I hear a lot of trash talk about online communities and blogs and bloggers and trolls. To hear some people – often those who don’t get involved in online communities or read blogs – the internet is the Wild West, and as soon as you pop your head above the parapet (apologies for the mixed metaphor) by publishing something, you’re likely to get it shot off by the ubiquitous trolls.
This is not my experience at all. The forums at the EPT were not places men felt comfortable, given all the discussions of bleeding and symptoms and cycles. Worst of all, all those emotions probably sent men running from their computers in horror. These forums were full of warm, supportive women. Sure, there was the occasional bust-up, maybe one a year, which really was a remarkably small number given the vulnerable emotions, the stress and distress, of many of the women there. Likewise, the blogging communities I am part of (predominantly but not wholly female) have equally been open, supportive, loving, and wise.
So yesterday, as I was perusing the newspaper over lunch, I was pleased to find this quote in an article that noted the popularity of women’s websites:
I am so grateful for this, who come here and comment wisely, respectfully, honestly and kindly, and for the people who write wisely, respectfully, honestly and kindly on their own blogs. I am so grateful that you provide support and make me think in this way."Communities are fundamentally different when they're just women," said Women.com founder Susan Johnson, giving voice to a piece of old, obvious wisdom that's enjoying something of a renaissance online."The cadence is different, the tone is more trusting... It's this safe environment where everyone can express herself without being trolled all the time."