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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reader Comments and Questions - About My Emails

Reader: "I was wondering why does your husband read your emails before you do ? You are plenty capable of handling a nasty email or discern if someone sends you something off? Just curious?"

Answer: This anonymous comment showed up on my blog several years ago. I am finally getting around to answering it.

First of all, let me say that while some people refuse to publish anonymous comments, I understand that some ladies want to maintain their privacy, so I don't have a problem with it. In this case I didn't because I wanted to answer it in an actual post. Of course, if it is a rude, angry or otherwise unacceptable comment, I will not publish it as all my comments on the blog are moderated by me.

The reason someone asked this question is not directly related to the blog itself and actually it had nothing to do with the post where it was made. This comment was inspired by the fact that formerly, if someone clicked to send email from The Home Maker's Corner, there was a page with the email address which also included a short message. Part of that message was that all emails were pre-read by my husband, Peter. Someone apparently thought this was weak of me. :-)

So, what was the reason behind this?

I started The Home Maker's Corner around 1995 or 1996 (I wish I'd made a record of that date). This was long before I got married, and I was still living in my parents' home at the time. Back then, what have now come to be called trolls on the internet did not have nearly as much breadth for their general nastiness as they do today. When my dad and I first started our web pages, we got "hate mail" and "flames" often enough. And, I do mean hate mail. Some of it was obscene. The vile spewings that sometimes landed in my dad's "in box" were really dreadful. In fact, he has even had a death threat and threats of personal harm and law suits in the past. Yes, you read that correctly.

Not surprisingly then, it was decided early on that my dad would screen all of the email for The Home Maker's Corner. Some of it he answered himself, especially if it was from a man or a lady who was being particularly pushy or rude. Some was simply deleted. If he thought it was something I should handle or it was a positive communication, he forwarded it to me. I did deal with some difficult questions and emails at times, because he was only protecting me from the really vile or disgusting stuff - and things from men who should have been writing to him anyway.

When my husband and I got married years later, this was still the system by which we were working and so we naturally just transfered those incoming emails over to my husband. He is not terribly diligent with he email in some ways, and I am not as diligent at answering emails as I used to be, so this was not working out too well. There were long delays in people receiving answers to their letters. Some never did get a reply, I'm very sorry to say.

But, something curious happened on the internet during that time. The trolls and ranters experienced a wide expansion to their field of activity. They now have their own blogs, other blogs where comments are allowed without moderation, Facebook, Twitter, etc. where they can dump their loads of verbal manure for tens, hundreds, and thousands of people to read. Why waste their time sending single emails to some housewife or her husband who may not ever answer it? So, they seldom do that any more. For the most part I handle the email now, but my husband is still sometimes part of the decision process if something difficult comes in.

Interestingly, even the contradictory emails tend to be more polite than they were in the past. The people who are prone to gross language and such like seem to be primarily attracted to the places where they can have a wider audience.

I think that there is also the facet of the multitude of information out there now. There are millions, billions of sites people can visit, and my little corner of the web is really not that interesting to most of the trolls and rowdies. Why rail on some "stupid housewife" when they can spend their energy tearing up the POTUS or their hated Hollywood star or some well-known Bible teacher? And since I don't do videos, I'm really pretty dull. :-)

As to my being "plenty capable" of handling nasty emails, that is debatable. Some emails that are not even nasty, but only difficult, can still cause me stress. And, with a chronic anxiety disorder [disclaimer on some content], this is something that I sometimes just can't deal with very well. It isn't a matter so much of whether or not I can handle the content or discern a problem, it's more that my mind becomes obsessively compulsive over answering such mail and this can literally wear me out mentally and emotionally. So, yes and no to being able to handle it. Sometimes it isn't a problem. Sometimes it is. Partly this just depends on where I am with my own struggles with health - both physically and mentally.

So, for whoever was wondering, this is the story behind that. :-)

Original vintage graphic from the Graphics Fairy.


  1. Why are people so horrible? I am fortunate in that I've never in 9 years had a hate email, maybe because I am of little interest to the trolls!

    1. Things have improved a lot since I started writing on the web. I think that the controversial aspect of my dad's site may have inspired troublemakers. For example, the death threat was in relation to the book he wrote on Islaam. I think the trolls aren't interested in these little blogs now. :-) That's a good thing!

  2. HI Mary, I enjoy your blog,and just wanted to comment on this. You are very wise to have the man in your life help you in this way with your e-mails. What a gift their sheltering arm is for you!

    1. I am very thankful that my dad was willing to deal with the worst stuff back in the early days when it was so bad! It is also a blessing that my husband advises me and helps out when something more challenging comes in now.