Haters on the Internet

Last week Dooce ranted about the haters on the Internet. Because I'm clearly avoiding doing something more profitable with my time, I spent an hour googling and searching Twitter to see what the haters were saying. (I'm not proud.) This led me down a blackhole of hate websites.

There are apparently dozens of websites that are devoted to mocking Dooce and Pioneer Woman. One website had elaborate photographs of dolls dressed up to look like the bloggers. Yes, dolls. Some blog posts had hundreds of comments. That sort of dedication towards hating a complete stranger is so crazy that it's almost inspiring. (Sorry. No links to this stuff.)

What's the hate about? In Dooce's case, some people were pissed off about the separation from her husband, but that was a minor complaint. Most people hated Dooce and Pioneer Woman because they've made a lot of money from blogging. She used to be like me, but then she got rich and now she has a diamond covered driveway. Apparently, Dooce makes $40K a month in advertising revenue and PW makes more. 

Now, I totally get rich people hatred, especially when the rich person is clueless. In this crappy economy, even middle class people have to be sensitive about these matters. I strongly believe in a highly progressive tax system and creating a better education system to help to rectify inequalities. But maybe, just maybe, rich people hatred can be a little counter productive. 

18 thoughts on “Haters on the Internet

  1. People who don’t like Dooce because she makes too much money should really cheer her separation. That’s the kind of thing that burns money.

  2. Thank you for the grace of not putting in the links. If you’d put it in, I’d have been unable to avoid clicking through a link to a doll hater site, but I will resist the urge to google :-).
    I believe progressive taxation is the way to go, but have no negative feelings at all for the fact that Dooce is able to make money doing something that people are willing to pay her for.
    I think, though, that a little bit of the hating comes from the view that it is the people who view Dooce’s site, and comment there who are also responsible for her success (not just from her bloggy-competitors). It’s a bit like the complaints about Facebook not sharing any of its wealth with the people who use the site (though, of course, they are, by making the site available).

  3. I am torn. On the one hand, the haters are clearly losers who need to get a life. On the other hand, a person whose income is generated primarily through people reading her opinions and having strong opinions that make them want to come back and read what she says next doesn’t really have a lot of ground to complain that people are reading her opinions and hating them.
    Maybe it comes down to the marketing plan. If I am writing “Asian mothers are better than white mothers,” or “Mothers who return to work to soon are committing child abuse” I am picking a fight, and counting on half of my audience to come from the haters.
    If I am writing “Look at me and the ups and downs of my regular life!” I am not really explicitly making a political argument (but, of course, implicitly I kind of am). We look at hate directed at Dooce differently from hate hate directed at Sandra Tsing Loh, because Dooce isn’t actively picking a fight. But — if we didn’t care enough to hate her, we wouldn’t love her enough for her to make half a million dollars blogging.
    So Laura — knowing the tradeoff in advance, would you take an audience that supported a $500,000 annual income in exchange for there existing an equally popular 11dsucks.com blog that personally attacked your parenting skills, and meanly referenced your children as it argued autism was overrated and should not be eligible for government funding?

  4. Yeah, good question, Ragtime. I actually spent a fair amount of time thinking about that over the break. I think I’m beginning to make the transition to pro-blogging. Whether I’m writing about politics or our personal life or a combo of both, I’m going to get criticism. It is inevitable. Do I have a think enough skin to deal with it? I’m honestly not sure. Will I pull some punches in order to avoid criticism?
    Traffic is really picking up for this blog. You regulars are very nice people, who are gentle with me when I’m wrong. The new people aren’t going to be so nice. I can take it when people hate my politics, but when the criticism is about my children, I completely lose my cool. Can I deal with that? Not sure.
    The more realistic question is not would I deal with criticism for $500,000, but will I deal with this criticism for $500 and a large ego? Not sure.

  5. “The more realistic question is not would I deal with criticism for $500,000, but will I deal with this criticism for $500 and a large ego? Not sure.”
    Well, and Dooce had to make the second decision before she got a chance to make the first. I think part of the answer is to ignore the hater sites (don’t even look at them) and to edit heavily in the comments section. I don’t see that as dishonest, because I think a lot of the “hating” is just downright rude. Editing the hating/ad homenim/personal/rude comments doesn’t have to destroy the debate.
    (I think the NY times comment moderation does a decent job, while the Wash Post moderation does not. I read the NY times comments on occasion, but have given up reading the Post comments)

  6. I don’t read Dooce. From the rant you linked to, I think the depression angle is difficult to parse. It is TMI and an unreliable narrator–not my thing.
    What’s the line between expressing strong negative opinions and libel on the internet?

  7. MH, that is just the kind of suggestion Hitler would make!!
    (How’d I do?)
    I’ve been hated on the Internet, and it is not fun. I’m not really sure of the correlation/causation thing, but it overlapped with a period of serious depression for me. I will have to say this, though: people who hated me expressed their hatred on the net, not in e-mails to me. I have to say, that was far more preferable. If I had been getting hate mail, I probably would have freaked, but people who hated me went and did it publicly, and I was ok with that. It felt less personal that way.

  8. Wow, so it sounds like the English-language blog haters are beginning to catch up with South Korea’s pop anti-fans. Good to know.

  9. “If you want, we could start comparing you and each other to Hitler. Then you could see what kind of criticism is too much.”
    I’ll even do that in the original German at no extra charge.

  10. I’ve been hated on the internet (well, it was Usenet). Got the emails. Even got a phone call once-that was very frightening, given that I was a single mom at the time. And I never made a dime off any of it. I’d much rather have made some money, if I had to go through that!

  11. I’ve written some op-eds that have been published and generated some hate mail. One was seriously frightening enough that I sent it to the police. THe problem with the internet is that people can hate you for your opinions AND they can find out where you live and where your kids go to school, etc. etc. etc. It’s a kind of asymmetric information where you might not know where THEY live or even who they are so it’s not reciprocal. I think there are interesting patterns there as well — you’re more likely to receive volumes of hate mail if you have a minority opinion (I’m a political conservative so that means that many liberals automatically assume they have a license to say mean things to me). I received lots of hate mail from men, though I am a woman. I always felt like somehow it related to how people felt about the LEGITIMACY of my opinions and whether or not they thought I should be entitled to have one. My sense is that (often? frequently ? sometimes?) some guys don’t like women with strong opinions, (sometimes?) educated liberals really don’t think educated conservatives should be allowed to have opinions, etc.
    I can’t quite fathom how anyone could hate Dooce. She always struck me as having this lost, kind of humble, soulful quality.

  12. I can sort of understand hating someone whose wealth comes from being born to the right parents, though I find that lame. But Dooce earned that money the hard way…building a brand through blogging after her early blogging got her fired from her job. And then capitalizing on the blogging with a couple of books. Hard work gets a person through adversity to success…didn’t that used to be considered a great thing?

  13. The mistake Europe made was to insist on standards for “art.” Once you let them try something “creative,” Austrians don’t do nearly as much damage.

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