April 16, 1997

Dear Diary:

Weather today -- too early to tell
Mood today -- Feisty
Fly count for yesterday -- 0
HF -- 362%

I am speechless. Well no, that's not true. Actually, I have plenty to say about one Lucy Huntzinger and a webring mentioned here yesterday called 'The Archipelago.' I said my say yesterday and had planned to leave it at that; however, events unfolded in such a way that I cannot do so. The email published here yesterday didn't particularly annoy me beyond the exclusivity factor of this webring. But when Ms. Huntzinger attacked a close friend... well, that doesn't cut it with me.

I will not embarrass my friend by mentioning his/her name, though all of the emails which have transpired between himself/herself and Ms. Huntzinger are available for perusal on his/her website. But check out the email he/she received from this misanthropic woman:

> 1. Your site clearly borrowed from another site's layout. As you did absolutely > nothing to make it look different, it's not a point in your favor. Nor does > your site have the logistics worked out for both Netscape and Internet Explorer > in using it. The calender [sic] intrudes into the border. There is nothing > especially original in your use of it. > > 2. Yes, Archipelago is an exclusive web ring, and it says so right up front: it > is for the best of the online journals. You just began your journal; four > entries is not much to go on. I expect to see someone with at least a month's > worth of entries so that I can be sure they're able to stick to a weekly entry. > > 3. You may be a published writer; however, your journal is banal. Maybe it'll > get better, maybe it won't. It's only my opinion, but it's my web ring to run, > and I made the qualifications. Archipelago is for good writers. You have not > demonstrated your best writing qualities in your journal so far. > > 4. Don't apply for things that involve acceptance or denial if your feelings > are so easily bruised. It's just a stupid web ring, [name deleted], it's not a > comment on your worth as a human being. Jeez. > > Sincerely, Lucy Huntzinger >

I cannot believe how RUDE this letter is! To tell someone their online journal is "banal" is the height of incivility. However, Ms. Huntzinger did nail it when she called her webring "stupid." Perhaps she's not completely delusional in her thinking. Confused yet? Here's a bit of backstory:

I applied for membership to this joke of a webring on the encouragement of a very dear friend who is a member. My site was not deemed worthy for the reasons stated in yesterday's entry. No biggie. I said what I wanted to say yesterday and that was to be the end of it. However, unbeknownst to me, my friend (not my referring friend, but rather the one to whom to the above email was directed) applied for membership as well. When Ms. Huntzinger replied to him/her, she didn't bother to give him/her any reason for exclusion from the ring. My friend was miffed (to put it mildly) because he/she does indeed meet all published criteria for admission into the ring (as do I). So he/she responded to the email and pointed that little fact out, criterium by criterium. At that point, I decided to respond to my email from Ms. Huntzinger, both on behalf of my friend and as a long-time webmistress. Here is my first letter to her:

Lucy, [name deleted] has forwarded the email he/she received from you and his/her replies. I must agree with all the points he/she has made. While I did not address the matter in my diary today, all my entries *are* segregated in my Archives; the current day's entry is posted there at the same time it is posted on my main page. Futhermore, regarding graphics, your site states "...attractive layout, interesting, original use of graphics..." Nowhere does it say one can only have less than x megs of graphics on one's site. Additionally, you state: 'Specifically, this ring focuses on excellent writing; journals as writing exercises, not unthinking lists of events or self-involved, depressive rants. I'm interested in journals which are reflective, and not merely pedestrian recordings of the day's events.' Your own jounal entry today is about your cat, what book you are reading and your job hunt. Excuse me, but that seems to me to qualify as 'pedestrian recordings of the day's events.' I suggest you think about what you are doing a bit. You've obviously not thought this through and are, at this time, creating a double standard from which you may find it difficult to extricate yourself. The attitude you're taking with this webring is not going to make you many friends on the Internet, which is a shame as I would think you, like the majority of us, enjoy friendships, goodwill and positive dealings among the 'Net community." I received a fairly civil reply from Ms Huntzinger:

Dear Elly, You make some good points, and you are also jumping to some conclusions. I have responded to [name deleted] directly, and now I will respond to you. The Webring is a service for people to do as they will. Yes, Archipelago is meant to be selective. I'm sorry if that bothers you; it certainly does bother some people. However, I did not wish to set up a second Open Pages. I wanted to put together an anthology of journals, not encourage everyone to join a ring. Do you refuse to purchase book anthologies because they were selected from many entries? That's all I'm doing. A selection. It's not meant to make me special friends, it's not composed of only my favorite diarists, and I was very straightforward about the fact that it's just my opinion here, not a comment on anyone's worth as a human being. I specified that a journal that consists of only pedestrian entries is not interesting to me. We can't all be great writers every day, so naturally some days we all do a pedestrian entry. I agree, some of mine are just plain "then I did this, then I did that," and that is true for every person in every journal on all the web rings. But, and this the part I thought was clear, I don't find a journal full of that kind of entry interesting. And that is primarily what you write about. That's fine! It's great! You do a popular journal. Be sure that you are writing for your audience and they love you. If one web ring decides to focus on a different kind of writing, then don't feel bad if you aren't a part of it. I don't think Sage Weil had censorship in mind when he set up the Webring organization, so invoking his name as being possibly disapproving is simply silly. The rings can use any criteria their ringmasters desire. Period. Your feelings are hurt, I realize, and I'm sorry that you put yourself in a position where being turned down for something touched such a sore spot. When you put yourself on the line, sometimes you get a response you don't care for. Rejection is always unpleasant. However, it's part of the writing business, and you can't take it so personally or you'll go through life unhappy. I wish you joy of your journal, and luck with all your endeavors. So I wrote the following reply, also quite civil, before reading the reply my friend received:

Dear Lucy, <P> I would like to clarify a couple things, if I may. First, you state that my journal is primarily a recounting of my daily activities. You've not read the entire thing or you would realize that it is more often than not a forum for the exploration of spiritual beliefs and values than anything else. As you said, we don't always write about the same things each day, nor do we delve into weightier matters with every entry. The past month or so has been stressful enough for me that I've chosen to leave my diary entries on the light side until I get things straight in my own mind. That is often the case with my diary; it is after a lot of distillation and reflection that more serious matters are spoken of. For example, one recent discussion which I brought up and then dropped concerned the philosophical idea of a polyamorous relationship. That is something I am exploring in my own mind and will no doubt write more about. That can hardly be termed a recital of daily events. You misinterpreted my remark about [Sage Weil and the Webring Organization]. I was in NO way implying censorship should be a part of the Webring Organization (or any other part of the Internet for that matter). Censorship is complete anathema to me. I said it is my belief that webrings that are exclusionary to a large segment of the community are contrary to the *spirit* of the Webring Organization. I do not claim, nor have I ever, to know Sage's thoughts on this. That is simply my interpretation of what the Webring Organization was founded to be. As ringmistress of five rings with a total membership of well over three hundred participants, I feel I have some basis for interpreting Sage's intentions in this manner. Frankly, my feelings are not the least bit hurt. I have more important things to worry about than whether I'm accepting into this ring or that ring. It's your ring; as ringmistress you can do as you choose. I admit, however, that having my diary denegrated is a 'sore spot.' I pour my heart and soul into that diary, literally, and I do not take kindly to criticism in any way. Recent entries to my diary have covered that exact topic. However, I do realize that not everyone will like what I write. In fact, I know that I am quite opinionated and offend folks on a fairly routine basis, especially when I discuss one of my pet peeves (proselytizing Christians or other religious groups). My concern in all this is more for the inconsistencies inherent in your published criteria as opposed to the reality. As I have stated, I am ringmistress for five rings, and I know the importance of being consistent in one's criteria when accepting sites for membership. Although I do not agree with the extreme selectivity you have chosen to practice with The Archipelago, it is my hope that you can benefit from my observations and develop your ring to the best it can be. I had not planned to answer your email from yesterday informing me of your decision regarding my site, but when my very close friend [name deleted] received a similar email (but without the courtesy of telling him/her *why* he/she was not accepted into the ring), he/she made some very valid points (in my opinion) about your published criteria and I felt that, both as his/her friend and as a ringmistress, I should speak up as well. Frankly, the receipt of your email didn't bother me enough to merit a reply. I simply said what I had to say in my diary and was planning to move on. And had you extended to [name deleted] the same courtesy you gave me, namely telling him/her the reasons for his/her exclusion, I most likely would not have written to you. But if there is one thing I am, it is loyal to my friends; when one of them is hurt by another's actions, I take it personally. [Name deleted] is very, very dear to me and is going through a great deal of soul-searching regarding some major life changes right now. I cannot stand idly by and see him/her hurt any more than he/she already has been. Hence, my email to you. > When you put yourself on the line, sometimes you get a response > you don't care for. I am well aware of that. I learned long ago not to ask a question for which I'm not prepared to receive any possible answer. Please understand that I don't really *care* if my site is accepted or not. I average 150 hits a day to my site now and webrings are no more, when you get right down to it, than one more means of generating hits. I am very, very good at self-promotion and don't need another ring. I already belong to thirty or so and quite frankly, they're often more of a pain in the ass than they're worth, depending on how well the ringmaster/ ringmistress understands the finer points of ring management. > Rejection is always unpleasant. However, it's part of the writing business, > and you can't take it so personally or you'll go through life unhappy. Well, rejection is quite a minor issue for me, thankfully. I have had far too many really horrible experiences, such as the deaths of two men whom I loved (one of them the father of my son) and [another issue about which I've not gone public yet] to worry much about what people think of me. *I* like who I am; I am proud of the person I have become and proud of my work, both on and off the Internet, and that is what matters. I consider it a bonus that I have a number of dear friends who love me and whom I love. I wish you luck with your webring.

Then, of course, I read Ms. Huntzinger's rude diatribe to my friend. Now I'm furious. My second email to her was not nearly as civil as this first one. It makes me very sad to see this type of unkindness and incivility practiced on the Web. Those of you who know me know that I believe in the power of courtesy enough to have founded NARC (Netizens Against Rudeness in Cyberspace), which has a good sized membership and is growing every day. I wish Ms. Huntzinger would practice a bit of courtesy in her dealings with people. I can't for the life of me figure out why her replies to me were quite civil and her replies to my friend were so disparaging and rude. Maybe she's a Gemini. :)

Whatever the case, I won't let this issue drop for a bit. I'm livid that she could treat someone she doesn't know in this manner. There is no place on the Web for this kind of snotty elitism and rudeness. As we move towards a 'global village' through advancements in technology, it behooves us all to practice tolerance, acceptance and kindness. Of course, the flip side of that statement is that I am not practicing what I am preaching; I'm aware of this. I did not, however, start this little fracas. Ms. Huntzinger chose to do that when she wrote that revolting email to my friend. Because of that, I have chosen to take a stance of intolerance towards elitism and discourtesy in this matter.

My friend has no desire to be part of this webring. He/she is actually beginning to see the irony and humor in this woman's inconsistencies between published membership criteria and reality. *I* find it particularly amusing that this woman has set herself up as a judge of "excellent writing" when her own is nothing exceptional. Sure, she has a decent grasp of spelling (though she did misspell 'calendar') and grammar (and she does have some problems knowing where to use periods, commas and semicolons), and her vocabulary is probably adequate. But sorry, I just don't see anything out of the ordinary in what she's published online thus far (and there is a substantial amount). I wish now I'd addressed her comment about "the writing business." Seems to me she should have specified that only professional writers are to be included in her webring if that is the case. Actually, I wish there were several more things I'd thought to address.

Probably the biggest irony of all is that my friend who is a member of the ring writes a fairly "pedestrian" rundown of daily events as a rule (which is not to say his journal isn't good; it is very good). But I'm intimidated by him and by the fact that he's a novelist, so I guess maybe Ms. Lucy got stars in her eyes when she realized that's the case, too. I suppose all I can do is laugh at such absurd inconsistencies and count my blessings that she didn't accept my site for membership.

So ol' Elly is on another crusade.

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This page last updated May 3, 1997