Dear Blogger

I am writing to you to thank you for seeking my readership for your atheism/skepticism blog. It’s nice to be wanted. First things first, I tip my hat to you for your efforts in promoting skepticism. People working for free or low pay to push critical thinking is something I have a strong appreciation for. The movement literally would not exist without such efforts as yours. Kudos.

However, you may have noticed there are other atheist bloggers out there. A lot of them in fact. It would be impossible to put all of them in Feedly and actually keep up with them.
Sadly, I must narrow down the list of candidates.

I will not read your blog if you spend a disproportionate amount of your efforts attacking other skeptics as people. This does not refer to genuine intellectual debates or problems with behavior, but rather personality-based sniping. I think that conflict can be a great motivator for progress, and I hope our movement has as many Lavender Menaces as we need to grow. But when you waste time attacking someone you don’t like whose goals are the same, you are letting people like cancer quacks like Stanislaw Burzynski and scam artists like Kevin Trudeau have a break. Blog about whatever you feel is important, but just know that I won’t follow it while you are focusing on minor personality conflicts.

I will not read your blog if your criticisms within legitimate debates are unfair or dishonest. Not much clarification should be needed here.

Twitter has many uses, and that’s pretty great. I mostly use mine for finding joke feeds because I’m a very serious person who wears serious pants all the time. I don’t begrudge people using Twitter for activism, food pictures, or anything. But if I find your Twitter is filled with needling attacks on people who have not even been engaging with you, I will not follow your blog. Same goes for Facebook. This doesn’t mean that you are immediately disqualified if you have an argument with someone in public, just that I’m not going to follow you if such arguments reach a toxic level and have saturated all your posts.

Harassers can be quite persistent, and I have no problem with people defending themselves against such trolls. If this is what is going on with your public profiles, that will not count against you in my final decision. You have my sympathy. Please carry on.

You may disagree with my assessment of what constitutes a legitimate debate worthy of public attacks, and that’s fine. I recognize that there is a level of subjectivity that is difficult to remove from the equation. But I should point out that I have no power to stop you from posting such things, and I wouldn’t try. Just bear in mind that I will probably not read your blog if we disagree on this. This is only a conflict if you don’t care about my readership.

Oh and I don’t subscribe to blogs that have absurdly short previews in the RSS feed. That has nothing to do with drama, I just don’t like it.

-Best wishes,
Steven Olsen, potential blog reader

I write a lot of jokes. Some of them are in this book.
I also host the podcast of the Skepchick events team, Some Assembly Required, and cohost the WWJTD Podcast.
You can also follow me on Facebook or that bird thing.

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