to sensationalize and issue and draw traffic. Maybe so, and maybe I just misinterpreted it. She’s damn good at making people think – she inspired me to write this – so doesn’t that say enough?

      To your point, I have been blogging for several years on different platforms, this being the most recent. I’ve taken my share of criticism, and handled it poorly, I know how it goes – not to her extent, I’m obviously not on the same platform as she is, but I know that criticism sucks sometimes, but I’ve learned that it can be used as a learning experience. And I would never go out of my way to find someone at work and threaten to put their phone number on my blog for my supporters to go harass them.

      And lastly, your point about deleting comments – I actually supported your decision on this, if you recall my response to your post(s). If it’s an anonymous person coming to bash you and make you look bad – that’s one thing. If it’s honest criticism and can be used to engage discussion, embrace it – there is a big difference. I wasn’t trying to use YOU as an example, there have been many cases of this recently, and again, I was not trying to single you out.

      Do you think she was right in the way she handled the situation Rebecca?

      • Rebecca Reply

        Thanks for clarifying, Matt. It’s good to learn more about you :)

        Do I think she handled it “right”?

        I don’t know if there was a right way or a wrong way. I know how I would have done it. I can’t say what’s best for someone else. It’s like saying there’s a right way to raise your kids, which was a big point of the post.

        Regardless of whether it was right or wrong, I’m glad she did. Because I learned a lot from it and the subsequent dialogue.

        Thanks for hosting one such discussion :)

        • Matt Reply

          Well you make a good point – I don’t have near the experience she does when it comes to blogging and discussing controversial issues. She is good at what she does, for what it’s worth. But I know that, from a moral standpoint, I wouldn’t have reacted like this. Responded to him on Twitter, probably – but I wouldn’t have called some stranger to tell him he was a jerk. How would you have handled the situation?

          In the grand scheme of things, it is a learning experience, as you said. Something that we can use for our own development.

        • Akhila Reply

          Rebecca, I have to say I believe there IS some morally right or wrong way to do things. We’d all agree that killing someone or hurting someone is wrong. Morally. Doesn’t matter who it is: killing is wrong.

          So why can’t we apply moral standards to something like attacking someone personally? You say it’s wrong to attack someone personally, but that’s exactly what Penelope did to David. So what you’re saying doesn’t make sense to me – don’t you think Penelope’s attack was a personal one? By saying “I hate David” she was making a personal attack.

          • Rebecca Reply

            I agree that some things are morally right and wrong.

            In this case, I think David was the example Penelope used. I don’t think it was personal. She used David as the face for all the other individuals who make such statements. David = jerks. It’s easier to identify with a specific case or person than large sweeping generalizations.

            Nonprofits, as I’m sure you know, do this all the time to plead their case. Instead of saying donate food for the hungry, they introduce you to Sara who has a daughter and just got laid off.

            Penelope attacked his opinions, not the man himself. And in the meantime, she also laid out quite honestly the struggle we all feel when we’re attacked ourselves. I think that’s scary for a lot of us to see that because we wish we were all better, but it doesn’t get better unless you talk about it and engage in dialogue and put yourself out there.

            • Matt Reply

              I’ll argue that this WAS in fact a personal attack Rebecca. Yes, it was used as an example, but titling your post “I hate David Dellifield” sets up the premise for a personal attack. I agree that it was effective in proving her point – but she proved two points: 1) how society is quick to judge, especially in judging parents 2) the entirely wrong way to follow up with someone who happened to say a jerky comment. I’m not sure which point is more apparent after reading the post – and in saying that, I don’t think her post was entirely successful. We should be debating why parents are so harshly judged by society, not why Penelope felt the need to call this man personally and attack him.

  • Rebecca Reply

    People like Penelope because she makes them think – it doesn’t mean you have to agree with her, her thoughts, OR her actions. Just accept that she does a great job at her job – pushing others to think differently, learn about their own values, form opinions, and create dialogue.

    Like I said in my social media post, I don’t agree with Scott Monty, but I respect what he does. I don’t agree with Ann Coulter either. But you have to admit, she’s good at helping others learn about themselves through voicing her own opinions.

    You’ve only been blogging for three months. Wait until you write something a little controversial, and then do that over and over again, and get slammed over and over again. Penelope is one of the best people I know at taking criticism. She has taken and dealt with immense amounts that none of us will probably ever know.

    But not when it’s a personal attack. Should we have to deal with that kind of abuse as a blogger? If so, I don’t want to blog.

    You also mushed this post up with deleting comments which has nothing to do with Penelope’s post. But in response to that, I follow the Brian Clark (@copyblogger) formula, who recently tweeted:

    Feel free to steal my comment moderation formula: “anonymous + a**hole = delete”

    That’s my two cents. Thanks for the post.

    • Matt Reply

      Hey Rebecca – I want to respond to a couple of your points (thanks for getting involved in this discussion). I whole-heartedly agree that Penelope is an excellent writer and good at what she does, she has proven that time and time again – but this post makes me wonder if it’s all for show. If she purposely went over-the-top to sensationalize and issue and draw traffic. Maybe so, and maybe I just misinterpreted it. She’s damn good at making people think – she inspired me to write this – so doesn’t that say enough?

      To your point, I have been blogging for several years on different platforms, this being the most recent. I’ve taken my share of criticism, and handled it poorly, I know how it goes – not to her extent, I’m obviously not on the same platform as she is, but I know that criticism sucks sometimes, but I’ve learned that it can be used as a learning experience. And I would never go out of my way to find someone at work and threaten to put their phone number on my blog for my supporters to go harass them.

      And lastly, your point about deleting comments – I actually supported your decision on this, if you recall my response to your post(s). If it’s an anonymous person coming to bash you and make you look bad – that’s one thing. If it’s honest criticism and can be used to engage discussion, embrace it – there is a big difference. I wasn’t trying to use YOU as an example, there have been many cases of this recently, and again, I was not trying to single you out.

      Do you think she was right in the way she handled the situation Rebecca?

      • Rebecca Reply

        Thanks for clarifying, Matt. It’s good to learn more about you :)

        Do I think she handled it “right”?

        I don’t know if there was a right way or a wrong way. I know how I would have done it. I can’t say what’s best for someone else. It’s like saying there’s a right way to raise your kids, which was a big point of the post.

        Regardless of whether it was right or wrong, I’m glad she did. Because I learned a lot from it and the subsequent dialogue.

        Thanks for hosting one such discussion :)

        • Matt Reply

          Well you make a good point – I don’t have near the experience she does when it comes to blogging and discussing controversial issues. She is good at what she does, for what it’s worth. But I know that, from a moral standpoint, I wouldn’t have reacted like this. Responded to him on Twitter, probably – but I wouldn’t have called some stranger to tell him he was a jerk. How would you have handled the situation?

          In the grand scheme of things, it is a learning experience, as you said. Something that we can use for our own development.

        • Akhila Reply

          Rebecca, I have to say I believe there IS some morally right or wrong way to do things. We’d all agree that killing someone or hurting someone is wrong. Morally. Doesn’t matter who it is: killing is wrong.

          So why can’t we apply moral standards to something like attacking someone personally? You say it’s wrong to attack someone personally, but that’s exactly what Penelope did to David. So what you’re saying doesn’t make sense to me – don’t you think Penelope’s attack was a personal one? By saying “I hate David” she was making a personal attack.

          • Rebecca Reply

            I agree that some things are morally right and wrong.

            In this case, I think David was the example Penelope used. I don’t think it was personal. She used David as the face for all the other individuals who make such statements. David = jerks. It’s easier to identify with a specific case or person than large sweeping generalizations.

            Nonprofits, as I’m sure you know, do this all the time to plead their case. Instead of saying donate food for the hungry, they introduce you to Sara who has a daughter and just got laid off.

            Penelope attacked his opinions, not the man himself. And in the meantime, she also laid out quite honestly the struggle we all feel when we’re attacked ourselves. I think that’s scary for a lot of us to see that because we wish we were all better, but it doesn’t get better unless you talk about it and engage in dialogue and put yourself out there.

            • Matt Reply

              I’ll argue that this WAS in fact a personal attack Rebecca. Yes, it was used as an example, but titling your post “I hate David Dellifield” sets up the premise for a personal attack. I agree that it was effective in proving her point – but she proved two points: 1) how society is quick to judge, especially in judging parents 2) the entirely wrong way to follow up with someone who happened to say a jerky comment. I’m not sure which point is more apparent after reading the post – and in saying that, I don’t think her post was entirely successful. We should be debating why parents are so harshly judged by society, not why Penelope felt the need to call this man personally and attack him.

  • Ryan Stephens Reply

    @Matt

    I’m going to pull out what was most valuable for me, and what I think would be interesting to have a discussion about:

    “It seems that overall, as bloggers, we really don’t want any criticism. We say we do, we say we encourage discussion and interaction, but as soon as one is faced with criticism, it immediately gets personal and turns ugly. I want my blog to be an OPEN forum of discussion – disagree with me, tell me what’s on your mind.”

    My approach is very similar to yours. In fact I don’t even care if you personally attack me ON MY BLOG (in a public forum) because that means that you might have taken the time to read my work, and when I was 14 and on a shit ton of Acutane I acted like a bi-polar adolescent too.

    The thing is (and admittedly I’m a bit more sensitive in the workplace), but I really do what you to challenge my thoughts, and I’m candid about that. There are so many knowledgeable people out there that I can learn from and these social tools make this is an easy reality. Chris Brogan, Scott Monty, Peter Kim, Valeria Maltoni — these are all people who have commented on my blog that I can learn SO MUCH FROM.

    Why do people default to getting anger and bitter when they’ve been challenged?

    And this is a bit off topic as the guy clearly went out of bounds challenging a mother on her parenting skills (albeit I think PT can except it b/c of her authenticity – which I appreciate to no end.) And she took it too far when she called his wife, but I don’t care about that stuff. It’s over. What I care about is how we can genuinely affect change and get people to candidly except criticism and grow from it.

    All the Best.

    Ryan

    • Matt Reply

      Ryan – I agree with your take here, and my point was I think that everyone SAYS they encourage open forums of discussion, but the minute they are faced with adversity and criticism, they shut down the walls of communication, and overall that’s nothing short of being a hypocrite. I guess people have different views on what blogs should be. Some believe it’s a platform for personal opinion and if there is dissension in the readers, they will be taken out of the discussion.

      Personally, I see blogging as open discussion. I introduce a topic, share my thoughts, attempt to inspire, enlighten, or educate you, and then you respond, you teach ME something, you inspire ME – and it’s OK if you don’t agree with me, I’m not always right, not by any means. You seem to have the same mantra when it comes to blogging.

      That is the real question, ‘why do people default to getting angry when they’ve been challenged? And like you, I don’t really care about this specific isolated situation – but it DOES paint a picture of the blogging community and it’s overall inability to deal with criticism. Why do you think people shut down? Do you think it comes down to nothing more than an ‘ego’ thing and all of us wanting to be right?

      • Ryan Stephens Reply

        Typically those of us that blog are forward thinking people passionate enough to put our words down. Usually we’re pretty intelligent people (in the scheme of things), and so yeah, sometimes ego might come into play.

        More than that though I think it amounts to insecurity. Because we’re smart we’re used to being told we’re ‘right,’ etc. and so when someone calls us on it our first inclination is to get upset, “How dare they call me out, etc.?” and we forget that we put our ideas and consequently ourselves out there for people to engage — and once it’s out there the power if out of our hands.

        I’m wrong a lot, but I also know that in being wrong (and Rebecca made a great point about this), I am getting other people to think critically about the things I’m discussing (and if they discuss it then chances are we’re both going to learn from one another.)

        • Matt Reply

          Just like failing can breed success, being wrong can lead to greater knowledge and understanding. I completely agree with that. With that being said, I don’t think any opinion is ‘wrong’ – how can an opinion be ‘wrong’? It’s subjective by nature – I can disagree, I can passionately argue my case, but in the end, I’m not more right here than anyone else. We all have different opinions, and that’s what keeps things interesting, that’s what helps us to continue in our personal growth.

          You make a great point – once we put our ideas out there, we have to be willing to let people engage, either in affirmation or otherwise – once it’s out there, it’s open for interpretation.

  • Ryan Stephens Reply

    @Matt

    I’m going to pull out what was most valuable for me, and what I think would be interesting to have a discussion about:

    “It seems that overall, as bloggers, we really don’t want any criticism. We say we do, we say we encourage discussion and interaction, but as soon as one is faced with criticism, it immediately gets personal and turns ugly. I want my blog to be an OPEN forum of discussion – disagree with me, tell me what’s on your mind.”

    My approach is very similar to yours. In fact I don’t even care if you personally attack me ON MY BLOG (in a public forum) because that means that you might have taken the time to read my work, and when I was 14 and on a shit ton of Acutane I acted like a bi-polar adolescent too.

    The thing is (and admittedly I’m a bit more sensitive in the workplace), but I really do what you to challenge my thoughts, and I’m candid about that. There are so many knowledgeable people out there that I can learn from and these social tools make this is an easy reality. Chris Brogan, Scott Monty, Peter Kim, Valeria Maltoni — these are all people who have commented on my blog that I can learn SO MUCH FROM.

    Why do people default to getting anger and bitter when they’ve been challenged?

    And this is a bit off topic as the guy clearly went out of bounds challenging a mother on her parenting skills (albeit I think PT can except it b/c of her authenticity – which I appreciate to no end.) And she took it too far when she called his wife, but I don’t care about that stuff. It’s over. What I care about is how we can genuinely affect change and get people to candidly except criticism and grow from it.

    All the Best.

    Ryan

    • Matt Reply

      Ryan – I agree with your take here, and my point was I think that everyone SAYS they encourage open forums of discussion, but the minute they are faced with adversity and criticism, they shut down the walls of communication, and overall that’s nothing short of being a hypocrite. I guess people have different views on what blogs should be. Some believe it’s a platform for personal opinion and if there is dissension in the readers, they will be taken out of the discussion.

      Personally, I see blogging as open discussion. I introduce a topic, share my thoughts, attempt to inspire, enlighten, or educate you, and then you respond, you teach ME something, you inspire ME – and it’s OK if you don’t agree with me, I’m not always right, not by any means. You seem to have the same mantra when it comes to blogging.

      That is the real question, ‘why do people default to getting angry when they’ve been challenged? And like you, I don’t really care about this specific isolated situation – but it DOES paint a picture of the blogging community and it’s overall inability to deal with criticism. Why do you think people shut down? Do you think it comes down to nothing more than an ‘ego’ thing and all of us wanting to be right?

      • Ryan Stephens Reply

        Typically those of us that blog are forward thinking people passionate enough to put our words down. Usually we’re pretty intelligent people (in the scheme of things), and so yeah, sometimes ego might come into play.

        More than that though I think it amounts to insecurity. Because we’re smart we’re used to being told we’re ‘right,’ etc. and so when someone calls us on it our first inclination is to get upset, “How dare they call me out, etc.?” and we forget that we put our ideas and consequently ourselves out there for people to engage — and once it’s out there the power if out of our hands.

        I’m wrong a lot, but I also know that in being wrong (and Rebecca made a great point about this), I am getting other people to think critically about the things I’m discussing (and if they discuss it then chances are we’re both going to learn from one another.)

        • Matt Reply

          Just like failing can breed success, being wrong can lead to greater knowledge and understanding. I completely agree with that. With that being said, I don’t think any opinion is ‘wrong’ – how can an opinion be ‘wrong’? It’s subjective by nature – I can disagree, I can passionately argue my case, but in the end, I’m not more right here than anyone else. We all have different opinions, and that’s what keeps things interesting, that’s what helps us to continue in our personal growth.

          You make a great point – once we put our ideas out there, we have to be willing to let people engage, either in affirmation or otherwise – once it’s out there, it’s open for interpretation.

  • Jaym Reply

    While I’m a blogger on hiatus (and a blogger of no audience when running a blog, at that) I can’t speak to the drama that may exist between established bloggers, but I still can’t follow anyone taking ANYTHING in a blog “offline”.

    You know there stereotypes and jokes about how everything online is “not real”, because of course you’re not meeting the people face-to-face, you don’t know the people you’re “talking” to, many people are using false names, so on… Obviously that’s silly, the people are as real as they are off the internet- however, there IS a shred of truth in that concept as people tend to be far more up front, direct and “in-your-face” about matters. Once you throw in any form of anonymity, then civility is out the window. People just don’t act the same offline to each other- and they definitely don’t talk as freely in the majority of cases.

    I would be absolutely *dumbfounded* if I answered my phone and the person calling was seeking to complain/argue/comment about a post on a blog of mine (or a comment on another site.) By all means, within that post I would expect a full-out flame war/argument party, but outside of that one post on the internet, I would expect anything said to simply not exist. I mean, that’s part of the point of blogging- many of the discussions held are things that if you got the same group of people together in a room face-to-face, there’d be all sorts of false agreement and held tongues.

    His comment was “Jerkish”, certainly, though no more so than thousands I see everday… I mean, his comment didn’t even threaten physical violence, and I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen comments like that in response to a blog. So yeah, he was wrong, but she was far off base to create a blog proclaiming her hatred of him, and WAY out of line trying to contact him.

    An intellectual response would be to dismiss his comment, respond with something witty and clever, and leave it to die in that post for good- where it should all have remained.

    • Matt Reply

      You make a really interesting point Jaym (thanks for jumping in here) – this ‘disconnect’ from the online and real world is something we see often and something I discussed recently. Like you, I would be so shocked if say, you decided to call me and tell me I was a jerk for posting a particular blog (or in this case – sending a 140 character ‘tweet’). I believe in accountability for the things you say and do on the web – the computer screen should not grant you immunity from your words and actions. BUT, talk about fighting fire with fire – Penelope got him back and THEN some. That’s where I see the flaw here – someone criticized her as a mother (which was wrong and out of place), and in response she did everything in her power to make him feel that much worse and then some. So what exactly did she accomplish? How were her actions any better than his?

      The bottom line is, even the assholes out there that strive to bring you down and make you feel like crap, even those people have to be handled maturely. Turn the other cheek, look away, going to these lengths to illustrate a point is over the top.

  • Jaym Reply

    While I’m a blogger on hiatus (and a blogger of no audience when running a blog, at that) I can’t speak to the drama that may exist between established bloggers, but I still can’t follow anyone taking ANYTHING in a blog “offline”.

    You know there stereotypes and jokes about how everything online is “not real”, because of course you’re not meeting the people face-to-face, you don’t know the people you’re “talking” to, many people are using false names, so on… Obviously that’s silly, the people are as real as they are off the internet- however, there IS a shred of truth in that concept as people tend to be far more up front, direct and “in-your-face” about matters. Once you throw in any form of anonymity, then civility is out the window. People just don’t act the same offline to each other- and they definitely don’t talk as freely in the majority of cases.

    I would be absolutely *dumbfounded* if I answered my phone and the person calling was seeking to complain/argue/comment about a post on a blog of mine (or a comment on another site.) By all means, within that post I would expect a full-out flame war/argument party, but outside of that one post on the internet, I would expect anything said to simply not exist. I mean, that’s part of the point of blogging- many of the discussions held are things that if you got the same group of people together in a room face-to-face, there’d be all sorts of false agreement and held tongues.

    His comment was “Jerkish”, certainly, though no more so than thousands I see everday… I mean, his comment didn’t even threaten physical violence, and I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen comments like that in response to a blog. So yeah, he was wrong, but she was far off base to create a blog proclaiming her hatred of him, and WAY out of line trying to contact him.

    An intellectual response would be to dismiss his comment, respond with something witty and clever, and leave it to die in that post for good- where it should all have remained.

    • Matt Reply

      You make a really interesting point Jaym (thanks for jumping in here) – this ‘disconnect’ from the online and real world is something we see often and something I discussed recently. Like you, I would be so shocked if say, you decided to call me and tell me I was a jerk for posting a particular blog (or in this case – sending a 140 character ‘tweet’). I believe in accountability for the things you say and do on the web – the computer screen should not grant you immunity from your words and actions. BUT, talk about fighting fire with fire – Penelope got him back and THEN some. That’s where I see the flaw here – someone criticized her as a mother (which was wrong and out of place), and in response she did everything in her power to make him feel that much worse and then some. So what exactly did she accomplish? How were her actions any better than his?

      The bottom line is, even the assholes out there that strive to bring you down and make you feel like crap, even those people have to be handled maturely. Turn the other cheek, look away, going to these lengths to illustrate a point is over the top.

  • Nisha Reply

    You know, I don’t have an opinion either way on what she did, I think it was amusing. And I think blogosphere drama is stupid and a waste of time, so I generally stay out of it. But reading posts like this – meaning yours Matt, not Penelope’s — actually angers me. Because you know what? This is not about bloggers being able to take criticism. He criticized her PARENTING. Not her blogging. You, Matt, are not:

    a) a woman
    b) a mother
    c) a mother to special needs kids
    d) divorced
    e) trying to balance parenthood and a fulltime career

    I get that you think she was mean. But really, you have no right to judge her reaction to what David said, because ALL the “rules of blogging” — which is a BS concept to begin with — go out the window when some random stranger has the gall to criticize a woman’s parenting skills. I know what you’re trying to say, and that you’re not trying to judge her parenting, but the point is that you cannot possibly understand WHY she reacted like that because you, nor I, nor anyone else criticizing her on this post or the blogosphere, knows what it’s like to be a full-time mom and a full-time CEO and get criticized on your parenting skills when you’re trying to do the best you can. Without having been in her shoes, you cannot possibly pretend to understand the rationale behind what she did — and therefore you can’t judge her decision to do it and act like you’re an authority on what she should and shouldn’t do with her life and her blog.

    I mean no offense here, but I do not think you have any right to be so self-righteous about this without knowing what it feels like to be in the position she was in. And really, this isn’t directed at you. It’s directed at anyone criticizing her actions — everyone criticizing her has no idea what it’s like to be her and to have your parenting criticized, so what right does anyone have to be so judgemental? Sheesh.

    • Matt Reply

      Hey Nisha. Thanks for jumping in here, and let me start by saying that I apologize that this post angered you, clearly it was not my intent to make people mad. With that being said, I do not need to be a woman, a mother, or a CEO balancing family and work to know that this reaction was morally wrong. Calling someone, stalking them (for lack of a better term), and verbally harassing them on your own blog? That’s a complete overreaction on her part. It doesn’t matter what position she is in – it shows a lack of maturity to react this way – I’m not so far away from the situation and so incredibly different to not understand that this wasn’t the best way for her to prove her point.

      Would you have reacted like this? Would you have gone to such lengths to make someone else look bad? And if so, why? For the record, I don’t claim to be an authority or even right in my opinion – this isn’t about simple ‘blog ethics’ (which I think do hold SOME precedence) – this is an issue of moral and ethical behavior. And Penelope, being in the position she’s in, I would expect more from.

      I’m not judging, I’m observing and stating my position that I think, in this SPECIFIC situation, she was in the wrong and went too far.

      • Nisha Reply

        “Would you have reacted like this? Would you have gone to such lengths to make someone else look bad? And if so, why?”

        But that’s EXACTLY my point: NONE of the people criticizing her can answer that question honestly, and thus have no right to criticize her. Do you know how personal it must be to be criticized as a mother? I don’t know what it’s like to be a mother, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of those things that is so deeply personal that when someone attacks you for it, all logic, rationale, etc. go out the window. That is way too personal and emotional. And thus, her instincts led her to react emotionally. You do not know what it’s like.

        I’m not saying I would do it. But I’m saying I can’t make an accurate call on it without being in those specific circumstances, because in this case, the position she was in is really different. She’s tired of people on the internet having the nerve to judge her parenting skills all the time. And that was the point she was trying to make. Non-parents cannot understand where she is coming from, and thus cannot judge and further criticize her.

        • Matt Reply

          I have to respectively disagree Nisha. While I’m (clearly) not in the same position she is in, this does not come down to an issue that ‘only a mother’ could understand. This is a question of morality and ethics – as a person, as a human being, it was out of line – mother or not. I’m sure there are plenty of mothers who would have handled this situation with more maturity and grace than Penelope. It’s not so far out of the realm for non-mothers to understand and have an opinion on.

          I understand her using the situation to prove a point, but this is an extreme overreaction – the only thing she didn’t do is personally GO to his house to call him a jerk.

          Again – this is bigger than how she personally handled this – it relates back to bloggers and writers and their ability to handle criticism.

        • Lance Haun Reply

          Nisha,

          You and I both know that if your standard were the case, we’d lose our ability to criticize any action.

          I couldn’t criticize a book because I haven’t written a book.

          I couldn’t criticize a song because I can’t write songs very well.

          I couldn’t criticize the President because I’ve never had that pressure. I’ve never had to lead that many people.

          I doubt you would apply that standard (given that I am a reader of your blog) but you seem so willing to declare this off-limits based on the same bunked logic.

          If you can’t argue on merits rather than authority, perhaps you should be the one to sit out the argument?

          Lance

        • JohnMcG Reply

          What if she had committed physical violence against him or his family, could we judge that? Even if we’re not divorced mothers of special needs children?

          Some things are simply objectively wrong.

          Circumstances may make things more understandable, but this notion that unless we have been in her exect shoes we can’t find this objectionable is just plain goofy.

        • JohnMcG Reply

          One more thought — how can you judge DD? How do you know he is not currently grieving the death of one of his children? Or maybe his parenting was literally “judged,” not by unfriendly internet commentary, but by his children being taken away from him in a custody hearing he felt was stacked against him as a man? How might such a person feel seeing someone toss around what seems to be disregard for one’s children? Might one respond in not such a nice way?

          Yet, you fell entitled to criticize him.

          My point isn’t that this was OK; my point is that there are objective standards of behavior we are all expected to follow, regardless of our personal circumstances. This is what allows us to operate in society without constant fear.

          What we are debating is whether one such “rule,” or social convention if you will, is that you should not attempt to bring about real-world consequences on someone as a result of their online commentary. I’m inclined to think there should be such a rule, but understand there may be disagreement.

          What I will not do is be cowed by, “Don’t dare judge!”

  • Nisha Reply

    You know, I don’t have an opinion either way on what she did, I think it was amusing. And I think blogosphere drama is stupid and a waste of time, so I generally stay out of it. But reading posts like this – meaning yours Matt, not Penelope’s — actually angers me. Because you know what? This is not about bloggers being able to take criticism. He criticized her PARENTING. Not her blogging. You, Matt, are not:

    a) a woman
    b) a mother
    c) a mother to special needs kids
    d) divorced
    e) trying to balance parenthood and a fulltime career

    I get that you think she was mean. But really, you have no right to judge her reaction to what David said, because ALL the “rules of blogging” — which is a BS concept to begin with — go out the window when some random stranger has the gall to criticize a woman’s parenting skills. I know what you’re trying to say, and that you’re not trying to judge her parenting, but the point is that you cannot possibly understand WHY she reacted like that because you, nor I, nor anyone else criticizing her on this post or the blogosphere, knows what it’s like to be a full-time mom and a full-time CEO and get criticized on your parenting skills when you’re trying to do the best you can. Without having been in her shoes, you cannot possibly pretend to understand the rationale behind what she did — and therefore you can’t judge her decision to do it and act like you’re an authority on what she should and shouldn’t do with her life and her blog.

    I mean no offense here, but I do not think you have any right to be so self-righteous about this without knowing what it feels like to be in the position she was in. And really, this isn’t directed at you. It’s directed at anyone criticizing her actions — everyone criticizing her has no idea what it’s like to be her and to have your parenting criticized, so what right does anyone have to be so judgemental? Sheesh.

    • Matt Reply

      Hey Nisha. Thanks for jumping in here, and let me start by saying that I apologize that this post angered you, clearly it was not my intent to make people mad. With that being said, I do not need to be a woman, a mother, or a CEO balancing family and work to know that this reaction was morally wrong. Calling someone, stalking them (for lack of a better term), and verbally harassing them on your own blog? That’s a complete overreaction on her part. It doesn’t matter what position she is in – it shows a lack of maturity to react this way – I’m not so far away from the situation and so incredibly different to not understand that this wasn’t the best way for her to prove her point.

      Would you have reacted like this? Would you have gone to such lengths to make someone else look bad? And if so, why? For the record, I don’t claim to be an authority or even right in my opinion – this isn’t about simple ‘blog ethics’ (which I think do hold SOME precedence) – this is an issue of moral and ethical behavior. And Penelope, being in the position she’s in, I would expect more from.

      I’m not judging, I’m observing and stating my position that I think, in this SPECIFIC situation, she was in the wrong and went too far.

      • Nisha Reply

        “Would you have reacted like this? Would you have gone to such lengths to make someone else look bad? And if so, why?”

        But that’s EXACTLY my point: NONE of the people criticizing her can answer that question honestly, and thus have no right to criticize her. Do you know how personal it must be to be criticized as a mother? I don’t know what it’s like to be a mother, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of those things that is so deeply personal that when someone attacks you for it, all logic, rationale, etc. go out the window. That is way too personal and emotional. And thus, her instincts led her to react emotionally. You do not know what it’s like.

        I’m not saying I would do it. But I’m saying I can’t make an accurate call on it without being in those specific circumstances, because in this case, the position she was in is really different. She’s tired of people on the internet having the nerve to judge her parenting skills all the time. And that was the point she was trying to make. Non-parents cannot understand where she is coming from, and thus cannot judge and further criticize her.

        • Matt Reply

          I have to respectively disagree Nisha. While I’m (clearly) not in the same position she is in, this does not come down to an issue that ‘only a mother’ could understand. This is a question of morality and ethics – as a person, as a human being, it was out of line – mother or not. I’m sure there are plenty of mothers who would have handled this situation with more maturity and grace than Penelope. It’s not so far out of the realm for non-mothers to understand and have an opinion on.

          I understand her using the situation to prove a point, but this is an extreme overreaction – the only thing she didn’t do is personally GO to his house to call him a jerk.

          Again – this is bigger than how she personally handled this – it relates back to bloggers and writers and their ability to handle criticism.

        • Lance Haun Reply

          Nisha,

          You and I both know that if your standard were the case, we’d lose our ability to criticize any action.

          I couldn’t criticize a book because I haven’t written a book.

          I couldn’t criticize a song because I can’t write songs very well.

          I couldn’t criticize the President because I’ve never had that pressure. I’ve never had to lead that many people.

          I doubt you would apply that standard (given that I am a reader of your blog) but you seem so willing to declare this off-limits based on the same bunked logic.

          If you can’t argue on merits rather than authority, perhaps you should be the one to sit out the argument?

          Lance

        • JohnMcG Reply

          What if she had committed physical violence against him or his family, could we judge that? Even if we’re not divorced mothers of special needs children?

          Some things are simply objectively wrong.

          Circumstances may make things more understandable, but this notion that unless we have been in her exect shoes we can’t find this objectionable is just plain goofy.

        • JohnMcG Reply

          One more thought — how can you judge DD? How do you know he is not currently grieving the death of one of his children? Or maybe his parenting was literally “judged,” not by unfriendly internet commentary, but by his children being taken away from him in a custody hearing he felt was stacked against him as a man? How might such a person feel seeing someone toss around what seems to be disregard for one’s children? Might one respond in not such a nice way?

          Yet, you fell entitled to criticize him.

          My point isn’t that this was OK; my point is that there are objective standards of behavior we are all expected to follow, regardless of our personal circumstances. This is what allows us to operate in society without constant fear.

          What we are debating is whether one such “rule,” or social convention if you will, is that you should not attempt to bring about real-world consequences on someone as a result of their online commentary. I’m inclined to think there should be such a rule, but understand there may be disagreement.

          What I will not do is be cowed by, “Don’t dare judge!”

  • Carlos Miceli Reply

    Man, i know i said that i’d comment on this post, but i have to be honest.

    It’s way too polemic. Everything has already been said by either you, Rikin, David, Penelope, or commenters on each blog.

    It’d take me forever to express which parts i agree with in every comment, which i don’t, and my particular opinion.

    I hope you understand, but given that i don’t even write in english as fast as everyone, i will stay quiet this time. I already commented on Rikin’s blog earlier about this, but now it’s gone way over my head.

    All this has made me think: should we always express our opinions when we blog? When we comment? I don’t know…

    Great writing job Matt, very quick response!

    • rikin Reply

      I had to check what “polemic” meant.

      My opinion on whether you should express your opinions online is that of course you should =)

    • Matt Reply

      Carlos – Of course I understand. Sometimes you can’t say what’s already been said. Sitting back and absoring can be the best thing sometimes. But feel free to jump into the discussion wherever you have something to add!

  • Carlos Miceli Reply

    Man, i know i said that i’d comment on this post, but i have to be honest.

    It’s way too polemic. Everything has already been said by either you, Rikin, David, Penelope, or commenters on each blog.

    It’d take me forever to express which parts i agree with in every comment, which i don’t, and my particular opinion.

    I hope you understand, but given that i don’t even write in english as fast as everyone, i will stay quiet this time. I already commented on Rikin’s blog earlier about this, but now it’s gone way over my head.

    All this has made me think: should we always express our opinions when we blog? When we comment? I don’t know…

    Great writing job Matt, very quick response!

    • rikin Reply

      I had to check what “polemic” meant.

      My opinion on whether you should express your opinions online is that of course you should =)

    • Matt Reply

      Carlos – Of course I understand. Sometimes you can’t say what’s already been said. Sitting back and absoring can be the best thing sometimes. But feel free to jump into the discussion wherever you have something to add!

  • Ryan Paugh Reply

    I’m trying not to have an opinion. Not because Penelope is my business partner. She knows I’ll disagree with her. And she likes that. But because I have no clue what it’s like to be ridiculed as a parent.

    Here are some fun questions for the comment section though …

    Why wasn’t there this much fire and brimstone when she ripped Tim Ferriss a new one? I feel like he deserved it a lot less.

    Is there a double standard when it comes to bloggers vs. commenters? Can commenters stay anything they want with minimal damage while certain bloggers get burned at the stake?

    These are just questions I have … What does everyone else think?

    PS: The calling him at work thing was stupid.

    • rikin Reply

      Ryan,

      The difference with the Tim Ferris situation is that Tim Ferris has a blog and a following that could crush Penelope’s. It’s one thing to throw stones upwards but downwards? This guy could be filthy rich but he obviously doesn’t have a large enough online footprint that will defend him.

      • Ryan Paugh Reply

        Rikin,

        That’s the most interesting part to me. Why is it okay to criticize up and not down? To me, that’s one of the most interesting things that’s come out of this.

        • rikin Reply

          I think there’s a number of variables though and thinking about it more maybe it’s not ok to criticize up either. Maybe it’s ok to criticize across. Meaning if someone criticizes you on Twitter you can Tweet the twat all you want. But maybe we step over an imaginary and undefined line of morality when we start calling their homes and their wives and their employers.

          Who knows who could have been on the other end of that phone. Or maybe something awful happened to David that day like the death of a loved one – wouldn’t P feel awful that she was being so petty.

          • Matt Reply

            Rikin – you make a really good point. I think criticism should be horizontal, not vertical. With that being said, and if that were true, Penelope could have opted to keep things somewhat civil, messaged him back, wrote him an email if she was really that hurt, but to do all this in order to enact revenge on the guy? It’s more than a little ridiculous.

    • Cody McKibben Reply

      That time she ripped into Tim Ferriss was one of the first few times she turned me off. Nothing wrong with saying you disagree with the guy, but I don’t like the way Penelope can throw around the word “hate.”

      But then again, if you’re someone like Tim Ferriss, no offense but it doesn’t really matter what someone like Penelope Trunk says about you. They each have their own large followings and I don’t think PT is really going to negatively affect people who like Tim Ferriss already. It’s not so detrimental to his reputation. But this David guy is not a big fancy author or online celebrity. He doesn’t have strong Google rank! He’s just a guy in Ohio who mistakenly made a dumb comment. And she obliterated him with character assassination. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

      To clarify, I’ve been a huge fan of Penelope for a long time, you can look up my references to her on my blog since 2006. But why not challenge people creatively rather than gossiping about who you hate? And why not concentrate on the people who really disagree with her, like Ryan Holiday or some of the other PT haters. Don’t take it out on a little guy like this.

      • Jamie Reply

        Wait. So, because this guy is not a big fancy author, he doesn’t deserve to be held accountable? He gets to say whatever he wants because Penelope is famous?

        That’s dumb. Plain and simple. I wish I had a better, more eloquent word to describe it, but it’s dumb logic.

        I’ve talked to Penelope plenty of times on the phone – the woman is real and has feelings. She cares deeply about her children and believe me, a woman who works as hard as she does gets criticized about her parenting far more than any of us will realize.

        Whatever. She overreacted or underreacted or whatever reacted. But, just because PT or Tim Ferriss are in the spotlight does not mean it’s free reign to act like assholes towards them.

        This, in my opinion, is the same line of thinking that goes with bashing celebrities. Because they are famous, they become our property to judge and say terrible things about? Come on. Just because it’s socially acceptable to openly bash celebrities doesn’t make it right.

        I feel like David whatever his name is in Ohio had it coming to him. You don’t get to act like a douchebag without consequences. It’s about time someone stepped up and did something about the ignorance that permeates the internet.

        • rikin Reply

          Sigh Jamie – do it on a blog is one thing, i don’t agree with it but eye for eye. Calling his home with the intention to get his wife involved is DUMB. Sorry, there’s no other word for it other than dumb.

          • Jamie Reply

            Ok – so publicly calling P Trunk out on being a bad mother is better?

            Being outwardly combative on Twitter is ok because, oh, it’s the internet? Would it have been better if she emailed him? Or, maybe faxed him?

            Our communication methods are becoming intertwined. And, we’re holding her to our own hierarchy of acceptable ways to communicate. Twitter bashing, sure. Email bashing, almost too far. Phone call? TOO FAR.

            If the guy doesn’t want consequences, he shouldn’t have said what he said. You don’t just get to say whatever you want and then hide behind Twitter or your internet handle. Gimme a break.

            • Chaalz Reply

              Jamie, do you not think stepping outside the bounds of the internet is wrong, plain and simple? I always thought there was a “gentleman’s agreement” if you will and the minute someone breaks that then whatever caused the issue or whatever was said now becomes less relevant to this fact. I’m really asking here?

              • Jamie Reply

                There are no rules. And there are no agreements.

                Anything goes.

                Hence why David whatever gets to openly bash Penelope and tell the public that he thinks she’s a bad mom. No rules.

        • Matt Reply

          @Jamie. – A few points I want to address to your response(s):

          One – what exactly do you mean when you say ‘held accountable’? He made a snide comment on Twitter, it was a jerky thing to say but why would anyone react like that? Someone might call me out on Twitter, but I would never go to such great lengths to ‘get him back’, to ‘hold someone accountable’ by calling him, his family, and defaming his name on a public platform. Did you call everyone (or anyone) who publicly disagreed with you one your Twitter idea? Did YOU make examples of every single person who basically debunked your entire campaign (and there were a lot of people who did just that)? No. You didn’t – because it isn’t necessary and it isn’t entirely sane.

          Two: I never said Penelope shouldn’t be able to say whatever she wants, you are free to openly voice your opinion on and off the web – but as soon as you put something out there in public domain – people can respond however they want. My point here was that Penelope is a ‘public figure’ – and in any facet we hold people of stature to higher standards – this clearly would not have been a big deal if it was joe-somebody blogger – in fact, if it was some random person writing about how they called and stalked a man and his family to put them in their place, this would be an entirely different (legal) discussion – I don’t think anyone would be backing him calling them ‘honest’ and ‘bold’. But because Penelope is who she is, people hold her to higher standards and honestly, I would expect much more from her, especially given the amount of adversity she’s faced over time.

          I don’t think anyone here said what David did was right, but there was a much more mature way to handle the situation. To say David from Ohio had it coming to him? Come on Jamie – had WHAT coming to him exactly? This is more than a consequence, it’s sensationalized and over the top. Are you going to follow suit and personally phone everyone who hurts your feelings from now on? I doubt it. I’ve disagreed with you multiple times and I still haven’t received a phone call.

          Your ‘anything goes’ mentality scares me a little. Yes, people should always know that when they say something online, it’s there for everyone to see and they’re accountable for it – but I still think it’s crazy for someone to go this far. Calling him over and over – threatening to post his number so her other cronies can do the same? That’s not holding someone accountable, that’s harassment. You’re not even in ‘internet ethics’ anymore – it becomes a legal issue.

      • Matt Reply

        @Cody + Rikin

        ‘The punishment does not fit the crime’ – I thought about this for a few minutes before putting together my response. I agree – she used her platform to deface some random guy because he made one snide comment – I don’t think the real issue here is Penelope’s status and how she uses it, but being in her position – I would expect more from her and I wouldn’t expect her to throw around the word ‘hate’ so freely and passionatley.

        The guy was a jerk, sure – but as you said, the punishment really does not fit the crime. Jamie, you can’t compare the two. Put it like this – if you posted a tweet saying my blog sucked, and in response I started calling you and your mom over and over – wouldn’t you think I was just a WEE bit insane? Wouldn’t you think that was crossing the line? The bottom line is, yes, you would. You can say that ‘communication is becoming intertwined’ but I know you can’t honestly say, if you were in David’s position, you wouldn’t be a little (or a lot) afraid.

        What Penelope did sounds like what a high-school girl would do after getting dumped. She got hurt so in retaliation she wanted to enact revenge and make him look as bad as possible, using her status and platform to launch an all out assault on someone. It’s wrong, plain and simple.

        • rikin Reply

          This is getting too snarky – can’t we all just talk about work/life balance or how to interview for a job you’re not qualified for?

          • Matt Reply

            Rikin, I don’t consider it snarky – it’s just one of those ‘put yourself in her shoes’ situations.

        • talea Reply

          Matt, you make a good point. After all, PT is snarky often. MOst of us like that about her.

          So why can’t DD be snarky? And a blogger who’s snarky on a regular basis can, hardly, with a straight face go postal on a reader (or twitterer) who resorts to snark….

          • Matt Reply

            I agree that there is (somewhat) of a double standard here, but I think David’s comment was underhanded and unnecessary. BUT, with that being said, the retaliation was all that and more, totally unnecessary and clearly a little over the top. Both parties were in the wrong here, but two wrong’s don’t make a right.

    • LuckyK Reply

      Rip him, rip him like crazy but don’t give his name. His name is irrelevant. If the point of the post is to kick off a discussion about choices in parenting/work and people’s biases/perceptions blah blah then great. Talk about his tweet, talk about how it made you feel. If people are so motivated they could look for the tweet and give this guy feedback.

      This post wasn’t about that. It was an intentional intent to hurt this guy through the use of power she has acquired in social media. Who was right or wrong is not the point. She crossed a dangerous line – cyber bullying is real and not just confined to kids. I’m really surprised at the number people on her site who think “she rocks!”.

      • Matt Reply

        LuckyK – I agree, at least for the most part. I think her intentions were pure here, but she went about this in completely the wrong way. Her ‘point’ was clouded by anger and hatred – so after reading, I wasn’t really sure what the point was (and I think a lot of people will atone to that). Agree or disagree, I don’t see how harassing someone in any instance should be praised. He was wrong, she was wrong as well – I don’t understand her supporters saying ‘he had it coming’. A mentality like that, now THAT’S scary.

  • Ryan Paugh Reply

    I’m trying not to have an opinion. Not because Penelope is my business partner. She knows I’ll disagree with her. And she likes that. But because I have no clue what it’s like to be ridiculed as a parent.

    Here are some fun questions for the comment section though …

    Why wasn’t there this much fire and brimstone when she ripped Tim Ferriss a new one? I feel like he deserved it a lot less.

    Is there a double standard when it comes to bloggers vs. commenters? Can commenters stay anything they want with minimal damage while certain bloggers get burned at the stake?

    These are just questions I have … What does everyone else think?

    PS: The calling him at work thing was stupid.

    • rikin Reply

      Ryan,

      The difference with the Tim Ferris situation is that Tim Ferris has a blog and a following that could crush Penelope’s. It’s one thing to throw stones upwards but downwards? This guy could be filthy rich but he obviously doesn’t have a large enough online footprint that will defend him.

      • Ryan Paugh Reply

        Rikin,

        That’s the most interesting part to me. Why is it okay to criticize up and not down? To me, that’s one of the most interesting things that’s come out of this.

        • rikin Reply

          I think there’s a number of variables though and thinking about it more maybe it’s not ok to criticize up either. Maybe it’s ok to criticize across. Meaning if someone criticizes you on Twitter you can Tweet the twat all you want. But maybe we step over an imaginary and undefined line of morality when we start calling their homes and their wives and their employers.

          Who knows who could have been on the other end of that phone. Or maybe something awful happened to David that day like the death of a loved one – wouldn’t P feel awful that she was being so petty.

          • Matt Reply

            Rikin – you make a really good point. I think criticism should be horizontal, not vertical. With that being said, and if that were true, Penelope could have opted to keep things somewhat civil, messaged him back, wrote him an email if she was really that hurt, but to do all this in order to enact revenge on the guy? It’s more than a little ridiculous.

    • Cody McKibben Reply

      That time she ripped into Tim Ferriss was one of the first few times she turned me off. Nothing wrong with saying you disagree with the guy, but I don’t like the way Penelope can throw around the word “hate.”

      But then again, if you’re someone like Tim Ferriss, no offense but it doesn’t really matter what someone like Penelope Trunk says about you. They each have their own large followings and I don’t think PT is really going to negatively affect people who like Tim Ferriss already. It’s not so detrimental to his reputation. But this David guy is not a big fancy author or online celebrity. He doesn’t have strong Google rank! He’s just a guy in Ohio who mistakenly made a dumb comment. And she obliterated him with character assassination. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

      To clarify, I’ve been a huge fan of Penelope for a long time, you can look up my references to her on my blog since 2006. But why not challenge people creatively rather than gossiping about who you hate? And why not concentrate on the people who really disagree with her, like Ryan Holiday or some of the other PT haters. Don’t take it out on a little guy like this.

      • Jamie Reply

        Wait. So, because this guy is not a big fancy author, he doesn’t deserve to be held accountable? He gets to say whatever he wants because Penelope is famous?

        That’s dumb. Plain and simple. I wish I had a better, more eloquent word to describe it, but it’s dumb logic.

        I’ve talked to Penelope plenty of times on the phone – the woman is real and has feelings. She cares deeply about her children and believe me, a woman who works as hard as she does gets criticized about her parenting far more than any of us will realize.

        Whatever. She overreacted or underreacted or whatever reacted. But, just because PT or Tim Ferriss are in the spotlight does not mean it’s free reign to act like assholes towards them.

        This, in my opinion, is the same line of thinking that goes with bashing celebrities. Because they are famous, they become our property to judge and say terrible things about? Come on. Just because it’s socially acceptable to openly bash celebrities doesn’t make it right.

        I feel like David whatever his name is in Ohio had it coming to him. You don’t get to act like a douchebag without consequences. It’s about time someone stepped up and did something about the ignorance that permeates the internet.

        • rikin Reply

          Sigh Jamie – do it on a blog is one thing, i don’t agree with it but eye for eye. Calling his home with the intention to get his wife involved is DUMB. Sorry, there’s no other word for it other than dumb.

          • Jamie Reply

            Ok – so publicly calling P Trunk out on being a bad mother is better?

            Being outwardly combative on Twitter is ok because, oh, it’s the internet? Would it have been better if she emailed him? Or, maybe faxed him?

            Our communication methods are becoming intertwined. And, we’re holding her to our own hierarchy of acceptable ways to communicate. Twitter bashing, sure. Email bashing, almost too far. Phone call? TOO FAR.

            If the guy doesn’t want consequences, he shouldn’t have said what he said. You don’t just get to say whatever you want and then hide behind Twitter or your internet handle. Gimme a break.

            • Chaalz Reply

              Jamie, do you not think stepping outside the bounds of the internet is wrong, plain and simple? I always thought there was a “gentleman’s agreement” if you will and the minute someone breaks that then whatever caused the issue or whatever was said now becomes less relevant to this fact. I’m really asking here?

              • Jamie Reply

                There are no rules. And there are no agreements.

                Anything goes.

                Hence why David whatever gets to openly bash Penelope and tell the public that he thinks she’s a bad mom. No rules.

        • Matt Reply

          @Jamie. – A few points I want to address to your response(s):

          One – what exactly do you mean when you say ‘held accountable’? He made a snide comment on Twitter, it was a jerky thing to say but why would anyone react like that? Someone might call me out on Twitter, but I would never go to such great lengths to ‘get him back’, to ‘hold someone accountable’ by calling him, his family, and defaming his name on a public platform. Did you call everyone (or anyone) who publicly disagreed with you one your Twitter idea? Did YOU make examples of every single person who basically debunked your entire campaign (and there were a lot of people who did just that)? No. You didn’t – because it isn’t necessary and it isn’t entirely sane.

          Two: I never said Penelope shouldn’t be able to say whatever she wants, you are free to openly voice your opinion on and off the web – but as soon as you put something out there in public domain – people can respond however they want. My point here was that Penelope is a ‘public figure’ – and in any facet we hold people of stature to higher standards – this clearly would not have been a big deal if it was joe-somebody blogger – in fact, if it was some random person writing about how they called and stalked a man and his family to put them in their place, this would be an entirely different (legal) discussion – I don’t think anyone would be backing him calling them ‘honest’ and ‘bold’. But because Penelope is who she is, people hold her to higher standards and honestly, I would expect much more from her, especially given the amount of adversity she’s faced over time.

          I don’t think anyone here said what David did was right, but there was a much more mature way to handle the situation. To say David from Ohio had it coming to him? Come on Jamie – had WHAT coming to him exactly? This is more than a consequence, it’s sensationalized and over the top. Are you going to follow suit and personally phone everyone who hurts your feelings from now on? I doubt it. I’ve disagreed with you multiple times and I still haven’t received a phone call.

          Your ‘anything goes’ mentality scares me a little. Yes, people should always know that when they say something online, it’s there for everyone to see and they’re accountable for it – but I still think it’s crazy for someone to go this far. Calling him over and over – threatening to post his number so her other cronies can do the same? That’s not holding someone accountable, that’s harassment. You’re not even in ‘internet ethics’ anymore – it becomes a legal issue.

      • Matt Reply

        @Cody + Rikin

        ‘The punishment does not fit the crime’ – I thought about this for a few minutes before putting together my response. I agree – she used her platform to deface some random guy because he made one snide comment – I don’t think the real issue here is Penelope’s status and how she uses it, but being in her position – I would expect more from her and I wouldn’t expect her to throw around the word ‘hate’ so freely and passionatley.

        The guy was a jerk, sure – but as you said, the punishment really does not fit the crime. Jamie, you can’t compare the two. Put it like this – if you posted a tweet saying my blog sucked, and in response I started calling you and your mom over and over – wouldn’t you think I was just a WEE bit insane? Wouldn’t you think that was crossing the line? The bottom line is, yes, you would. You can say that ‘communication is becoming intertwined’ but I know you can’t honestly say, if you were in David’s position, you wouldn’t be a little (or a lot) afraid.

        What Penelope did sounds like what a high-school girl would do after getting dumped. She got hurt so in retaliation she wanted to enact revenge and make him look as bad as possible, using her status and platform to launch an all out assault on someone. It’s wrong, plain and simple.

        • rikin Reply

          This is getting too snarky – can’t we all just talk about work/life balance or how to interview for a job you’re not qualified for?

          • Matt Reply

            Rikin, I don’t consider it snarky – it’s just one of those ‘put yourself in her shoes’ situations.

        • talea Reply

          Matt, you make a good point. After all, PT is snarky often. MOst of us like that about her.

          So why can’t DD be snarky? And a blogger who’s snarky on a regular basis can, hardly, with a straight face go postal on a reader (or twitterer) who resorts to snark….

          • Matt Reply

            I agree that there is (somewhat) of a double standard here, but I think David’s comment was underhanded and unnecessary. BUT, with that being said, the retaliation was all that and more, totally unnecessary and clearly a little over the top. Both parties were in the wrong here, but two wrong’s don’t make a right.

    • LuckyK Reply

      Rip him, rip him like crazy but don’t give his name. His name is irrelevant. If the point of the post is to kick off a discussion about choices in parenting/work and people’s biases/perceptions blah blah then great. Talk about his tweet, talk about how it made you feel. If people are so motivated they could look for the tweet and give this guy feedback.

      This post wasn’t about that. It was an intentional intent to hurt this guy through the use of power she has acquired in social media. Who was right or wrong is not the point. She crossed a dangerous line – cyber bullying is real and not just confined to kids. I’m really surprised at the number people on her site who think “she rocks!”.

      • Matt Reply

        LuckyK – I agree, at least for the most part. I think her intentions were pure here, but she went about this in completely the wrong way. Her ‘point’ was clouded by anger and hatred – so after reading, I wasn’t really sure what the point was (and I think a lot of people will atone to that). Agree or disagree, I don’t see how harassing someone in any instance should be praised. He was wrong, she was wrong as well – I don’t understand her supporters saying ‘he had it coming’. A mentality like that, now THAT’S scary.

  • Danilo Campos Reply

    There’s an important lesson here that I think you missed, Matt.

    We all have better things to do with our lives.

    Whoever we are, whatever we’re up to, there’s hopefully a mission that drives our lives. MLK spread the message of unity through equality, Neil Armstrong had a moon to land on, Billy Mayes is on an unending quest to improve your life through discovering and peddling incredible, easily demonstrated inventions.

    You know what that quest is. If there’s room in your quest to quibble with people you don’t know whose opinions don’t matter, maybe you should find a more important one.

    Time is all we have. The only thing that can’t be bought or traded. One day, each of us will be dead. Hopefully at that point, we’ll each be able to look back on the uncomfortable moments where someone had something to teach us and say that we learned something. In aggregate, those moments will grow into wisdom and the peace of self-knowledge. The alternative, to use these moments to exercise spiteful and vindictive impulses, won’t leave you with any sort of reward that lasts more than an hour or so.

    No doubt about it, this guy was a jerk. But Penelope had a chance to learn: how to better communicate her frustrations, how to appreciate the common, even how to ignore the stupidity of others. She rejected that opportunity.

    Those who watch her, at least, can learn from her mistake.

    • Matt Reply

      Danilo – thanks so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts, I read your response on Penelope’s blog and agreed with everything you had to say.

      Perhaps your right, maybe I did miss a point and to some, this would appear that I’m just out to bash Penelope – but that really isn’t the intent – instead it’s too use her situation as an example for a much bigger issue. One might argue that she did the same thing in her post, but I think her point was missed due to the way she handled and presented her situation.

      What she’s done is illustrate, on a much larger scale, the inability many have as bloggers to take criticism and learn and grow from it – but, as you say, this is a fantastic learning experience for you and me, as we learn how not to respond when faced with adversity. The guy was a jerk, but the thing to do here would have been to tun the other cheek, suck it up, and shrug it off, or at least communicate her thoughts in a more constructive way.

      Great thoughts Danilo, thanks for providing some solid insight into the situation.

    • Benjamin Wilcox Reply

      I agree with your point, there are far more important things to be doing than to verbally confront someone who is tweeting bad things about you. Whether you feel someone has questioned your parenting abilities or not, you should not get into a quickly escalating argument involving phone confrontations. I understand that Penelope is human like the rest of us, and I would argue that she was only caught at a unfortunate moment while venting about her kids on Twitter. If she had just called up her girlfriend to talk, we would not be having this conversation. That is an interesting change that Twitter has caused.

      On a partially serious side note, I can’t believe that you compared MLK and Armstrong to Billy Mayes. There has to be a law against that!

  • Danilo Campos Reply

    There’s an important lesson here that I think you missed, Matt.

    We all have better things to do with our lives.

    Whoever we are, whatever we’re up to, there’s hopefully a mission that drives our lives. MLK spread the message of unity through equality, Neil Armstrong had a moon to land on, Billy Mayes is on an unending quest to improve your life through discovering and peddling incredible, easily demonstrated inventions.

    You know what that quest is. If there’s room in your quest to quibble with people you don’t know whose opinions don’t matter, maybe you should find a more important one.

    Time is all we have. The only thing that can’t be bought or traded. One day, each of us will be dead. Hopefully at that point, we’ll each be able to look back on the uncomfortable moments where someone had something to teach us and say that we learned something. In aggregate, those moments will grow into wisdom and the peace of self-knowledge. The alternative, to use these moments to exercise spiteful and vindictive impulses, won’t leave you with any sort of reward that lasts more than an hour or so.

    No doubt about it, this guy was a jerk. But Penelope had a chance to learn: how to better communicate her frustrations, how to appreciate the common, even how to ignore the stupidity of others. She rejected that opportunity.

    Those who watch her, at least, can learn from her mistake.

    • Matt Reply

      Danilo – thanks so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts, I read your response on Penelope’s blog and agreed with everything you had to say.

      Perhaps your right, maybe I did miss a point and to some, this would appear that I’m just out to bash Penelope – but that really isn’t the intent – instead it’s too use her situation as an example for a much bigger issue. One might argue that she did the same thing in her post, but I think her point was missed due to the way she handled and presented her situation.

      What she’s done is illustrate, on a much larger scale, the inability many have as bloggers to take criticism and learn and grow from it – but, as you say, this is a fantastic learning experience for you and me, as we learn how not to respond when faced with adversity. The guy was a jerk, but the thing to do here would have been to tun the other cheek, suck it up, and shrug it off, or at least communicate her thoughts in a more constructive way.

      Great thoughts Danilo, thanks for providing some solid insight into the situation.

    • Benjamin Wilcox Reply

      I agree with your point, there are far more important things to be doing than to verbally confront someone who is tweeting bad things about you. Whether you feel someone has questioned your parenting abilities or not, you should not get into a quickly escalating argument involving phone confrontations. I understand that Penelope is human like the rest of us, and I would argue that she was only caught at a unfortunate moment while venting about her kids on Twitter. If she had just called up her girlfriend to talk, we would not be having this conversation. That is an interesting change that Twitter has caused.

      On a partially serious side note, I can’t believe that you compared MLK and Armstrong to Billy Mayes. There has to be a law against that!

  • Lance Haun Reply

    The most surprising thing to me is why she reacted so publicly to this person in particular. From seeing Penelope’s @’s in a Twitter search or comments on her blog, this is far from the most ridiculous, offensive or hard hitting comment.

    Maybe that’s why people like me who follow her blog were so confused over this particular comment sending her into “blogging about hating another Twitter user” territory.

    Maybe Nisha would argue that I couldn’t know because I am not a parent or perhaps Rebecca would suggest I don’t understand it because I haven’t blogged enough. I don’t think it is that complicated (which is sort of ironic given her feelings about work experience not being a big deal). He made a mistake and so did she in her reaction. We’re human. I don’t need to know much more than that but I am a little bit curious about what spurned this post over other equally insulting things.

    • Matt Reply

      @Lance – I’m not sure why she chose this particular instance to platform her discussion – she has faced overwhelming discussion and then to single out David from Ohio to use as an example? It almost seems like it was an attack to show ‘don’t mess with me’.

      Again, I don’t think this comes down to a motherly issue – if we want to go there, a mother should show grace and civility when dealing with adversity – I don’t know anyone else who would have reacted like this (and there are many mothers commenting on her site that openly disagree with her methods, so I know it’s not a ‘universal’ reaction to have. It comes down to a human right vs. wrong situation, and here, I think she handled adversity and criticism (even though it was very personal) the wrong way.

  • Lance Haun Reply

    The most surprising thing to me is why she reacted so publicly to this person in particular. From seeing Penelope’s @’s in a Twitter search or comments on her blog, this is far from the most ridiculous, offensive or hard hitting comment.

    Maybe that’s why people like me who follow her blog were so confused over this particular comment sending her into “blogging about hating another Twitter user” territory.

    Maybe Nisha would argue that I couldn’t know because I am not a parent or perhaps Rebecca would suggest I don’t understand it because I haven’t blogged enough. I don’t think it is that complicated (which is sort of ironic given her feelings about work experience not being a big deal). He made a mistake and so did she in her reaction. We’re human. I don’t need to know much more than that but I am a little bit curious about what spurned this post over other equally insulting things.

    • Matt Reply

      @Lance – I’m not sure why she chose this particular instance to platform her discussion – she has faced overwhelming discussion and then to single out David from Ohio to use as an example? It almost seems like it was an attack to show ‘don’t mess with me’.

      Again, I don’t think this comes down to a motherly issue – if we want to go there, a mother should show grace and civility when dealing with adversity – I don’t know anyone else who would have reacted like this (and there are many mothers commenting on her site that openly disagree with her methods, so I know it’s not a ‘universal’ reaction to have. It comes down to a human right vs. wrong situation, and here, I think she handled adversity and criticism (even though it was very personal) the wrong way.

  • Eva Reply

    Great discussion here! But back to your original point (I think)… that taking criticism on blogs or in real life — really, honestly accepting criticism without getting defensive — is a skill to be admired in others and ideally learned by all. It’s so easy and natural to either get defensive or dismiss the others’ opinions. But to actually think through it rationally, be open to accepting it as valid, and maybe even making some changes in yourself as a response … is a rare quality.

    • Matt Reply

      @Eva – thanks so much for getting involved in this discussion (I’ve been wondering where you’ve been). I know that handling criticism is a tough thing to do. I’m not perfect at it, but I see what’s going on here, right now, in this discussion, and this is what blogging is all about, engaging in healthy debate and discussion that will possibly open your mind to new ideas. I’m sure most of us still hold firm in our beliefs and ideals here – it’s a clear right vs. wrong ‘who will you side with’ debate. But debate is good for us, when handled maturely. No one is making personal attacks, no one is bashing each other – there are varied opinions but they’re all valid and add to the discussion.

      Maintaining an open mind when facing criticism is crucial – it’s perfectly fine to have a stance and opinion, but that opinion shouldn’t be force fed to your opposition.

  • Eva Reply

    Great discussion here! But back to your original point (I think)… that taking criticism on blogs or in real life — really, honestly accepting criticism without getting defensive — is a skill to be admired in others and ideally learned by all. It’s so easy and natural to either get defensive or dismiss the others’ opinions. But to actually think through it rationally, be open to accepting it as valid, and maybe even making some changes in yourself as a response … is a rare quality.

    • Matt Reply

      @Eva – thanks so much for getting involved in this discussion (I’ve been wondering where you’ve been). I know that handling criticism is a tough thing to do. I’m not perfect at it, but I see what’s going on here, right now, in this discussion, and this is what blogging is all about, engaging in healthy debate and discussion that will possibly open your mind to new ideas. I’m sure most of us still hold firm in our beliefs and ideals here – it’s a clear right vs. wrong ‘who will you side with’ debate. But debate is good for us, when handled maturely. No one is making personal attacks, no one is bashing each other – there are varied opinions but they’re all valid and add to the discussion.

      Maintaining an open mind when facing criticism is crucial – it’s perfectly fine to have a stance and opinion, but that opinion shouldn’t be force fed to your opposition.

  • Olivia Reply

    Actually, I didn’t think David’s comment was too far out of line! (Then again, I’m not a mum). Had he put a little smiley face at the end of the sentence, it would have been completely charming, actually :)

    I took it as a really innocent thing that I might have said to a colleague or someone at the grocery store. In fact, I did have a coworker, who, a few years ago, had three little ones under the age of four. One day, she was telling me how she was at wit’s end with one of them, I said “Oh, just let me adopt them then!” I was not passing judgment on her parenting skills, nor was I literally suggesting that I take her children. It’s just something that’s said, perhaps to make light of a heavy situation or even to get a smile out of a miserable mummie! I’m certain that David’s comment was meant to be equally light-hearted — or at least passive-aggressive way to tell PT that it’s really not that bad! (Again, I’m not a parent!!)
    I’m sickened by the way that PT has responded. Her response seems quite telling that there is something more going on there (in her personal life, perhaps in her mental state), that we aren’t seeing. There really doesn’t seem to be a logical reason for an apparently level-headed, rational person to react so strongly. It’s quite strange, and definitely disturbing.
    I do keep a blog — it was more active in the past — but on the occasions where there were negative comments or views that just didn’t sit well with me, I quite simply deleted them. I believe in free speech — and allowed people to make such comments, but you know, when it hurts, I can exercise my own right by deleting them. No need to call them out — or CALL them (at work, at home, …. what?!) There were a few instances when there were one-on-one debates through email, but never would I think of taking it further. But that’s just me. And again, I’m not a mum ;)

    Thanks for opening up this dialogue.

    • Matt Reply

      @Olivia – I agree with your stance here. I really think that David’s message might have been taken out of context. Granted, he does not know Penelope personally so I can see how it would come off as rude, but it was not something that warranted this kind of extreme response.

      It makes me question what’s going on here as well. Obviously Penelope is good at what she does, good writer, good business savvy, and I’m sure a good mother to her kids – but what would push you to go off the deep end like this? I’m not really sure. It’s a reaction that has led me to lose faith in her as well. I’m sure I will still read her blog – but I’ll look at it in a different light from now on. If I disagree or call her out in a comment, should I expect a phone call? I just cant justify her reaction to the situation.

      Thank you for providing solid insight here – it’s amazing what a smiley emoticon would have done here, right? Writing things on the internet leaves the door wide open for interpretation.

      • talea Reply

        I think Olivia has it totally right. I’ve said similar things to overstressed friends/family and most laugh and say, “How about next week?”

        But then they never send their kids! Jerks! :)

        I’m also not a parent (not by choice), but I’m a devoted aunt. I’ve also been a journalist for 30-plus years and used to criticism out of the blue. It goes with the job and if you can’t take it, then you get drummed out of the profession.

        Bloggers often tell me they are the new journalists and I don’t really disagree. So now welcome to the bad side of the fun. You gotta take a lotta crap!

        What DD did was very minor, and in my jaded view, not all that rude. And yet Ms. Trunk’s reaction was anything but very minor. Stalking is a crime and she was flirting SERIOUSLY with that line. I would have been close to firing one of my reporters for such behavior. And I know of at least two former bosses who would have fired me had I reacted that way.

        PT blew this call — if she cares to be taken seriously. That’s all there is to it.

        So learn and move on.

        • Matt Reply

          @Talea – I think DD’s comment could have been taken in two different ways, one as very rude and the other as tongue-in-cheek. Regardless, the reaction here was not needed, and while it aided in her striving to prove a point regarding societies quick-to-judge nature of parents, the post was off the mark and was ultimately ineffective at doing much of anything other than sparking all of this controversy.

  • Olivia Reply

    Actually, I didn’t think David’s comment was too far out of line! (Then again, I’m not a mum). Had he put a little smiley face at the end of the sentence, it would have been completely charming, actually :)

    I took it as a really innocent thing that I might have said to a colleague or someone at the grocery store. In fact, I did have a coworker, who, a few years ago, had three little ones under the age of four. One day, she was telling me how she was at wit’s end with one of them, I said “Oh, just let me adopt them then!” I was not passing judgment on her parenting skills, nor was I literally suggesting that I take her children. It’s just something that’s said, perhaps to make light of a heavy situation or even to get a smile out of a miserable mummie! I’m certain that David’s comment was meant to be equally light-hearted — or at least passive-aggressive way to tell PT that it’s really not that bad! (Again, I’m not a parent!!)
    I’m sickened by the way that PT has responded. Her response seems quite telling that there is something more going on there (in her personal life, perhaps in her mental state), that we aren’t seeing. There really doesn’t seem to be a logical reason for an apparently level-headed, rational person to react so strongly. It’s quite strange, and definitely disturbing.
    I do keep a blog — it was more active in the past — but on the occasions where there were negative comments or views that just didn’t sit well with me, I quite simply deleted them. I believe in free speech — and allowed people to make such comments, but you know, when it hurts, I can exercise my own right by deleting them. No need to call them out — or CALL them (at work, at home, …. what?!) There were a few instances when there were one-on-one debates through email, but never would I think of taking it further. But that’s just me. And again, I’m not a mum ;)

    Thanks for opening up this dialogue.

    • Matt Reply

      @Olivia – I agree with your stance here. I really think that David’s message might have been taken out of context. Granted, he does not know Penelope personally so I can see how it would come off as rude, but it was not something that warranted this kind of extreme response.

      It makes me question what’s going on here as well. Obviously Penelope is good at what she does, good writer, good business savvy, and I’m sure a good mother to her kids – but what would push you to go off the deep end like this? I’m not really sure. It’s a reaction that has led me to lose faith in her as well. I’m sure I will still read her blog – but I’ll look at it in a different light from now on. If I disagree or call her out in a comment, should I expect a phone call? I just cant justify her reaction to the situation.

      Thank you for providing solid insight here – it’s amazing what a smiley emoticon would have done here, right? Writing things on the internet leaves the door wide open for interpretation.

      • talea Reply

        I think Olivia has it totally right. I’ve said similar things to overstressed friends/family and most laugh and say, “How about next week?”

        But then they never send their kids! Jerks! :)

        I’m also not a parent (not by choice), but I’m a devoted aunt. I’ve also been a journalist for 30-plus years and used to criticism out of the blue. It goes with the job and if you can’t take it, then you get drummed out of the profession.

        Bloggers often tell me they are the new journalists and I don’t really disagree. So now welcome to the bad side of the fun. You gotta take a lotta crap!

        What DD did was very minor, and in my jaded view, not all that rude. And yet Ms. Trunk’s reaction was anything but very minor. Stalking is a crime and she was flirting SERIOUSLY with that line. I would have been close to firing one of my reporters for such behavior. And I know of at least two former bosses who would have fired me had I reacted that way.

        PT blew this call — if she cares to be taken seriously. That’s all there is to it.

        So learn and move on.

        • Matt Reply

          @Talea – I think DD’s comment could have been taken in two different ways, one as very rude and the other as tongue-in-cheek. Regardless, the reaction here was not needed, and while it aided in her striving to prove a point regarding societies quick-to-judge nature of parents, the post was off the mark and was ultimately ineffective at doing much of anything other than sparking all of this controversy.

  • MRD Reply

    Hey No Pants, you asked for the opinion of a mom, and here it is: what David said was totally snotty. He probably didn’t expect to be called on it (which to me says he doesn’t read PTrunk’s blog, because, hey, Tim Ferriss?) David’s comment that they “would enjoy (her kids) for who they are” implied that PTrunk is “less than” for complaining about her kids. Having said that, as someone said in P-Trunk’s comments, “Calling him at work and at home? Who does that?”

    I work for pay, from home, and don’t have hired help. No bi-monthly cleaning service, no babysitters. In the two hours after my sons (15 and 11) got home from school, the dog puked twice, I sat through a discussion on euphemisms for “penis,” cajoled them through homework, discussed summer plans and why my older son couldn’t go to a two-week, $3,000 video production camp. I have deadlines coming out of my ears, a serious problem with concentration these days and worry incessantly about how my kids are going to turn out. Work sucks, motherhood is hard.

    That’s all I’ve got for now.

    • Matt Reply

      @MRD – thank you for taking the time to come by and give us a ‘mothers’ perspective, it’s much appreciated and needed amongst the debate here. It sounds like through the puking and penis references, you have a clear head on your shoulders and are working your ass off – that is to be commended.

      First – I agree that David was a jerk in his comment – and Penelope does raise a valid point that society is quick to judge people’s parenting skills. Everyone thinks there way is the ‘right way’ and if someone makes a comment – in jest – about being bored with kids, someone will be quick to pounce on it, because you just ‘aren’t supposed to ever say such things about your children’. But, as you said – it went too far.

      I understand the job of a parent is some of the hardest ‘work’ you’ll ever do. While I don’t have experience as a parent myself, I know how hard everything was for my mom growing up – going through a heated divorce, moving from place to place, and doing everything she possibly could for me in the process. So when someone’s methods are questioned, I can understand that it hits a nerve, but it still does not justify the behavior in this situation, at least in my opinion.

  • MRD Reply

    Hey No Pants, you asked for the opinion of a mom, and here it is: what David said was totally snotty. He probably didn’t expect to be called on it (which to me says he doesn’t read PTrunk’s blog, because, hey, Tim Ferriss?) David’s comment that they “would enjoy (her kids) for who they are” implied that PTrunk is “less than” for complaining about her kids. Having said that, as someone said in P-Trunk’s comments, “Calling him at work and at home? Who does that?”

    I work for pay, from home, and don’t have hired help. No bi-monthly cleaning service, no babysitters. In the two hours after my sons (15 and 11) got home from school, the dog puked twice, I sat through a discussion on euphemisms for “penis,” cajoled them through homework, discussed summer plans and why my older son couldn’t go to a two-week, $3,000 video production camp. I have deadlines coming out of my ears, a serious problem with concentration these days and worry incessantly about how my kids are going to turn out. Work sucks, motherhood is hard.

    That’s all I’ve got for now.

    • Matt Reply

      @MRD – thank you for taking the time to come by and give us a ‘mothers’ perspective, it’s much appreciated and needed amongst the debate here. It sounds like through the puking and penis references, you have a clear head on your shoulders and are working your ass off – that is to be commended.

      First – I agree that David was a jerk in his comment – and Penelope does raise a valid point that society is quick to judge people’s parenting skills. Everyone thinks there way is the ‘right way’ and if someone makes a comment – in jest – about being bored with kids, someone will be quick to pounce on it, because you just ‘aren’t supposed to ever say such things about your children’. But, as you said – it went too far.

      I understand the job of a parent is some of the hardest ‘work’ you’ll ever do. While I don’t have experience as a parent myself, I know how hard everything was for my mom growing up – going through a heated divorce, moving from place to place, and doing everything she possibly could for me in the process. So when someone’s methods are questioned, I can understand that it hits a nerve, but it still does not justify the behavior in this situation, at least in my opinion.

  • rikin Reply

    What can I say Matt. It looks like we got ourselves into a very heated discussion here and at my email and now public post to you over at http://www.rikinontheweb.com/brazen-faith-david-dellifield-of-ada-ohio-is-a-good-guy

    Criticism is an extremely difficult thing to take. Usually I’m used to hearing it from my friends and family but now that we’re out in the open with our blogs and “social” footprint we’ve put ourselves in the firing line. I don’t think that means that someone needs to take aim and actually fire every time someone pisses them off.

    Also, no one should talk about Penelope’s or David’s judgement as parents. That’s just rude whether you are or aren’t a father or mother.

    • Matt Reply

      Rikin – we do have a great discussion going here. Obviously, this is a topic that many are extremely passionate about. I think you and I both have brought up a very valid argument – and your ‘faith in Brazen’ is a topic I really think you should explore in the future. Is it a solid aggregation of information (I’ve met some awesome people there) or is it just a bunch of twenty-something’s claiming to be experts? I think you bring up a very valid discussion that should be expanded upon.

      I’m not, and I don’t think anyone else here, is raising question about either person’s parenting skills. I really think these were two ‘Tweets’ that should have been taken with a grain of salt. There was no need for this to blow up in the way it has, but it illustrates the bigger point of our inability to take criticism.

      Thank you for having the guts to turn your personal email to Jun and I into a post – your opinion is certainly worth sharing.

  • rikin Reply

    What can I say Matt. It looks like we got ourselves into a very heated discussion here and at my email and now public post to you over at http://www.rikinontheweb.com/brazen-faith-david-dellifield-of-ada-ohio-is-a-good-guy

    Criticism is an extremely difficult thing to take. Usually I’m used to hearing it from my friends and family but now that we’re out in the open with our blogs and “social” footprint we’ve put ourselves in the firing line. I don’t think that means that someone needs to take aim and actually fire every time someone pisses them off.

    Also, no one should talk about Penelope’s or David’s judgement as parents. That’s just rude whether you are or aren’t a father or mother.

    • Matt Reply

      Rikin – we do have a great discussion going here. Obviously, this is a topic that many are extremely passionate about. I think you and I both have brought up a very valid argument – and your ‘faith in Brazen’ is a topic I really think you should explore in the future. Is it a solid aggregation of information (I’ve met some awesome people there) or is it just a bunch of twenty-something’s claiming to be experts? I think you bring up a very valid discussion that should be expanded upon.

      I’m not, and I don’t think anyone else here, is raising question about either person’s parenting skills. I really think these were two ‘Tweets’ that should have been taken with a grain of salt. There was no need for this to blow up in the way it has, but it illustrates the bigger point of our inability to take criticism.

      Thank you for having the guts to turn your personal email to Jun and I into a post – your opinion is certainly worth sharing.

  • Preston Reply

    When I first started reading this whole Penelope hating David thing, I thought “wow, David was a dick. And not in an email or private message, but in a public place, which makes a huge difference.” A man saying something like that to a successful working woman like Penelope Trunk in a public online place is in very bad taste.

    As I continued to read on, I became more and more surprised at the steps Penelope was taking to give him a piece of her mind. Calling him at work and at home? Doing all that over an admittedly jerkfaced tweet seems like a greater misstep on Penelope’s part to me than the blog post.

    If I were in her shoes, and I’m not saying I understand her feelings as a professional or a mother, and I received a comment like that on Twitter, I would reply with a less-than-friendly message or @ reply, and perhaps an angry blog post if I was that worked up. I would be less likely to say she over reacted if the blog was free of such open hate and insult slinging, and just filled with the facts about psychology, how CEOs function with children etc. Going into the somewhat angry rant that the blog post dipped in and out of reminded me of a “flame war” in an online forum, if anybody is familiar with the term. The backing up of her opinion with all the facts about how working parents deal with their children to prove why David’s comment was ignorant was done excellently. But the open insults and language weakened her retaliation, in my opinion.

    In my book, she does get credit for making a well supported argument, but it is overshadowed by the phone calls and the seasoning of vulgarity that is sprinkled on the blog entry.

    • Matt Reply

      @Preston – I could not agree more – I honestly think Penelope’s intentions were in the right place, initially. But her open hatred and anger that is on display overshadows any point she was trying to make on society and parenting. It’s not so much a view on society as it is an open attempt to enact revenge on someone for saying something that was taken as hurtful. I don’t see the ‘greatness’ exuding from this post. She clearly did her research, on two fronts – one, on supporting her statements regarding CEO’s and their relationship with children – and two: How to exact revenge that will strike fear in others. She (Penelope) is painting a picture of her own image. I reference the following comment that was left on her blog:

      I too was wondering why Penelope rarely talks positively about her time with her kids. Probably not an accurate picture of how she feels, but essential to the character she plays here: angry, sexy, dead honest single mom. Emphasis on plays, hopefully not is.”

  • Preston Reply

    When I first started reading this whole Penelope hating David thing, I thought “wow, David was a dick. And not in an email or private message, but in a public place, which makes a huge difference.” A man saying something like that to a successful working woman like Penelope Trunk in a public online place is in very bad taste.

    As I continued to read on, I became more and more surprised at the steps Penelope was taking to give him a piece of her mind. Calling him at work and at home? Doing all that over an admittedly jerkfaced tweet seems like a greater misstep on Penelope’s part to me than the blog post.

    If I were in her shoes, and I’m not saying I understand her feelings as a professional or a mother, and I received a comment like that on Twitter, I would reply with a less-than-friendly message or @ reply, and perhaps an angry blog post if I was that worked up. I would be less likely to say she over reacted if the blog was free of such open hate and insult slinging, and just filled with the facts about psychology, how CEOs function with children etc. Going into the somewhat angry rant that the blog post dipped in and out of reminded me of a “flame war” in an online forum, if anybody is familiar with the term. The backing up of her opinion with all the facts about how working parents deal with their children to prove why David’s comment was ignorant was done excellently. But the open insults and language weakened her retaliation, in my opinion.

    In my book, she does get credit for making a well supported argument, but it is overshadowed by the phone calls and the seasoning of vulgarity that is sprinkled on the blog entry.

    • Matt Reply

      @Preston – I could not agree more – I honestly think Penelope’s intentions were in the right place, initially. But her open hatred and anger that is on display overshadows any point she was trying to make on society and parenting. It’s not so much a view on society as it is an open attempt to enact revenge on someone for saying something that was taken as hurtful. I don’t see the ‘greatness’ exuding from this post. She clearly did her research, on two fronts – one, on supporting her statements regarding CEO’s and their relationship with children – and two: How to exact revenge that will strike fear in others. She (Penelope) is painting a picture of her own image. I reference the following comment that was left on her blog:

      I too was wondering why Penelope rarely talks positively about her time with her kids. Probably not an accurate picture of how she feels, but essential to the character she plays here: angry, sexy, dead honest single mom. Emphasis on plays, hopefully not is.”

  • Chaalz Reply

    @Jamie – No rules? Well that may be the reality of the internet today, but I can’t help but think you don’t truly think it “should” be that way. I don’t and so I’ll respectfully disagree with you.

    What if one day you insult someone and they (and their army of followers) decide to call your mom (who you talk about all the time)? What if they got a hold of her and insulted her, telling her she was a bad parent for raising you (or whatever painful thing they could say)? Are you seriously telling me you’d tell your mom, sorry “anything goes” and “no rules”?

    I don’t know you, but I highly doubt it.

    • Matt Reply

      @Chaalz – I agree with your point and laid out the same example for Jamie up above (ah the pitfalls of responding to comments in the order of which they appear). But I am with you here – there has to be some ‘rules’ or at least ‘guidelines’ – I can’t think of any situation in which someone’s response to me would lead me to calling him/her and their family personally – what exactly does that achieve? That’s really the question here – what satisfaction is obtained from such action? It’s an unethical response to an online interaction, and it’s borderline harassment in a legal sense.

  • Chaalz Reply

    @Jamie – No rules? Well that may be the reality of the internet today, but I can’t help but think you don’t truly think it “should” be that way. I don’t and so I’ll respectfully disagree with you.

    What if one day you insult someone and they (and their army of followers) decide to call your mom (who you talk about all the time)? What if they got a hold of her and insulted her, telling her she was a bad parent for raising you (or whatever painful thing they could say)? Are you seriously telling me you’d tell your mom, sorry “anything goes” and “no rules”?

    I don’t know you, but I highly doubt it.

    • Matt Reply

      @Chaalz – I agree with your point and laid out the same example for Jamie up above (ah the pitfalls of responding to comments in the order of which they appear). But I am with you here – there has to be some ‘rules’ or at least ‘guidelines’ – I can’t think of any situation in which someone’s response to me would lead me to calling him/her and their family personally – what exactly does that achieve? That’s really the question here – what satisfaction is obtained from such action? It’s an unethical response to an online interaction, and it’s borderline harassment in a legal sense.

  • Pylin Reply

    Hey Matt,

    I read Penelope’s blog earlier in the day and thought pretty much the same thing. I don’t agree with her actions, but I have to admit she had “balls” to do what she did (but honestly, she scares the heck out of me! don’t get on her bad side!).

    And I totally agree with you about how we can disagree on a subject but still have an “intellectual” discussion about it. I recently had a disagreement with a friend about the word “retard” and how it’s used. There’s a campaign going on about ending the “R” word and I don’t think just not allowing people to use it will curb the problem of discrimination. But my friend disagrees with the fact that I don’t want to stop using the word “retarded” to call my friends when they act stupid (not to call “intellectually-challenged” people!) But when I tried to have a discussion by telling her my point of view/logic, etc. all her responses were “oh my god you’re so offensive” “i can’t even respond to you right now, what is wrong with you?” so the “conversation” was me stating my case in a paragraph form and her giving me one sentence answers about how offensive my responses were. that does NOT encourage discussion!

    You are right about people agreeing to disagree…as long as we don’t get into an extremely heated debate and that everyone can see both sides of the story (which most people seem to not be able to).

    • Matt Reply

      @Pylin – hello and welcome to the discussion! There is a clear difference between debate/discussion and ‘drama’. Healthy debate is good for us, it helps us learn, it’s good for the soul to be able to share opinions and have them accepted with open minds. That’s what I am encouraging here – everyone’s opinion is valued. While I may disagree with Nisha – it does not make me think any less of her, and as an avid reader of her blog, I respect the heck out of her opinion. Just because we disagree here, it isn’t carrying over to every other discussion to be had in the future.

      As long as things don’t get personal – debate is good for us, and I encourage it here, as long as you are verbally abusing myself or other commenters here, your opinion is always welcome :)

  • Pylin Reply

    Hey Matt,

    I read Penelope’s blog earlier in the day and thought pretty much the same thing. I don’t agree with her actions, but I have to admit she had “balls” to do what she did (but honestly, she scares the heck out of me! don’t get on her bad side!).

    And I totally agree with you about how we can disagree on a subject but still have an “intellectual” discussion about it. I recently had a disagreement with a friend about the word “retard” and how it’s used. There’s a campaign going on about ending the “R” word and I don’t think just not allowing people to use it will curb the problem of discrimination. But my friend disagrees with the fact that I don’t want to stop using the word “retarded” to call my friends when they act stupid (not to call “intellectually-challenged” people!) But when I tried to have a discussion by telling her my point of view/logic, etc. all her responses were “oh my god you’re so offensive” “i can’t even respond to you right now, what is wrong with you?” so the “conversation” was me stating my case in a paragraph form and her giving me one sentence answers about how offensive my responses were. that does NOT encourage discussion!

    You are right about people agreeing to disagree…as long as we don’t get into an extremely heated debate and that everyone can see both sides of the story (which most people seem to not be able to).

    • Matt Reply

      @Pylin – hello and welcome to the discussion! There is a clear difference between debate/discussion and ‘drama’. Healthy debate is good for us, it helps us learn, it’s good for the soul to be able to share opinions and have them accepted with open minds. That’s what I am encouraging here – everyone’s opinion is valued. While I may disagree with Nisha – it does not make me think any less of her, and as an avid reader of her blog, I respect the heck out of her opinion. Just because we disagree here, it isn’t carrying over to every other discussion to be had in the future.

      As long as things don’t get personal – debate is good for us, and I encourage it here, as long as you are verbally abusing myself or other commenters here, your opinion is always welcome :)

  • DB Reply

    A couple of things, 1) it’s all relative, I’ve been blogging for a number of years and have a reasonable readership, yet until today I’d never heard of Ms Trunk. 2)Her overreaction bordered on psychopathic, and does little to make me want to return to her blog. Finally, 3) her sycophants, in their clamour to stroke her ego, totally missed the point, which was that she is a thin skinned, narcissistic moron.

    • Matt Reply

      @DB – thank you for coming by and getting involved here. You make some bold points, yet one’s I don’t necessarily disagree with. I think her reaction was way over the line here, and I would honestly be shocked if someone called me or my significant other to call me out on a tweet, blog, etc. I think that her intentions were good in the point she was (trying) to raise about society and parenting, but that point was overwhelmed by a personal attack on this David guy.

      How do you see this reaction relating to our overall inability to handle adversity and criticism? Does David’s comment fall into the category of ‘criticism’ or was it simply a personal attack? Is there a difference?

      • talea Reply

        First, I’ve joined the conversation today and have made a couple of posts in reaction to others. Second, DB’s reaction pretty much fits my own most blunt and to the point reaction based on 30 years of journalism experience where I’ve been snarked at, sued, criticized, etc. And in most cases, you have to let it go.

        But to your question, Matt: I see David’s comment as snark — way different than “I’m gonna call the child protective services people on you.”

        Yes, there is a difference and it’s huge. Sometimes, it helps to put the rapid conversation on Twitter in the same context as a cocktail party. Penelope says her kids are boring her; David says send ‘em to me, I’ll enjoy them; she responds, “Bite me!”; and the moment has passed.

        Instead PT finds the guy’s phone number and starts calling him. That’s an overreaction — and stalking. Or as DB puts it — snarkily, yet poetically — “she is a thin skinned, narcissistic moron.”

        I don’t think she is, but she brought that opinion on herself by her overreaction to DD.

        She blew this one and some of her credibility — when that happens, just apologize — and move forward.

        As far as holding DD “accountable” — really? He’s not the one with the daily blog.

        • talea Reply

          First, I’ve joined the conversation today and have made a couple of posts in reaction to others. Second, DB’s reaction pretty much fits my own most blunt and to the point reaction based on 30 years of journalism experience where I’ve been snarked at, sued, criticized, etc. And in most cases, you have to let it go.

          But to your question, Matt: I see David’s comment as snark — way different than “I’m gonna call the child protective services people on you.”

          Yes, there is a difference and it’s huge. Sometimes, it helps to put the rapid conversation on Twitter in the same context as a cocktail party. Penelope says her kids are boring her; David says send ‘em to me, I’ll enjoy them; she responds, “Bite me!”; and the moment has passed.

          Instead PT finds the guy’s phone number and starts calling him. That’s an overreaction — and stalking. Or as DB puts it — snarkily, yet poetically — “she is a thin skinned, narcissistic moron.”

          I don’t think she is, but she brought that opinion on herself by her overreaction to DD.

          She blew this one and some of her credibility — when that happens, just apologize — and move forward.

          As far as holding DD “accountable” — really? He’s not the one with the daily blog.

          An addendum:

          Actually, a journalist would call DD to interview him. But he/she wouldn’t write a post about “how I hate DD” before he/she got a response.

          Once I had the response, I still wouldn’t write how I “hated” anybody. That could be the difference between blogging and objective journalism.

          But then again, as a person, I’d never write about “hating” anybody. I consider hating to be the equivalent of war. And I think most wars are totally useless.

          Hate is a powerful poison. I save that for child molesters/killers.

          Not snarky Twitterers.

          • Matt Reply

            @Talea – Agreed that ‘hate’ is a little bit too strong of an emotion to be used for someone who sent out a ‘tweet’ that could have been interpreted as mean. Label him an ass if you want, turn the other cheek and move on. Again, it’s simply an illustration of (even high-profile bloggers) inability, at times, to deal with criticism.

  • DB Reply

    A couple of things, 1) it’s all relative, I’ve been blogging for a number of years and have a reasonable readership, yet until today I’d never heard of Ms Trunk. 2)Her overreaction bordered on psychopathic, and does little to make me want to return to her blog. Finally, 3) her sycophants, in their clamour to stroke her ego, totally missed the point, which was that she is a thin skinned, narcissistic moron.

    • Matt Reply

      @DB – thank you for coming by and getting involved here. You make some bold points, yet one’s I don’t necessarily disagree with. I think her reaction was way over the line here, and I would honestly be shocked if someone called me or my significant other to call me out on a tweet, blog, etc. I think that her intentions were good in the point she was (trying) to raise about society and parenting, but that point was overwhelmed by a personal attack on this David guy.

      How do you see this reaction relating to our overall inability to handle adversity and criticism? Does David’s comment fall into the category of ‘criticism’ or was it simply a personal attack? Is there a difference?

      • talea Reply

        First, I’ve joined the conversation today and have made a couple of posts in reaction to others. Second, DB’s reaction pretty much fits my own most blunt and to the point reaction based on 30 years of journalism experience where I’ve been snarked at, sued, criticized, etc. And in most cases, you have to let it go.

        But to your question, Matt: I see David’s comment as snark — way different than “I’m gonna call the child protective services people on you.”

        Yes, there is a difference and it’s huge. Sometimes, it helps to put the rapid conversation on Twitter in the same context as a cocktail party. Penelope says her kids are boring her; David says send ‘em to me, I’ll enjoy them; she responds, “Bite me!”; and the moment has passed.

        Instead PT finds the guy’s phone number and starts calling him. That’s an overreaction — and stalking. Or as DB puts it — snarkily, yet poetically — “she is a thin skinned, narcissistic moron.”

        I don’t think she is, but she brought that opinion on herself by her overreaction to DD.

        She blew this one and some of her credibility — when that happens, just apologize — and move forward.

        As far as holding DD “accountable” — really? He’s not the one with the daily blog.

        • talea Reply

          First, I’ve joined the conversation today and have made a couple of posts in reaction to others. Second, DB’s reaction pretty much fits my own most blunt and to the point reaction based on 30 years of journalism experience where I’ve been snarked at, sued, criticized, etc. And in most cases, you have to let it go.

          But to your question, Matt: I see David’s comment as snark — way different than “I’m gonna call the child protective services people on you.”

          Yes, there is a difference and it’s huge. Sometimes, it helps to put the rapid conversation on Twitter in the same context as a cocktail party. Penelope says her kids are boring her; David says send ‘em to me, I’ll enjoy them; she responds, “Bite me!”; and the moment has passed.

          Instead PT finds the guy’s phone number and starts calling him. That’s an overreaction — and stalking. Or as DB puts it — snarkily, yet poetically — “she is a thin skinned, narcissistic moron.”

          I don’t think she is, but she brought that opinion on herself by her overreaction to DD.

          She blew this one and some of her credibility — when that happens, just apologize — and move forward.

          As far as holding DD “accountable” — really? He’s not the one with the daily blog.

          An addendum:

          Actually, a journalist would call DD to interview him. But he/she wouldn’t write a post about “how I hate DD” before he/she got a response.

          Once I had the response, I still wouldn’t write how I “hated” anybody. That could be the difference between blogging and objective journalism.

          But then again, as a person, I’d never write about “hating” anybody. I consider hating to be the equivalent of war. And I think most wars are totally useless.

          Hate is a powerful poison. I save that for child molesters/killers.

          Not snarky Twitterers.

          • Matt Reply

            @Talea – Agreed that ‘hate’ is a little bit too strong of an emotion to be used for someone who sent out a ‘tweet’ that could have been interpreted as mean. Label him an ass if you want, turn the other cheek and move on. Again, it’s simply an illustration of (even high-profile bloggers) inability, at times, to deal with criticism.

  • Sam Davidson Reply

    Wow. Nice post, Matt. Way to get a discussion going.

    The neat part of having your own blog? You get to be the FCC. But it’s better. You can say what you want AND censor what you want.

    And, there are benefits and consequences to each decision you make in either role.

    I think this post highlights:
    1 – Most people will say more online than they ever would in person. That’s both an asset and a liability.
    2 – Very few people take criticism ‘well.’ Then again, each person probably has a different opinion of what taking it ‘well’ means.
    3 – Whenever I get a snarky comment on a post, I usually do something else, like spend time with people who like me or go for a jog. This makes me happier. Then, I don’t spend time replying to vitriol while engaging in an unwinnable or fruitless discussion that takes time away from things and people I love.
    4 – I don’t feel sorry when people cry on reality shows. It was their choice to show up and be filmed for their ‘talent.’ Likewise, I don’t feel bad when you say something to someone else online. That was your behavior, your choice and your actions. As such, there will be benefits and consequences. Both David and Penelope received benefits and consequences from their online decisions. Neither was good or bad, they just were. For more on this, watch this season of Lost.

    I’m going for a jog now. I may not come back and look at the replies to this comment. Or maybe I will. It just depends on how I’m feeling. If anyone wants to know more about me then, don’t post a reply in a public forum. Email me. Maybe we can get coffee somewhere – you know, build some bridges and whatnot.

    • Matt Reply

      Sam – thanks for stopping by man, It means a lot.

      First, I agree with the ‘openness’ of the web can be both an asset and a liability – people sometimes forget that they are held accountable for what they say on the internet. But with that being said, if someone says something hurtful, I would just as soon ignore it than go to such lengths to put someone in their place.

      Second – you are a model for the way criticism should be handled – walk away from it, distance yourself from it, then if you still feel the need to respond, come back after you have cooled down. Remaining as objective as possible is important – there’s no sense in bickering back and forth and getting into an argument that can’t be won (for the record – it’s very hard, if not possible, to ‘win’ an argument on the net.

      I know you – so that’s why I’ve chosen to respond here – even though I could just as well email you or call you up, and hopefully you’ll come back and read my response. And you know I’m good for taking you up on the coffee request anytime – or better yet, another round of the delicious Greek buffet. Let’s make it happen!

      • Sam Davidson Reply

        MattChevy:

        Word up. I agree with some of the above commenters in that taking criticism is a key life skill that must be developed.

        Then again, Twitter isn’t exactly the place to leave criticism.

        Then again, when someone does, you can write a post that has a bazillion comments.

        I’m done with the Greek buffet. How ’bout a sushi buffet instead?

        • Matt Reply

          Bazillions of comments are always good.

          I am down for some Sushi – name the time and the place and I’m there Sam!

  • Sam Davidson Reply

    Wow. Nice post, Matt. Way to get a discussion going.

    The neat part of having your own blog? You get to be the FCC. But it’s better. You can say what you want AND censor what you want.

    And, there are benefits and consequences to each decision you make in either role.

    I think this post highlights:
    1 – Most people will say more online than they ever would in person. That’s both an asset and a liability.
    2 – Very few people take criticism ‘well.’ Then again, each person probably has a different opinion of what taking it ‘well’ means.
    3 – Whenever I get a snarky comment on a post, I usually do something else, like spend time with people who like me or go for a jog. This makes me happier. Then, I don’t spend time replying to vitriol while engaging in an unwinnable or fruitless discussion that takes time away from things and people I love.
    4 – I don’t feel sorry when people cry on reality shows. It was their choice to show up and be filmed for their ‘talent.’ Likewise, I don’t feel bad when you say something to someone else online. That was your behavior, your choice and your actions. As such, there will be benefits and consequences. Both David and Penelope received benefits and consequences from their online decisions. Neither was good or bad, they just were. For more on this, watch this season of Lost.

    I’m going for a jog now. I may not come back and look at the replies to this comment. Or maybe I will. It just depends on how I’m feeling. If anyone wants to know more about me then, don’t post a reply in a public forum. Email me. Maybe we can get coffee somewhere – you know, build some bridges and whatnot.

    • Matt Reply

      Sam – thanks for stopping by man, It means a lot.

      First, I agree with the ‘openness’ of the web can be both an asset and a liability – people sometimes forget that they are held accountable for what they say on the internet. But with that being said, if someone says something hurtful, I would just as soon ignore it than go to such lengths to put someone in their place.

      Second – you are a model for the way criticism should be handled – walk away from it, distance yourself from it, then if you still feel the need to respond, come back after you have cooled down. Remaining as objective as possible is important – there’s no sense in bickering back and forth and getting into an argument that can’t be won (for the record – it’s very hard, if not possible, to ‘win’ an argument on the net.

      I know you – so that’s why I’ve chosen to respond here – even though I could just as well email you or call you up, and hopefully you’ll come back and read my response. And you know I’m good for taking you up on the coffee request anytime – or better yet, another round of the delicious Greek buffet. Let’s make it happen!

      • Sam Davidson Reply

        MattChevy:

        Word up. I agree with some of the above commenters in that taking criticism is a key life skill that must be developed.

        Then again, Twitter isn’t exactly the place to leave criticism.

        Then again, when someone does, you can write a post that has a bazillion comments.

        I’m done with the Greek buffet. How ’bout a sushi buffet instead?

        • Matt Reply

          Bazillions of comments are always good.

          I am down for some Sushi – name the time and the place and I’m there Sam!

  • Elisa Reply

    I sometimes wonder if this is the way that Twitter is going to end up going. The same way Carrie gets dumped by a post-it and friendships disolve after an ill-advised text message in the heat of anger. 140 characters is a quick way to get out what you are thinking without having to “think” about it very much.

    I don’t “think” he meant to be as spiteful as he was in that Tweet (or maybe he did…I have a Pollyanna complex, its a problem I deal with!) So I can see where Penelope would feel extra assaulted by that one. He isn’t attacking he thoughts or writing as most people do with bloggers, he’s attacking her love for her children, which would incite most any good parent into an attack mode.

    That being said, I agree with you on most points of her over reaction. The phone calls and lengthy blog post are most definitely childish methods of retaliation that aren’t going to fix any problem, and all it is going to do is make him defensive and thus only think she’s a crazy b*tch rather than what the heart of the issue is.

    On the flip side, while she needs to learn to take criticism, has Twitter gone to the next level where people need to learn to take what they dish out? If you are going to write some snarky cowardly assault in 140 characters or less, do you have to be prepared for a 1500 word epic on your shortcomings as well?

    • Matt Reply

      Hey Elisa – thanks so much for getting involved. I think you raise an interesting question at the end of your comment.

      If you are going to write some snarky cowardly assault in 140 characters or less, do you have to be prepared for a 1500 word epic on your shortcomings as well?

      It’s not an easy question to answer – I know that I personally wouldn’t ever take one snide remark and turn it into a defaming blog post to get back at someone – what’s the point in that? And am I really gaining anything from it other than maybe some extra attention? I suppose if you do feel compelled to react, the punishment should fit the crime – going above and beyond for revenge just does not make a lot of sense to me. Especially coming from someone she doesn’t know at all. If some stranger @ replied to something I said on Twitter, I would think ‘Who the hell is this guy? not ‘Why the hell is this guy, let me find out, track him down, harass his family, and prove to the masses what an ass he is’. It’s way above and beyond any normal reaction I can fathom.

    • Sam Davidson Reply

      That episode where Carrie got dumped was epic. One of my favorites.

  • Elisa Reply

    I sometimes wonder if this is the way that Twitter is going to end up going. The same way Carrie gets dumped by a post-it and friendships disolve after an ill-advised text message in the heat of anger. 140 characters is a quick way to get out what you are thinking without having to “think” about it very much.

    I don’t “think” he meant to be as spiteful as he was in that Tweet (or maybe he did…I have a Pollyanna complex, its a problem I deal with!) So I can see where Penelope would feel extra assaulted by that one. He isn’t attacking he thoughts or writing as most people do with bloggers, he’s attacking her love for her children, which would incite most any good parent into an attack mode.

    That being said, I agree with you on most points of her over reaction. The phone calls and lengthy blog post are most definitely childish methods of retaliation that aren’t going to fix any problem, and all it is going to do is make him defensive and thus only think she’s a crazy b*tch rather than what the heart of the issue is.

    On the flip side, while she needs to learn to take criticism, has Twitter gone to the next level where people need to learn to take what they dish out? If you are going to write some snarky cowardly assault in 140 characters or less, do you have to be prepared for a 1500 word epic on your shortcomings as well?

    • Matt Reply

      Hey Elisa – thanks so much for getting involved. I think you raise an interesting question at the end of your comment.

      If you are going to write some snarky cowardly assault in 140 characters or less, do you have to be prepared for a 1500 word epic on your shortcomings as well?

      It’s not an easy question to answer – I know that I personally wouldn’t ever take one snide remark and turn it into a defaming blog post to get back at someone – what’s the point in that? And am I really gaining anything from it other than maybe some extra attention? I suppose if you do feel compelled to react, the punishment should fit the crime – going above and beyond for revenge just does not make a lot of sense to me. Especially coming from someone she doesn’t know at all. If some stranger @ replied to something I said on Twitter, I would think ‘Who the hell is this guy? not ‘Why the hell is this guy, let me find out, track him down, harass his family, and prove to the masses what an ass he is’. It’s way above and beyond any normal reaction I can fathom.

    • Sam Davidson Reply

      That episode where Carrie got dumped was epic. One of my favorites.

  • Sarah Pare Reply

    “This isn’t even an eye for an eye – it’s an eye for a pair of eyes, legs, and arms.” That’s exactly how I felt, Matt, and I have been a long-time *fan* of Penelope’s, even though I don’t always agree with her posts or her positions.

    (Am I the only one who’s exhausted by this already? What a difficult drama.)

    I do think it’s interesting that Penelope’s most ardent defenders – Nisha, whom I do not know and whose blog I have not read; and Rebecca, whom I know marginally better and whose blog I’ve read for a year – are the people who know her in real life. Perhaps there is something they understand about Penelope because of their face-to-face connection that we readers are simply not getting from Penelope’s blog.

    Just a thought.

    • Matt Reply

      Knowing her personally or not – it makes no difference in the ‘big picture’ here. I’m not judging her personally, I’m not judging her as a mother, or as a businesswoman – the only thing I am analyzing here are the actions she took, and the misguided attempt to prove a point which didn’t follow through due to the anger and revenge-driven nature of her post. The actions here show a lack of rational thought. Set up a hypothetical: What if this guy has severe depression, what if all of this public defamation on the web puts him over the edge, how would Penelope feel then? Would people like Jamie still stand by their comments of ‘he had it coming’? David was in the wrong, yes – but Penelope only magnified that and expanded upon it. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  • Sarah Pare Reply

    “This isn’t even an eye for an eye – it’s an eye for a pair of eyes, legs, and arms.” That’s exactly how I felt, Matt, and I have been a long-time *fan* of Penelope’s, even though I don’t always agree with her posts or her positions.

    (Am I the only one who’s exhausted by this already? What a difficult drama.)

    I do think it’s interesting that Penelope’s most ardent defenders – Nisha, whom I do not know and whose blog I have not read; and Rebecca, whom I know marginally better and whose blog I’ve read for a year – are the people who know her in real life. Perhaps there is something they understand about Penelope because of their face-to-face connection that we readers are simply not getting from Penelope’s blog.

    Just a thought.

    • Matt Reply

      Knowing her personally or not – it makes no difference in the ‘big picture’ here. I’m not judging her personally, I’m not judging her as a mother, or as a businesswoman – the only thing I am analyzing here are the actions she took, and the misguided attempt to prove a point which didn’t follow through due to the anger and revenge-driven nature of her post. The actions here show a lack of rational thought. Set up a hypothetical: What if this guy has severe depression, what if all of this public defamation on the web puts him over the edge, how would Penelope feel then? Would people like Jamie still stand by their comments of ‘he had it coming’? David was in the wrong, yes – but Penelope only magnified that and expanded upon it. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  • Pritesh Reply

    As Matt said in his Tweets, a very engaging discussion going on here..

    First of all, let me clarify few things. I am a man and I don’t have any kids. So there is no comparison between PT and me in terms of parenting and so, I have no idea on how to raise a kid or what to do and how you feel when you are stay-at-home dad. With that being said, it is morally wrong to call a stranger at his work and home and then post a blog to threaten him.

    As they say, “With great power comes great responsibility”, PT is really powerful in blogging field and has thousands of followers on Twitter. She has the power of blogging and reaches thousands of people and influences them. Whatever she says or does, make a strong impact on the blogging community. So, when you have such kind of power, I strongly believe that you should use it wisely. You should think twice before you say or act.

    Also when you are active in blogsphere and on Twitter, you would definitely hit criticism from few people. Not everyone would agree on everything you say or do. You just have to learn how to avoid it and do your best. If you just keep continue doing it, people would also ignore comments made on you.

    I also believe that the same goes thru to all bloggers who have responded to PT’s post thru own blog post or tweets. You should respect her first in whatever she does and try to put your thoughts in ethical way. You should not use words like ***hole or sh*t for someone when you are not agree with them. If you do that, then there is no difference between two of you. Whenever you put anything on Internet, it saves forever. There is no way you can alter it. Even if PT wants to change anything from her blog posts, she can’t. It’s been saved forever in hundreds of sharing websites and people’s computer. You should only do an engaging discussion, like what’s going on here. You should not just blindly attach PT on her act and change your thoughts about her because she is morally wrong one time. No, you should not. She is damn good at what she does and she is far away from all of us, at least from me.

    I think if PT has used the links which she has posted on her blog like, ‘we trick ourselves into thinking kids make us happy’ or ‘marriages are much happier before the couple has children’, that post would have been such a great opportunity for an involved and healthy discussion.

    In one sentence, whatever she did is morally wrong. That’s it. But would I stop going to her blog, I don’t think so. She is morally wrong this time but I would say who doesn’t. One moral act should not be judged against overall personality.

    Pritesh
    http://twitter.com/mehta1p

    • Matt Reply

      @Pritesh – thanks so much for your comment – there’s nothing wrong with a little quote from Spiderman: ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. Is it wrong to hold ‘public’ figures to a higher standard? I can’t answer that – but it’s just the way it is. These bloggers represent you and me, whether we like it or not – they are models for an entire generation – and with that status, it’s important to remember their place before doing things like this. In this instance – her power was used for evil, she became a villain here, perhaps with good intentions, but her judgment was clouded by anger and hatred toward David – so the goal of her blog post became distorted.

      And secondly – to your point – I don’t think this act defines who Penelope Trunk is, but I think it gives us a glimpse of her character – everything we put out their on the web becomes part of who we are and what we represent – she may have gained some support here – it may have brought her a lot of attention, but it also made a lot of people lose a little faith in what she stands for and her way of thinking, myself included.

  • Pritesh Reply

    As Matt said in his Tweets, a very engaging discussion going on here..

    First of all, let me clarify few things. I am a man and I don’t have any kids. So there is no comparison between PT and me in terms of parenting and so, I have no idea on how to raise a kid or what to do and how you feel when you are stay-at-home dad. With that being said, it is morally wrong to call a stranger at his work and home and then post a blog to threaten him.

    As they say, “With great power comes great responsibility”, PT is really powerful in blogging field and has thousands of followers on Twitter. She has the power of blogging and reaches thousands of people and influences them. Whatever she says or does, make a strong impact on the blogging community. So, when you have such kind of power, I strongly believe that you should use it wisely. You should think twice before you say or act.

    Also when you are active in blogsphere and on Twitter, you would definitely hit criticism from few people. Not everyone would agree on everything you say or do. You just have to learn how to avoid it and do your best. If you just keep continue doing it, people would also ignore comments made on you.

    I also believe that the same goes thru to all bloggers who have responded to PT’s post thru own blog post or tweets. You should respect her first in whatever she does and try to put your thoughts in ethical way. You should not use words like ***hole or sh*t for someone when you are not agree with them. If you do that, then there is no difference between two of you. Whenever you put anything on Internet, it saves forever. There is no way you can alter it. Even if PT wants to change anything from her blog posts, she can’t. It’s been saved forever in hundreds of sharing websites and people’s computer. You should only do an engaging discussion, like what’s going on here. You should not just blindly attach PT on her act and change your thoughts about her because she is morally wrong one time. No, you should not. She is damn good at what she does and she is far away from all of us, at least from me.

    I think if PT has used the links which she has posted on her blog like, ‘we trick ourselves into thinking kids make us happy’ or ‘marriages are much happier before the couple has children’, that post would have been such a great opportunity for an involved and healthy discussion.

    In one sentence, whatever she did is morally wrong. That’s it. But would I stop going to her blog, I don’t think so. She is morally wrong this time but I would say who doesn’t. One moral act should not be judged against overall personality.

    Pritesh
    http://twitter.com/mehta1p

    • Matt Reply

      @Pritesh – thanks so much for your comment – there’s nothing wrong with a little quote from Spiderman: ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. Is it wrong to hold ‘public’ figures to a higher standard? I can’t answer that – but it’s just the way it is. These bloggers represent you and me, whether we like it or not – they are models for an entire generation – and with that status, it’s important to remember their place before doing things like this. In this instance – her power was used for evil, she became a villain here, perhaps with good intentions, but her judgment was clouded by anger and hatred toward David – so the goal of her blog post became distorted.

      And secondly – to your point – I don’t think this act defines who Penelope Trunk is, but I think it gives us a glimpse of her character – everything we put out their on the web becomes part of who we are and what we represent – she may have gained some support here – it may have brought her a lot of attention, but it also made a lot of people lose a little faith in what she stands for and her way of thinking, myself included.

  • Penelope Trunk Reply

    I understand that you guys think my post was out of line. I want to suggest, though, that blogging for most people and blogging on a high-profile blog actually do not have the same rules.

    For example, you respond personally to most of your commenters, and if you ignored 90% of your commenters, you would be rude. On any given day, more than 90% of my commenters hear nothing from me, but I am known for actually being very engaged in my comments section.

    That’s an example of how the rules are different.

    Another difference is the level of criticism I field. I have been on CNN getting slammed for blog posts. I have written posts on Yahoo Finance that received more than 500 comments, most of them not just negative, but imploring Yahoo to fire me. My Wikipedia page is often on lockdown — as in all edits must be approved — because people write such offensive commentary on it.

    So I am operating under a very different set of rules than most bloggers for what is fair game for criticism. In general, I would say I put up with most of it. I can generally tell when I’m going to get slammed on television, and I do the interviews anyway. And I leave up so many absolutely offensive comments on my blog that commenters actually complain that I should delete more.

    This brings me to, what are the rules for responding to people by name. I understand that I have a lot more power than David Dellifield, and when I put his name in a title, I affect his Google search results for a long time. I did that to make a point.

    Women put up with much more harsh criticism than men do online. This is not a controversial assertion — it is reported in the New York Times and studied at the university level. Men are more rude to women than other men online. So it would be remiss, I think, to squander the power I have online. I have a lot more power than most of the obnoxious commenters of the world. I can use that power to let people know that they cannot be rude and offensive with impunity.

    Additionally, if people can say anything to me — even on my own blog, since I allow almost anything — then I should be able to say anything back. This is what real conversation is. You need to know that if you are having a conversation online with a blogger with a big audience, then the conversation will be heard by more people. That’s what social media is about.

    This leaves the most common complaint: That I called his house and his work. I have found that in general, high-profile bloggers are very cognisant of the fact that their blog carries more weight than other peoples’ blogs, and they are careful what they blog about because of that. This is true for me, too. For example, you never know the names of the men I date because it would destroy their Google search results, and I dont’ think that’s fair. The other thing I do, because I’m careful, is that I make a phone call to complain to someone instead of using social media. Because for me, anything in social media is a huge broadcast. I called David because this is what I’d do if I had a problem with anyone online — I would take it offline to make it private. The problem is that after I tried to privately contact David, and told him that my feelings were hurt, he said a second, hurtful thing.

    I have a lot of experience dealing with people who think I’m an idiot. Almost universally, if I contact someone directly, they become more human because I am more human, and their criticism is less sharp. David’s criticism became more sharp. At some point I need to draw a line and say that people cannot rip on me endlessly. I am a person, with feelings, and I can choose who I want to respond to and when. If I am endlessly irresponsible, people will stop reading me. If I am endlessly a doormat, I will be doing nothing to contribute to an authentic conversation online.

    • Jill Reply

      Get over yourself PT- you act like such a victim not a leader. Your feminist BS is really bad. You seem to have made some really bad choices in life and your kids are feeling the effects. You seem to continue to make bad choices. You’re not a victim, your kids are and I find it discussing that you would manufacture this controversy at their expense.

    • LuckyK Reply

      Umm, I’m still not seeing how it was justified.

      You’re high profile, you’re a woman – these seem like excuses. Do you still, 24 hours later, think this was the proper response to a 17 word sentence fragment? You title the blog posting with his name and hometown and say you “hate” him? How can you hate someone based upon a two sentence exchange?

      I also still don’t see why this was so “hurtful”. You ask him if he intended to be mean to you and he says no, but I guess you don’t believe him. I think its a little dangerous to project all these assumptions into the tiny amount of direct information we have from the guy. Maybe if you’d reached him by phone you’d get a little more of his side of the story. I think we’ve all read an email, become upset and confronted the author and then realized that we’d misinterpreted and overreacted. I think I’d want to be 100% sure this guy was an example of a hurtful, arrogant, a-hole before I damaged him like this. I think if 50 people posted on my blog that I was overreacting I’d at least consider the possibility that maybe they are on to something.

    • Casual Surfer Reply

      Let me get this straight … you feel that your status lets you operate by a different set of rules. Rules that allow you to contact someone at work and at home. And when David doesn’t agree with you, you are granted the right to publicly flame him with his full name, city, and state he lives in?

      You’ve missed the point with this, “Additionally, if people can say anything to me … then I should be able to say anything back.” No one is saying that David didn’t do anything wrong. What we’ve said is that YOU should know better than to respond. Why feed the trolls? Are you really unable to put him in his place without resorting to an all-out nuclear online attack?

      And don’t get all pissy that people expect you to behave as an adult, with class, and better than David. You’ve put yourself out there as an expert in blogging, online branding, and how to succeed. David (to the best of my knowledge) has not. So yes, we DO expect you to be mature and THINK before you write.

  • Penelope Trunk Reply

    I understand that you guys think my post was out of line. I want to suggest, though, that blogging for most people and blogging on a high-profile blog actually do not have the same rules.

    For example, you respond personally to most of your commenters, and if you ignored 90% of your commenters, you would be rude. On any given day, more than 90% of my commenters hear nothing from me, but I am known for actually being very engaged in my comments section.

    That’s an example of how the rules are different.

    Another difference is the level of criticism I field. I have been on CNN getting slammed for blog posts. I have written posts on Yahoo Finance that received more than 500 comments, most of them not just negative, but imploring Yahoo to fire me. My Wikipedia page is often on lockdown — as in all edits must be approved — because people write such offensive commentary on it.

    So I am operating under a very different set of rules than most bloggers for what is fair game for criticism. In general, I would say I put up with most of it. I can generally tell when I’m going to get slammed on television, and I do the interviews anyway. And I leave up so many absolutely offensive comments on my blog that commenters actually complain that I should delete more.

    This brings me to, what are the rules for responding to people by name. I understand that I have a lot more power than David Dellifield, and when I put his name in a title, I affect his Google search results for a long time. I did that to make a point.

    Women put up with much more harsh criticism than men do online. This is not a controversial assertion — it is reported in the New York Times and studied at the university level. Men are more rude to women than other men online. So it would be remiss, I think, to squander the power I have online. I have a lot more power than most of the obnoxious commenters of the world. I can use that power to let people know that they cannot be rude and offensive with impunity.

    Additionally, if people can say anything to me — even on my own blog, since I allow almost anything — then I should be able to say anything back. This is what real conversation is. You need to know that if you are having a conversation online with a blogger with a big audience, then the conversation will be heard by more people. That’s what social media is about.

    This leaves the most common complaint: That I called his house and his work. I have found that in general, high-profile bloggers are very cognisant of the fact that their blog carries more weight than other peoples’ blogs, and they are careful what they blog about because of that. This is true for me, too. For example, you never know the names of the men I date because it would destroy their Google search results, and I dont’ think that’s fair. The other thing I do, because I’m careful, is that I make a phone call to complain to someone instead of using social media. Because for me, anything in social media is a huge broadcast. I called David because this is what I’d do if I had a problem with anyone online — I would take it offline to make it private. The problem is that after I tried to privately contact David, and told him that my feelings were hurt, he said a second, hurtful thing.

    I have a lot of experience dealing with people who think I’m an idiot. Almost universally, if I contact someone directly, they become more human because I am more human, and their criticism is less sharp. David’s criticism became more sharp. At some point I need to draw a line and say that people cannot rip on me endlessly. I am a person, with feelings, and I can choose who I want to respond to and when. If I am endlessly irresponsible, people will stop reading me. If I am endlessly a doormat, I will be doing nothing to contribute to an authentic conversation online.

    • Jill Reply

      Get over yourself PT- you act like such a victim not a leader. Your feminist BS is really bad. You seem to have made some really bad choices in life and your kids are feeling the effects. You seem to continue to make bad choices. You’re not a victim, your kids are and I find it discussing that you would manufacture this controversy at their expense.

    • LuckyK Reply

      Umm, I’m still not seeing how it was justified.

      You’re high profile, you’re a woman – these seem like excuses. Do you still, 24 hours later, think this was the proper response to a 17 word sentence fragment? You title the blog posting with his name and hometown and say you “hate” him? How can you hate someone based upon a two sentence exchange?

      I also still don’t see why this was so “hurtful”. You ask him if he intended to be mean to you and he says no, but I guess you don’t believe him. I think its a little dangerous to project all these assumptions into the tiny amount of direct information we have from the guy. Maybe if you’d reached him by phone you’d get a little more of his side of the story. I think we’ve all read an email, become upset and confronted the author and then realized that we’d misinterpreted and overreacted. I think I’d want to be 100% sure this guy was an example of a hurtful, arrogant, a-hole before I damaged him like this. I think if 50 people posted on my blog that I was overreacting I’d at least consider the possibility that maybe they are on to something.

    • Casual Surfer Reply

      Let me get this straight … you feel that your status lets you operate by a different set of rules. Rules that allow you to contact someone at work and at home. And when David doesn’t agree with you, you are granted the right to publicly flame him with his full name, city, and state he lives in?

      You’ve missed the point with this, “Additionally, if people can say anything to me … then I should be able to say anything back.” No one is saying that David didn’t do anything wrong. What we’ve said is that YOU should know better than to respond. Why feed the trolls? Are you really unable to put him in his place without resorting to an all-out nuclear online attack?

      And don’t get all pissy that people expect you to behave as an adult, with class, and better than David. You’ve put yourself out there as an expert in blogging, online branding, and how to succeed. David (to the best of my knowledge) has not. So yes, we DO expect you to be mature and THINK before you write.

  • Christina Reply

    Maybe there should be a “Criticism 101″ class starting in elementary school. Learning to deal with criticism isn’t something just bloggers have to deal with.

    Criticism often breaks the fine line of being helpful vs. being rude/inappropriate. When it is the latter, it is hurtful and our natural inclination is combat the words immediately and to protect ourselves. With being a blogger or on twitter, it’s almost easier to lash out because, although we are “putting ourselves out there” we’re also able to hide behind a screen and are interacting with faceless names. It’s almost easier to ignore the jerk at the bar than engage them by challenging what they said. As bloggers we should be taking the time to sit back and analyse our response (or lack thereof) but it is natural to act instinctually and protect the image we’ve crafted because the criticism remains there in print for the world to see and. Instinctual responses lead to words that escalate into a battle of wills/words and leave us running around in circles trying to make the other person look bad.

    Dellifield’s comment didn’t warrent a response – “letting it go” can often seem the cowardly way out- but Penelope gained nothing by responding. The criticism was pointless and her reaction makes her, rather than him, look bad. So he’s a jerk making such a comment, fine, let him be a jerk. The tweet would have been glossed over and ignored instantaniously had she ignored it. That said, I think anyone can comprehend how painful it is to have one’s parenting skills called into question and understand wanting to react that way.

    • Matt Reply

      Christina – I think you sum everything up perfectly. I agree with all of the points you made here. In this situation, David’s comments should have just been overlooked, especially by someone like Penelope, who is so used to criticism and ridicule – why pick this guy out to make an example of? I just don’t understand the thought process. Maybe the initial phone call was an impulse fueled by anger, but to sit back and write a 1000+ word blog about how much you hate a guy, and trying to tie that in with a view on society? That takes thought, that takes time, that takes planning. And in the end, I’m sitting here asking, was anything actually proven? What gain was there to be had? A lot of unanswered questions here.

  • Christina Reply

    Maybe there should be a “Criticism 101″ class starting in elementary school. Learning to deal with criticism isn’t something just bloggers have to deal with.

    Criticism often breaks the fine line of being helpful vs. being rude/inappropriate. When it is the latter, it is hurtful and our natural inclination is combat the words immediately and to protect ourselves. With being a blogger or on twitter, it’s almost easier to lash out because, although we are “putting ourselves out there” we’re also able to hide behind a screen and are interacting with faceless names. It’s almost easier to ignore the jerk at the bar than engage them by challenging what they said. As bloggers we should be taking the time to sit back and analyse our response (or lack thereof) but it is natural to act instinctually and protect the image we’ve crafted because the criticism remains there in print for the world to see and. Instinctual responses lead to words that escalate into a battle of wills/words and leave us running around in circles trying to make the other person look bad.

    Dellifield’s comment didn’t warrent a response – “letting it go” can often seem the cowardly way out- but Penelope gained nothing by responding. The criticism was pointless and her reaction makes her, rather than him, look bad. So he’s a jerk making such a comment, fine, let him be a jerk. The tweet would have been glossed over and ignored instantaniously had she ignored it. That said, I think anyone can comprehend how painful it is to have one’s parenting skills called into question and understand wanting to react that way.

    • Matt Reply

      Christina – I think you sum everything up perfectly. I agree with all of the points you made here. In this situation, David’s comments should have just been overlooked, especially by someone like Penelope, who is so used to criticism and ridicule – why pick this guy out to make an example of? I just don’t understand the thought process. Maybe the initial phone call was an impulse fueled by anger, but to sit back and write a 1000+ word blog about how much you hate a guy, and trying to tie that in with a view on society? That takes thought, that takes time, that takes planning. And in the end, I’m sitting here asking, was anything actually proven? What gain was there to be had? A lot of unanswered questions here.

  • shereen Reply

    Wow. I guess Penelope’s response summed it up perfectly.

    Great conversation going Matt!

  • shereen Reply

    Wow. I guess Penelope’s response summed it up perfectly.

    Great conversation going Matt!

  • Kristina Reply

    MHO, if you are putting your thoughts, opinions, etc out there for the entire world to see, then you have to be aware, and willing to accept, that people may not agree with you. They may criticize you, say mean things because, unfortunately, there are mean people in the world. However, that does not give someone the right to go take their personal information and use it to track them down to rant at them. There is a line, and anytime you attack someone personally, you are crossing that line. Everyone has a right to their opinion and everyone has a right to be upset by something, but be upset in your own home. Don’t take that anger on the road and make it personal.

    • Macy Reply

      Kristina – who are you speaking of – because from where I sit, this could easily be about either one of them.

    • Matt Reply

      Kristina – simple and well said. I think there is an overall agreement amongst everyone that both parties were in the wrong, but it is my opinion that Penelope drew the line then crossed way over it. What could have been resolved on Twitter via Direct Message ended up blowing up into something huge and unnecessary, and illustrated the wrong way to deal with adversity.

  • Kristina Reply

    MHO, if you are putting your thoughts, opinions, etc out there for the entire world to see, then you have to be aware, and willing to accept, that people may not agree with you. They may criticize you, say mean things because, unfortunately, there are mean people in the world. However, that does not give someone the right to go take their personal information and use it to track them down to rant at them. There is a line, and anytime you attack someone personally, you are crossing that line. Everyone has a right to their opinion and everyone has a right to be upset by something, but be upset in your own home. Don’t take that anger on the road and make it personal.

    • Macy Reply

      Kristina – who are you speaking of – because from where I sit, this could easily be about either one of them.

    • Matt Reply

      Kristina – simple and well said. I think there is an overall agreement amongst everyone that both parties were in the wrong, but it is my opinion that Penelope drew the line then crossed way over it. What could have been resolved on Twitter via Direct Message ended up blowing up into something huge and unnecessary, and illustrated the wrong way to deal with adversity.

  • Sarah Pare Reply

    Penelope,

    Kudos for your thoughtful response, and thank you for doing so.

    My question is: why call his wife? You admitted that you called to speak to her directly. Is she so personally responsible for his online behavior that she should be on the receiving end of a phone call? I’m getting married this fall to a man whose opinions and actions I don’t always agree with – if someone called me because they were offended by something he did, I’m not sure how I would react. I’m not really sure I would see the connection between what *he* did and why *I* was getting a phone call, quite frankly.

    If the point was to reveal to her what kind of man she’s married to, my guess is she already knows, and far better than any of us do. (Not to mention plenty of people stay with partners who are total *ssoles all the time, but that’s another issue.)

    Thank you for explaining why you *called* David. That clears a lot of things up for me.

    And for what it’s worth, I don’t agree with him – I think his actions were disrespectful, out of line, and straight-up mean.

    I don’t think anyone is disagreeing that you can choose whom you respond to and when, I think they are upset by – or, like me, simply uestioning – the way you chose to respond.

    Which is to say, I know you are a person, and I know you have feelings. I respect that there is a human being on the other end of this comment, and others. I hope other people can take that away from this thread, because it’s an important insight.

    • Penelope Trunk Reply

      There is not right answer to your question. We could debate it forever. But here is something to consider:
      1. In David’s initial tweet, he speaks for himself and his wife.
      1. The phone number he lists for himself online is actually the number that his wife is at all day, not him.

      Penelope

      • Sarah Pare Reply

        Extremely interesting, Penelope. Makes me think *even* harder about all of this.

        Thank you for your response.

      • Macy Reply

        Penelope~

        Unless you left out a part of the “conversation” with David, he made no reference to his wife – he did not bring her into it. He made a general “we”. Sorry – that doesn’t excuse trying to call her.

      • JohnMcG Reply

        And you know that his wife, not him, is at that phone number all day because?

        How do you know that his work number is not the number for a part time job, and his wife doesn’t work full time and he does the bulk of parenting?

        Aren’t you guilty of the exact same thing DD is — drawing broad conclusions on snippets culled from SocialMedia tidbits?

        Of course, the harm done to you from his drawing conclusions was a rude tweet, whereas you set out to ruin his reputation.

      • JohnMcG Reply

        How do you know he is not griveing the loss of a child?

        How do you know he didn’t just lose all contact to his children in a custody hearing he felt was stacked against him? Now, that’s “judgement.”

  • Sarah Pare Reply

    Penelope,

    Kudos for your thoughtful response, and thank you for doing so.

    My question is: why call his wife? You admitted that you called to speak to her directly. Is she so personally responsible for his online behavior that she should be on the receiving end of a phone call? I’m getting married this fall to a man whose opinions and actions I don’t always agree with – if someone called me because they were offended by something he did, I’m not sure how I would react. I’m not really sure I would see the connection between what *he* did and why *I* was getting a phone call, quite frankly.

    If the point was to reveal to her what kind of man she’s married to, my guess is she already knows, and far better than any of us do. (Not to mention plenty of people stay with partners who are total *ssoles all the time, but that’s another issue.)

    Thank you for explaining why you *called* David. That clears a lot of things up for me.

    And for what it’s worth, I don’t agree with him – I think his actions were disrespectful, out of line, and straight-up mean.

    I don’t think anyone is disagreeing that you can choose whom you respond to and when, I think they are upset by – or, like me, simply uestioning – the way you chose to respond.

    Which is to say, I know you are a person, and I know you have feelings. I respect that there is a human being on the other end of this comment, and others. I hope other people can take that away from this thread, because it’s an important insight.

    • Penelope Trunk Reply

      There is not right answer to your question. We could debate it forever. But here is something to consider:
      1. In David’s initial tweet, he speaks for himself and his wife.
      1. The phone number he lists for himself online is actually the number that his wife is at all day, not him.

      Penelope

      • Sarah Pare Reply

        Extremely interesting, Penelope. Makes me think *even* harder about all of this.

        Thank you for your response.

      • Macy Reply

        Penelope~

        Unless you left out a part of the “conversation” with David, he made no reference to his wife – he did not bring her into it. He made a general “we”. Sorry – that doesn’t excuse trying to call her.

      • JohnMcG Reply

        And you know that his wife, not him, is at that phone number all day because?

        How do you know that his work number is not the number for a part time job, and his wife doesn’t work full time and he does the bulk of parenting?

        Aren’t you guilty of the exact same thing DD is — drawing broad conclusions on snippets culled from SocialMedia tidbits?

        Of course, the harm done to you from his drawing conclusions was a rude tweet, whereas you set out to ruin his reputation.

      • JohnMcG Reply

        How do you know he is not griveing the loss of a child?

        How do you know he didn’t just lose all contact to his children in a custody hearing he felt was stacked against him? Now, that’s “judgement.”

  • rdf Reply

    I appreciate PT’s response and understand her feelings. I even agree that she has the RIGHT to say whatever she wants to say in return to someone who makes a comment to her. We all do.

    As with all rights, just because we have them doesn’t mean we HAVE to exercise them. This post did nothing positive for her reputation. It made many people quit her blog and stop following her on Twitter. As she stated, she knows she has more power than a lot of bloggers. A responsible social media citizen should use her power for good. The man insulted her – deal with the man privately or ignore him completely (as she does with 90% of her @ comments). Better yet, ignore him directly and then write an insightful blog post about how people think they know a blogger just from their posts/tweets when in reality we are all human and so much deeper than our tweets.

    Frankly, in her shoes I would have just blocked DD and moved on. There was no reason to continue the discussion. I’ve been bogged down in online arguments. They’re stupid. They’re not worth the bandwidth they use. Life is better when you learn things like blocking, deleting and sending certain emailers to your blocked senders list.

    • Matt Reply

      rdf – you make a valid point. One of the points Penelope made was that she didn’t want to be ‘walked all over like a doormat’ which is why she didn’t just take his comment with a grain od salt and move on. I don’t think respectively declining to comment or at least not resulting in harassment means you’re going to be considered a doormat. She should have been the bigger person and moved on – who is David to her anyways? Nobody most likely.

      She could have spun this interaction an entirely different, and much more constructive way. Her supplemental research was solid, she made valid points, but in the end her write-up was ineffective at proving her point. It got people’s attention and sparked discussion, but I think she lost a lot more than she gained here, judging from the overall response.

  • rdf Reply

    I appreciate PT’s response and understand her feelings. I even agree that she has the RIGHT to say whatever she wants to say in return to someone who makes a comment to her. We all do.

    As with all rights, just because we have them doesn’t mean we HAVE to exercise them. This post did nothing positive for her reputation. It made many people quit her blog and stop following her on Twitter. As she stated, she knows she has more power than a lot of bloggers. A responsible social media citizen should use her power for good. The man insulted her – deal with the man privately or ignore him completely (as she does with 90% of her @ comments). Better yet, ignore him directly and then write an insightful blog post about how people think they know a blogger just from their posts/tweets when in reality we are all human and so much deeper than our tweets.

    Frankly, in her shoes I would have just blocked DD and moved on. There was no reason to continue the discussion. I’ve been bogged down in online arguments. They’re stupid. They’re not worth the bandwidth they use. Life is better when you learn things like blocking, deleting and sending certain emailers to your blocked senders list.

    • Matt Reply

      rdf – you make a valid point. One of the points Penelope made was that she didn’t want to be ‘walked all over like a doormat’ which is why she didn’t just take his comment with a grain od salt and move on. I don’t think respectively declining to comment or at least not resulting in harassment means you’re going to be considered a doormat. She should have been the bigger person and moved on – who is David to her anyways? Nobody most likely.

      She could have spun this interaction an entirely different, and much more constructive way. Her supplemental research was solid, she made valid points, but in the end her write-up was ineffective at proving her point. It got people’s attention and sparked discussion, but I think she lost a lot more than she gained here, judging from the overall response.

  • shereen Reply

    On reflection this reminds me of a story shared by one of my mentors I’d like to share – in the face of unjust or harsh criticism, rudeness or offense just “Buddha that”! (ie. let it roll off your back ..)

    It’s a story of a guy who gives up everything and spends years following Buddha’s teachings so that one day he can meet him, and after many years of waiting and trying to schedule an appointment when the day finally comes he hurls mounds of abuse at Buddha for not having the time for him all those years.
    Buddha calmly poses a question “If I invite you to my birthday party but ask you not to bring any gifts, but you still decide to bring a gift – to whom does the gift belong?”

    We can choose which “gifts” we accept or decline. I understand the rules are different if you’re a high profile blogger or not; but I believe the rules of common sense are the same regardless and I don’t think naming and shaming is a warranted response. Today it’s David, tomorrow it could be anyone else.

    • Matt Reply

      I love your insight here Shereen – very well said. The teachings of Buddha can teach us a lot, eh? It’s important to ‘choose our battles’ so to speak – in this particular instance I firmly believe the best thing would have been to ‘let it roll of’ and not let anger consume you and drive your actions. As you said, naming and shaming her was totally uncalled for and hindered the ‘real’ issue from being brought to light.

  • shereen Reply

    On reflection this reminds me of a story shared by one of my mentors I’d like to share – in the face of unjust or harsh criticism, rudeness or offense just “Buddha that”! (ie. let it roll off your back ..)

    It’s a story of a guy who gives up everything and spends years following Buddha’s teachings so that one day he can meet him, and after many years of waiting and trying to schedule an appointment when the day finally comes he hurls mounds of abuse at Buddha for not having the time for him all those years.
    Buddha calmly poses a question “If I invite you to my birthday party but ask you not to bring any gifts, but you still decide to bring a gift – to whom does the gift belong?”

    We can choose which “gifts” we accept or decline. I understand the rules are different if you’re a high profile blogger or not; but I believe the rules of common sense are the same regardless and I don’t think naming and shaming is a warranted response. Today it’s David, tomorrow it could be anyone else.

    • Matt Reply

      I love your insight here Shereen – very well said. The teachings of Buddha can teach us a lot, eh? It’s important to ‘choose our battles’ so to speak – in this particular instance I firmly believe the best thing would have been to ‘let it roll of’ and not let anger consume you and drive your actions. As you said, naming and shaming her was totally uncalled for and hindered the ‘real’ issue from being brought to light.

  • Shefaly Reply

    Wow, surely idiots and trolls are blessings in disguise. Imagine how much free PR was generated for PT through this post alone.

    BTW I disagree with her that she plays to different rules than other bloggers. That is just pure fantasising about one’s self-importance and exceptionalism. If her own old post against exceptionalism does not mean much, probably a bigger picture will help (think American and French exceptionalism and the havoc that routinely wreaks).

    • Matt Reply

      Shefaly – thanks for coming by. I’m wondering if Penelope is just sitting back and laughing about how much PR she has gained from this. Whether it be positive or negative, attention is still attention, and her post (and these follow ups) have given her plenty of that.

      I don’t know that I think she plays by different rules, but I do know, because of her ‘blogging status’, many would expect more from her, and wouldn’t expect her to author a post fueled by such blind anger.

  • Shefaly Reply

    Wow, surely idiots and trolls are blessings in disguise. Imagine how much free PR was generated for PT through this post alone.

    BTW I disagree with her that she plays to different rules than other bloggers. That is just pure fantasising about one’s self-importance and exceptionalism. If her own old post against exceptionalism does not mean much, probably a bigger picture will help (think American and French exceptionalism and the havoc that routinely wreaks).

    • Matt Reply

      Shefaly – thanks for coming by. I’m wondering if Penelope is just sitting back and laughing about how much PR she has gained from this. Whether it be positive or negative, attention is still attention, and her post (and these follow ups) have given her plenty of that.

      I don’t know that I think she plays by different rules, but I do know, because of her ‘blogging status’, many would expect more from her, and wouldn’t expect her to author a post fueled by such blind anger.

  • Matt Reply

    @Penelope:

    First of all, I want to thank you for reaching out and responding to this ongoing discussion away from your home base. As I stated in the original post (and in a follow up to you personally) this was not a designed personal attack. I, like many others here, am an avid reader of your blog. You are good at what you do, and for all the haters your thoughts may bring, you round up even more supporters. You dare to write things that other people wouldn’t – which is to be commended.

    While I respect what you do, and in no way question your role as a mother or a business-woman, I do disagree with your methods used here. As you said, you have been privy to an overwhelming amount of criticism from mainstream media, and you have stared adversity square in the face time and again – you’ve dealt with criticism that I’ve never come close to dealing with – so to your point, we are on much different blogging playing fields.

    With that being said – I still don’t understand the reaction here. After all the criticism you’ve taken, David, a relative unknown in comparison to the CNN’s and Yahoo’s of the world, makes one snide remark on Twitter – and it turns into this? You go above and beyond what anyone I know would do to ‘get him back’ for being a jerk? I just don’t see the point you were trying to make – what satisfaction did it bring? Do you feel better now that you have thrashed another’s reputation? You said it was to prove a point – my question is, what point did it prove?

    I guess most people don’t agree with your mantra of taking things offline when they start online – at least not something like this, so minor in comparison to what you’ve been through Penelope. It seems like you’re feelings were hurt; and your first thought was ‘how do I get revenge’? Your intentions were pure with your post on society being so quick to judge women, mothers, and parents in general, but your point was clouded by anger and hatred. I think there could have been a more tasteful and more importantly, EFFECTIVE way to respond to this without saying ‘Gotcha!’ to DD. It’s not about being a doormat, it’s about choosing your battles, and doing so tactfully. Clearly, I’m not one to tell you what battles to choose, but I think going to these lengths does show an irresponsible side to Penelope Trunk, someone I have followed and respected for a while now.

    • Sarah Pare Reply

      Very well-put, Matt. As with your original post, I agree with you completely.

    • JohnMcG Reply

      I think the point PT was trying to make is that just because she is a prominent somewhat famous blogger, that does not mean she does not have feelings and be be personally attacked with impunity, and that people should exercise greater care when criticizing even the most famous blogger, realizing that they have feelings to.

      It’s kind of like when sports stars or coahes say that they’d like to go to some of the fans’ offices and criticize how they do their job all day. PT is essentially trying this fantasy out.

      I don’t think that’s valid, though. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. If you can’t deal with your decisions being second-guessed, you probably shouldn’t be a major league baseball manager. And if you can’t handle your attitudes toward parenitng being questioned, you probably shouldn’t build your career on blog and internet presence that encompasses all aspects of your life.

      • Matt Reply

        @John – I think you make a valid point. In this particular situation, I don’t know how much it really comes down to ‘being able to take the heat’ – she was verbally attacked for no reason by a complete stranger. It was a jerky thing for David to say, regardless of the context.

        With that being said, being in the position she’s in, she has to be able to not respond so drastically and utilize her platform and influence to promote hate and anger. It may be unfair that she’s held to a higher standard, but it is part of being recognized as a ‘public figure’.

  • Matt Reply

    @Penelope:

    First of all, I want to thank you for reaching out and responding to this ongoing discussion away from your home base. As I stated in the original post (and in a follow up to you personally) this was not a designed personal attack. I, like many others here, am an avid reader of your blog. You are good at what you do, and for all the haters your thoughts may bring, you round up even more supporters. You dare to write things that other people wouldn’t – which is to be commended.

    While I respect what you do, and in no way question your role as a mother or a business-woman, I do disagree with your methods used here. As you said, you have been privy to an overwhelming amount of criticism from mainstream media, and you have stared adversity square in the face time and again – you’ve dealt with criticism that I’ve never come close to dealing with – so to your point, we are on much different blogging playing fields.

    With that being said – I still don’t understand the reaction here. After all the criticism you’ve taken, David, a relative unknown in comparison to the CNN’s and Yahoo’s of the world, makes one snide remark on Twitter – and it turns into this? You go above and beyond what anyone I know would do to ‘get him back’ for being a jerk? I just don’t see the point you were trying to make – what satisfaction did it bring? Do you feel better now that you have thrashed another’s reputation? You said it was to prove a point – my question is, what point did it prove?

    I guess most people don’t agree with your mantra of taking things offline when they start online – at least not something like this, so minor in comparison to what you’ve been through Penelope. It seems like you’re feelings were hurt; and your first thought was ‘how do I get revenge’? Your intentions were pure with your post on society being so quick to judge women, mothers, and parents in general, but your point was clouded by anger and hatred. I think there could have been a more tasteful and more importantly, EFFECTIVE way to respond to this without saying ‘Gotcha!’ to DD. It’s not about being a doormat, it’s about choosing your battles, and doing so tactfully. Clearly, I’m not one to tell you what battles to choose, but I think going to these lengths does show an irresponsible side to Penelope Trunk, someone I have followed and respected for a while now.

    • Sarah Pare Reply

      Very well-put, Matt. As with your original post, I agree with you completely.

    • JohnMcG Reply

      I think the point PT was trying to make is that just because she is a prominent somewhat famous blogger, that does not mean she does not have feelings and be be personally attacked with impunity, and that people should exercise greater care when criticizing even the most famous blogger, realizing that they have feelings to.

      It’s kind of like when sports stars or coahes say that they’d like to go to some of the fans’ offices and criticize how they do their job all day. PT is essentially trying this fantasy out.

      I don’t think that’s valid, though. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. If you can’t deal with your decisions being second-guessed, you probably shouldn’t be a major league baseball manager. And if you can’t handle your attitudes toward parenitng being questioned, you probably shouldn’t build your career on blog and internet presence that encompasses all aspects of your life.

      • Matt Reply

        @John – I think you make a valid point. In this particular situation, I don’t know how much it really comes down to ‘being able to take the heat’ – she was verbally attacked for no reason by a complete stranger. It was a jerky thing for David to say, regardless of the context.

        With that being said, being in the position she’s in, she has to be able to not respond so drastically and utilize her platform and influence to promote hate and anger. It may be unfair that she’s held to a higher standard, but it is part of being recognized as a ‘public figure’.

  • Alek Van der Lans Reply

    Actually, I do think Penelope is a shitty mother if she’s going to pass on this level of self-absorption and, dare I say, narcissism to her children. The world has enough of these evolutionary dead-ends. David shouldn’t have been such a jerk, but by doing so, he revealed what a lousy person Penelope is too.

    • Matt Reply

      Interesting point, I agree that Penelope’s actions here revealed a lot about the person she is, or at least, a lot about what she’s capable of. For better or for worse, whichever opinion you side on, David indirectly revealed a lot about Penelope’s character.

    • Benjamin Wilcox Reply

      I don’t think that you should attack a person’s character based on one example of their actions. This discussion is not about her character as a person. I believe that Matt’s original idea for a post was to discuss as whether or not we believe she is right in her actions. Personal attacks are wrong and you are just as ‘lousy’ of a person as you say Penelope is for blindly attacking her.

      • Matt Reply

        Ben – I see how Alek’s comment is a personal attack – that’s why I followed up and said that this whole deal is a display of character on a certain level, it shows what people are capable of, it shows how one can use a platform to publicly defame another person, and it shows how not to react when someone is a jerk to you. The old eye-for-an-eye rule here is childish. In short, she should have turned the other cheek and moved on.

  • Alek Van der Lans Reply

    Actually, I do think Penelope is a shitty mother if she’s going to pass on this level of self-absorption and, dare I say, narcissism to her children. The world has enough of these evolutionary dead-ends. David shouldn’t have been such a jerk, but by doing so, he revealed what a lousy person Penelope is too.

    • Matt Reply

      Interesting point, I agree that Penelope’s actions here revealed a lot about the person she is, or at least, a lot about what she’s capable of. For better or for worse, whichever opinion you side on, David indirectly revealed a lot about Penelope’s character.

    • Benjamin Wilcox Reply

      I don’t think that you should attack a person’s character based on one example of their actions. This discussion is not about her character as a person. I believe that Matt’s original idea for a post was to discuss as whether or not we believe she is right in her actions. Personal attacks are wrong and you are just as ‘lousy’ of a person as you say Penelope is for blindly attacking her.

      • Matt Reply

        Ben – I see how Alek’s comment is a personal attack – that’s why I followed up and said that this whole deal is a display of character on a certain level, it shows what people are capable of, it shows how one can use a platform to publicly defame another person, and it shows how not to react when someone is a jerk to you. The old eye-for-an-eye rule here is childish. In short, she should have turned the other cheek and moved on.

  • brooklynchick Reply

    I think the power of “letting things go” can be terrific, but it can also be terrific to get something off your mental plate and onto someone else’s! Speaking up for yourself, and in this case for other moms, can feel great and be really good for the mentals, IMHO.

    Very thoughtful reply PT.

  • brooklynchick Reply

    I think the power of “letting things go” can be terrific, but it can also be terrific to get something off your mental plate and onto someone else’s! Speaking up for yourself, and in this case for other moms, can feel great and be really good for the mentals, IMHO.

    Very thoughtful reply PT.

  • Just another responder Reply

    (X-posting from PT’s blog to here, figuring it would apply equally as well to this location.)

    1.) Congrats my friends. As The Walkmen once said, “We’ve been had.”

    Speculation; the author has done one of two things.

    a.) She’s carefully crafted and cultivated a particular marketing brand on this blog, which involves an `exciting’ and fair amount of drama-oriented and quasi-bad psychological behavior, and she wields that with the proficiency of a rapier in the hands of a master swordswoman. (I can’t figure this out, is that two words or one?)

    i.e. She’s quite deliberately acting in this manner to generate interest, readership and gather.. well, as PT Barnum once put it, `suckers’*

    (* For example see `Rush Limbaugh’, `Bill O’Reilly’, `Ann Coulter’.)

    (Disclaimer on the above. Nowhere am I saying that this is a BAD thing, per-se. Heck, if you can do it, way to go. You get points in my book for `gaming the system’, or using it to your advantage, if you will.)

    Or, b.) It’s completely un-crafted and raw, and she’s simply someone laboring under the curse of BPD and bad behavior* who happens to write very well.

    (* For further example, see Tucker Max, etc.)

    Either way, it’s a well-constructed blog post which either intentionally or unintentionally raises the hackles and deliberately invites controversy and criticism. It `gets the blood flowing’ if you will, and what’s more..

    It invites interest and furthers the brand.

    Someone once said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

    Did you get that? The controversy increases both interest and readership.

    For those of you who will disagree with this, you should study viral marketing techniques or speak to some folks in ad agencies. Maybe talk with some mass communication profs at your local college.

    2.) Let’s play pretend.

    So far, I have yet to see an ACTUAL response from the original dude who so unfortunately invited the wrath, (either premeditated and carefully planned or not) of the author and her army of readers.

    I have however, seen plenty of `He must be feeling..’ and `Surely he’s thinking now..’ and `I bet he’s…’ and other projections of assumption, which has the pleasant effect of either demonizing or canonizing the guy, and validating your comments of hatred or support.

    Here’s a hint. Stop assuming you know anything about the guy, if he’s cowering behind a chair, scared to death of any and all responses from anyone on here, or if he’s suited up with an extra set of centurion chest plates and arm guards from the movie, `Gladiator’ and is preparing to `defend his honor!’

    …On the internet.*

    Either way, you really don’t know. Therefore, you’re guessing. Ergo, you should probably.. Well, STFU about what you _think_ is going on.

    (* Interesting update. He appears to have deleted his tweet and said.. Nothing in return.)

    Which, I’m sure will result in battle cries of the author’s supporters, “He LOST! HAHA!”, and from his supporters, “He’s BEING THE BETTER PERSON! HAHA!”

    Either way, you really don’t know.

    3.) Everybody wants to be the bad-ass, righteous, avenging angel.

    Somewhere, somebody needs to be punished, right?

    Somewhere, somebody’s doing something that pisses you off.

    It feels GOOD to give someone a piece of your mind, doesn’t it?

    Most especially after that jerk in the hummer cut you off in the merge lane this morning. What gave that guy the right? Yeah, that just really tweaked you, didn’t it.

    Maybe, it’s time to do something in return.

    But how are you gonna find that dude in the hummer? Camp out like a cop on the overpass? Hope and pray that he’ll drive by in the afternoon?

    Pshaw! Why, that’d be just plain crazy, wouldn’t it!

    So instead, we look for another target. Someone who deserves our wrath, and who will also unconsciously serve as the catcher for the unrequited

    After all, you’re really just `paying it forward’.

    But honestly, what gives you the right to become `The Punisher’?

    One of the scariest lines in the OP’s post to me is, “There was no answer at his work. But I noted the number so I could ruin his life there if I ever felt like he needed to be taught a lesson.”

    Hopefully, this is a joke. One of those half-hearted, “Ha Ha” things.

    You know the type of humor. Like that kid in high school that would poke you in the back on the bus, over and over, and after a while escalate into slapping you on the shoulder, and finally the back of your head, and when you turned around to catch his hand and said, “Stop!”, you noticed that he was biting his lip, had a particular shine in his eyes, a little bit of drool at the corner of his mouth and he says, “Aww, I was just KIDDING! Sheesh! You need a better sense of humor!”

    Or, I could be wrong. Maybe the OP wasn’t furthering abuse that she experienced at the hand of a parent or family member, or friend, or significant other growing up.

    Maybe the mean-spirited statements are merely a reflection of genetics.

    Maybe she was just, `having a bad day.’

    (although if the `just having a bad day’ excuse is used, of course that will again illustrate

    Either way, without a clear disclaimer, the statement implies that it’s OK to righteously inflict harm, (be it physical or psychological), at the author’s behest, based solely on the author’s judgment.

    And unfortunately, that statement, plus the others in the OP implies an incredibly tremendous level of self-loathing, insecurity and the driving compulsion to control.

    Or more specifically, control someone via the infliction of pain and misery.

    And that’s really unhealthy, isn’t it?

    And that’s not really something that any woman would tolerate a man doing to her, would it?

    Why is it ok, the other way `round?

    4.) And that brings us back to…

    Our original point.

    Which was; In my humble opinion, the author, is very, very, very good at selling `herself as a package’.

    Much in the same way Ann Coulter, Tucker Max and Rush Limbaugh are.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?

  • Just another responder Reply

    (X-posting from PT’s blog to here, figuring it would apply equally as well to this location.)

    1.) Congrats my friends. As The Walkmen once said, “We’ve been had.”

    Speculation; the author has done one of two things.

    a.) She’s carefully crafted and cultivated a particular marketing brand on this blog, which involves an `exciting’ and fair amount of drama-oriented and quasi-bad psychological behavior, and she wields that with the proficiency of a rapier in the hands of a master swordswoman. (I can’t figure this out, is that two words or one?)

    i.e. She’s quite deliberately acting in this manner to generate interest, readership and gather.. well, as PT Barnum once put it, `suckers’*

    (* For example see `Rush Limbaugh’, `Bill O’Reilly’, `Ann Coulter’.)

    (Disclaimer on the above. Nowhere am I saying that this is a BAD thing, per-se. Heck, if you can do it, way to go. You get points in my book for `gaming the system’, or using it to your advantage, if you will.)

    Or, b.) It’s completely un-crafted and raw, and she’s simply someone laboring under the curse of BPD and bad behavior* who happens to write very well.

    (* For further example, see Tucker Max, etc.)

    Either way, it’s a well-constructed blog post which either intentionally or unintentionally raises the hackles and deliberately invites controversy and criticism. It `gets the blood flowing’ if you will, and what’s more..

    It invites interest and furthers the brand.

    Someone once said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

    Did you get that? The controversy increases both interest and readership.

    For those of you who will disagree with this, you should study viral marketing techniques or speak to some folks in ad agencies. Maybe talk with some mass communication profs at your local college.

    2.) Let’s play pretend.

    So far, I have yet to see an ACTUAL response from the original dude who so unfortunately invited the wrath, (either premeditated and carefully planned or not) of the author and her army of readers.

    I have however, seen plenty of `He must be feeling..’ and `Surely he’s thinking now..’ and `I bet he’s…’ and other projections of assumption, which has the pleasant effect of either demonizing or canonizing the guy, and validating your comments of hatred or support.

    Here’s a hint. Stop assuming you know anything about the guy, if he’s cowering behind a chair, scared to death of any and all responses from anyone on here, or if he’s suited up with an extra set of centurion chest plates and arm guards from the movie, `Gladiator’ and is preparing to `defend his honor!’

    …On the internet.*

    Either way, you really don’t know. Therefore, you’re guessing. Ergo, you should probably.. Well, STFU about what you _think_ is going on.

    (* Interesting update. He appears to have deleted his tweet and said.. Nothing in return.)

    Which, I’m sure will result in battle cries of the author’s supporters, “He LOST! HAHA!”, and from his supporters, “He’s BEING THE BETTER PERSON! HAHA!”

    Either way, you really don’t know.

    3.) Everybody wants to be the bad-ass, righteous, avenging angel.

    Somewhere, somebody needs to be punished, right?

    Somewhere, somebody’s doing something that pisses you off.

    It feels GOOD to give someone a piece of your mind, doesn’t it?

    Most especially after that jerk in the hummer cut you off in the merge lane this morning. What gave that guy the right? Yeah, that just really tweaked you, didn’t it.

    Maybe, it’s time to do something in return.

    But how are you gonna find that dude in the hummer? Camp out like a cop on the overpass? Hope and pray that he’ll drive by in the afternoon?

    Pshaw! Why, that’d be just plain crazy, wouldn’t it!

    So instead, we look for another target. Someone who deserves our wrath, and who will also unconsciously serve as the catcher for the unrequited

    After all, you’re really just `paying it forward’.

    But honestly, what gives you the right to become `The Punisher’?

    One of the scariest lines in the OP’s post to me is, “There was no answer at his work. But I noted the number so I could ruin his life there if I ever felt like he needed to be taught a lesson.”

    Hopefully, this is a joke. One of those half-hearted, “Ha Ha” things.

    You know the type of humor. Like that kid in high school that would poke you in the back on the bus, over and over, and after a while escalate into slapping you on the shoulder, and finally the back of your head, and when you turned around to catch his hand and said, “Stop!”, you noticed that he was biting his lip, had a particular shine in his eyes, a little bit of drool at the corner of his mouth and he says, “Aww, I was just KIDDING! Sheesh! You need a better sense of humor!”

    Or, I could be wrong. Maybe the OP wasn’t furthering abuse that she experienced at the hand of a parent or family member, or friend, or significant other growing up.

    Maybe the mean-spirited statements are merely a reflection of genetics.

    Maybe she was just, `having a bad day.’

    (although if the `just having a bad day’ excuse is used, of course that will again illustrate

    Either way, without a clear disclaimer, the statement implies that it’s OK to righteously inflict harm, (be it physical or psychological), at the author’s behest, based solely on the author’s judgment.

    And unfortunately, that statement, plus the others in the OP implies an incredibly tremendous level of self-loathing, insecurity and the driving compulsion to control.

    Or more specifically, control someone via the infliction of pain and misery.

    And that’s really unhealthy, isn’t it?

    And that’s not really something that any woman would tolerate a man doing to her, would it?

    Why is it ok, the other way `round?

    4.) And that brings us back to…

    Our original point.

    Which was; In my humble opinion, the author, is very, very, very good at selling `herself as a package’.

    Much in the same way Ann Coulter, Tucker Max and Rush Limbaugh are.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?

  • Kristin T. (@kt_writes) Reply

    Confession: I didn’t have time to read all of the comments, so I might say something someone else already said (great job sparking a conversation, Matt!).

    I agree with most of what you’re saying, but there are two things I’d like to bring up:

    First, in response to this: “One of the first things we HAVE to realize as bloggers is that criticism is going to come, and we have to be able to embrace it.”

    I don’t think we have to be able to embrace criticism. We have to expect it, and be willing to engage it in an honest and mature way, or just ignore it (particularly if the person isn’t playing nicely to begin with), but we don’t have to “embrace” comments that are intended to make us feel like shit. We don’t even have to just shrug and say “well, that’s just a part of life.” We can say it’s a crappy part of life that we’d like to somehow change.

    Secondly, you mention that Penelope is putting her “opinion” out, in “public domain.” It’s true that she openly shares all kinds of opinions, that people have the right to openly debate and disagree with. But her Tweet does not represent an opinion. It represents a humorous, very honest look at how she was feeling. I learned early on in marriage counseling how important it is for people to accept that feelings are neither right nor wrong. They just are. And people have a right to them, and a right to express them. We can try to understand people’s feelings better, but we can’t talk people out of how they feel. If Penelope had said “all children are better off spending no more than four hours a day with their parents,” that would be an opinion–one that David and everyone else could debate endlessly.

    • Matt Reply

      Kristin, thanks so much for jumping in. I don’t expect you to read all of the comments at this point, if you tried, your head would probably explode! I’m having a hard time keeping up myself – but I like to make an honest effort to respond to everyone personally (I’m getting there).

      First, your point on ‘embracing criticism’ – I think it can be embraced, it just depends on it’s nature. Constructive criticism is healthy and makes you grow – what David did, was a personal attack – so as you say, there is no reason to ‘embrace’ it. That being said, if the criticism warrants a response, it has to be done in a tactful way – personally attacking in retaliation is just about the worst way this could have been handled.

      Second, I agree with your theory on public opinion – but when you post something like Penelope did, which again, I agree was in jest, it’s not unheard of to expect someone out there to take it literally and comment on it. David was in the wrong, as was Penelope, who only amplified the situation and made it 100x worse through her actions.

      I’m really interested to know if David has at all responded to any of this. Would be interested to hear his side of the story.

  • Kristin T. (@kt_writes) Reply

    Confession: I didn’t have time to read all of the comments, so I might say something someone else already said (great job sparking a conversation, Matt!).

    I agree with most of what you’re saying, but there are two things I’d like to bring up:

    First, in response to this: “One of the first things we HAVE to realize as bloggers is that criticism is going to come, and we have to be able to embrace it.”

    I don’t think we have to be able to embrace criticism. We have to expect it, and be willing to engage it in an honest and mature way, or just ignore it (particularly if the person isn’t playing nicely to begin with), but we don’t have to “embrace” comments that are intended to make us feel like shit. We don’t even have to just shrug and say “well, that’s just a part of life.” We can say it’s a crappy part of life that we’d like to somehow change.

    Secondly, you mention that Penelope is putting her “opinion” out, in “public domain.” It’s true that she openly shares all kinds of opinions, that people have the right to openly debate and disagree with. But her Tweet does not represent an opinion. It represents a humorous, very honest look at how she was feeling. I learned early on in marriage counseling how important it is for people to accept that feelings are neither right nor wrong. They just are. And people have a right to them, and a right to express them. We can try to understand people’s feelings better, but we can’t talk people out of how they feel. If Penelope had said “all children are better off spending no more than four hours a day with their parents,” that would be an opinion–one that David and everyone else could debate endlessly.

    • Matt Reply

      Kristin, thanks so much for jumping in. I don’t expect you to read all of the comments at this point, if you tried, your head would probably explode! I’m having a hard time keeping up myself – but I like to make an honest effort to respond to everyone personally (I’m getting there).

      First, your point on ‘embracing criticism’ – I think it can be embraced, it just depends on it’s nature. Constructive criticism is healthy and makes you grow – what David did, was a personal attack – so as you say, there is no reason to ‘embrace’ it. That being said, if the criticism warrants a response, it has to be done in a tactful way – personally attacking in retaliation is just about the worst way this could have been handled.

      Second, I agree with your theory on public opinion – but when you post something like Penelope did, which again, I agree was in jest, it’s not unheard of to expect someone out there to take it literally and comment on it. David was in the wrong, as was Penelope, who only amplified the situation and made it 100x worse through her actions.

      I’m really interested to know if David has at all responded to any of this. Would be interested to hear his side of the story.

  • Ryan Stephens Reply

    LOUD NOISES!

    • Matt Reply

      Haha, has it gotten to that point Ryan? I love lamp.

    • Lance Haun Reply

      Do you love lamp too?

  • Ryan Stephens Reply

    LOUD NOISES!

    • Matt Reply

      Haha, has it gotten to that point Ryan? I love lamp.

    • Lance Haun Reply

      Do you love lamp too?

  • Mandy Reply

    Hey Matt,

    Great post. I actually did sit through and read through all the comments and you’ve got a great discussion going on.

    My observation here is this: professional blogging deserves the same courtesy as professional communications. Hell, it has everything do with courteous conversation. Keep it on the subject and not the person; comment on substance and not character. Ad hominem attacks are cheap shots that hormone enraged adolescents and teenagers use on each other. I use to think that this kind of “debate” is the only way to get a message across; I now know that this kind of conversation is worse than annoying–it’s worthless.

    Ms Trunk’s post to this guy is both annoying and worthless. It proves nothing and reveals a side of her character, whether accurate or not, that is very unpleasant. I’m sure she’s a nice person in real life but how am I or anyone else who doesn’t know her personally, am to deduce that from this post?

    I sometimes think everyone would benefit from being part of a debate group in high school to learn how to construct and defend an argument or point. It would save for a lot of hurt feelings, for one, and other people will take you a lot more seriously for another. I think she handled the situation badly and if the above post is any indication, has become defensive over her actions which is unfortunate, since that usually makes people combative.

    I really have no further point other than with some posts above. I don’t think less of Ms Trunk and I can only imagine how hurt she must have been. You don’t need to be a parent to feel badly.
    Incidentally, I noticed that no one pointed out the obvious when it came to the criticism that Matt and other men couldn’t possibly understand how it feels to have your parenting skills challenged. Men are also parents and it’s just as sexist to assume that they don’t know because they’re not “mothers”. No, but some of them may be fathers and doesn’t that count?

    • Matt Reply

      Great, great thoughts Mandy – thanks so much for lending your thoughts, and I’m impressed you read through everything – that had to have taken a while.

      You add real value to the discussion here with your points. I believe that as bloggers, we have to write everything as if someone is coming here for the first time. I’ve had over 700 views on this blog today – a lot of people have gotten to see what I’m all about, and love me or hate me, I’m proud of what I write and the community I’ve established here in a short amount of time. Imagine all the people who just found Penelope’s blog from this post – their initial impression is probably pretty terrible, because her response to the situation is extremely over the top and her post, which I THINK is supposed to be about society and parenting, is entirely distorted by her anger and revenge-seeking tactics.

      As you pointed out, the post, in the end, is worthless. It’s only worth is that it inspired discussion on other levels, but for Penelope personally, this post did much more to hurt her than help her – she may have earned more attention, but is bad PR still good PR? That’s debatable but I would say no.

      And again, I don’t think this comes down to a mother issue, I think this comes down to a human issue, an issue on morals and values, and that’s something that everyone can understand and have an opinion on.

  • Mandy Reply

    Hey Matt,

    Great post. I actually did sit through and read through all the comments and you’ve got a great discussion going on.

    My observation here is this: professional blogging deserves the same courtesy as professional communications. Hell, it has everything do with courteous conversation. Keep it on the subject and not the person; comment on substance and not character. Ad hominem attacks are cheap shots that hormone enraged adolescents and teenagers use on each other. I use to think that this kind of “debate” is the only way to get a message across; I now know that this kind of conversation is worse than annoying–it’s worthless.

    Ms Trunk’s post to this guy is both annoying and worthless. It proves nothing and reveals a side of her character, whether accurate or not, that is very unpleasant. I’m sure she’s a nice person in real life but how am I or anyone else who doesn’t know her personally, am to deduce that from this post?

    I sometimes think everyone would benefit from being part of a debate group in high school to learn how to construct and defend an argument or point. It would save for a lot of hurt feelings, for one, and other people will take you a lot more seriously for another. I think she handled the situation badly and if the above post is any indication, has become defensive over her actions which is unfortunate, since that usually makes people combative.

    I really have no further point other than with some posts above. I don’t think less of Ms Trunk and I can only imagine how hurt she must have been. You don’t need to be a parent to feel badly.
    Incidentally, I noticed that no one pointed out the obvious when it came to the criticism that Matt and other men couldn’t possibly understand how it feels to have your parenting skills challenged. Men are also parents and it’s just as sexist to assume that they don’t know because they’re not “mothers”. No, but some of them may be fathers and doesn’t that count?

    • Matt Reply

      Great, great thoughts Mandy – thanks so much for lending your thoughts, and I’m impressed you read through everything – that had to have taken a while.

      You add real value to the discussion here with your points. I believe that as bloggers, we have to write everything as if someone is coming here for the first time. I’ve had over 700 views on this blog today – a lot of people have gotten to see what I’m all about, and love me or hate me, I’m proud of what I write and the community I’ve established here in a short amount of time. Imagine all the people who just found Penelope’s blog from this post – their initial impression is probably pretty terrible, because her response to the situation is extremely over the top and her post, which I THINK is supposed to be about society and parenting, is entirely distorted by her anger and revenge-seeking tactics.

      As you pointed out, the post, in the end, is worthless. It’s only worth is that it inspired discussion on other levels, but for Penelope personally, this post did much more to hurt her than help her – she may have earned more attention, but is bad PR still good PR? That’s debatable but I would say no.

      And again, I don’t think this comes down to a mother issue, I think this comes down to a human issue, an issue on morals and values, and that’s something that everyone can understand and have an opinion on.

  • Van Reply

    I’m afraid that I DO think less of Ms. Trunk now. Significantly less. She is clearly batshit crazy, and her defensive posts here pretty much prove that point.

    One key adage? Watch how people behave when they have the upper hand (in this case, greater fame and blogger-power): it’s very revealing of who they are.

    Shame on you, Penelope.

    • Matt Reply

      @Van, I agree that witnessing how a person ‘uses their power’ can be very revealing about who they are. Fame and recognition can also do a lot to change one’s values and ideals – unfortunately.

  • Van Reply

    I’m afraid that I DO think less of Ms. Trunk now. Significantly less. She is clearly batshit crazy, and her defensive posts here pretty much prove that point.

    One key adage? Watch how people behave when they have the upper hand (in this case, greater fame and blogger-power): it’s very revealing of who they are.

    Shame on you, Penelope.

    • Matt Reply

      @Van, I agree that witnessing how a person ‘uses their power’ can be very revealing about who they are. Fame and recognition can also do a lot to change one’s values and ideals – unfortunately.

  • JohnMcG Reply

    I think what PT did is having a chilling impact on public discourse.

    The takeaway for me is that if you use SocialMedia to disagree with a prominent blogger, it’s possible you could face real world consequences.

    I’m sure PT would argue that she can handle disagreements, just not hurtful personal attacks. But the chilling effect is the same.

    • Lee Reply

      I think the internet/social media could use a little chilling. The ability to post whatever hurtful, hateful, expletive filled thought in your head happens so often because it can be done anonymously. If there was a real chance that the commenter would have to talk to the object of their comment, perhaps the internet would be a more civilized place.

      Someone earlier here said something similar about commenting only if you were willing to see it on a billboard next to a photo of you. Point well taken.

      (Note: I’m not talking about anyone on this blog. The comments here have been intelligent, civilized, and thought provoking. My opinion on this whole issue is more complex thanks to the points raised by people on both sides of the debate.)

    • Matt Reply

      @Lee – I agree with you to an extent. I believe people should be held accountable for their actions on the web – those verbally abuse and defame others then hide behind a cloak of anonymity are nothing more than cowards. But, with that being said, I still think this reaction was a little extreme given the circumstances.

      To your point, I agree that we should own up to anything and everything we post on the web, everything we contribute online is another piece of the puzzle that makes us who we are.

  • JohnMcG Reply

    I think what PT did is having a chilling impact on public discourse.

    The takeaway for me is that if you use SocialMedia to disagree with a prominent blogger, it’s possible you could face real world consequences.

    I’m sure PT would argue that she can handle disagreements, just not hurtful personal attacks. But the chilling effect is the same.

    • Lee Reply

      I think the internet/social media could use a little chilling. The ability to post whatever hurtful, hateful, expletive filled thought in your head happens so often because it can be done anonymously. If there was a real chance that the commenter would have to talk to the object of their comment, perhaps the internet would be a more civilized place.

      Someone earlier here said something similar about commenting only if you were willing to see it on a billboard next to a photo of you. Point well taken.

      (Note: I’m not talking about anyone on this blog. The comments here have been intelligent, civilized, and thought provoking. My opinion on this whole issue is more complex thanks to the points raised by people on both sides of the debate.)

    • Matt Reply

      @Lee – I agree with you to an extent. I believe people should be held accountable for their actions on the web – those verbally abuse and defame others then hide behind a cloak of anonymity are nothing more than cowards. But, with that being said, I still think this reaction was a little extreme given the circumstances.

      To your point, I agree that we should own up to anything and everything we post on the web, everything we contribute online is another piece of the puzzle that makes us who we are.

  • Sydney Reply

    Matt, holy comments Batman!

    I love everyone’s opinion about what P has to say. Really, I do. I think P summed it up in her response, her level of publicity makes things different. The day that I’m slammed on CNN is the day that I know I’ve made it. (I almost peed my pants when someone commented on my blog bc they saw my comment on her blog on this post… good lord, I’m getting traffic for commenting on her work… not a bad day for sydneyowen.com)

    That being said, you do bring up valid points. But I think a lot of what is going on here is people skipping through the post and nit-picking things without reading the context.

    So many people are freaking out bc P called his wife. She called his home number, where he isn’t during the day. If anyone answered, it would have been his wife, who was at home. She didn’t seek out his wife to scold him for a mean tweet.

    I guess in all reality, her reaction, to me, was a great way to use something petty to generate discussion about a topic that is a bit more touchy – parenting. And P is right, the rules are different for CEOs. The rules are different for full time moms who are also grasping onto the threads of a startup that is always facing the end of a cash supply.

    Do I disagree with you? Yes, but only on the note that as a part of the Brazen community, I would think you’d see past the emotional part of the reaction and realize that she’s spurring conversation about a deeper topic.

    I encourage everyone to read the post thoroughly, maybe twice, before commenting. Like Peter Shankman said in Aaron Strout’s “experts in the industry” series, “99% of our problems wouldn’t happen if we counted to three before doing what we do”. Maybe you’ll argue that the same could be said for P before she hit the “publish” button. Maybe you’ll come through the screen and punch me in the face. Maybe I’m biased about all of this because P is one of my mentors and I get a little defensive. IDK. :)

    Now my brain hurts. On to other things. Thank you, Matt, for a great discussion.

    • Matt Reply

      @Sydney – I know, right? I created a monster here!

      To your point – I do realize the conversation she was (striving) to spur – but I feel the way that she handled the post, showing anger and outright revenge against the guy, clouded the real issue and point she was trying to make. In short, I think her anger got the best of her here – she got hurt and she retaliated. Her intentions were good and I agree with her points on societies judgmental behavior towards parents, but again – I think the fuel to the fire of this post was anger – If she would have calmed her nerves a bit, let things mellow, than focus her point on the more important issue – I think we would have having an entirely different discussion.

      I respect P Trunk as much as you do and I value what she does as a blogger and for the Brazen community. I just think she needs to take an objective deep breath and not make things quite as personal on the next go-around.

  • Sydney Reply

    Matt, holy comments Batman!

    I love everyone’s opinion about what P has to say. Really, I do. I think P summed it up in her response, her level of publicity makes things different. The day that I’m slammed on CNN is the day that I know I’ve made it. (I almost peed my pants when someone commented on my blog bc they saw my comment on her blog on this post… good lord, I’m getting traffic for commenting on her work… not a bad day for sydneyowen.com)

    That being said, you do bring up valid points. But I think a lot of what is going on here is people skipping through the post and nit-picking things without reading the context.

    So many people are freaking out bc P called his wife. She called his home number, where he isn’t during the day. If anyone answered, it would have been his wife, who was at home. She didn’t seek out his wife to scold him for a mean tweet.

    I guess in all reality, her reaction, to me, was a great way to use something petty to generate discussion about a topic that is a bit more touchy – parenting. And P is right, the rules are different for CEOs. The rules are different for full time moms who are also grasping onto the threads of a startup that is always facing the end of a cash supply.

    Do I disagree with you? Yes, but only on the note that as a part of the Brazen community, I would think you’d see past the emotional part of the reaction and realize that she’s spurring conversation about a deeper topic.

    I encourage everyone to read the post thoroughly, maybe twice, before commenting. Like Peter Shankman said in Aaron Strout’s “experts in the industry” series, “99% of our problems wouldn’t happen if we counted to three before doing what we do”. Maybe you’ll argue that the same could be said for P before she hit the “publish” button. Maybe you’ll come through the screen and punch me in the face. Maybe I’m biased about all of this because P is one of my mentors and I get a little defensive. IDK. :)

    Now my brain hurts. On to other things. Thank you, Matt, for a great discussion.

    • Matt Reply

      @Sydney – I know, right? I created a monster here!

      To your point – I do realize the conversation she was (striving) to spur – but I feel the way that she handled the post, showing anger and outright revenge against the guy, clouded the real issue and point she was trying to make. In short, I think her anger got the best of her here – she got hurt and she retaliated. Her intentions were good and I agree with her points on societies judgmental behavior towards parents, but again – I think the fuel to the fire of this post was anger – If she would have calmed her nerves a bit, let things mellow, than focus her point on the more important issue – I think we would have having an entirely different discussion.

      I respect P Trunk as much as you do and I value what she does as a blogger and for the Brazen community. I just think she needs to take an objective deep breath and not make things quite as personal on the next go-around.

  • Lee Reply

    Sydney makes a good point. I read a lot of the comments on PT’s original post and most of the comments here. After PT’s comment on this post, I went back and re-read the original article and several things stood out.

    1. Penelope tried to talk to David privately and personally by phoning his work. She wasn’t trying to talk to his boss to rant about David. There was no reply so she tried the home number (also apparently very available on the internet). Again, to talk to him personally, not to talk to his wife – though I have to admit there was great potential for amusement if the wife had answered and found out she was getting 2 more kids.

    2. When PT couldn’t talk to him personally, she sent him a DM via Twitter to give him a chance to explain himself. At that point David could have resolved the whole thing. “Sorry, it came across more mean than I intended.” “Sorry, kids are a sensitive subject for me because …” “Sorry, I was having a shitty day and tweeted without thinking.” Whatever. Lots of things he could have said to explain himself and to talk about it like an adult but instead he chooses to continue to be snarky.

    3. People say that PT could have done the whole thing without mentioning his name in the blog but that’s a copout. Figuring out who sent her that tweet was one Google enquiry away. And whatever you want to say about Penelope, she faces stuff head on and is frighteningly open about herself.

    • JohnMcG Reply

      1. The tone of the original post suggested that the phone calls were an escalating, rather than de-escalating move. She noted his work phone number in case she wanted to ruin his life there. She was hoping she would reach his wife at home so she could tell her what a jerk her husband was. In short, as PT reported the events, it does not seem that the intent of the phone calls was to take the conflict down a notch.

      In any instance, such a charitable interpretation of events would be even more difficult to maintain in the face of a post entitled with a statement of hatred of the target.

      2. Yes, he could have. I don’t think anybody here is saying that DD is without blame in this incident, or that his behavior was above reproach.

      Still, I don’t think “snarky” quite the apt term here. He just mouthed a syrupy platitude. Not terribly helpful, but probably not a hanging offense, either.

      3. There was a curtain of privacy that PT ripped away. Sure, any of us could have peered around that curtain, but that doesn’t make ripping it away a crummy thing to do.

      And, sorry, I don’t think “she faces stuff head on and is frighteningly open about herself.” The same could be said of many people who would be universally regarded as villains.

  • Lee Reply

    Sydney makes a good point. I read a lot of the comments on PT’s original post and most of the comments here. After PT’s comment on this post, I went back and re-read the original article and several things stood out.

    1. Penelope tried to talk to David privately and personally by phoning his work. She wasn’t trying to talk to his boss to rant about David. There was no reply so she tried the home number (also apparently very available on the internet). Again, to talk to him personally, not to talk to his wife – though I have to admit there was great potential for amusement if the wife had answered and found out she was getting 2 more kids.

    2. When PT couldn’t talk to him personally, she sent him a DM via Twitter to give him a chance to explain himself. At that point David could have resolved the whole thing. “Sorry, it came across more mean than I intended.” “Sorry, kids are a sensitive subject for me because …” “Sorry, I was having a shitty day and tweeted without thinking.” Whatever. Lots of things he could have said to explain himself and to talk about it like an adult but instead he chooses to continue to be snarky.

    3. People say that PT could have done the whole thing without mentioning his name in the blog but that’s a copout. Figuring out who sent her that tweet was one Google enquiry away. And whatever you want to say about Penelope, she faces stuff head on and is frighteningly open about herself.

    • JohnMcG Reply

      1. The tone of the original post suggested that the phone calls were an escalating, rather than de-escalating move. She noted his work phone number in case she wanted to ruin his life there. She was hoping she would reach his wife at home so she could tell her what a jerk her husband was. In short, as PT reported the events, it does not seem that the intent of the phone calls was to take the conflict down a notch.

      In any instance, such a charitable interpretation of events would be even more difficult to maintain in the face of a post entitled with a statement of hatred of the target.

      2. Yes, he could have. I don’t think anybody here is saying that DD is without blame in this incident, or that his behavior was above reproach.

      Still, I don’t think “snarky” quite the apt term here. He just mouthed a syrupy platitude. Not terribly helpful, but probably not a hanging offense, either.

      3. There was a curtain of privacy that PT ripped away. Sure, any of us could have peered around that curtain, but that doesn’t make ripping it away a crummy thing to do.

      And, sorry, I don’t think “she faces stuff head on and is frighteningly open about herself.” The same could be said of many people who would be universally regarded as villains.

  • Van Reply

    The level (sheer number) of comments have exceeded my ability to keep up. Have we seen even a hint of remorse on PT’s part? I doubt it, but just wanted to ask. My sense of the comments is that 95% are very critical of Penelope’s actions, especially the later ones that got past the “you go, girl” kind of reaction that was seen initially (e.g., Guy Kawasaki tweeted that to her).

    I for one will no longer read her blog or go to her web site. That’s all anyone can do, but such behavior can’t be countenanced.

    • Matt Reply

      @Van – this post completely blew up – I’ve had a hard time keeping up with everything myself – but there are a two very distinct sides to this argument of ‘was she right or wrong’.

      My intent, overall with this post, was to raise a discussion on bloggers’ ability to take and handle criticism. So many of us ‘welcome’ discussion on our blogs, yet so few of us are welcoming of a difference of opinion.

      I am not boycotting her blog – but I think this anger-driven post contributes to her overall image and character.

  • Van Reply

    The level (sheer number) of comments have exceeded my ability to keep up. Have we seen even a hint of remorse on PT’s part? I doubt it, but just wanted to ask. My sense of the comments is that 95% are very critical of Penelope’s actions, especially the later ones that got past the “you go, girl” kind of reaction that was seen initially (e.g., Guy Kawasaki tweeted that to her).

    I for one will no longer read her blog or go to her web site. That’s all anyone can do, but such behavior can’t be countenanced.

    • Matt Reply

      @Van – this post completely blew up – I’ve had a hard time keeping up with everything myself – but there are a two very distinct sides to this argument of ‘was she right or wrong’.

      My intent, overall with this post, was to raise a discussion on bloggers’ ability to take and handle criticism. So many of us ‘welcome’ discussion on our blogs, yet so few of us are welcoming of a difference of opinion.

      I am not boycotting her blog – but I think this anger-driven post contributes to her overall image and character.

  • Katy Reply

    I think this whole thing was manufactured for media coverage – kind of like Madonna hooking up with a twenty-something model and alerting the press for photo ops because the number of photos of her in a weeks worth of gossip mags dropped. I had never heard of Penelope Trunk before I came across this whole bruhaha on another blog. It is strikingly similar to some of the fights I got into with friends. In Junior high.

    Her whole post strikes me as being creatively manufactured for maximum controversy.

    • Matt Reply

      @Katy – I can’t say that I disagree with you. As bloggers, we all want coverage, but there are clearly different ways to gain recognition. One way, which this is a prime example of, is writing for the sake of controversy. This (appears) to be an incident that was sensationalized for the sake of sparking controversy and discussion. And while I think her intentions we’re good, I think she missed the mark with the overall intent of this post. But, I think success is defined in different ways by different people. If success to Penelope is driving an insane amount of traffic to her blog and sparking some intense debate – I would say she was extremely successful, but at what price to her reputation?

      (Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts Katy)

  • Katy Reply

    I think this whole thing was manufactured for media coverage – kind of like Madonna hooking up with a twenty-something model and alerting the press for photo ops because the number of photos of her in a weeks worth of gossip mags dropped. I had never heard of Penelope Trunk before I came across this whole bruhaha on another blog. It is strikingly similar to some of the fights I got into with friends. In Junior high.

    Her whole post strikes me as being creatively manufactured for maximum controversy.

    • Matt Reply

      @Katy – I can’t say that I disagree with you. As bloggers, we all want coverage, but there are clearly different ways to gain recognition. One way, which this is a prime example of, is writing for the sake of controversy. This (appears) to be an incident that was sensationalized for the sake of sparking controversy and discussion. And while I think her intentions we’re good, I think she missed the mark with the overall intent of this post. But, I think success is defined in different ways by different people. If success to Penelope is driving an insane amount of traffic to her blog and sparking some intense debate – I would say she was extremely successful, but at what price to her reputation?

      (Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts Katy)

  • Lynn Reply

    I think Penelope is just digging herself a deeper and deeper hole.

    I do agree with her on some points, and some of what others have said here and at her blog:

    Yes, it is her blog, and she may rant and rave as much as she wishes.

    Inversely, though, David (or anyone for that matter)is allowed to Twitter with what he wishes, even personal attacks if they have the balls to do so. They just have to be adult enough to be able to handle being called on it. PT had the right to be upset about that, and make a blog post and/or followup twitter post in response.

    People that are supportive of Penelope are critical of David. When they have both done the same thing, in regards to expressing opinions and feelings in blogs or twitters.

    I agree with her, in some respects, about parenting not always being ‘fun’ or intellectually stimulating. Sure, it can be boring at times. As the mother of a now-grown only child, I spent many years with her as my only companion in her early youth. Always the independant child, even as a toddler, there would be many hours sometimes when my input was not needed nor wanted. Lost in a world of her own imaginings, I would gladly sit and watch her little mind at work. Did I get bored sometimes? Yep. Would I trade it for anything in the world? Not for all the gold ever found.

    HOWEVER, this is where my support stops, and I begin to disagree with PT and her supporters. She had NO RIGHT to take this beyond those circumstances and use her ‘power’ the way that she did. She admits in her response here that kind of power and high-profile recognition gives her the ‘right’ to act in such a way.

    What she did was internet stalking, plain and simple. Posting his name in her blog? Not so much. Calling his job and his home number? WAY WAY out of line.

    If someone had done that to me (i.e., called me uninvited) I would be beyond upset. And you better be sure that if there were stalking laws in my area, I would use them to the fullest extent to make sure that person never, ever contacted me again without fear of punishment of some sort.

    • Matt Reply

      @Lynn – thanks so much for coming by the blog and sharing your thoughts here. First, I agree that both parties here had the RIGHT to react in the way they did – no one is questioning that issue – but Penelope’s reaction is clear defamation of character – which could potentially get into some legal issues – I guess what I was confused about, and still am, is why she felt the need to make an example of his one guy – she made it very clear that she has been privy to criticism throughout her career from high profile press and news sources, so to react so drastically to this one incident makes it look more and more like it was done as to make an example and sensationalize the issue.

      It’s come and gone, the dust has settled, this post was not entirely damaging to her image, I’m sure she will continue on in her great success – and in the end, it illustrates to great extent the way some handle criticism – in this case, her response was revenge, using her platform to ‘get him back’ for being a jerk

  • Lynn Reply

    I think Penelope is just digging herself a deeper and deeper hole.

    I do agree with her on some points, and some of what others have said here and at her blog:

    Yes, it is her blog, and she may rant and rave as much as she wishes.

    Inversely, though, David (or anyone for that matter)is allowed to Twitter with what he wishes, even personal attacks if they have the balls to do so. They just have to be adult enough to be able to handle being called on it. PT had the right to be upset about that, and make a blog post and/or followup twitter post in response.

    People that are supportive of Penelope are critical of David. When they have both done the same thing, in regards to expressing opinions and feelings in blogs or twitters.

    I agree with her, in some respects, about parenting not always being ‘fun’ or intellectually stimulating. Sure, it can be boring at times. As the mother of a now-grown only child, I spent many years with her as my only companion in her early youth. Always the independant child, even as a toddler, there would be many hours sometimes when my input was not needed nor wanted. Lost in a world of her own imaginings, I would gladly sit and watch her little mind at work. Did I get bored sometimes? Yep. Would I trade it for anything in the world? Not for all the gold ever found.

    HOWEVER, this is where my support stops, and I begin to disagree with PT and her supporters. She had NO RIGHT to take this beyond those circumstances and use her ‘power’ the way that she did. She admits in her response here that kind of power and high-profile recognition gives her the ‘right’ to act in such a way.

    What she did was internet stalking, plain and simple. Posting his name in her blog? Not so much. Calling his job and his home number? WAY WAY out of line.

    If someone had done that to me (i.e., called me uninvited) I would be beyond upset. And you better be sure that if there were stalking laws in my area, I would use them to the fullest extent to make sure that person never, ever contacted me again without fear of punishment of some sort.

    • Matt Reply

      @Lynn – thanks so much for coming by the blog and sharing your thoughts here. First, I agree that both parties here had the RIGHT to react in the way they did – no one is questioning that issue – but Penelope’s reaction is clear defamation of character – which could potentially get into some legal issues – I guess what I was confused about, and still am, is why she felt the need to make an example of his one guy – she made it very clear that she has been privy to criticism throughout her career from high profile press and news sources, so to react so drastically to this one incident makes it look more and more like it was done as to make an example and sensationalize the issue.

      It’s come and gone, the dust has settled, this post was not entirely damaging to her image, I’m sure she will continue on in her great success – and in the end, it illustrates to great extent the way some handle criticism – in this case, her response was revenge, using her platform to ‘get him back’ for being a jerk

  • Ashley Reply

    I’m so glad you wrote this post, because it is exactly how I felt after reading her article. I’ve been a follower of Penelope’s blog and Brazen for awhile, and I love her writing because it’s open and honest. But in this situation, I feel like she turned a post on a topic that could have led to a very interesting, mature discussion into something I’d expect from a 5th grade playground. If anything, it makes people scared to comment and respond on Twitter to anything they disagree with. I think she has a great advantage to encourage dialogue and responses (both good and bad) over the internet- but this post seemed to encourage the opposite.

    • Matt Reply

      @Ashley – thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts after the dust had settled – it’s much easier to take on people’s thoughts when there isn’t a new comment popping up every couple minutes (not that I’m complaining).

      You raise a very important point in that Penelope has a platform to take great advantage of her influence to enable and encourage thought provoking dialogue and discussion. As you said, this had the makings of being a very interesting topic with great discussion and feedback – but when you look at the post, and more importantly, the discussion that ensued afterward – the majority of the conversation is arguing whether her actions were right or wrong, whether she was brilliant or insane. This proves, in my mind, that she missed the mark here – we shouldn’t have been debating her actions of calling this guy, we should have been discussing society, their quick-to-judge attitude toward parents, and so on. I understand that Penelope is skilled at authoring controversial discussions – but this ended up being an angry, revenge-seeking defamation of this random guy in Ohio – a issue that could have been entirely avoided if Penelope would have shrugged it off and turned the other cheek.

  • Ashley Reply

    I’m so glad you wrote this post, because it is exactly how I felt after reading her article. I’ve been a follower of Penelope’s blog and Brazen for awhile, and I love her writing because it’s open and honest. But in this situation, I feel like she turned a post on a topic that could have led to a very interesting, mature discussion into something I’d expect from a 5th grade playground. If anything, it makes people scared to comment and respond on Twitter to anything they disagree with. I think she has a great advantage to encourage dialogue and responses (both good and bad) over the internet- but this post seemed to encourage the opposite.

    • Matt Reply

      @Ashley – thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts after the dust had settled – it’s much easier to take on people’s thoughts when there isn’t a new comment popping up every couple minutes (not that I’m complaining).

      You raise a very important point in that Penelope has a platform to take great advantage of her influence to enable and encourage thought provoking dialogue and discussion. As you said, this had the makings of being a very interesting topic with great discussion and feedback – but when you look at the post, and more importantly, the discussion that ensued afterward – the majority of the conversation is arguing whether her actions were right or wrong, whether she was brilliant or insane. This proves, in my mind, that she missed the mark here – we shouldn’t have been debating her actions of calling this guy, we should have been discussing society, their quick-to-judge attitude toward parents, and so on. I understand that Penelope is skilled at authoring controversial discussions – but this ended up being an angry, revenge-seeking defamation of this random guy in Ohio – a issue that could have been entirely avoided if Penelope would have shrugged it off and turned the other cheek.

  • Kristina Summers Reply

    I agree with the last comment- I have been a fan of Penelope for a long time, and a regular contributor to the Brazen network, having been around when it launched. Her book, Brazen Careerist was one of the most influential books I read in college and truly helped me to become a blogger (good or bad is not for me to decide). So I too was disappointed with not only this situation but other tweets I have received from her. I have been through a nasty divorce and have been a frustrated single mom, but so much that she has written lately seems childish. And I know you wrote this in April, but I recently got a tweet talking about her divorce/legal papers being delivered with her twitter printout attached. If that doesn’t scream childish, I’m not sure what does. She is incredibly good at what she does and could have used her situation as she has in the past for good, to reach out and spark a mature conversation. Instead she lowered herself to a level unexpected from someone who has earned such respect in the online/social media world. I only hope that she comes back around and gets to be known for what she does best, writing, blogging and helping people become better at living in the new gen y/brazen world.

    • Matt Reply

      @Kristina. Penelope’s ‘status’ is really what fueled this post. It wasn’t a direct attack on her at all – I am an agreement with you that she is outstanding and what she does and a master of her craft. But what troubled me was the reaction and actions of someone of her ‘status’. Again, there was a lot of debate a few months ago that I couldn’t possibly understand because I am not a mother myself – so I wouldn’t know how to react. I completely disagree – this isn’t a mother/non-mother issue, it’s a human and social media issue. If you put yourself out there, you have to be willing to take on the assholes out there who are going to try and bring you down (if that’s even what Dave was striving to do here). Like you, I believe she needs to get back to basics and stop worrying so much about being edgy (all the time).

  • Kristina Summers Reply

    I agree with the last comment- I have been a fan of Penelope for a long time, and a regular contributor to the Brazen network, having been around when it launched. Her book, Brazen Careerist was one of the most influential books I read in college and truly helped me to become a blogger (good or bad is not for me to decide). So I too was disappointed with not only this situation but other tweets I have received from her. I have been through a nasty divorce and have been a frustrated single mom, but so much that she has written lately seems childish. And I know you wrote this in April, but I recently got a tweet talking about her divorce/legal papers being delivered with her twitter printout attached. If that doesn’t scream childish, I’m not sure what does. She is incredibly good at what she does and could have used her situation as she has in the past for good, to reach out and spark a mature conversation. Instead she lowered herself to a level unexpected from someone who has earned such respect in the online/social media world. I only hope that she comes back around and gets to be known for what she does best, writing, blogging and helping people become better at living in the new gen y/brazen world.

    • Matt Reply

      @Kristina. Penelope’s ‘status’ is really what fueled this post. It wasn’t a direct attack on her at all – I am an agreement with you that she is outstanding and what she does and a master of her craft. But what troubled me was the reaction and actions of someone of her ‘status’. Again, there was a lot of debate a few months ago that I couldn’t possibly understand because I am not a mother myself – so I wouldn’t know how to react. I completely disagree – this isn’t a mother/non-mother issue, it’s a human and social media issue. If you put yourself out there, you have to be willing to take on the assholes out there who are going to try and bring you down (if that’s even what Dave was striving to do here). Like you, I believe she needs to get back to basics and stop worrying so much about being edgy (all the time).

  • Living with Balls Reply

    Good post. I recently had this happen on my blog. I wasn’t sure how to handle it.

  • Living with Balls Reply

    Good post. I recently had this happen on my blog. I wasn’t sure how to handle it.

  • Belinda Gomez Reply

    I just read the whole discussion, and I have to say I think this was handled very well. PT is clearly nutty. I wish Dave had been part of a gay couple, which would have stood the whole issue on its head.

  • Belinda Gomez Reply

    I just read the whole discussion, and I have to say I think this was handled very well. PT is clearly nutty. I wish Dave had been part of a gay couple, which would have stood the whole issue on its head.

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