First, a disclaimer: I did not attend Science Online 2010 last weekend. I did follow the official conference twitterfeed, and my blogosphere buddies’ tweets.
The analogy oft repeated in blogworld since that time: My blog is my home, and I set the rules. Don’t come in and piss on my carpet.
The “don’t piss on my carpet” crowd takes exception to the linkage with the American civil rights movement. And they are wrong to ignore this link.
I can remember people complaining about blacks (note: original terminology from my youth has been softened) wanting to eat in the same dining room or use the same water fountain as “us.” Changing these inequities required breaking the rules, getting arrested, and generally upsetting those who made the rules.
“But it’s our state (school, restaurant, bus) and these are our rules. People who want to be in here with us need to follow them or go somewhere else.” Not too hard to do in blogworld; but is this the message you really want to send? “If you don’t want to play our game, go elsewhere.” If those who disagree with you go away, you may never discover you are wrong. At least not until it is too late to make a graceful change.
I have also found that the “standard” for “niceness” is different for men or women. Men expressing different opinions disagree; if a woman expresses a different opinion she is bitchy, shrewish, or on-the-rag. [Note: twat was another term that could have been included, but it seems that this is a “cute” term among the “don’t piss on my carpet” crowd, and, therefore, inoffensive.]She couldn’t possibly have a thought-out opinion (unless another man present agrees with her, of course).
What seems like a small act of rule enforcement today may not be judged that way by history.
After 2 children and 2 cats (and being a nephrologist) I have developed a talent for getting piss out of the carpet. Try to get to the toilet, please, but a little rug tinkle will not be the end of the world…