Changing tone

To Suki and anon and anyone else who hasn't commented but feels a changing tone:

I'm sorry you feel sad and/or marginalized.

I've felt the same changing tone, too. In the beginning, I think people were just so happy to be at a site where they weren't being kicked in the gut for making little decisions that seemed huge at the time but are so minimal (the angst over pacifiers, for instance) that everyone was so nice to each other.

But over the past few years, I think Ask Moxie has gotten a reputation for being a place where anything goes. And, to some degree it is, in that I really do think people are trying to do the best thing for their own kids and it seems all the commenters do, too.

So when I step in, and make what sound like mean posts, or like everyone has to agree with what I say, I do it on two very specific occasions:

1) Advocating spanking and physical abuse as a valid disciplinary method. I do believe it's wrong, and my stance on that is not going to change. I do not look down on any person who spanks. But spanking itself as a valid choice I do not agree with, and I'd hope that people who use spanking specifically could look at other methods. This is never going to be a site that OKs violence against kids.

2) Comments that denigrate other people. And that's what the comment that started this yesterday did. The commenter basically said that moms who fed formula had no right to complain because they should have breastfed. A few months ago there was another comment that came out blazing against a huge segment of the moms who read this blog, and I responded the same way.

The very reason I started this site was so that people wouldn't be denigrated for making the decisions they do. And yet when I patrol the comments it's too mean.

I see a huge difference between being a safe space to confess weaknesses or talk through a process, and being a safe place to judge other people. Remember that this site gets around 40,000 hits a week. That's a lot of people coming to read and comment. Maybe it's just suffering the same fate as the rest of the internet--more posts = judgment.

I really wish we could get back to the days when no one dared to sayanything mean about someone else. They expressed opinions, but not in an inflammatory or offensive way.

What's the solution? Should I just let commenters duke it out among themselves? Would that make things feel comfortable like they used to? I'm not sure it would. I feel like I need to step in when someone says something hurtful, or else I'm complicit in the hurt.

Thoughts?