The Backbone Project

I was reading Ferret’s blog this morning, as I often do, and I saw a familiar name mentioned: Amy Sundberg. I’ve realized over the last year that I have much in common with Amy, who I had the pleasure to meet at World Fantasy last year. Her posts on Ambiversion and the awesomeness of being an introvert kind of clued me in but her latest one about being less wishy-washy really hits home.

The estimable Ferrett shared a link on his post on how to get comments. There is much good advice to be had in this essay and the one about blogging that precedes it, but there was one sentence that particularly stood out for me. Ferrett says, “If you’re a conciliatory person by nature, writing a pleasant essay that excuses whatever it is that bugs you with a “But I guess that’s how people are” will not get comments either, because you’ll be so wishy-washy that nobody will be able to disagree with you.”

That describes me to a fault. In person, around people I trust, I feel free to rant or evangelize about things I feel strongly about but when I get online something inside of me wilts. The way I feel about certain things doesn’t change based on who I hang out with but stick me in a group, even one I’m fairly comfortable with, and I shut down; I sprout pedals and cling to the nearest wall. I even find it hard to break into a conversation I’m already included in.

That behavior has, more or less, carried over here. I abandon posts half-written because I worry about offending people, or I read someone else’s thoughts on the subject and convince myself that adding my voice would just muddy the waters. It’s maddening. I want to be liked (or, not disliked) and to post alternative viewpoints may offend someone.

It does strike me — a tiny voice of reason inside my head — that the person who would be offended by the reasoned but differing opinion probably isn’t the kind of person I who’s approval I would want in the first place.

Consider me a backer and participant in Amy’s Backbone Project. I’m going to speak my mind here; to avoid wishy-washy but still take into consideration alternate viewpoints and discussion, because that’s what I’d like this to be: a platform to discuss topics that I’m passionate about. I will not troll to get a response from people because that’s just plain wrong but I will, secretly, hope to spark discussion.

Now, I’m going to go clean up my RSS reader, because it would have been a damn shame to miss Amy’s post and I probably would have, or would have seen it after the fact, if not for Ferret’s mention on LiveJournal.

Adam Israel
Author ꞏ Genealogist ꞏ Software Engineer

My interests include genealogy, cloud computing, and all things open source.

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