When I started writing this blog three years ago, I made a promise to myself to remain discreet when it came to identifying myself or anyone I know – Facebook friends notwithstanding as I am quite choosy about those. For the most part I think I have been successful at this. Names of my friends or family are never used on articles. Personal situations where I can be identified are not described. I had been online long enough to know that the internet is a place of refuge for the unhinged, as well as the hinged. Deranged ideas and opinions can flourish unchecked on the web. Discretion I decided would be the wisest choice. I didn’t want fruit loops on the interwebs taking agin me. Today I received confirmation that this was a wise strategy.
Some time ago I wrote a non-controversial blog post. It factually described some religious locations, without any comment other than their physical position. I don’t rail against religion or its institutions, as I don’t waste energy on stuff like that. My atheism is profound. I can appreciate a tarty old church without condemning the belief system behind it. Suddenly this post received a huge spike in reader numbers, accompanied by several insulting and threatening personal messages (I have to approve messages before they appear on the blog – I rejected them all). After some investigation I discovered that my post had been quoted and linked on another website – which would fall under the category ‘Paranoid Catholic conspiracy theories’. Bizarre stuff altogether. I thought about contacting the site and asking it to remove the link to my post. I decided not to do this – don’t draw attention to myself. The site is quite active and my post (which has 87 comments on this other site) is already tumbling down the chart, and will not be on the front page for much longer. I won’t be harangued for being an ‘ungodly sodomite’ fairly soon.
Naturally I will remain an ungodly sodomite – I am deeply flattered by the description.
Upon further investigation I discovered another of my (marginally more controversial) blog posts on the other site. In this instance the link to my article was spelled incorrectly, so remains untraceable to the believers. There was quite a heated debate beneath the piece however. My legitimacy as a commentator was questioned due to my assertion that tinned haddock can be purchased in Aldi – when the website only lists mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna and salmon for sale. Can’t fault the investigative journalism.
Even though I slightly resent that my blog’s stats are not benefiting from the increased readership on this second piece, it’s probably wiser not to claim them on this occasion.
I have edited my original article to remove the reference to haddock however – I welcome valid criticism despite my ‘twisted deviance’.