(I swear, I try to post daily, I really do)
As one of the proprietors of a leading internet niche site, as you expect I get a lot of emailed criticism. Much of it is of the form:
You guys are [some horrible thing]. I’m so tired of you [wishing the team would fail/acting as cheerleaders for the team].
To which I always want to reply “Could I introduce you to all the people who email us taking the other side? Because if you all could just come to a consensus about what we could do better, I’d be happy to move in that direction.”
I read it all looking for reasonable opinions, but to the point of this — I got an email recently that went so far beyond the pale of normal criticism or even angry, these-would-be-fighting-words-if-I-ever-met-you ranting. It was frightening to even think that a baseball site could get someone that pissed off. So before I replied, I ran the person’s name through Google, and pretty quickly found that this person, in addition to hating us, held some shocking, paranoid racial/ethnic/religious views.
For a moment, I was relieved to know that it wasn’t only us, and that for whatever reason, we were the hate magnet of the hour, nothing more. And almost immediately, washing over that was the knowledge that somewhere out there was a person who was at some level legitimately unhinged, and even if that meant this was nothing personal after all, the existence of someone out there was just as regrettable as the horrible possibility that our posts had opened a deep well of rage in someone.
It was a strange feeling.