Password Protected Posts

I want to write a disclaimer before I start this post. What I am writing here is about ME and MY blogging experience. What I say here has no relevance to anyone else. If you choose to password protect your posts, that is totally fine. We each blog for our own reasons, in our own personal version of the blogosphere. Some of us blog anonymously and others under given names. Some of us blog for ourselves and some of us for our families and some for all manner of other reasons. I respect anyone who has found it helpful or necessary to password protect her posts; I’m glad that ability exists and that people can use it to improve their blogging experience.

During recent “events” on my blog, a few people suggested password protecting the posts that were close to my heart, posts like yesterday’s that I write with the expectation of receiving only support or silence, posts that really bare my soul to the world, so to speak.

I’ve never password protected my posts. And honestly, I doubt I ever will. Having said that I recognize that so far I’ve been incredibly lucky in that I haven’t needed to password protect my posts. I’ve never had people read me with the sole intent being to maliciously tear me down. I’ve never had friends or family continue reading my blog after I’ve expressly asked them not to. I’ve never been the target of extensive and hurtful trolling, and I’ve never been “outed” on my blog, despite some pretty lax attempts at keeping it anonymous (at least unsearchable by my name). I’m sure if any of those things were to happen, I’d feel differently about password protected posts. But I still doubt I would use them. If I were having real issues with people I didn’t want reading or commenting on my blog I’d just shut it down and set up shop elsewhere, only telling a handful of people my new URL.

There are a few reasons why I’m not interested in password protecting my posts. For one, almost everything I write would have to be password protected. I mean, I put very personal shit out there and I rarely look back. Again, I’m lucky I haven’t had to deal with any long lasting negative effects of what I share here and maybe some day, my luck will run out.

Another reason I doubt I’ll password protect a post is because I’m lazy. I have no idea how many people would actually request the password but responding to even a few dozen emails sounds like way too much work for me. I’d rather spend that time writing.

And finally, I don’t really see the point, for me personally. Again, I write for my own reasons and in my own way. For me, the idea of password protecting my posts flies in the face of what I’m trying to do, which is record and share a (brutally, unforgivingly) honest account of my life and my struggles, and use that expression to foster a cohesive community.

And, if I’m being (brutally, unforgivingly) honestly, I feel like having password protected posts, ones that only a select few are allowed to read, fosters an atmosphere of exclusivity, not inclusivity. I don’t want people to feel excluded here.

And how would I even decide who should be allowed access to my posts? If I’m not trying to keep a specific person from gaining access, how do I determine who can? I guess I can’t fathom the answer to that because I don’t really have any inclination to limit access to my posts, because I don’t (currently) feel the need to protect myself or my writing.

Now here is the part where I admit that one of the reasons I’m writing this is because I was recently refused when I requested the password to a post on a blog I’d subscribed to months before. And here is also the part where I say that I absolutely understand and respect the blogger’s need to deny my request. I have nothing against her or her decision not to give me the password. I absolutely believe that people should do what is necessary to ensure their blog remains a safe haven and if that includes only selectively sharing the password for protected posts, that is what should happen. That is why they are password protected! So that only those friends or family a blogger feels comfortable sharing her thoughts with will actually read those thoughts. I truly hope, if said blogger reads this post she is not offended by what I’m saying and that she understands that any thing I express here is about ME and my experience and is not about her or her choices.

I have to admit, I haven’t had a lot of experience with password protected posts. A few that I do follow started password protecting more recently and I will say, it kind of turned me off. I didn’t like the idea of having to ask for the password and most of the time I refrained. I stopped following a couple of those blogs because I just got sick of not having access to so many of the posts. I will also concede that when I finally did ask for a password and was politely denied, I felt a little hurt. While I totally understood and respected the blogger’s reasons, it felt hurtful to be excluded. I mean, I had been reading regularly, and commenting from time to time, for a couple of months. I was trying to invest in this blogger and her story and when a post was written that shared more, I was told I could no longer participate. I have to admit, I don’t know if I can keep following a blogger that I know isn’t prepared to share certain posts with me. Do I really want to invest in someone who isn’t prepared to invest in me? (And please believe, I absolutely understand and respect that someone would not feel comfortable “investing” in me.)

Again, this isn’t about this particular blogger but about how and why I personally participate in the blogging community. I read blogs to create a connection and I don’t feel like I can create a connection with someone who doesn’t want me to read some of what they write. Maybe that makes me selfish or unsupportive–though it is not my intent–I just know it doesn’t feel right for me.

I blog to foster an inclusive community of people who are willing to give and receive something of themselves. I understand that not everyone feels comfortable sharing as much I share with anyone who cares to read it. I respect that 100%. But I also know that I’m most interested in participating with those who will let me get to know them in as complete a way as they are willing to write about.

So yeah, it stung. I felt a little like I walked up to a group of women at a party and someone stopped telling a story and wouldn’t finish it until I left to get a drink. I was again reminded of what strange social situations blogging creates, how we try to take cues on how to interact with each other from our real world relationships but frequently find the rules nontransferable because talking at a party or sharing a cup of tea and writing a blog post or comment are simultaneously strikingly similar and throughly unrecognizable. This community we’ve created, within this interconnected web of personal blogs and their comment sections, is an incredible place, where amazing friendships can flourish. But it’s also a diaspora (as Justine has taught me) of individuals who are still figuring things out, determining how to share what they need or want to share in a safe way and learning how to forge friendships with people they’ve never met, who only they can determine they can trust.

The past couple of weeks have taught me a lot about why I blog, about what I hope to accomplish here. It’s true I’ve experienced some of the negative aspects of sharing myself unconditionally with others, but I’ve also enjoyed some of the tremendous benefits. So many people have reached out to thank me for what I share here, for giving a voice to those who have similar thoughts, fears, dreams and dissolutions but not the inclination to share them. Instead of scaring me into silence, recent events have inspired me to keep writing, no matter what. When I look back at the attempts to tear me down I preferably see the people who held me up, who defended me in my time of need. I am a part of an incredible community here and I like to believe my honesty plays some part in the fact that I’m accepted by others. Now, more than I ever, I know that for me, password protected posts just don’t make sense.

What are your thoughts on password protected posts? Do you used them? If so, how do you determine what to protect and who will gain access? How do you feel when you encounter a password protected post on someone else’s blog?

**If you’re here to express anger or disappointment about this post, please feel free to do so but you may want to read my response to other people’s comments first before you do.**

37 responses

  1. I don’t have a problem with p/w protected posts I Only follow a handful of people who do. I changed to WordPress do I could utilize the function and do password protect. Anyone who reads my blog that is a blogger or long time reader gets the password it was more because I had been outed and wanted to be able to still use my blog as a place to vent but not be held accountable if it was ever outed again. It’s a shame because I had a following of bloggers bit also other IF sufferers that read who I no longer connect with but I needed to for my own peace of mind.

    If someone I followed and interacted with denied me a password I would be upset. If it was someone I considered a blogger friend it would hurt if not i would probably unfollow!!!

    Password protection for me gave me the freedom to keep blOgging and not give up something i love

    • “Password protection for me gave me the freedom to keep blOgging and not give up something i love.” I am so glad password protecting gave you that freedom. I know that it has done so for others and I am glad for that. Thank you for expressing your experiences here, they are very much appreciated.

  2. I went PWP with my first IF blog after a family member found it, but I didn’t like it so eventually I deleted it and moved to WordPress thinking I’d PWP individual posts, but I never have. I feel like you sometimes I just don’t want to follow someone into a PWP blog, or don’t request the PW – it makes me feel uncomfortable. But, I understand why people do it! To be able to share but to be able to control who sees it.

    I once had a young friend who had a new baby tell me that she wanted to join some kind of playgroup, but she wanted to be able to hand-pick who would be a part of it. Much later I wondered whether she would have invited me, too? I just don’t know. It never feels good to be excluded.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth, for letting me know that I’m not alone in feeling the way I do about blogs with some password protected posts. It is nice to know I’m not the only one who has these feelings, especially when so many people disagree with me. Thank you.

  3. I have a public blog, meaning that at this point, anyone I have ever met has seen it at least once. After much deliberation, I began to write about IF/loss in general, but rarely the specifics of my story due to a very serious situation with an IRL IF (former) friend (a family member). Since then, I have forged a few very real friendships with other women in the ALI community, and a comfortable reciprocal blogging relationship with a handful of others. Additionally, I have become better known through PAIL. I do not wish to start a new, anon blog for these reasons.

    Recently, I decided that I would write the odd PWP post. This decision, and what types of post they would encompass are detailed here, and discussed further in the comments here, if you would like to further understand my reasons and see the discussion of how I ultimately reached my decision:

    I have determined who will have access based on the following: 1) If they are one of the rare few IRL who have been supportive of my IF/loss journey 2) If they are an ALI blogger with whom I have formed a relationship, be it through reciprocal following/commenting, emailing, tweeting, Skype, what have you. Meaning that I “know” them, they know me, and we have developed a mutual trust – a friendship 3) Folks in the category of 1 & 2 specifically asked after reading the post I linked to above or when my PWP went up. It occurs to me know that perhaps I should outline this on my About page.

    I do not feel comfortable giving out the password to people IRL that I wouldn’t want to read specifics about my IF/loss, such as my husband’s friend who asked the other day. Additionally, I do not feel comfortable giving it out to bloggers with whom I have limited interactions with, or “come out of the woodwork” claiming to have been following me for months, but giving me no indication of such. In that sense, I do not ‘know’ this person. I have mentioned a few times that given past events, IRL and within the ALI community itself, I feel uneasy about exposing these parts of myself, and will protect myself as I see fit.

    But Esperanza, I wish that you have expressed some of this to me in your last email yesterday. We might have had a very good discussion and perhaps you may have understood me and my feelings better. I felt good about that email interaction, and hoped that I had indicated that I simply did not know you well enough *yet*. I was surprised to learn that you even followed me. So, while despite the disclaimer and explanation above, this does sting. Very much so.

    • SRB,

      Thank you for your respectful and kind words here. I am so sorry that this post caused you pain. I tried really hard for that not to be the case. I also tried really hard to express that this response was about me and my experience. And I understand that that experience was tightly wound in your own and I so apologize that this caused you harm.

      I did think about emailing you about the post, or sending it to you to make sure it didn’t hurt your feelings. In the end I didn’t because I thought the anonymity I maintained and the respect I thought I was showing would be enough. I honestly didn’t feel you needed to explain your position better because I already felt I understood and respected it. I get that you don’t want people you don’t know very well reading your blog and I get that I am one of those people. You’re right that you had no way of knowing I had been reading you as I haven’t commented frequently, and I didn’t think you should have somehow known (you’re point definitely spurred me to comment more on people’s blogs, to be sure). It doesn’t even bother me really, that you didn’t want to give me the password. But that doesn’t mean it still can’t sting a little. Even when you know why someone is doing something and totally understand and respect it, you can still have your own separate feelings about it.

      I honestly (and obviously naively) thought I could post this because I truly wasn’t feeling any anger or animosity toward you and I assumed it would show in the post. I didn’t want to discuss this particular situation per se but the possibility of it and the affects it can have on what a blog is and what blogging means. I obviously should have just written it as a hypothetical but I worried it would lose it’s power to provoke thoughts and comments if I did. I was already thinking a lot about password protected posts after what happened here recently and then my experience with you got me thinking more about it. I was just trying to process all of that. And since I had no issue with you personally and your reasons for what you did, I still wanted to work out the implications for blogging and community AS I SAW THEM (and I know it is totally different for others). I tried to be respectful but I obviously failed and I apologize profusely but I understand if it isn’t enough.

      It is not my intent to cause a rift between us. I know you had a hard time during the original PAIL fallout debacle and I tried my best to support you during that, especially on certain comment sections where you felt (rightly so) that you were being attacked. I also very much appreciated your heartfelt and thoughtful comment on my blog recently during my discussion of Sucker Punch BFPs. I respect you very much as a blogger, and as a founder of the new and improved PAIL blogroll and site, which I’m continuously impressed with. I hold no ill will toward you for not yet feeling comfortable enough to share your most private posts with me. I honestly feel that way and I was tring to have a conversation about this while expressing that and still hashing out the other nuances of how it affected me personally, but I obviously failed miserably.

      Please consider my apology, though I understand if you’re not able to accept it.

      • To be clear, I do not take issue with the questions raised by this post. I struggled with this myself in making my decision, as outlined on the post I linked to above. I have given my thoughts to the questions you raised, and I appreciate your response.

        What I found hurtful, and yes, disrespectful (to me) was the timing of the post and clearly recognizing myself in it. I did feel it appropriate to out myself as the blogger, because I already feel uneasy in a community that is so difficult to navigate. I struggle to know the right thing to do, to find balance. Again, I feel we could have had a useful private discussion about it, and this post would have lost nothing in conversational power surrounding a hypothetical situation. Now, clearly, it has gotten away from that, which is regretful.

  4. I am really disheartened by this post. For someone who just struggled with people negatively coming out of the woodwork to provide feedback to her on what they must think of her (you asked for the feedback), I’m really surprised that you would then turn around and use your own blog to confront someone who upset you. Yes, I read your disclaimers that this is just about YOU and how you don’t want to PW protect your own posts, but let’s face it – this was an attack of sorts – a very public attack. At least people were commenting to you on your OWN blog – even if those comments were negative in tone. Instead of talk directly with the blogger you have an issue with (or whose privacy you have an issue with), you went public. Sounds a little familiar to me – reminds me of the ALI shit-storm started over at SQ months ago by a post that had all sorts of disclaimers on it as well.

    This is dangerous territory. I actually was thinking of blogging about the situation you just experienced last week on your own blog, but I was so worried that it would be taken as a judgement on you rather than the lesson I’ve learned from it as a new blogger (that blogs are public, and people can say whatever they want – even if it’s going to hurt you). I thought for days about posting about what I’d learned from watching the last week on your blog, but I didn’t because I was worried that you may take it personally when that’s not what I was intending.

    And then I read this. Then I see that you went on the attack (but kept saying that you weren’t) of someone who wanted to protect her own privacy. And the best part? You asked your readers to chime in when you knew that there was someone you were directing this post at! Someone who didn’t even know you were following her because you don’t ever comment on her blog. Following someone does not make you vested. Interacting does. (And before anyone questions my involvement on this blog, I have commented quite often – and not negatively.)

    This makes me sad. This community never ceases to amaze me – and sometimes (and unfortunately) – I’m amazed in negative ways. This is most definitely one of them.

    The comments last week on your blog were not nice, but you did ask for feedback. SRB did not ask you to give her feedback via this very public, negative post. And she certainly didn’t ask your readers for feedback.

    Very disheartened indeed.

    • I have to admit, I am really confused by this response (though not angered by it, I’m glad you left it).

      First of all, there is not one place here where I identify the blogger that I had an encounter with. It is true she chose to comment about it and reveal herself but I didn’t ever say who she was and there is no way that anyone would have known who I was talking about except her, and I wrote this post under that assumption. I also wrote it not being sure she would even read it because besides one or two posts she hasn’t commented here so I didn’t she even read my blog and again, I didn’t think anyone who “knew” her would know who this was about and direct her here.

      I’m not saying that I didn’t want her reading this post, just that I didn’t know for sure if it would even happen.

      I also just don’t agree that this is an attack on that person. Or I guess I should say, I tried so hard to not make it an attack, I’m really disappointed that it still came out that way, but obviously I failed. I tried VERY HARD to not make it about the other person, but instead to make it about my own experience. One of the problems with the blogging community is that we all “know” each other and when something happens and it affects us in some way and we want to write about it, it can be hard to do so without stepping on anyone’s toes. But I think if we only wrote about the things that we’re sure everyone else will like, there wouldn’t be much left to say, not to mention anything interesting.

      Frankly, I wish you had written about what happened on my blog last week, how you interpreted it and what it meant to you. It would have been an interesting post to be sure, one that would have got me thinking about a lot of things. I would have learned and grown from that, even if it was a little hard to read. And I don’t understand what I’ve done on my blog to convince you not to write or post something like that. I feel like I’ve stated many times that I want interesting conversations to happen here (or away from here about what goes on here), as long as they play out in a respectful way.

      And I feel I was very respectful with this post. I was TRYING to be respectful. I even asked a blogger friend to read it and tell me if she thought the person I was referring to be would be angry if she found it. This friend assured me that if I changed the wording of a couple of parts of the post, where she felt I was being “dismissive” of people who use password protection, it would be a good discussion and not an attack. Since being “dismissive” was not my intent and I don’t feel that way, I tried to change those parts to take out that tone, because honestly, I really do have the utmost respect for anyone who does this.

      The purpose of this post was to discuss the other side of password protection, the side of not be invited and the side of it changing a blog in a subtle but important way. I thought it was a really interesting discussion, one I wanted to have here so that I could hear what others had to say. I promise it was not my intent to cause any conflict and I did my absolute best to portray that. If I failed, then I am sorry.

      I wonder if you would feel so strongly about this, if you would read it in such a negative light if you had no idea who it was about (again, I wrote it assuming no one would but maybe one person). I’m not trying to say that in an accusing way, but in a thoughtful, curious way.

      As always, thank you for your words. You have always left very beautiful comments here and I am truly sorry I offended you. I hope this response comes off as a dialogue and not me attacking you for your opinions here, which are obviously very valid and which I will take to heart.

      • I want to address this one point because I feared you’d take it the way you did, but I didn’t know how to make it more clear.

        “And I don’t understand what I’ve done on my blog to convince you not to write or post something like that.”

        You’ve done nothing on your blog to convince me not to write that post – I just really worry about hurting people’s feelings, or people thinking that I’m hurting someone’s feelings. I am a very blunt person, and I had no issues with what you put on your blog (aside from your partner’s post – which was pretty harsh but meh – not my business – it’s your blog) – but sometimes the way I say things are too direct and can come off wrong. I know this about myself 😉 I wasn’t sure how to write about it without someone (not even necessarily you, because I don’t even know if you read my blog) maybe thinking I was being critical of you, when I was really being critical of the situation and the lessons I learned from it.

        So what I learned from your situation last week is to always remember that people can comment however they want on your (my) blog and that you (I) always have to be prepared for that. And that when people don’t agree with you (me), that they can be really, really mean. My post wasn’t going to be about anything you did wrong – but it’s hard to convey my thoughts about it without it POSSIBLY being mis-interpreted by a reader. So I didn’t post it.

        Maybe I will now. Because I was seriously bothered by how that all went down last week and even though you asked for feedback, the way it was given made me sad.

      • You obviously know yourself better than I do. 😉 I am learning those same lessons about myself today and I will be careful never to forget them.

        I understand that your decision not to write that post wasn’t about me or my wishes and I appreciate you clarifying that. I just really wish you had written that post because a) I think it would be really helpful to see how someone else processed that experience, someone who was not directly affected by it and b) I think it would inspire an interesting conversation that I would enjoy reading and participating in. I also highly doubt that anything you could say, blunt or not, would be as hurtful as a psychologist saying he uses my writing in his classes to illustrate self-obsessive misery. Plus, I appreciate that I a deeply flawed person and blogger and always want to learn how I can be and do better both in real life and on my blog.

        Thank you for your clarification. I very much hope you’ll write an honest account of how you saw what went down here and I promise to read it
        with an open mind and heart.

  5. I password protect only my picture posts, and I’m glad I did after reading about how Tertia’s pics of her twins were used by a gal who created a whole fake family & all their fake friends to raise money for cancer. I do consider going back to password protect some posts where I was processing things relating to other people and I portrayed them in a negative light (cough cough, my mom) because I don’t think it was fair to her to put that out there for the world to see. But then again, it was my authentic reaction… so I’m torn about it.

    • I totally understand your use of PWP for pictures. After the shit that went down here I am seriously considering not posting picts of Isa anymore and password protecting the past posts with her pictures, just because I don’t want to delete them entirely. But I don’t know if I will continue posting pictures with password. I think I’ll just stop altogether, because I’m a little lazy about answering emails. 😉

      • You’re right not to under-estimate the time-consuming nature of password protection… on top of the initial email there are the people who need to be reminded of the password every single time you post…

  6. I, too, am disheartened and frustrated by this post, struggling with it so much that I almost don’t know where to start.

    Let’s start with what I think should be one of the golden understandings of blogging in the ALI world: what we have to say as members of this community about our infertility and loss is *sacred.* For most–if not all–of us, IF/loss is or has been what has defined our lives. How we choose to process and present that–these profound and meaningful feelings–shouldn’t be criticized in this manner. If someone wishes to put a lock and key around their most sensitive and intense feelings, we should respect that. As members of this community, we should always remember that, for some, blogging has ZERO to do with blogging “inclusivity” and everything to do with healing.

    And on the subject of creating community, and now that we all understand that this post is about SRB’s decision to limit access to some of her posts, I find it hugely perplexing that you’d wag a finger at PWP as not promoting inclusivity or community. As a founding member of PAIL, she has given above and beyond towards the goal of building support and community in our ALI blog world. Here, we can build community in other ways besides laying bare and open all of our darkest feelings without restraint and for all to consume. We comment on posts! We talk on Twitter! We email each other! We contribute to LFCA! Keeping your posts open on your blog has less to do with “inclusivity” than you might suggest here.

    If you follow SRB as you say, you would have clearly understood–long before her decision to not provide you with the password–her explicit parameters for sharing her password…which makes me feel that this post is less about the merits of PWP and how you participate in this communityand more about`your insecurity and feeling hurt by rejection (if I’m being brutally, unforgivingly honest).

    You can write all the disclaimers in the world on this post, but none of them makes this kind of post more empathetic or palatable.

    • Trinity,

      I get it. I understand that I messed up and I respect everyone’s opinions about the ways in which I did it. I didn’t meant to criticize but I see now that using “exclusive” and “inclusive” did just that. Again, I was just trying to discuss the idea of password protected posts and the unintended effects of them. I obviously should have used a hypothetical situation, then this might have been the interesting discussion I intended for it to be (and I honestly did intend that despite everyone’s assumptions otherwise) and not an series of angry and hurt comments.

      You’re right that SRB is awesome and I respect very much her work with PAIL and what it stands for and what it gives people (though I find interesting that there was a huge debacle about whether its existence is in fact exclusive or not, but that is for another post that I already wrote). I was not trying to attack her here, or her motives and I thought I was successful in avoiding those things but I obviously did not. I’m again sorry I expressed criticism when I said that password protected posts evoked some feelings of exclusivity and inclusivity. I thought I was making those observations not based on my hurt feelings but on my thoughts and experiences, but I guess I was wrong. Maybe my hurt feelings were motivating my words, as you claim. I guess I have a lot of growing up to do before I can stop making poor choices here on my blog.

      Again, please accept my apologies though I understand if you cannot.

  7. Here are my issues with this post, and I hope my numbered list doesn’t look designed to be aggressive or intimidating– it’s just how I best organize my thoughts.

    1) You read SRB’s blog, right? And so do lots of other people. And I believe you said your blog gets a few hundred hits a day? So there was such an obvious chance of people seeing her post & knowing she was going to do some PWP stuff, and then many of those people were going to come here and see this, and I just don’t know how you didn’t think anyone would know it was her.

    2) I take issue with your very polite and well-worded disclaimers (fair enough) because I think you consider them powerful enough to negate anything else you say afterwards. When you say you TOTALLY respect people for having PWP posts, and you REALLY understand, and you would NEVER judge them, but then you liken it to a bunch of people who stop talking when you walk up to them at a party, you’re actually painting a very unflattering picture of those bloggers because we all know people who will stop talking in front of you and start again when you leave are usually overtly rude people who don’t mind making others uncomfortable. I appreciate your attempts to be fair and balanced here, I truly do, but I don’t think it works and I wonder if you understand that peppering a post with disclaimers doesn’t really “disclaim” anything. To add in one of my favorite movie quotes– “There are two things I cannot stand: people who are intolerant of other people’s cultures, and the Dutch.”

    3) You also said “I feel like having password protected posts, ones that only a select few are allowed to read, fosters an atmosphere of exclusivity, not inclusivity.” I remember VERY clearly when all that ish went down in March over PAIL, and people being upset that it was going to be “exclusive” because literally not every single person would be a currently pregnant or parenting member of the ALI world. I felt strongly at that time that my blog was a standalone blog– maybe it was ALI-related, but I wasn’t a card-carrying member of any organization which would limit my blogging output and experience. I fought back again Mel’s assertion that we were somehow all bound to one another and blog rolls should only exist if everyone could be on them. I don’t think that’s true– aside from the reasons we needed PAIL (because there was just no functioning, active equivalent), I don’t think I owe anyone anything, or at least I didn’t until I took a leadership position through PAIL. We can be as exclusive as we want with our individual blogs. Not every person who leaves me a comment is my friend, even if they leave a nice comment, even if they comment daily. I can only extend myself so far into the blogging world, and I’m a pretty gregarious extrovert most of the time. It gets to where I leave my girls to crawl around on the floor in a pile of toys so I can return comments, though, and sometimes you need to limit your world a bit. Same for people who might have some trust issues based on how they’ve been treated in the past and the trauma they’ve gone through. I know you say you totally understand the need for PWPing, but honestly, I wonder if you really do because you seem okay with it as long as you’re in or are given the chance to GET in. I’m agreeing with Courtney that I think that, despite clearly trying very hard to approach this in a fair and polite way, this is more about your hurt feelings. Which is okay. I get being hurt. But I don’t get posting this and claiming ignorance on people making the connection, because from your side of the story it looks a bit unfair.

    I do like you, and I’m having a hard time with this one. Partly because I care very much for the blogger on the other side of this who was hurt by your post today, and partly because on principle, I take issue with this sort of thing.

    • Jules,

      Thanks for helping me understand better how I totally did here what I was not intending to do. I shall address each of your points below. (And no, I did not find your bullet points agressive).
      1) I honestly didn’t think a lot of people that read SRB read me. We kind of “run in different crowds” so I wasn’t sure. And honestly. I read LOTS of blogs that have password protected posts so I didn’t think it was that obvious. I see now that I was totally mistaken and I accept the blame for that.
      2) As for likening people who use password protected posts people who are overtly rude, I didn’t mean to do that all. I said that it felt TO ME like I had walked up to a group and they had stopped talking, because IT DID. But I didn’t mean for that metaphor to be extended to the people using PWP to actually BEING those people in the group, though I understand if that is what people read. That was my mistake again. I do have say though, I take offense to being called intolerant. I don’t feel I’m being intolerant in this post. If you see it that way, that is fine but I don’t accept that label of myself, especially not from this post.
      3) “We can be as exclusive as we want with our individual blogs.” I totally agree that this is true. I feel like that was what this post was about. But I also think that if we’re going to be exclusive we can’t also be upset when someone says, “I feel like this is a little exclusive.” And you’re right that I don’t really undertand why people use PWP in that I have never myself been inclined to use one myself, and doubt I would be, but I also know that I feel differently than other people and I respect that they might feel the way they do and I understand that they might have their reasons. I also feel like I can be okay with someone password protecting posts and also say I don’t really like following blogs that use them a lot, whether I’m invited to know the password or not. I am trying to explain here the kinds of blogging relationships I want to have. I am totally fine with people who write about cooking and crafting and fashion but I am not going to read those blogs because I am not interested in those things. It doesn’t mean I am judgmental about them. And I might not read the blogs of people who post a lot of password protected posts because that is not the blogging experience I am most interested in being a part of. But maybe you’re right, maybe it is because I don’t understand, or maybe it is only in the cases of bloggers who I don’t feel I know very well. I obviously f*cked this up royally so I’m open to people’s insights.

      I appreciate you saying that you have a hard time with this both because of the content itself and the fact that you a good friend to the blogger in question. I wonder if everyone would feel so strongly about this if they had no idea who I was talking about. I’m not saying that to be accusatory, I’m just curious.

      • E, please step back and read what I said carefully– I did NOT call you intolerant. My whole second paragraph was about how I felt that you used disclaimers as a bit of an insurance policy to safeguard against any backlash against everything else you said, and I didn’t think they sufficed. I was quoting a movie (Austin Powers “Goldmember”) to illustrate that point– the character who said the quote I posted said he didn’t like when people were intolerant of other people’s cultures and then said that he didn’t like the Dutch, which was obviously a humorous statement in that it invalidated the former. I was just trying to make a (lighthearted) reference to further illustrate my point. I bristle a bit at your misreading it and applying your misinterpretation to me, and I’m just really glad I caught it and could address it before I went out in a few minutes so it didn’t sit here all day with people thinking I’d called you intolerant.

        Yes, I think I feel a bit more strongly because I know the person you were referencing. I think that’s true for most of us in most situations. You probably agree with me that someone taking an illegal left turn into a motorcycle’s path is a terribly tragedy; I probably get a whole lot more irate and passionate about it because it happened to my best friend’s ex less than a year ago and the vehicular homicide trial has been postponed twice. Obviously these two situations are very different from one another, but I think my point stands regardless.

        As for exclusivity, I think it only applies if there is an implication of INCLUSIVITY to begin with. You can feel excluded anytime, but I don’t like the implication that anyone’s blog is beholden to someone beside themselves. I’m excluded from a whole lot of blogs and blog rolls (you won’t find my name, at least not right now, on a transracial adoption blog roll or a pregnancy loss blog roll) but I don’t “feel excluded” because they don’t owe me inclusion.

      • I don’t really see how I could be expected to understand that you were using a quote about hating intolerant people in a lighthearted joking way right smack in the middle of a serious, upset post. But again, I see to be fucking up royally today so I’ll accept the responsibility for misinterpreting your words and this misrepresenting you. I apologize that my reaction painted you in a negative light.

      • I apologize for not recognizing that the reference was so obscure. I usually assume people know the movie so I imagined the intended humor was obvious.

  8. You can wonder if people wouldn’t feel so strongly about this if they hadn’t known it was SRB, but I am also a follower of both of you, and so I knew instantly it was SRB (as, it seems, did all of the commenters above, even before she “outed” herself in the comments).

    WIthout being sure of course, I can say that I would have not liked the tone of this post either way. I agree with the commenters above that it seems to be more about your hurt feelings than about a true discussion about the merits of PWP posts and the people who choose to use them, and you have made an example of a fellow blogger’s choice to use PWP in order to shine your negative opinions about this while writing tons of disclaimers as if that would take away all offensiveness.

    You may have have never felt the need to PWP posts, but you are also someone who has kept your blog fairly private (no real name to be googled) and so you are at a much different place than most of the bloggers I know that use PWP who are almost all bloggers who have openly shared their space with their IRL family and friends. That changes the dynamic of the space, as I’m sure you know between this space and your other blog, as you have clearly stated that many of your thoughts here you would not write on your public blog. I get that SRB (and others who have chosen to use PWP) don’t want to have to close up shop and create an entirely new space just to write the odd private post on.

    Like you mentioned in one of your reply comments above, maybe this will be a good spur to action for you to comment more, b/c blogging (for me) is all about interaction, and if I don’t see you commenting on my space, how in the world would I know that you are reading and are invested in my life?

    • I understand that you and others came here and recognized who I was speaking about (though no one commented that they did until she commented herself and I suspect at least a few people came because they were alerted to the post and not because they read me themselves, which is fine but significant) but I also don’t understand why you couldn’t have read it and expressed your disagreement without it having to be about her. You all obviously understand and respect her reasons for password protecting her posts and what i write here is not going to alter your feelings toward her so I don’t understand how this post hurts her or her reputation if I didn’t identify her myself. If people know who I’m talking about they know her and understand her point of view so maybe they can read about mine as well.

      I honestly didn’t think this post was coming from a place of hurt or anger. I am reconsidering that after so many people have told me they believe it is. The two people who read it and don’t know to whom it referred agreed that it wasn’t but perhaps they are biased towards me, just as you are all biased toward your friend (and I’m not saying your bias invalidates your feelings, just recognizing it plays a role, as you all have).

      And I totally understand the different between an anonymous blog and an given name blog and I feel I addressed those differences. I guess what I am most confused about is the person who wants to have it both ways, by having a public blog but wanting to write *there* (as opposed to in an anonymous space) about personal, private stuff. Does it create awkward situations with IRL friends and family who follow but are not allowed to read some of what is written? I honestly am asking because that dynamic is so foreign to me and I don’t understand it (though I’m not trying to judge, which I hope it doesn’t sound like I am). I guess the thing is that I know people who have both a private and public blog (as I do) but not as many who have it the other way around and I’m trying to understand.

      • To be clear, I don’t feel this post hurts her reputation or that it was your intent to do anything like that, and my feelings on this post had nothing to do with it being SRB in particular. I just found it a bit disingenuous to say, “I’m glad that ability [to PWP] exists and that people can use it to improve their blogging experience.” … but then go on to say, “I feel like having password protected posts, ones that only a select few are allowed to read, fosters an atmosphere of exclusivity, not inclusivity. I don’t want people to feel excluded here.”

        To me, you are not actually “glad” that ppl can choose to PWP posts (and if I’m being totally, brutually honest, I think it’s because you are afraid that you won’t necessarily get the password to those posts).

        I’ve requested passwords from bloggers before, and if they denied me, I moved on. I either accepted that they weren’t comfortable sharing that part of themselves with me and read what I could, or I just quit following them, and either alternative is fine. It is their perogative what they want to put out in the WWW for all to read. Sure, it hurts to be denied access, but these are pretty intense, personal feelings, and though I may be a word vomit person who shares basically anything with anyone, I continually try to remind myself that not everyone has the same comfort level when it comes to boundaries!

        Regarding the public blog with a few private posts, I think in a situation like SRB’s, the blog started publicly, though she now has a lot of ALI followers, so it’s an odd meld of the two, and I get not wanting (or feeling the need) to separate them. I am like you and have a public blog that I post on in addition to my private one, but in reality, my public blog gets sorely neglected and I wish I didn’t have to pick and choose what to put in each space, and if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t create two separate spaces. I have often considered merging the two and using PWP on the posts I’m not comfortable with my uncle reading. We shall see. To each their own…

      • I just wanted to say that I really appreciated both your comments, especially this one, which sheds a lot of light on this situation and why people password protect. I will definitely take your opinion that I only have issue with PWP posts when I don’t get the password (though I can’t reconcile that with the fact that so many blogs I’ve read have used them and I’ve never bothered to even ask for this passwords but then again, maybe I only care in certain situations with certain bloggers, ones I WANT to include me and I will definitely think more about that).

        My final comment is about exclusivity and whether it is a bad thing. (And this isn’t directed to you specifically but I’m going to take this opportunity to address it). The truth is using PWP is a practice in exclusivity because it, by it’s very nature EXCLUDES people from reading something. I don’t understand why I can’t a) say that (since it is a simple fact) and b) express that I don’t want to do that on MY blog. Why does saying that mean I criticizing others who do use them?

      • You’re correct that using PWP is an exercise in exclusivity. That’s the truth, and of course you can say that on your blog. 🙂 The problem is when you make the emphasis/insinuation that the fact that a blogger uses PWP is more about hurting/disappointing others instead of the fact that it is more about protecting herself.

        I guess for your point (b), though you of course clarified that it was YOUR feelings about YOUR space, the entire post was still a critical discussion about bloggers who use PWP on certain posts being exclusive, so I can see how it would feel offensive to bloggers who have used that feature of wordpress. It’s one thing to say you didn’t mean for it to be offensive, but sine the catalyst for writing this post (or the straw that broke the camel’s back) was admittedly about a certain blogger, it’s not a far reach for her to feel attacked/bullied by a response like this.

        This is one of the problems with “talking” through our typing – it’s hard to always get the nuances that would be more obvious through speech!

  9. As someone who does not follow or know the particular blog in question, I have to say, Esperanza, that to me your post sounded…like a post on password protected blogs.
    Plus you mentioned a recent personal experience with a password protected post.
    Not knowing the blogger in question to me this was by no means an attack on SRB but merely an account of how the rejection you experienced made you feel.
    I can not see anything wrong with that. Especially as it ties in with a more abstract theoretical questions of what protected posts say about and mean for bloggers’ relationship with their readers. About being inclusive or exclusive. Which are totally interesting issues, by the way and worth exploring.

    How do I feel about protected posts? While I have never requested a password to one myself, I was (naively?) under ther impression that the bloggers who protected certain posts were merely protecing them against the odd passer by who maybe got there via “Google”.It never occured to me, that they could be intending to make a certain post available only to a very select group within their followers. I thought the basic idea was that as passers by are unlikely to make the effort to obtain the password, anyone who did would be “persumed innocent”.
    But hey, maybe I just got that wrong.
    I am not sure how this is commonly handled, but I would think it a brilliant idea to actually let my readers know in advance that if ever I wrote a PWP, it would be for certain eyes only.
    Or maybe include a little note underneath the post stating that you only share this post with certain people. And that others needn’t bother asking for the password.
    Of course everyone is absolutely free to decide who should or should not read their posts, but somehow I don not find it very polite or diplomatic to decline a request from someone who was not aware (that’s my understanding of what happenend) and has no way of knowing my rules for PWP.

    I have never been in the situation Esperanza describes but I feel situations like this could surely be avoided if the policy regarding PWP was made transparent from the start?

    • Hi Polly!
      I’m sure E will have more to say, but I just wanted to say that SRB actually DID write a post about her decision to PWP posts in the future, and she thoroughly explained her reasons for doing so.

      You’re correct that it’s an interesting discussion about the relationship we have with our readers. (and what do we “owe” them?). As someone who became a TTC blogger, it still drives me nuts when people who got their miracle babies never updated that the birth even occurred (especially after I supported them through their TTC journeys). We get invested in the people whose lives we read about, that’s for sure!

    • She’s right Polly, she did write a post about it (which she linked to in her comment above) and I did read it. She said what she was going to talk about and even asked people what topics she should and should not discuss. It sounded like these posts were going to be very pregnancy-related (as she is pregnant with her second child) and I have to admit, from that post I didn’t get the impression that she was going to be very protective of the password (thought she did have a line saying in advance that if she didn’t give someone the password it was about her and not the person who was denied). So SRB definitely did explain herself and I should have remembered that more clearly when she didn’t give me the password, though I doubt it would have made me feel differently about writing this post. I still feel like my point apply.

      Thank you for your perspective on this. It helps to know that I’m not totally crazy in my surprise at how this was taken by some. It really does help to know that at least one person read my words as they were intended. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this very much.

      • This is how I, too, read your post (like Polly). If you ask someone for her password, and she says no, OF COURSE you are going to feel left out. Of course. No matter how valid her reasons are. That’s just human nature. It’s not about whether SRB did anything wrong (she didnt), it’s about how you feel.

        I did not know who you were writing about. I don’t live in the kind of bllogging community where everybody knows everybody elde, and I have no desire to. So when I read your post, it just kind of seemed like a no-brainer.

        I am a little afraid of backlash to my comment here, but I did want to tell you this, so youknow someone else read it this way.

  10. Wading into the scary deep riptide-filled waters here…I hope I don’t get pulled under.

    Here are my own, personal thoughts on password-protected posts. I have only asked one person for a password (who I was 99% sure would be cool with it) after they announced that they would be doing PWPs for because I am beyond terrified of rejection. I am so neurotic that I just assume no one would want me to read those posts. But I am so so curious when I see those mysterious three words: “Password Protected Post”: what am I missing? Is there a rich backstory I am not privy to? It’s like maybe the mysteries of life are being revealed behind closed doors!

    I’m sure the posts are probably not revealing the secrets of the universe. But those words do make it seem like a whole other world is back there….

    That being said, I understand the reasons for PWPs. And I have considered doing them from time to time, but I’m lazy. I understand you feeling bummed out after hearing no. After all, that’s the reason I don’t ask in the first place! But I get the blogger’s side of it, too. It’s her blog, her rules. We get to create these little universes with our blogs, and we make choices with what we create.

  11. Oh E, I do so feel for you. To be so criticized last week and then have it happen again this week, albeit in a different context.

    As I’ve stated before, I fear that continuing to comment will only fan the flames, but nonetheless I feel there are a few points I simply must make.

    I agree that in this community every single one of us owes respect, thoughtfulness and compassion to every other member – by-in-large we are here for support and that is what we deserve. In that light, perhaps the post was somewhat misguided. BUT, although E admits to being somewhat hurt, I do not think this place came from a place of hurt or anger and I truly DO NOT see how anyone could read this post and see it as an attack. Comparing this post to the SQ/PAIL fiasco is inflammatory and hyperbole to a high degree.

    Once again I feel the need to point out that inviting comments does not mean you deserve to be disrespected. And while I agree that the other blogger in question also deserves respect and a degree of privacy, she does have a partially public blog and therefore must accept that her words or actions may instigate further discussion that occurs outside of her blog (respectfully of course).

    That said, I think SRBs response to this post was genuine, honest, and respectful and I really admire her for that. I have also read Courtney’s recent post regarding these events and the events of last week and think it is an interesting and well rounded post.

    Lastly, several commenters who have been critical of this post have mentioned that they also have felt hurt when not granted access to a PWP blog, but in the same breath seem to be vilifying E for admitting to this hurt or daring to discuss it on her blog.

    I admit this is naïve, and comes from a deep well of ‘child-of-divorced-parents-who-can’t-bear-conflict’ screwiness, but in the end I just want to scream out:

    (As an aside, I have to admit that I’m a little nervous about commenting here because I feel like there has been A LOT of misunderstanding and misconstruing happening in this space lately, but what the hell, here I go….)

    • And I’m also nervous about commenting because I can never seem to avoid typos. But I guess I’m just going to have to learn to live with that 😉

    • I very much agree with this whole comment.

      IMO a blogger has every right to pwp as they see fit. But at the same time you’d be hiding your head in the sand to think that type of decision would never make others feel left out or even hurt. So I don’t know why it should sting the pwp-er to hear what should not really come as a surprise. Doesn’t mean the decision to deny the person was wrong or bad. But at heart what you are doing in that situation is excluding someone who has specifically asked to be included. It’s a potentially awkward social situation in any context.

      • I want to make this abundantly clear, and then I need to drop out this conversation as it is inappropriate for people to be making comments on my intentions and motivations.

        I am not upset with the questions raised by this post – in fact, I answered each question as posed above. I am not upset that E’s feelings were hurt – she is entitled to that, however she did not indicate that to me in her response. In fact, quite the opposite. I am upset that she told me she understood, when plainly she did not. I am upset that a private interaction, regarding my need for safety and privacy was to used to illustrate a larger point without my knowledge or consent. Yes, I outed myself in the comments – E took the issue public, so did I. Should I have stayed silent? Should I just accept that my private interactions with other bloggers may become part of a blog post, however “anonymous”? My entire point of PWP was for my SAFETY. Of course it is about excluding people. People that have not earned my trust. And now I see it is with good reason. I should not have to worry that I will then read it in a post. I feel that my sense of safety in this community is continually at risk. This incident only serves to highlight that.

    • I didn’t include this issue in my recent post because I had already thought of that post before this happened, and more importantly, I won’t express my thoughts or emotions about someone else’s (in the blogging community) thoughts on my own blog – because I think that’s inappropriate. And that’s what is behind my comparison between this and what happened on SQ – that was not hyperbole at all because it’s how this post made me feel. The whole thing on SQ STARTED because someone called someone else out on their own blog, and it was very obvious to most everyone who she was calling out. I’m not saying that E was calling SRB out, per se, but there were negative feelings (and I get that) about something SRB said/did, and those feelings were then shared on this blog. Right or wrong, that upset me a great deal and took me right back to what happened in March on SQ. That is exactly how the SQ shit started and I wanted to express that before another potential shit storm started at the expense of two people I really enjoy. You can view it as an exaggeration, but that’s how this post made me feel and before everyone chimed in to throw biased support one way or the other, I wanted to get that out there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s