To Delete or Not To Delete …

Bob Borson —  April 3, 2014 — 91 Comments

There are times when I am a glass is half-full sort of person and there are times when I am a glass-half-full-needs-to-be-poured-over-your-head type person. I generally don’t like to complain unless I can find some humor in it because let’s be honest, laughing about stuff is way better than going through life pissed off about things you can’t control. Today’s post is really concerned about that last bit in the previous sentence, the “things you can’t control.” Since this is my website I can pretty much do whatever I want – I have that sort of power, I pay the bills, I write the content, and I can hit the “delete” button whenever I want.

So do I run my website as an omnipotent monarchy?

I wish … but sadly, a character flaw on my part thinks that everyone should have a say, even if it is the stupidest thing I have ever read. But I do have my limits and sometimes people really, really try their hardest to find out what those limits are for some reason.

To that end, I want to clear something up where that line might actually exist.

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I don’t delete comments

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Lately, however, I am starting to rethink this rule. A few years ago, I wrote a post that I thought was hilarious about ‘How to spot a Hippie‘. While I meant it in good fun, I found out that hippies (at least some of the ones with computers) can be seriously mean. In the comment section, you’ll find words like “bigot“, “hateful“, “silly” and “the worst thing I’ve ever read” … and despite the fact that those comments hurt my feelings, I haven’t deleted any of them. While I meant it in good fun, I think I genuinely offended people and if I’m going to dish it out, I need to be prepared to take it. [Although, while I take issue with being called a "bigot", which is a factually incorrect example of someone who is angry at me ... I might have deserved the others.]

Glass Block Make my Face Hurt not Hippies

Furthermore, to my thinking, I’ve only written 2 posts on this site where I openly call out a project by someone else as being “less than it should” (which is the nice version of what I wrote, which was “it looks like someone broke it’s face with a poo-fist”). That distinction is awarded to ‘This make my Face Hurt’ and ‘This Really make my Face Hurt‘. While I try to point out why I think this particular project isn’t very good, I felt bad after the fact and decided that it would be the last time I wrote a negatively slanted post. This doesn’t mean I like everything, I just choose not to focus on the negative stuff. In the comment section on those posts, I get told that I am an “idiot” and that I’m “going to Hell“.

Yikes! Pretty sure I don’t want to go to Hell, from what I’ve heard, I don’t think I’d like it.

Finally, there was the post I pushed out a few days ago ‘Building with Structural Insulated Panels‘. It was a decent post, a little technical for some but then again, it was a sharing post. “Sharing” posts are what I call the articles I write that describe my experience with a certain process or product in the context of one of our projects. Frequently the comment section on these sorts of posts become more valuable than the post itself. Other architects, designers, and builders tend to chime in with their experience with this product, maybe some technical advice, cautionary tales, things to consider, etc. Occasionally, I will light a fire under someone and they’ll write comment that is “inspired”.

On Monday, I received such a comment.

Lifting a SIP into place - Structural Insulated Panels

The word count on my ‘Building with Structural Insulated Panels’ post was a staggering 1,487 words. I also included three technical drawings, ten construction photos, and three supporting resource links. Not a bad effort really, and believe it or not, the end product represents a lot of time and effort spent putting together a post of that size. In comparison, I received one of those “inspired” comments on that SIP post that was a mind-numbing 1,013 words long … and there weren’t any pictures to help break up the text. (seriously, who want to read a comment 1,013 words long?!?). The person who left that comment on my site has the prestigious honor of being the first person I have ever blacklisted from my site. Kudos to that guy.

- Did I blacklist him for writing a comment that was 1,013 words long?

- Maybe I blacklisted him because he disagreed with me?

- Or … maybe it was because he left the same comment on my site so many times that my commenting system start shuttling every comment into the SPAM folder?

I didn’t blacklist him for any of these reasons. I did it because he was an insufferable human being on the highest order, his rambling incoherent comments didn’t bring anything to the conversation, and he accused me of blocking his comments because I would be “exposed more as a draftsman and an inexperienced SIP professional.

Ouch … No reason to take shots at draftsman, what did they do to this guy? My apologies to draftsman everywhere.

As a result of this latest turn of events, I am amending my rules for leaving comments on this site. They are (in no particular order):

No foul language. If you can’t figure how to make your point without resorting to curse words, it’s not worth having on the site. Kids read these articles and I am asking you to keep that in mind as you prepare your comments.

No Name Calling. This is an open website and you are free to disagree with me or any of the other people who leave comments – but if you can’t be respectful about it, I’m going to take your comment down. The tone of a conversation is a lot different when you write “I don’t agree with you” instead of “You’re an idiot” and if you can’t tell the difference, then this isn’t the place for you.

Don’t correct my grammar. Feel free to send me an email if you are so inclined but if I have to read one more time about my misuse of the words “your” versus “you’re”, I’m going to go crazy. I tend to write these posts when I’m tired and after all my other obligations are done … and yeah, I might be watching some TV at the same time so mistakes are going to happen. Move on.

Bring something to the conversation. If you think I’ve missed the mark on something, take this as your opportunity to educate the other people reading the post and comment section. Explaining or describing why your point of view is right is far more productive than explaining why I’m wrong. Since everything I write is in the first person, you really can’t tell me my opinion is wrong – you can just disagree with it.

To sum up, I am not my blog. I am a person who gives up all sorts of other activities to sit up at night writing these posts in an effort to share information that could be of value while shedding some light on how this “being an architect” thing might work. This is a site for my own personal creative development, a site for sharing information that might be of benefit to the community, and a resource for helping those who think they might want to become and architect. Hopefully if you’re reading this post, your motives are somehow in line with achieving those goals and I sincerely thank you for playing along nicely.

Cheers,

Bob AIA signature

  • Nix

    Too much negativity in the world! But I think you have far more people appreciating your words as compared to those who are compelled to trash them. And I think I agree with John Keiser that people rather read than comment. I mean I have been reading your blog since forever, and this is the first time I have ever commented and that also because I felt outraged at people downplaying your effort.

    And to the trashers;

    Yo people, if you think your opinion is better…HAVE THE GUTS TO POST IT ON A BLOG INSTEAD OF TRASHING OTHER PEOPLE’S WORK!!!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      cheers

  • David B. Ferguson

    Bob,

    Another fabulous post.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      thank you David – much appreciated

  • Lee Cox

    Bob,

    I wouldn’t sweat the heaven vs. hell business too much: Mark Twain once commented, upon being asked which alternative he preferred, that he would choose Heaven for the amenities and Hell for the society. I love your blog for the daily dose of humor and reality- anyone who can’t figure out what’s serious and what ain’t is a front-runner for the George F. Babbit No Sense of Humor Award (apologies to Sinclair Lewis.) The alternative is as Tom Lehrer used to say: “There are some people in this world who don’t love their fellow man, and I just HATE people like that!”

  • Bec

    Sorry about my previous grammar comment. I just spotted a consistent mistake and was not sure if it was one that had ever been explained nicely. I understand that typos happen and am as guilty as anyone for that.

  • Shakera Rahman

    people need to lighten up. ’nuff said.

  • Juliana Inman

    Thanks for taking a stand on trolls and rude anonymous comments. Bravo. I’m with John K., I read much more than comment – but thought I’d say something to let you know you are definitely not alone.

  • AndrewM

    When I started my blog (which is not as awesome as yours, and I’m not plugging it here) I had comment moderation turned off to begin with. The second comment I ever received was a vituperative swear job from a complete stranger, which left me gobsmacked, not least because my post was something completely innocuous. Subsequently I received comments from people in India telling me what a great blog I have and concluding by telling me what great pipes or concrete pavers I can obtain from them. Comment moderation is now turned on, and will stay on.

  • Bill Page

    I appreciate your blog!

  • Kat

    Don’t let them get you down, Bob! I like to think most of us are adults and can have adult conversations. As I try to teach my kids, words do hurt and are precious, so be careful what you do with them. As professionals, we all have different experiences to bring to the table, good, bad, and ugly. If someone can’t constructively disagree with you, I agree that you have every right to delete their post. I venture this commenter might have the truth hit a little too close to home, but I will refrain as we are not allowed to call others names. He might bare exception to the rule, though on that regard.

  • John Keiser

    Bob-
    I read way more than I comment (~20:1) and I’m sure most folks are similar to me where we read as peers, but to actually attack you verbally…It’s like facebook or anything else social-networky (yes i made up a word)…if you don’t like something, walk away and delete it or unfriend or whatever…but that is closet bullying and like real-life bullying…it should have no place in our civilized world…but there it is…its a shame you have to put the screws to someone. It only hurts us, because it puts constraints on your willingness to share your passion with us. May you never get to a point where you say, aww to heck with these faceless readers…I need sleep! I love the insight – and say kudos x 10 for persisting!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      first off, social-networky should be a real word, you should trademark that.

      secondly, most everybody has a face. Not in the “they really have a face” but over the 4 years I’ve been doing this, there are so many people that engage repeatedly with me that I feel like I have regulars – which is really cool. Those people keep it interesting.

      Thanks for taking the time to present your face!

  • b mson

    Your mother wears army boots

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      My mother passed away 10 years ago and was never in the Army, I think you have her confused with someone else.

      • b mson

        I apologize

        • Juliana Inman

          My mother wore Marine boots, 1943, Mt Holyoke, MA before shipping out to New Guinea.

  • http://www.gldevco.com Tyler Adams

    I was kind of angry for you, Bob. You have to draw the line somewhere; I suppose it’s a slippery slope to the land of the YouTube comments.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      or the comments on Archdaily – I think those are the worst. If you have some time, you should read the comments my buddy Jody from Coffee with an Architect received when he was posting for them … brutal.

  • Sandy

    Cheers to you Bob!

  • marvinmcconoughey

    Concur. Three are only a few good architectural blogs and I am grateful that you convey your thoughts and views very well. Thank you for a job well done.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Marvin – I really appreciate that.

  • architectrunnerguy

    Very well said Bob. I applaud you.
    And I’ve always thought that a person who thinks the only way to convey their point is to use “colorful” language probably know they’re not enjoying a whole lot of high ground at that moment.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I’m not so sure about that level of self-awareness.

      BTW, how’s that moongate? It should be covered in clematis or something by now.

  • Michael Martin

    Don’t give a second thought to the trolls. They are the downside to the net.
    Stay positive Bob! I like to read your thoughts on architecture.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Michael!

  • Arpi Nalbandian

    Some trolls have nothing better than to do but spit venom. You keep doing what you’re doing, Bob. I love to read your genuine and insightful posts!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Arpi – when am I going to see you again? It’s been YEARS!!

      • Arpi Nalbandian

        I know! I hope it’ll be soon! I miss hearing your jokes and take on things. :)

  • Debbi in Texas

    I don’t want to read those rambling nothings either, so thanks for deleting them. I love following your blog,

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Debbi – “rambling” is one thing (for me, that would be the pot calling the kettle black), it’s the nothing part that becomes tiresome.

      Cheers and Go Texas!

  • ArchiBob

    Excellent blog Bob, keep up the good work. I just signed up for the subscription as I like it so much. I was just reading occasionally when it came up on LinkedIn. You hit home on so many architect typologies that I have also experienced in my journey. Thanks from Bob in Oceanside, California

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Bob in Oceanside, California. I look forward to hearing more from you now. The world needs more Bob Architects!

  • Brad Feinknopf

    Well stated and fully appropriate. The good you bring and the effort it must take are commendable. The fact that you feel the need to spell this out is a credit to the upstanding individual you are. Keep up the good work!

  • Noah

    Kudos Bob. Sure, most of the Internet is for vulgarity, complaint and shallow criticism. But we appreciate your blog being one of the rare places for sharing and constructive conversation. Keep up the great work.

  • AlmostJane

    It’s your blog, Bob. You do what you want to do – you owe NO ONE an explanation. But it says a lot that you still took the time and effort anyway. Like another commenter already said, being able to hide behind a computer makes certain people very brave. And apparently it makes a few of them goofy at times as well.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I’ll take goofy any day, all day.
      Cheers!

  • Paul Coates

    Bob, If you want, I could send a couple of my family members
    from Chicago to pay these bad eggs a visit.
    Probably easier to just hit delete though. Keep up the good work and use the delete
    option to save the rest of us from having to read their comments.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks for the generous offer, but I think you’re right, hitting the delete button is probably easier (no mention easier less likely to put me in federal prison – always a bonus)

  • Patti Lynn Sharp

    The idiots that have nothing but something critical to say deserve to be cut. You should never have had to explain yourself this way. As you said, your post, your money, your time. I love reading your posts as they are typically very entertaining with the bonus of something worth learning too. Keep it up and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      c’mon now Patti – we’re not supposed to call people idiots, remember? Since nobody knows who this person is, no harm no foul!

  • Mark McSwain

    Bob, I appreciate your sharing through this blog and I support you in “defending your boundaries”. One of the toughest challenges for me in this field and in life in general is dealing with other people. I try to find a balance between maintaining my boundaries (i.e. not accept unacceptable behavior) and accepting people where they are. I also work on not giving away too much power to other people’s comments and criticisms while also keeping an open mind and humble attitude. Easier said than done. I look forward to more sharing. Take care. Regards, -Mark

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Mark – very well said.

    • Mark Mc Swain

      Wow, I did not know I could be so eloquent in such brevity (g).
      More to the point, I used to read some blogs just for the trainwreck comments. But, after a while, the noise-for-noise’s-sake drowns out everything else. And a constant stream of illiteracy, illogic, and ill-manners will wear on a person’s ability to have a good mood, let alone faith in humanity.

      I’ve gotten picky, too. When Kroger wanted to inform that they had live crawfish for sale, posting a sign reading “Their Back!” was not going to entice me. Especially not at $4/#; nor for “mediums” with barely as much tail meat as my thumbnail.

      • Mark McSwain

        Wow! Two people with the same name. By chance, would this happen to be Mark Patrick McSwain that worked in the architecture field in the College Station, Texas area in the 80′s?

        • Mark Mc Swain

          Yes, that would be me. Would you be the Class of 90-something who practices down in Houston?

          • Mark McSwain

            Yes, that would be me, Mark Andrew McSwain. I believe you wrote me a letter many many years ago inquiring about my genealogy. Please drop me a message on linkedin. I’d like to correspond more with you outside of this blog. Take care.

  • Steve

    I’ll be honest with you, Bob.
    The problem I have with this post is that you had to post it to begin with. The new rules you’ve established are elsewhere referred to as “common sense”. Your posts are geared to those in our industry that have a genuine interest in bettering ourselves with the help and collaboration (yes, I did just use that architechy word) of others who share the same intent.
    I enjoy the engagement and reading the posts of those chiming in with a nickle’s worth of their two cents.
    Keep up the good work; you’re doing a good job.
    And for what it’s worth, I think I used of “your” and “you’re” properly.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Technically speaking, I wanted to post it – it was cathartic for me since I was so irritated for the 45 minutes it took me to put it together. The sad thing is that I’m still wondering if I should have handled that guy differently.

      Regarding the grammar, you did use your and you’re correctly, but why do you have “of” in your last sentence? See what I mean? Since I pointed it out on you, I owe you one. (whatever that ultimately means…)

  • Alex

    As a person who had quite an argument with you over something, and you didn’t delete my comments, I’m here to testify, that your blog is awesome, and I love it and read EVERY post, and whatever isn’t worth being read, should be deleted.
    Keep on the good work!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Testify!!

      Thanks Alex, glad you stuck with me.

  • Obie Uno

    We’ll said Mr. Bob .well said

  • blcsquared

    You did delete my comment about the value of e-design once…which hurt my feelings a bit but I got over it ;)

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Do you remember why I deleted it? I don’t.

      Thanks for sticking with me regardless, you’re clearly a better person than I.

  • Jim Kollaer

    Maybe those folks will look elsewhere to vent their steam…personally I like your blogs, so keep them up for me and even for those folks who throw hairballs at you.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Jim – and throwing hairballs sounds disgusting.

  • Jamie

    To put it simply, “haterz make you famous”

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I thought it was “haterz gonna hate”

      I’m so un-cool.

  • aMa Architecture Inc

    Bob, keep doing what you are doing, because you do it oh so well! Personally, I decided some years back that I do not need the stress in dealing with people who express themselves through harassment and found it’s best to first ignore, then delete/block them if they continue. No apologies.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks. Whenever I get these comments, I always makes me think about discussing politics or religion with people (which I avoid). Nobody ever changes their mind. All that happens is people argue until they don’t anymore – complete waste of time.

  • http://www.designfreedominc.com Cathy

    most of us are happy to read your blog posts, and appreciate the time and thought you put into them. thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      you’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome!

  • Pat

    Ah, I have missed your posts! Still managing my hubbie’s architecture firm but have opened my own biz now so don’t often take the time to read “Life . . “. My loss. This post is spot-on, and I agree completely with your thoughts on folks’ commentary and the lack of civil discourse. It is, sadly, lacking everywhere in our world. And just so you know, we value your insights so much that we have referred high school/college students to your blog to get a taste of the “Life”, so carry on, Sir!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I think reading my site should count towards fulfilling your continuing education requirements – that way you’d have to check in more often!

      Carrying on!

  • Carolyn Chaiko

    Great post.. love your blog. Negative, long winded and nonconstructive comments aren’t beneficial to any of the readers.. just hit delete!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      “Just hit delete” should be a bumper sticker or something.

      Thanks Carolyn – I appreciate the comment

  • mbevivino

    kudos

  • just george

    Bob, personally I think you run a fine monarchy and I see nothing wrong in insisting on civil discourse. The way I see it is that we can all be gracious in what we share and how we respond…who knows might even learn from one another. Thank you for being Bob and loving what you do.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      If only I could get the monarchy thing rolling at the house with my wife …Well, I suppose it is except I’m more in the court jester role.

      Cheers

  • katia castanheira

    I really love yours posts and the way you write. Thanks for your commitment and effort. ” Keep walking…”

  • http://www.ohm-advisors.com Vic

    Bob, I agree with all of the comments below. Don’t be discouraged by a few obscure critics.

    The credit belongs to those people who are actually in the arena…who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions to a worthy cause; who, at best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who,at worst, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Van Bennett

    Thanks Bob, so far I have found all your articles and post very interesting and informative (also quite funny to be exact) If you remember, I am aspiring to be an architect, and I have found your website to be an inspiration. I love your posts and the photos you take. I espeically like you sense of humor. I can only hope that I can do some justice to the field of architecture. By the way I have temped at a number of offices as a draftsman and am hoping to land a permanent job. I think I am in good company and am not offended by the comment made about draftsmans in general (He, He) Have a great day!

    Van

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Van – and good attitude!

  • http://www.stevehallarchitecture.com/ Steve Hall

    Hi Bob, keep up the great work. It’s your ball. You could play any game you want, so thanks for sharing it with us. Don’t worry about deleting the occasional detracting comments. We all occasionally post a less-than-helpful post when tired. Thanks for your huge contributions to the profession.
    Steve Hall

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Steve – remember that positivity next time I write a post on toilets or something juvenile.
      Actually, those seem to be some of my best work. Hmmmm.

  • Rick Hampton

    It’s interesting how the anonymity of being being a computer allows some folks to throw away their manners. They certainly wouldn’t act that way if you were standing there. Of course, i believe driving should be a full contact sport. Go figure.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Anonymity is a powerful elixir for bravery – I think you are spot on. Most of the nasty comments I get are from people that don’t sign up with a legit name. Probably not a coincidence huh?

    • WrinkledThought

      Rick, this is Rick. Contact me back if you wish, as I have no other way to contact you. I’m also a great grand nephew of Uncle Bob.

      • Rick Hampton

        Rick, give me a call at 813-966-5115

  • Elise Moore

    Just hit delete, Bob. No need to explain or feel guilty. It’s your blog and all of the rest of us are just along for the ride. We have the option of reading or not reading, commenting or not commenting. If we wanted control we could get off our duffs and start our own blog. You are in control. Delete away!

    Signed,
    A fan in DC

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      In the past, I would write that I would refund the cost of subscription since they were so unhappy. :)

  • KerryHogue

    good move Bob. I have often wondered how you tolerate some of the comments you get. you have my support and look forward to future posts.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Kerry – most of the comments (seriously, like 99%) are perfectly fine and most of the ones that sting a little I probably deserve. Sometimes, people like to argue and that’s what wears me out. I made my point, they made theirs, time to move on.

  • Doug Kuchta

    Bob, Thank you for all that you do, teach and the humor you bring into my life at the very least one day a week. I thought a few times about attempting to think about possibly starting a blog..I gave up. I don’t know how you do it.. You’re awesome! I would also like to thank your family and your firm to being so kind for sharing YOUR time with us.

    So Thank you, and like old AIM(for those that remember) there should be a warn feature that leads to a ban.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Isn’t AIM an AOL thing? I never was much of an online chatter – seems like a digital gateway drug, next thing you know you’re cruising Craigslist …

  • Bob Mock

    Good for you! Good move.

  • Rachel W

    I think I’ve commented on your blog a total of 2 times before… But I’m seriously sorry you have to deal with that! Architecture is stressful enough on its own– this is not a place for you or anyone to feel beat down. Thanks for what you do and your quality site.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Two times is way better than zero times – extra credit to you!

  • Jen

    Your blog is amazeballs, it inspired me to take on an architecture course! (Currently at the University of Sydney in Australia.) So, for those who scrutinize you, they are all poo heads!! :D
    Love your blog! Thank you for all the wisdom =]

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Jen! Interestingly enough, I thought about another comment requirement: you have to work in the word “amazeballs”

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Jen!
      Interestingly enough, I almost made it a requirement that you had to work the word “amazeballs” into the comment.