Posted by: JennyRain | June 24, 2010

Blogiquette Gone Wrong: Mastering the art of the Swoop and Poop

Whatever happen to respectful debates?

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen some nasty commenters on blogs. You know the kind, they de-lurk only to offer an unfriendly comment, an unhelpful suggestion, an uninvited nasty-gram.

They basically swoop-and-poop all over your blog.

These cantankerous commenters can be found all over the blogosphere:

Like here
and here which spawned this (all because of this post by another blogger)
Oh, and this particularly nasty person

MANY of these professional swoop-and-poopers comment anonymously.

MANY are women insulting other women.

MANY are “Christians” condemning other Christians.

Well now isn’t that special!

I have heard people use the excuse, “Well, if you put it out there, you deserve whatever feedback you get.”

Really? Really?

Forgive my cynicism, but when did sharing your story mean that others get the right to eviscerate you publicly?

Have we become that hateful of a society, more intent on tearing others down than building them up?

I believe there is another way.

I believe that we can interact online and choose to be “Totally honest and Totally kind” in our feedback.

As I have grown into my writing, grown in my relationship with God, and grown into online community, I have written some potentially controversial posts – not to intentionally be controversial, but to step into the authenticity of my own developing story.  My regular readers have commented with the utmost grace, care, and respect to EVERYONE who offers their opinions and feedback here.

Many of you have disagreed with me, but done so in a way that has helped me and others to grow.

I value every-single-one of you who have helped to create and maintain that type of growth-encouraging environment.

You have each shown a depth of character, a purity of heart, and a clarity of conscience as you have interacted here.

You have been totally honest AND totally kind.

Thank you.

My heart is that this blog will be a safe place for everyone to process, ask questions, share feedback, and journey together through the process of living. Whether you agree with me or not, I want this to be a safe place for discussions to happen.

You have demonstrated to me that healthy, honest debate can happen if we create the environment for it.

So, how do we – as a community of bloggers – create an environment where healthy communication can occur?

1 – Check your mouth. Refrain from logorrhea (diarrhea of the mouth, or of the keyboard as it were).

2 – Check your heart. Choose to remember that every person on the blogosphere has inherent value, worth, and dignity. Because if your heart truly believes this about humanity – compassion can be your only response.

3 – Check your passions. If you are incensed about something, examine why you are having a visceral reaction.

If you can get command over your emotional reactions and determine why that “thing” that has you so angry is energizing you – I promise you – you will learn and you will grow.

Conversely, lack of “passion control” into the land of swoop and poop means you will keep circling around the same things that have made you mad forever.

4 – Check your motives. Ask yourself “What is my goal?”

If it is to publicly defame and degrade another person, go back to number one and start over.

And, if you find these practices too onerous, well, then don’t come back.

For that matter, don’t come back to any of the sites on my blogroll as those are folks I care about, folks whose lives I’m invested in, and people who have a heart and who need compassion and grace – as we all do.

If you think you are going to poop online, don’t.

There are too many hearts and lives here that I care about to see anyone get hurt, their respective journeys damaged, or their days ruined by the careless words of an anonymous swoop and poop.




  1. What about swoop and toot? That’s like standard moves for a guy. 😉

    Good post.

    • that’s just so not right 🙂 but it made me laugh out loud!

  2. Great post, Jenny! I especially find those who post their hate anonymously hard to deal with. “I’m going to speak what I think is truth, but I’m going to hide while doing it.” Geesh.

    For me, my litmus test as to whether or not I’m getting grace is how much grace I give those people who don’t think they need grace.

    Thanks for the great reminder today!


    • Yup – I always think “would I say this to this person’s face?” if not – then it is probably something I shouldn’t be saying on a blog comment. 🙂

  3. I like that I can actually _hear_ what you are saying as you write it. Oh and what you are saying is totally true.

    • Thank you! Hugs to Jen and hope y’all are hanging in there. I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs…. soooo good to see you writing 🙂

  4. Sign me up as a member of the NO-SWOOP-AND-POOP CLUB.
    Great post Jenny. We need to honor each other – even when we disagree.

    • you got it girl! you are enrolled!

  5. Wow. I’ve been so involved in training all week that I haven’t been in the blogosphere. I just looked at Alece’s site and am dumbfounded.

    Being in ministry is always a balancing act—at least that’s how I find it. To an extent, ministry makes you a public person. Not paparazzi public, but scrutinized public. Even when you live your life above reproach, there’s always the possibility that someone will criticize. It can be daunting.

    While I’m saddened and alarmed by the attacks, I LOVE the way so many people swooped in to defend and protect Alece. That’s some commendable swooping!

    • I do too – I so appreciated the collective swoop for her too 🙂

  6. you spoke to this issue SO well, jenny. very firm and respectful.

    i have found, in myself, the things that get me going the most…circumstances, issues even personalities…are the exact same things i struggle with in my own heart. and to ‘react’ shows ive not dealt with it personally yet.

    i wonder if that is true for others too, the swoop and poopers.

    even so the community on line, that has been built and strengthen thru vulnerability and authenticity, will take a virtual bullet for anyone.

    there is an earned respect. and when someone comes and abuses that…watch out…its turning tables over time!

    • me too… whenever something has “energy” around it, or whenever I have a visceral reaction to something I know that it is bringing somethign to the surface for me that I should take a look at. I hate that and appreciate it at the same time.

      Though I don’t ascribe to Deepak Chopra’s philosophy at all – he said something in a book once that has stuck w/me:

      “When you struggle with your partner, you are struggling with yourself. Every fault you see in them touches a denied weakness in yourself. Every conflict you wage is an excuse not to face a conflict within. ”

      I later found out that what he was talking about was the psychological concept of “projection” and since learning more about that concept, I’ve challenged myself to face MYSELF on things I struggle with in others rather than confronting them. Almost always, when I am triggered by a person, it is because God is trying to work thru a weakness in me.

      I love how the community comes together though as a giant defender too – it’s cool 🙂

      • that makes so much sense.

        i love what beth moore says about people in our lives that bring out the worst in us. she says, “good! you want the worst brought out. then you see it, deal with it and can get rid of it.”

      • Dang. I love that girl – totally! never thought of it like that 🙂

  7. My heart hurt when I encountered those circumstances recently. It saddens me how vicious people can get with each other. Thank you for speaking to this and for creating those guidelines. I think what you wrote is important for everyone to keep in mind.

    • ya – me too – I actually wrote this post a while back but had to sit on it a while to make sure my motivations weren’t just to poop back all over the people who were so mean. bleck. i hate poopers.

  8. I’ve not had a swooper & pooper yet. And I don’t. If I don’t agree with someone I keep my mouth shut. I don’t see how people can be so cruel.

    • agreed friend. even the fool appears wise if he keeps his mouth shut, eh? I’m with you. God once led me to the scripture, “If only you would be altogether silent, for you that would be wisdom,” in Job… yup. learned the value of silence 🙂

  9. It DOES seem as though blogosphere is the mean high-school lunch room for adults. And you’re right, attacks emanate from something within… something that has us angry. Of course, that is usually rooted in pain/fear somewhere. from sometime. Blogs, family reunions, and church all suffer this problem. It is not right but it is.

    This is very wise advice, Jenny: “…determine why that “thing” that has you so angry is energizing you – I promise you – you will learn and you will grow.”

    To those who have been poop-ed upon, I would add: anonymous thrashings do not count as thrashings. Even distant (people we may know but do not have a close relationship with) thrashings are unreliable. I can not allow strangers to advise me. Their words may hurt me but after the wave of pain passes over me, I have to realize this stranger does not know me (and, hence, does not know what he/she is talking about).

    • Oh my gosh Ric that is so true! it IS becoming a HS lunch room – so funny but so sad.

      love your feedback Ric because you always have something so valuable to add. Thank you… I’m going to call you Ric the sage 🙂

  10. Great post! I don’t know what happened to ‘expressing your opinion honestly but with good manners’? I can’t believe people would take the time to come and poop all over other poeple’s blogs…
    “I believe there is another way.
    I believe that we can interact online and choose to be “Totally honest and Totally kind” in our feedback.”
    I’m with you Jenny!

  11. I can hardly believe this stuff happens… It really is quite sad. It shows that they truly are a hurting people.
    It reminds me of what Pete Wilson said a couple weeks back when he quoted Matt Chandler… We need to give GRACE to the grace killers. Arghhh… So hard to do ~ and this is another reason why I NEED JESUS.
    I loved to witness people sticking up for those that were “off the wall” in their comments toward post/people. It’s amazing to see community in the blogosphere.

    • soooo true! I didn’t think of Pete’s post but you are so right 🙂 I loved people sticking up for others too 🙂 Thanks Manda

  12. Luckily I haven’t become victim to this… but I’ve seen it. It scares you sometimes… Making you doubt what you write… such a shame.

  13. Jenny, My dear friend,
    This is a very good lesson for all who contribute or comment on our online community of faith. There will be wolves in sheeps cothing, even here, but they are not the bulk. Most of us in this community wake daily hoping and praying to do God’s will, to encourage, and not to hurt. There is no reason at all for the swoop and poop. By our fruits we will be known. I am thankful to be a part of this community. God Bless

  14. Great post. Well put. Sometimes people need to be reminded of this stuff (and we wish some people would learn it for the first time!) I haven’t seen the word logorrhea in ages! When I taught 8th grade, I took student suggestions for the spelling/vocab lists and would add about 5 student-submitted words for each unit. One student suggested this word (they found it at random in the dictionary) and that word came in very handy for the rest of the school year!

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