Get Off Get Off My Internets

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Hi. Can we talk about Get Off My Internets [GOMI] for a minute?

This website has been around for a while but in the past six months or so has picked up a lot of, ummm… popularity in the world of blogging that I find myself participating.  I’ve read posts from other people talking about GOMI.  I’ve had several email, Gchat, and in-person discussions about the forum labeled “healthy living bloggers.”  I’ve seen people talking about it a lot via several social media platforms.

Maybe you aren’t familiar with the site.  Here’s the gist, from the About page of GOMI:

Get Off My Internets focuses on commentary and giving people opportunities to discuss topics ranging from blogs, bloggers, the tech scene, and the online personalities of the day. With tens of thousands of interesting, intelligent participants from all over the world GOMI is a one of a kind place to gather and exchange opinions as well as interact via comments, forums and chat.

That’s pretty general, though not at all untrue.

As you can expect from the name, people often voice their opinions on the site regarding who should GOMI [get off my internets] and who should SOMI [stay on my internets].  Contributors to the blog discuss bloggers of a variety of themes and subject manners, and the forums cover a wide range of topics and genres, as well. Sometimes the criticism is friendly, and sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes I agree with something a commenter has said, and other times I don’t.  Sometimes I laugh out loud reading through the forums, and other times my heart hurts.  [Specifically when I read something said about a blogger I’ve spent face time with, and adore, who no doubt would have their feelings hurt reading such things written about them.]

To better sum up what I would call “the intentions of GOMI” here is a snip from the comment policy posted on the site.

Please note: We have always wanted, and always want, GOMI to be a place people can come and anonymously and safely be honest with their thoughts and opinions. We believe in free speech, commenter self-policing, and most of all, community. We do everything in our power to keep you all safe and happy and free to be you and me.

I’ve been asked a few questions about GOMI in the past few months, and again the past two days.  More specifically, people want to hear my response to a forum posting [in the Healthy Living Bloggers forum] discussing THS.  [It was originally started back in August, but received more comments this week, which bumped it up on the forum. I’m assuming this is why I received three emails yesterday asking my opinion on the site?]

I’ve gone back and forth, deciding weither I want to address my opinions on the site directly, here on THS, or even at all.  Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and give you my honest, though perhaps unpopular, opinion on the site, and my experience with being discussed by GOMI-ers.  Here’s what I have to say.

The way I found out about GOMI was a link back to a post on THS that a forum user published.  When I noticed that my page view stats had skyrocketed one day, I saw this site was sending lots of visitors my way.  Then I read through the forum.

Yes, when I read the forum discussing THS the first time, my feelings were hurt.  Without a doubt.  Because I am human and I have insecurities.  Because I like hearing nice things being said about me.  That’s the truth.  But after a little while, I started to have a few different feelings about GOMI.

First of all, I need to say that from the get go, one poster made me laugh out loud.  The post from Elpie is serious comic genius.  Satire at its finest, and if I could, I would give this Elpie character some sort of comedy writing award. This person should be writing for SNL. Seriously. She/he understands how to produce GOOD COMEDY. Someone get this person a discussion with Lorne. Or at least a spot on a Comedy Central Roast.

Moving on.

You know, fellow bloggers?  I may talk about kindness an awful lot, and while I personally don’t have a desire to write anything on the forum with the same tone as some of the commenters who wrote about me, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “wrong.”  This is America, and that first amendment thing? I like that very much.  I am sure these people do, too, and  I truly believe they are entitled to their own opinions.

Specifically because they are doing it in the right place.  That’s what GOMI is for – a place for them to say what they want to say.  Just as THS is a place for me to say what I want to say.  And so I do, and so they do.

A lot of times when this conversation comes up in groups of blogger friends I know, I hear a lot of one specific opinion. “If they don’t like what I’m writing, then why do they keep reading my blog?  Why not just stop visiting my site rather than complain all the time?”  Well, you know what, my friends? The same can be said for your visiting GOMI to complain about it.  If you don’t like what you are reading, STOP READING.  In my opinion, we are being hypocritical if we critique the way someone else is critiquing on their own space.

Also, some of the things the forum users said about THS, I needed to hear. The things said in the forum helped me to evaluate not only THS, but also my own intentions with THS.  It’s been a growing period for sure.  Remember the THS reader survey?  That was dreamed up thanks to the forum.  A few changes have been made in the way I blog and what I blog and the way I view blogging, but truthfully, I’m still just me.

Looking back, I see that a few months ago my blogging suffered because my perspective shifted; it got a bit cloudly and felt pretty unnatural.  I blogged for the sake of blogging, A LOT, which is something I never wished for myself.  Obligations have changed from producing content because I feel like I should, to producing content because I want to.  It’s refreshing on this end of the screen, and I hope it’s been a tad bit better for those of you on the other side of the screen, too.  I’m not evaluating and adjusting to please everyone, I am doing so to please myself.

The truth is, this is all a process.  This is just me, living my life, and writing my story.  Day by day and week by week.  At first there was a purpose set for THS.  Then I grew a little, and changed a little, and the THS grew a little and changed a little, too.  Then I grew a little more, and changed a little more, and THS followed suit, yet again.  I went through a tough season emotionally, and THS seemed a bit like a lost soul, drifting until it could find its way again – until I could find MY way, again.   I am not trying to become a full-time professional blogger.  I do this because I want to do it.  There’s not too much more to it than that in the grand scheme of things.

In summation, some unsolicited advice [let me spell it out for you]: If you don’t like what you are reading on GOMI, then GET OFF GET OFF MY INTERNET.  Just stop reading.

[ For more GOMI discussion, I suggest this post on Hollaback Health from Rachel. and the comments on that post. delicious discussion!]

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56 thoughts on “Get Off Get Off My Internets

  1. Katy Widrick

    🙂 I agree with so much of what you said here, and having been on GOMI myself, I appreciate that you couched all of this in your own experience. I’m torn on GOMI, although I think you know that in general, I wish more people were (constructively) critical of blogs and bloggers.

    But the personal attacks undermine the good work, and that’s why I feel so turned off. I subscribe to the main GOMI blog posts and I think they’re genius. Great commentary and insights without the really heartbreaking digs at people’s weight, spouses, etc.
    Katy Widrick recently posted..New Tool Tuesday: Facebook Insights for Pages

  2. chelsey @ clean eating chelsey

    Great, eloquently put together post about GOMI. I found out about GOMI the same way you did – because I had a lot of referrers one day from a thread. I basically have the same views as you do. While yes, it hurts to read criticism, um, sometimes I need criticism to make myself better. Are some of the things they write about me true? Of course they are! Is it hurtful for me to read about how they, as other 25 yr olds, think I don’t act like a normal 25 yr old? No, because I already know that! haha!
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

  3. Kayla

    **Whoa. Long comment approaching. My bad.**

    I had never heard of this before reading your post here. I think I’m pretty much in agreement with you.

    Though I understand this strange desire to read things and complain about them because they make you mad… There’s one particular “religious” blog that I follow that 80% of the time pisses me off beyond all recognition. I guess I like to read because it makes me think and sort through my own feelings on the subjects.

    At the same time…beyond the constructive criticism that it provides (which, by the way, I think it’s so cool that you’ve used it to make your blog better :D), I don’t really understand people’s need to post things like that. I don’t understand a lot of the interweb for this very reason. Sure, vent to your IRL friends about it, but to start something like that online… seems like some people are either just ridiculously negative about EVERYTHING and want everyone else to be like them and/or just want attention. I have to wonder how many of them have their own blogs and understand what it’s like being a blogger (not that I’m a professional blogger by any stretch of the imagination). and I’m sure a lot of them are just jealous. Isn’t that what often sparks this kind of thing?

    Needless to say though, it’s not like I’m 100% innocent of doing anything of the sort.

    When I read through the thread about YOUR blog, I had a variety of emotions. I laughed a little. I growled in anger a little – these people are attacking my friend! But mostly, I just shook my head. It’s like they don’t understand how people work. If threads about other blogs are similar, I’d venture to say they’re just judging people based on things that many of them probably haven’t experienced, regardless of how many “friends” they have that have.
    They’ve beaten to death that they’re tired of hearing about the broken engagement and thinking that you let it define you. And I can’t help but feel defensive. You really don’t talk about it THAT much, unless it naturally comes up in whatever you’re discussing. and you don’t let it define you in the way they’re talking about. You refer to it as lessons learned, as lessons that you’re still learning, which any normal, mature person would do.

    Given the time, I would probably defend you on almost every point they made. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a biased friend, or because I’m a devoted, admiring reader, or because they’re actually wrong. Maybe it’s all three.

    Regardless, I know that you’re handling this well and probably don’t need validation, but I’m going to give it to you anyway. You’re awesome. They’re wrong.

    Haters gonna hate.

    1. Heather Post author

      Thanks, Kayla 🙂

      You are right, I didn’t post this looking for validation at all. [i actually semi-fear a whole lot of “but we love you heather!” comments, which is not at all what I’m looking for by posting this. I want to discuss, not grab for icky compliments like that!] Though, I appreciate your kind words and desire to defend me.

      I know the stuff about the broken engagement posts was hot on a lot of forum users lists of hates, and for the sake of honestly, when it came to the THS reader survey, readers were split about 65/35 on “love those posts!” to “get over it already.”

      I completely understand both points, and I haven’t written about ANYTHING broken engagement related in several months [maybe because of it, maybe because of nicholas, maybe just because, or all three?]. I’m not saying I’ll never mention it again, but in my life, I am moving on, and so naturally, on THS, we are moving on, too.

      1. Kelly

        Ack. I accidentally hit reply before my full comment posted! Hopefully Heather you can delete the first one so it’s not redundant. 🙂 I was starting to say that I think something is put out for public consumption – whether it is a blog, tv show, CD, etc. – it’s human nature for people to want to comment on it, especially if it strikes up a strong emotion in them positive or negative.

        My feeling is always (and I do have a blog so I do understand what it’s like to be a blogger) that if I am not okay with people discussing something about my personal life or what have you, than I probably shouldn’t post about it. If there is something I want to get out, but would prefer people not to comment on (negatively or with constructive criticism) it’s probably just to keep it to myself in a personal journal. When I put things out on the internet for the world to see I do so with the understanding that I cannot control how people will respond to it. I think it’s always a gamble because by being more real and open you give readers more to latch onto and connect with, but you also open up more possibilities to be critiqued and questioned. As with anything in life, certain rewards usually also come with certain risks.

        As far as the statement “If they don’t like what I’m writing, then why do they keep reading my blog? Why not just stop visiting my site rather than complain all the time?” goes, I have mixed feelings. I can understand if one is truly writing a blog for oneself, but I get it less among those are using their blog as a substantial source of income. I can understand that you’re not going to please everyone and that ultimately as a blogger has the final say over their own content. But if someone used to really enjoy reading your blog and then the find themselves being turned off and not wanting to come back — wouldn’t you want to know the reasons why, particularly if it was a reoccurring them and something in your control?

        (And FWIW, in the above I’m using the general you, not talking about you specifically but all bloggers. If anything you post seems to suggest you are more accepting and open to criticism than most. My blog reading time has made me realize that a lot of bloggers are not and seem to get annoyed at anything that isn’t effusive phrase.)
        Kelly recently posted..Candy Cane Blossoms for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

        1. Heather Post author

          it took me a good few minutes to figure out what “FWIW” stands for. DOH! clearly my brain requires more coffee

  4. Julie @SavvyEats

    I read this on the GOMI forums earlier today: “I find it telling that blogs and blogging categories that are more accepting of criticism and debate and avoid censorship tend to have less active threads on this site than the ones who are the most closed to any kind of debate.”

    and I have to say, I kind of agree with it.

    a) If bloggers didn’t censor their comments, there wouldn’t be a need for forums like GOMI. Your (and I’m using the royal “you” here) blog is your blog, and you have the right to delete comments as you so choose. But people will find another place to express their thoughts if it isn’t on your blog.

    b) If commenters would respect each other and not attack anyone with a dissenting opinion, the world would be a better place. And so would blog comment sections.

    c) If bloggers are going to delete negative comments, then they should be consistent with it. You can’t delete negative comments about you but leave up comments in which other commenters attack each other.

    d) If you are monetizing your blog, it is like a job. In any other job, you would be subject to criticism and suggestions to improve your work. Bloggers are not exempt from this. Some commenters are more constructive in their criticisms than others, just like some bosses are gentler in their criticisms than others.

    e) Before you respond to a “negative” comment (on your own blog or someone else’s), take a step back, count to 10, take some deep breaths, etc. Calm down. You’re only going to make the situation worse if you respond defensively or out of anger (unfortunately, I’ve learned this from experience)

    1. Heather Post author

      i especially agree with letter C, and letter D. Letter D was written about a lot on the hollaback health comment section and I LOVED that POV.

    2. Kelly

      I agree with your points as well. I’ll also add that I think some bloggers have to be careful not to label any “non-positive” comment they receive as “negativity” no matter how thoughtfully worded and seemingly innocent. There are some bloggers (and more often than not) their commenters who seem to respond in the same hostile way whether something is truly mean and hateful or just a well meaning suggestion. IMO it only further fuels taking things to the extreme because it makes it clear the blogger doesn’t value any attempt at discourse. Why would someone bother to be polite or kind if it is clear the response will be hostile no matter what.
      Kelly recently posted..Candy Cane Blossoms for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

    3. Laura

      These are all excellent points and a great summary for bloggers to remember when it comes time to comments on posts. We (as bloggers) all have the ability to turn off comments and we all have email addresses. If commenters felt more safe discussing and not necessarily agreeing with everything in a post – I feel like GOMI wouldn’t be needed. It’s natural for a blog reader to not agree with everything a blogger says. And when readers feel compelled to speak out about that, and they are shut down, they need somewhere to turn!
      Laura recently posted..only one more!

    4. Cat

      When I first came across your blog Heather, I’d been reading HLB blogs for perhaps 6 months? A year? I’m not sure, but at first I wasn’t sure if I related to you and thus not sure if it was valuable to my Google Reader. I’m not religious (and for the most part people that are in anyway, make me uncomfortable), live in a major West Coast city and I couldn’t care less about crafts 😉 But I found myself wanting to read your blog.

      And I realized it was because you’re a good writer. I like the way you’ve written about loneliness, your broken engagement, etc. And you simply write…well. Do I see you as someone I might be friends with in real life? I doubt it. But that is the value of the internet and blogs to me. They give insight to people that are different than you. This is good and I hope that people understand this. It’s that whole melting pot thing from 5th grade and blogs are a great insight into how other people.

      Anyway, I hadn’t heard of GOMI until your post and I’ve wasted many hours in the past day or so looking through it. While I think it’s pretty insane how mean and personal the attacks can be, I sort of felt relieved that it exists. It actually reminds me a lot of Yelp. As a small business owner, Yelp has been a headache-inducerin my world for the past 5 years. I understand how it feels to be sidelined by someone attacking you personally for something that didn’t really cross your mind. But it exists for a reason. I remember when I first started reading HL blogs, I was annoyed at how harsh some reviews were towards small businesses. I have one blogger in mind that I won’t mention, but it enraged me! I thought, you know, if someone came and reviewed your work online in the same fashion, you might word things a little differently. I generally feel that many Yelpers and blog reviewers just across as entitled, but I digress. So on that note, I was a little happy to know GOMI exists. Gives a little bit more accountability to bloggers in a way. Especially those that are monetizing their blogs. I’m replying to Julie’s thread because I 100% agree with it. I respect that HL bloggers are simply blogging their life and they can do what they want, but at the end of the day readers bring them money. If you offend your readers, they won’t come back. If you want to make it your career, MAKE IT YOUR CAREER. And you know, treat it like a job. One where you should be nice to the people you are serving.
      Cat recently posted..My Workout: Thursday, 9/15

  5. Sana

    I feel like any time we publish anything on the internet, we should expect that someone will have an opinion about it. Because that is exactly why we are publishing it in the first place, to impact someone in anyway possible, even if that someone is ourselves.
    Sana recently posted..My Holiday Wish List

  6. Chelle

    I never heard of GOMI before and just went to check it out. I am seriously uncool. But that thread just reminded me of Mean Girls and high school. How old are these people? If you don’t like something, why would you spend your time bashing it like that? Not to mention, it’s not the blog they are bashing, but the actual outside and inside of a real person. Gotta say, it floors me. They need more to do with their apparently plentiful free time.

    There has been one blogger in my time following blogs thathas really annoyed me. I verbally complained to one of your good friends who is also one of my good friends. Other than that, I stopped reading that person’s blog. Done. *wipes hands*

    Yup, I must be too old for this stuff.
    Chelle recently posted..Weekly Wrap Up

  7. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas

    I’m a fairly regular reader of certain GOMI threads (I’ve only commented once and used my own name) and I like to think of it as somewhere people have entertaining “WTF?” reactions to many things that I also frequently get confused about.
    It kind of reminds me of how there are always more negative reviews on products than positive because no one takes the time to write positive reviews – I love my Keurig and I haven’t gone on Amazon to be like “This is awesome!” but there are thousands of “this piece of crap leaks!!!”. So really, it’s just a reflection of what some people think and that’s exactly what it should be – a community of people who have similar points of view.
    The one point that I find objectionable is that it seems that posts are popping up from people who actually know the blogger and want to snark behind their back. There’s a big difference between “This girl has some weird posts about cheese.” and “This girl does x,y, and z and I have sources.” If you actually know someone and have a problem with their actual personality, a forum probably isn’t the best place to air those issues.
    Carly D. @ CarlyBananas recently posted..Happy 1 Year Blogiversary to Me!

  8. Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life

    I know this has been something that we have discussed on numerous occasions, and I’m glad that you finally decided to let if off your chest. I’ve checked out GOMI before, mostly when I saw that I was receiving hits from it myself. I try my best to avoid the site, but I do occasionally find myself checking it out.
    You know that I agree with a lot of what you said here, and I think you did a wonderful job of addressing all sides of the site, as well as your opinions.
    Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life recently posted..Easy DIY Festive Recipe Cards

  9. Alyssa @ Life of bLyss

    I couldn’t agree more, Heather.

    I think a lot of people get upset with the (extremely) negative comments (psh, I would too… they can get really, really scathing) and don’t look at the big picture.

    I’m so impressed with how you take the criticism and turn it into something positive – a tool to better YOUR space.

    It’s really hard for me to not contribute to the thing. Sometimes, I really feel like I have something to contribute to justify/sway different opinions, but I think I’d prefer to leave it to the pros to show us all what we need to work on. 🙂

    You’re right – we all have a right to say what we want on here. I think what people actually DO choose to say/publish speaks volumes.
    Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted..Speaking of Style…

  10. Katie

    Wow. I had never heard of GOMI before, but decided to check it out after reading this. The gossip in me wanted to read what others were saying about some of my favorite bloggers, but honestly…after reading some of the really negative feedback, I had no desire to read more than a few. Like most of the people who have commented here, I agree with you. Since I didn’t like what I found at GOMI, I won’t be returning. Keep up the good work, I always look forward to your posts 🙂

  11. Emily @ Relishments

    Well said.
    I come in contact with enough negative people through the course of my day, so I’ve never felt the need to visit GOMI. I just don’t want to know. I hope that if my readers even had an issue with my content, they’d contact me directly and let me know. I’m not really into passive aggressive attacks. Like any website, if GOMI interests you, hang out there. If not, don’t.
    Emily @ Relishments recently posted..Before and After

  12. Rachel

    So, like many of the other commenters today, I had never heard of GOMI and was intrigued enough by your post to go over there and take a look around at some of the threads for some of my favorite healthy living blogs. And yes, some of it was funny enough in a snarky way for me to laugh out loud, and some of it seemed constructive, but after a few minutes all I could think was – who has time for this?! For me, reading blogs is an entertaining/inspirational/motivational diversion throughout my work week. If I don’t like a blog, don’t find the topic interesting, or the blogger becomes insufferable, I stop reading. If the occasional post makes me roll my eyes, I roll my eyes and move on. What I’m not interested in doing is spending my time on a comment thread analyzing whether so and so is eating a balanced diet or does too much cardio or has a terrible sense of style or whatever. I have better things to do with my time, and I get enough gossip in my life that I don’t need to go to the internet for all of my bodysnarking, foodjudging, humblebragging, backhandedcomplimenting needs.

    It must on some level have been kind of entertaining for you to read all of these strangers exclaming over your life choices. It’s like you’re a celebrity in US Weekly or a character in a Rom Com, like they think they know everything about you but at the same time you aren’t a real person to them so they can say whatever they think. I hope, at least, that you were able to get a laugh out of some of it.

    That said, I would love to see a post on what you’ve changed in your approach to your blog and why.

    1. Heather

      I’m working on an outline for that post!

      Thanks for letting me know you are interested in hearing more about it. If readers didn’t reach out and say “I wish I knew more about this” I may think that certain topics would bore people! I’ve got a list going of things people have said (via email, comment, the survey, and now, the GOMI forum) they are curious about/want to know more about (like in the forum, the user who says I haven’t explained my leaving the church, etc.) that I plan on addressing over the next few months. (some of these posts take a lot of time for me to process my thoughts and feelings into words, you know?)

      All that to say: THANK YOU for letting me know what you want to hear more about. It is extremely helpful!
      Heather recently posted..Get Off Get Off My Internets

  13. Natalcho @ Tomatoes Rock

    I also visit GOMI on a regular basis and find the main blog posts pretty entertaining.

    The forum is a bit annoying because between the body snarking comments some really interesting points get lost. But if you can ignore those there is a lot of useful criticism that can ultimately make you a better blogger. I for example was so caught up in “this is how other bloggers write so I should write the same way”. Reading GOMI and how annoyed people can get with the general blog formats really freed me up – I now feel like I can write anything and really experiment. And it is sort of comforting to know that whatever you do some people will love it and others will hate it.

    So whatever, as long as I feel like writing and someone out there feels like reading it is all good.

  14. Anne

    I had never heard of GOMI before today, either, and now I’ve spent most of the afternoon perusing the threads instead of studying for finals. Oops…

    I think there’s some benefit to reading criticism from strangers. Hearing other people’s honest and uncensored opinions can be really productive sometimes, no matter how difficult it may be. That said, most of those posters seem pretty…pathetic. They keep harping on the same points over and over again, and to what end? So they can all reinforce each others’ negativity?

    It sounds like you’re taking this with a grain of salt, which is good. The people who keep coming back appreciate you and what you do. 🙂

  15. Kath

    Well said Heather. I’ve been there once or twice after people told me personal information was posted. I read around and I knew I couldn’t go back or I’d ruin my life worrying about it. A lot of stuff I read about myself wasn’t even true despite a “source” posting it.

    If anything, knowing there is a site full of those type of comments has made me want to be a kinder person. I don’t understand where all the anger and disrespect comes from – probably from within. I’m a big fan of freedom of speech too though, and like you said, I’d rather they bitch there then on my blog.
    Kath recently posted..Walls Of Steel

        1. Amy

          I don’t think Julie’s comment constitutes an opinion as much as it does a statement of facts.

          Do you not censor your comments? Do you not delete certain comments, while leaving up others where commenters are “attacking” each other?

          As a former reader of your blog, I assumed you may want to know what many people are coming away from your blog with. You asked where the anger and disrespect was coming from…I would hazard a guess that this is it.

          1. Sable@SquatLikeALady

            I agree. I think if more bloggers would actually allow negative comments (and I’m not saying HARMFUL negative comments, but constructive negative/questioning comments) without censoring them *or* having an attitude when responding to them, I think there would be considerably less hate on sites like GOMI.

            In my opinion, if you make money on your blog, then your readers are your customers. And as anyone who has worked retail knows, even if your customers are rude to you, you need to be polite to your customers. That’s just the way of the world.

      1. Ali

        I absolutely agree with a lot of these comments. I used to love Kath’s blog but then I posted about something slightly critical when she asked for feedback and she posted an extremely defensive response back. Don’t ask for what you don’t want. After that, none of my comments have been posted – even extremely carefully crafted, nice, complimenting comments. Kath, you don’t believe in the freedom of speech, you have not become a nicer person (at least in how you portray yourself to your readers through your comments section), and you couldn’t care less about the readers who basically sign your paychecks from your ridiculous blog.

    1. Sana

      I don’t get the criticism for ANY blog. Sure, the concern about a blogger’s well-being is fine and dandy.
      But really, I have yet to find a blogger who is forcing people to adopt a lifestyle. Because it is really hard to make someone do something. All I see are people sharing snippets of life via a very public format.

      And Kath, I don’t think a source for the anger can be found because those people don’t know you in real life. They don’t work with you, they don’t eat dinner with you and they certainly don’t workout with you. And the facts or statements are just perceptions from what they have gathered from whatever source.

      Just like anything else in life, someone will always have an opinion about the way you live your life, and unfortunately for most people that opinion is in a very public format.
      Sana recently posted..What is life like without exercise?

    2. Jay

      You, a big fan of freedom of speech?? Then why the hell you delete most of the comments that disagree with you or even just imply a disagreement??

      1. Lesley

        Haha! Its doesn’t matter where Kath posts – she still gets under people’s skin. I think its the inability to be humble that irks readers, Kath.

        1. M

          “…. the inability to be humble that irks readers,Kath”.
          YES times a million!
          Thank you for putting what I feel from Kath’s blog vibe into words-
          that is it exactly (in my “humble” opinion?!)

          Well written.

  16. Krissie J

    There are some great, eye-opening points made in the forums on GOMI, and on the main site there was a post that completely shut down some pedo-blogs (I cringe even typing it). I wanted to high five every one of them that had a hand in that. I’ve had iterations of blogs over the years, but never was exposed to some of the deep, dark depths of EDs and reading some of the GOMI threads has really, REALLY opened my eyes to what people go through, what can drag them back down, and I would want someone to tell me, snarkily or not, if I am ever making them feel that way.

    I’ve only ever received one negative comment and didn’t realize it was caught in my spam filter til three months after the fact. I deleted it because it was way beyond the point of it being relevant (it was also from a dude, on post about shopping, haha).

    You’re a good egg, Heather. There are a few bloggers (such as you and Janetha) that I am really bummed I didn’t get to interact with more when I was at HLS since I was new and a bit overwhelmed by the event as a whole. I’m glad you’re honest and open and embrace adversity rather than write it off as jealousy or people being “haters.” As someone who experienced real bullying (online and off) I can say that most of what goes on there is not as bad as it’s made out to seem. It’s a lot of honest opinions and frustrations. Sure the occasional comment goes a little far, but seriously, I’ve seen and experienced much, much worse.
    Krissie J recently posted..LiveFit Trainer – Week 1 Recap

  17. Joanna

    I hadn’t heard of GOMI before this post and still haven’t popped over to the site to check it out. Regardless, I really admire your response to the criticism. I’m so impressed with your maturity and grace. I love that instead of getting down on yourself and/or being defensive and wanting to fight back, you chose to take a step back and reflect on the comments so that you can make yourself and your blog better.

    I’m going to try to remember this the next time I receive criticism, in any aspect of my life. Again, you’re an inspiration. Thanks, Heather!

    Oh, and like Rachel suggested above, I’d love to see a post about how you’ve changed your blog as a result.
    Joanna recently posted..We found a little Christmas

  18. Anon

    I’ve never read your blog before (or heard of it), but lurk on GOMI like I’d watch a traffic accident. Because I’m curious. And this was by far the most eloquent possible response I’ve read of all the bloggers who’ve tried to address GOMI’s existence. *golf claps* Love it. Way to respond in a really grounded way to a really difficult topic.

  19. Candice @ Sailing on Paper

    I read GOMI off and on sometimes…mostly because a lot of blogs I read are featured there. I’ve actually subscribed to blogs only AFTER seeing them criticized on GOMI. Sometimes the criticism is valid, sometimes it isn’t, but I think it speaks volumes that there are enough readers who visit and comment on GOMI to warrant huge threads on certain blogs and hundreds of comments every day. I don’t consider myself a blogger, per se, but I think that writing in general can always be improved. Even though it’s your story, and your life, it’s a creative project that maybe you (the general you) will want to consider changing if you get critiqued about a certain issue.

    I personally write on my blog to connect and share experiences with readers and I hope that if they ever felt that the quality of my writing sucked, or if they took issue with something I was presenting, then I would definitely want to know.

    I think it’s great that you raised this topic–thanks for sharing your thoughts; it’s really helpful!
    Candice @ Sailing on Paper recently posted..#Fitblog Motivation

  20. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair

    I have read GOMI a few times. At first I hated the idea of it and thought it was quite mean but after reading through a few of the threads I find myself agreeing with quite a few of the things the participants say about certain blogs. Sometimes it can be too snarky though.

    I just went and checked out the thread about you before commenting on this blog post Heather and I have to say this is a very eloquent response to it. Good for you!

  21. Laura

    I am so happy you wrote this post. I had been teetering on the idea of writing a post like this for a long time, but alas I’m too busy with school and internship applications right now to bring it to fruition.

    I like the idea of GOMI because certain I worry about certain bloggers. And while it may not be my business to worry about their lives, they make their lives public for me to read about and I’m a worrier – so that’s what I do. GOMI was created for the worriers like me. Because many bloggers don’t want to hear anything other than what is in their head, you can’t tell them you are worried. You can’t disagree because some bloggers write just to have people pay attention to them and send them positive energy. And so people like me, who worry about bloggers, and can’t say the things they worry about to that blogger needed a place to talk about it. That aspect of the site I love and I think is totally normal and supports their cause.

    And I think if you really take time to read through the comments, you’ll see a lot of them do come from a good place and not a snarky place. There are many people that just use it as a networking place to talk about blogs, and not generally to talk shit about people.

    I don’t support the snark side of the site and that’s really where my big hang up with it lies. It’s really easy for me to get pulled into the negative snarkiness of the site and that’s a slippery slope for me right now, as I’m working so hard at being a positive person.

    And I have to say, it wasn’t until you were mentioned back in August and I saw the mean things they were saying about you, it really hit me how wrong the snark part is. Maybe it’s because you are such a great friend of mine and I know you personally, it was hard for me to read those things about you. But ultimately, I told myself I can read the site all I want – but I will NEVER comment on the site unless I do so with my own name and I am discussing my blog or work I am involved in. I refuse to be a snark on the site, as tempting as it sometimes is for me.

    The other learning experience for me with GOMI was a blog that I helped put together for my bosses site made front page of GOMI a few weeks ago. As much as I always wondered what I would do if my blog was discussed on the site, having my bosses blog on the front page, concerning a project that I directly put together, was the worst feeling in the world. The GOMI post was completely snark angled, had nothing positive to say and we are still receiving backlash over it. After being involved in that, it makes me try to stay away from the site even more.

    But – If my blog is ever mentioned, I plan to take an approach like you did and use it as a learning experience. I plan to comment on the forum if I see any positive coming from the situation. GOMI has helped me realize I blog because I want to help others. Bottom line. So, if people don’t feel like they can say their concerns to me in a comment or an email and have to turn to GOMI, I want to talk to them about it there. That’s the part of the site I’m grateful for and it’s certainly made me question my own blogging and the image I give off through my blog.
    Laura recently posted..only one more!

  22. Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers

    I’ll be the first (no. wait. the fifth? the eighth? I’ve lost count reading the comments!) to admit that I am a total GOMI lurker. Having slipped off the wagon (of reading some of the more popular bloggers), it’s like a “one stop shop” to see what is going on with people I used to check out 3x a day. That being said, I also find your take on the whole issue probably my favorite thus far.

    It’s hard to put into words why I keep coming back to watch other people hate on folks that I “hate”, even when chances are I’ve never met some of them. But, in such a small community, I see it as painfully similar to celebrity gossip magazines. And, since the HLB community isn’t small enough to warrant a publishing of anything bigger than a forum on a website, I guess that’s what ended up happening. Is it weird that sometimes, I find that reading other people’s negative feelings about particular blogs makes me feel more relaxed? Maybe it’s just recognizing that I’m not the only one who has WAY more feelings regarding strangers than is probably healthy….

    Who knows, either way? I’m just happy to see some folks taking it all in stride, all things considered. And, I’ll also toss in that Misery is one of my favorite movies. So there.
    Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..Skinnylicious and Zumba-tritious!

  23. Diana

    I had never heard of GOMI before your post but I think that after quickly glancing at the part on THS, I’m going to get off get off my internet…to state the obvious, the negative commentators seem to know an awful lot about your personal life to then claim they don’t enjoy reading your blog. Don’t they have some kittens to run over or something?
    Diana recently posted..Sparkly Ginger Snaps {recipe!}

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  27. Katie

    I was killing time on GOMI tonight, of all places, and I happened upon a comment in a forum that redirected to this post. The commenter was using your post as an example of what a blogger who finds herself on GOMI should do. After reading through, I just wanted to say – well played. You’re a great writer, humble, gracious, and a class act.

    Given the random outdated phrases I just used, I on the other hand am a 70 year old man. Ha!

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