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A Public Apology

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Yesterday, here at Grounded Parents, an incident occurred which deserves an explanation and apology.

One of our writers wrote a post which several commenters disagreed with. The writer took the criticism badly, personally, and lashed out against our commenting community, including valued long time active members of the community. Against official Grounded Parents and Skepchick Network policy, the post was not temporarily pulled after a discussion with the admins, but was instead deleted outright because the author wanted to end the discussion.

The network staff at Skepchick are no strangers to the stress of heated debate and disagreement within comment sections, and I am sympathetic to a writer who is overwhelmed by that stress. However, we have best practices in place and our writers all have access to network veterans to help them deal with such situations. Deleting the post was a mistake. As managing editor, I would like to personally apologize to the network and community for the lack of transparency and integrity caused by that move.

I also want to personally apologize on behalf of the network for the abuse one of our valued readers had to endure for disagreeing with a staff writer. After the post was pulled to shut down comments, our writer used her access to commenters’ emails to contact the woman she disagreed with the most. The emails were unprofessional and cruel and not at all indicative of the love, respect and appreciation we have for our readers, even when we disagree. The emails became more abusive after the reader asked the author to stop contacting her. This is not only behavior unbecoming of a Skepchick Network contributor but also unbecoming of a human being. Grounded Parents and Skepchick refuse to tolerate this level of harassment. This behavior is embarrassing to the network.

Until today we had no official policy on privately contacting commenters, but we are changing that.

We have since re-published the article with the comment section intact and open. The author was relieved of her blogging duties.

We value every one of our readers and commenters. We are sorry and hope to do better.

To Giliell, the recipient of these attacks, I hope you can accept our apology, sympathy and support.

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14 Comments

  1. Thank you for dealing with this quickly and adequately., Elyse
    I don’t think you have to apologize to me, you did not write those things, and I experienced nothing but support from you and your team. You truely stand for the values you preach.
    Thank you, again.

  2. As someone who struggles in perpetuity against the knee jerk reaction to respond (immediately and usually unproductively) to even slightly combative comments that hit my inbox with their taunting little commenty faces, I can appreciate how quickly a thread can spiral into horrible frustration and how pervasive it can feel. I don’t always deal with these moments with aplomb.

    But I’m proud to be writing for a blog where responses this far over the line are dealt with so quickly and so well.

  3. Giliell, I am glad you are sticking around to comment 🙂 Thank you Elyse for taking care of things. It is disheartening to hear someone abuse our trust in this way and seek a commenter out personally outside of a thread, but I am glad that it is being dealt with. Thank you again.

  4. Elyse- your response was beautifully articulated and handled with class and tact. I’m proud to be a tiny part of such a tremendous network where you do so much good.
    Gillell, you sound like a lovely person. Thanks for sticking around.

  5. Elyse, thank you for being a wonderful Managing Editor and handling this as well as you did. Gillell, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading any of your comments, but I still want to say thank you for staying with us. It is readers like you who make what we do here worthwhile.

  6. I, too, normally lurk, but I’m uncloaking for a moment to add my thanks to Elyse and the team for handling this so well. What you communicate in action, and in being transparent about the process, speaks volumes. And Giliell, good for you for sticking around. Thanks for rising above it.

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