Does Your Right to Free Speech Extend to My Blog? Let’s Discuss.

Posted May 5, 2022 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 61 Comments

Okay, so Shannon and I have run into a little situation lately with our link-ups, and and now it’s turned into a full-on mess that’s made me start questioning some things. So I thought I’d write something here, both to address the situation and to get my fellow bloggers’ honest opinions about what it means to host a link-up on my blog. Do I give up some level of control by doing so? Do I have the right to decide what gets linked up?

First off, let me say that I have no desire to call someone out publically, so I’m not going to name names here. In fact, I would prefer to have handled everything privately, but the person has been commenting about it on my blog, her own blog, and in other bloggers’ comments sections, so I’ve realized that’s not going to happen.

It all started when someone linked up a post to the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up last June that contained a rant about Pride month. To me, the post felt especially nasty in its tone (including comparisons between LGBTQA people and predators and a declaration that she didn’t f’ing care about others’ feelings).  Shannon and I talked it over and agreed we didn’t want this post linked to our blogs, so we deleted it from the link-up. When the blogger linked it up again, I wrote a brief email stating that, while I can’t tell anyone what to post on their own blog, we ask that posts that disparage the LGBTQA community not be added to the link-up. Posts like that would be deleted. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I did first comment on the post itself because I couldn’t find contact info—but it was only up for ten minutes before Shannon remembered the link-up includes an email address. I immediately deleted the comment and emailed privately.)

The blogger replied and said she wanted to discuss further. There were a few more back-and-forths before I said it might be time to just agree to disagree and move on. I actually still have the email thread, and while I’m not planning on sharing it, I would feel confident in showing it to anyone to judge both my words and my tone. I never resorted to any sort of personal attack or infringed on her right to write whatever she wants on her blog; I only pointed out why I felt the post promoted hate toward the LGBTQA community and asked her not to link it to my blog. (Or Shannon’s—Shannon and I were in complete agreement throughout all this, even though I was the one emailing.)

She ended up deleting that part of her post completely, and Shannon and I agreed to just live and let live and allow her to link the post back up, since that seemed important to her. Honestly, I thought at that point it was done and over, and I put it out of my mind.

Fast forward almost a year.

A couple of weeks ago, I left a run-of-the-mill comment on a post linked up to the Discussion Challenge and was shocked when I got a hostile reply in my email—it was this same blogger, who had closed down her old blog and started a new one (and changed her pen name). And, apparently, she was still holding a grudge.

Then I happened upon a handful of posts from back in February that I’d apparently missed in the link-up—one of them was a post from her about cancel culture. In her reply to a comment, she specifically named me and told the commenter I had bullied and harassed her. (This was news to me!) She also implied that I’d sent people from Twitter to her blog and that the harassment had caused her to shut down her old blog and have to start a whole new one. Again, all news to me, since I had literally never talked about the situation at all publically except for one mention where I said I’d deleted a post from the link-up and said we wouldn’t leave posts like this. I never mentioned her name or her blog or even the specific contents of her post. But apparently, in her mind, I’d bullied and harassed her.

I talked to Shannon about it, and we decided to delete all her posts from the link-ups. Was this extreme? I suppose you could argue so. (She certainly has.) But the link-ups are our way of promoting other bloggers. This is the reason I created the giveaways with special entries for commenting on linked posts—my goal was always to encourage as much interaction as possible. And Shannon and I don’t think it’s reasonable for someone to expect us to promote their posts if they’re bad-mouthing me in their comments section (of a linked post, no less!).

After we removed her posts from the link-up, we noticed she deleted the post about cancel culture from her blog completely, along with her comment about me. Then she started an exchange of emails that honestly got more and more bizarre as they went on. I ended communication completely when she reminded me of a comment I’d “forgotten” I left on her blog. She claimed it had never been posted, but she’d “saved it.” The comment was so laughably made-up that I have one million percent confidence no one who’s ever interacted with me would believe I wrote it (both because it resorts to name-calling and because of the glaringly horrible grammar).

But she still just won’t let things go. She posted multiple comments on my blog saying I banned her from the link-up. (I deleted a few repeats and left one, to which I responded by saying it’s true and anyone could feel free to contact me privately if they had concerns). She also posted one saying I support censorship and don’t believe in free speech unless it aligns with my views. (Untrue. People have linked up things I disagree with. There are plenty of people with differing political and worldviews out there, and they have a right to their opinion. But I draw the line at a post that I feel promotes hate toward a particular group of people.)

And then yesterday, I saw that she’s posted comments on at least two other bloggers’ posts in the link-ups (two that I’ve seen—I’m guessing there are more), telling them that I banned her for no reason. Or because I claim she’s “actively bad mouthing [me] in everyone of [her] blog post.” She goes on to say you can check her blog and see it’s not true (which is convenient since she’s deleted things, but that’s beyond the point.) So, at that point, I knew I couldn’t just ignore the situation. And thus, this post was born.

But, in the end, I’m left with some real questions. I’ve started to think about what it means to host a link-up. Am I, by nature of inviting others to link, creating a public space on my private blog? And, if that’s true, how much control should I have over it? I mean, obviously, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with me deleting a post that’s outright spam (those annoying corporate giveaway posts that end up in the Discussion Challenge link-up) or had weird adult content or something (never happened), but where is the line? And do Shannon and I have full freedom to set it?

Other people who host link-ups probably don’t read every post—if I were hosting one of those weekly link-ups that gets a ton of links (like the Sunday Post or Top Ten Tuesday) it would be impossible, and I’d probably have to accept that things might be posted that I would find harmful and I might never know. But I do try to read every post in my link-ups.

I feel like, if I’m directly linking to a post, I’m promoting it, at least in some small way. So, if there’s a post Shannon and I really don’t feel comfortable promoting, should we feel free to remove it? If someone is calling me out in their comments, should I still feel obligated to promote their posts by leaving them in the link-up? And if they delete the offending posts or comments from their blog, am I wrong for continuing to ban the person? Does the link-up “belong” to me and Shannon since it’s hosted on our blogs?

One moment I think I know my own answers to these questions, but then I’ve also felt conflicted. Maybe by hosting a link-up, I’m automatically giving away control in some ways, and I have to just decide if I’m okay with that or if I want to stop hosting altogether. But, then that feels extreme, so… yeah, conflicted.

I honestly and sincerely want to know people’s opinions about this. Let me know in the comments what you think.


61 responses to “Does Your Right to Free Speech Extend to My Blog? Let’s Discuss.

  1. As I learned long ago as I started blogging, it’s your space and thus your rules. You get to say what goes in your space and what does not, and if someone does not like it, they are free to go elsewhere. If they become a problem, bullies, etc., block and ban and end it before it becomes a larger problem. Way I see it someone does not get to come into my house and crap all over it then claim a right to do so. My blog is my virtual house, so it’s my rules or the highway.

    My two cents anyhow.

    Best, and keep on blogging.

    • Yeah, that’s the way we felt about it. I get that it’s frustrating for this girl because she feels like she can’t get people to come over and read her opinions without a boost from things like link-ups, but Shannon and I shouldn’t feel obligated to fill that role for her.

  2. I mean, obviously, I agree 😂 So I think the main takeaway here has to be this: disagreements about hobbies are totally fine. Disagreements about the fundamental rights of human beings are not. Look, you and I (and most of the book community, let’s be real) work incredibly hard to make our spaces inclusive, right? So forget even our own personal feelings here, just imagine if a LGBTQA follower, thinking they’re in a safe space, clicks that link, right? I know how awful you’d feel, because I’d feel the same.

    People also need to realize that “free speech” means freedom from prosecution. Not freedom from consequences. If you say something that someone else deems inappropriate for their platform, as the owner of said platform, they have every right to not wish to display it. Full stop. That isn’t in any way bullying, it’s simply saying “I am not okay with this content being a representation of me”. I like Angel’s point too- no one would be allowed to post signs in your yard without your consent, right? So why would they be allowed to post it virtually, in your space (that you PAY for, no less)?

    I’ll even go a step further- I WILL remove content I am not okay with. I am not even debating. Because I think that in the past few years, most of us have realized that now, more than ever, we need to stand behind our morals and principles. And because I never, EVER want any reader to be afraid to come to my site because they’re worried about links to hateful rhetoric. Do we have full control, as the hosts? Yeah, we do. Because we HAVE to= if we don’t look out for our linkers (is that a word? Heh) then who exactly will? If people don’t like that, they’re more than welcome to start their own link-ups!

    I’ll also add, to end on a positive note, than in our 7+ years of doing these link-ups, this is the FIRST time we have had to address this, which shows how great the community as a whole is ♥♥♥

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: May 2022 Discussion Challenge Link Up & Giveaway
    • You make such a good point here (one I actually planned to make, but then my post was already like five miles long, so…). For me, the first situation was a no-brainer. My own kid is LGBTQA, so I’m NOT leaving a link on my blog that I feel promotes hate toward her. Like, that just isn’t negotiable. I have no regrets or qualms about the way we handled that situation.

      This second scenario crossed into grayer territory, and it also made me think a bit more about where my boundaries lie. I like Mint’s suggestion of putting a disclaimer in the link-up posts. (I think we actually talked about doing that when the first situation happened, but then we just kind of … forgot about it.)

      • Yeah that was my initial thought, how next-level awful it would be if your daughter happened to see it. Not that she’s (unfortunately) not seen that vitriol before, but linked to her own mother’s site? No, that cannot and will not happen.

        The second situation I know you think it is greyer. And I see what you mean- in a sense, it only hurts you, but that is still not okay? Like- it hurts YOU! And I know how I too would be like “oh well, I can take it, whatever” but… it still isn’t okay, to me anyway. There were some pretty awful (and wildly untrue) things said about you, and even though obviously people are entitled to say whatever they want, they still don’t get to use YOUR site to promote disparaging content about YOU. Especially since you are genuinely one of the kindest people I have encountered, it hurts me to see someone say these things about you just because you set some (very appropriate) boundaries. And frankly, think of it like this- if someone posted something calling out one of our followers, by name, and said the same type of thing about them, would you allow that to remain? I know I would not. It’s just unnecessarily mean, adds nothing to any relevant discussion- which goes with what Lory said, which I thought was a great point- it isn’t really a *discussion*, is it?

        Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: May 2022 Discussion Challenge Link Up & Giveaway
        • Yeah, you’re right that we wouldn’t stand for it if it was one of our blogger friends. That’s a good way for me to look at it. I’m so glad I co-host the link-ups with you because I I really would have been second-guessing myself this second time if I couldn’t have talked it over with you. 🙂

  3. Wow, Nicole, I am so sorry you and Shannon are having to deal with this. I say your blog is private and therefore you have every right to limit what is posted there, including link-ups and comments. To be transparent, you could add to the link-up rules that hateful content which denigrates any human being will be removed at your discretion. In my understanding, this is completely your right. Such content is as contrary to the intention of the link-up as irrelevant or commercial content would be.

    The person harassing you is clearly not in command of their own mind and feelings. They are not and cannot be free, in that situation. The feelings have the upper hand and are pushing them around. These clearly need to be worked out in a place where they can be expressed fully, but your blog is not the place to do it and you don’t need to feel obligated to subject your readers to it. She has her own private blog space and you are not telling her what to put in there. That is where she can express herself “freely.”

    Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle recently posted: Beautiful Books: Two psychological masterpieces
    • Yes, I think you’re right about her being driven by emotion in this situation. I mean, one point she expressed in the post we removed is that she feels the book blogging community isn’t open to conservative views (I believe she said we need more “diversity of thought”). So I’m sure us deleting her link and banning her just added fuel to those feelings. And I get that that would be frustrating, I really do. But I don’t think Shannon and I have an obligation to amplify her message, especially when she expresses it in a (very emotional and) harmful way.

  4. I do think that you’re creating a public space on your private blog by inviting others to link, and there is always the possibility that content you don’t approve of will be added. That being said, you’re hosting this link-up on your blog so you get to decide how to run it.

    For the future and in the interest of transparency, it could be useful to lay out some guidelines about what kind of content is and isn’t allowed so that a) people understand what kinds of posts are okay to link and b) to protect yourself and Shannon from critiques that future removals, if they happen, are arbitrary and unfair. For example, Shannon said that she would remove content that she is not okay with, but what does that mean exactly?

    Maybe it could even be something simple like “Shannon and I reserve the right to remove linked posts at our discretion, if this happens we will contact the blogger in question to explain why. Please ensure that your linked posts are x, y, z.”

    In any case, I’m glad that I have a space to meet other bloggers and I appreciate that you and Shannon are taking the time to curate the link-up.

    (And full disclosure, if I’m understanding what you’ve written correctly, I believe the blogger did leave a comment on my blog.)

    • Mint, I mean hateful posts, toward any particular group. And obviously, that would be discussed with Nicole. I simply don’t like that she’s taken so much heat for a decision that we both were fully in agreement on, and I also want it to be abundantly clear that I will not hesitate to remove such links going forward. In particular, the post disparaging LGBTQA folks (and any future posts like it- towards ANY group, frankly) will not be tolerated.

      I also didn’t fully touch upon the stuff directed at Nicole, since that is more of a personal thing for her, but I can say that if someone is bad-mouthing me and then linking the post to my own site… I am also not going to be thrilled? Like, it’s one thing if it is a vague reference- I am not that petty and I know Nicole isn’t either, nor do we have the time or energy to devote to such frivolity, but this was a direct reference by name, accusing Nicole of some pretty rough things (none of which were accurate, but I digress). And I think we can all agree that no one would expect either of us to leave a link up to a post disparaging us by name, on our own sites. But yeah I definitely agree with you that a little disclaimer is probably a great plan going forward!

      Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: May 2022 Discussion Challenge Link Up & Giveaway
  5. So very sorry that you and Shannon are having to deal with this. It sounds like you’ve tried to handle in a friendly manner but the other person wouldn’t meet you half way. I think it’s your blog, so you have to do what you think is best.

  6. I’ll say that I’ve been reading the comments above and I totally agree and echo what’s been said so far! I love Angel’s analogy of your blog being your home, and therefore you do have rights about what you bring into your home. I also think that Mint’s suggestion of adding a disclaimer could protect you and Shannon in the future.

    But as a whole, I really agree with Shannon’s comment that freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. If someone actively posts hate speech, especially in a designated safe space for marginalized folks, then they accept the consequences that comes out of that speech. If they don’t like it, then I’m sure there’s thousands of forums out there that actively promote hate speech that they can go to and spew hate with other like-minded individuals. There is a time and a place for everything, and hatred has no place in the book blogging community.

  7. I totally agree with what has been said so far. Your blog is your blog, it is not public exactly. But you might go ahead and put that disclaimer with them from now on. It’s one thing to disagree with someone’s view, but in that case, you don’t connect with the blog you disagree with. And disagreeing and being hateful are two separate things. I think you are totally in the right for what you’ve done! I support you 100%. I mean, do they even follow you really if they didn’t know how you would feel about that personally?

    • Yes, we definitely will be adding that disclaimer. I have no problem with people making points I disagree with, but we have to draw the line somewhere, and that original post clearly crossed it for me. (And the second situation was just plain weird.)

      And, yeah, one of the strangest parts of all this for me was that, after we removed the original post and she obviously was very unhappy with me and even claimed she had to start a whole new blog because of me (which… no), she still continued linking her posts to my link-ups. If you honestly thought someone had bullied and harassed you, would you continue to join their link-ups? Wouldn’t you just cut off contact with that person? And then she seemed offended when I commented on her posts (I didn’t realize it was her!) and she deleted my comments or replied to them in a hostile manner and then deleted them. I was like, hey, here’s an easy solution—don’t link to my blog! The whole situation was just very strange and confusing, and I couldn’t figure out her reasoning at all. And when I asked her about it directly she said that “some bloggers only know me from the link-ups.” Which… sorry? But you’ll have to find another way to interact with them? Like, I really enjoy connecting bloggers through the link-ups, but it’s not my responsibility to do that for everyone, even if they hate me for some reason. So weird!

  8. What a well written post and it’s sure something to think about. I feel you handled everything well and I agree with how you both handled this situation. It’s your blog, your personal space, and what you say is yours. If you feel something is not to your liking, i.e. comment or link, then you have the right not to promote that and remove it. Not everyone will agree and disagreeing is one thing, but being hateful and saying stuff that is not true is totally separate. You are in the right here.

  9. I 100% agree with what everyone else is saying. I’m sorry you and Shannon have had to deal with this, but I think you’ve dealt with it in a fair and friendly way. Thank you for being a safe place for the book community! <3

  10. Yeah, I am with everyone’s comments thus far. It’s your blog, you’re hosting the discussion linkup. I mean, I get the free speech part of it, but when you want to get down to bullying particular groups or communities I think you need to draw the line. Banning, blocking, etc is warranted. Honestly our blogs should be our happy places. I mean occasionally I will go on a rant post of some sort, but it ends up me more venting than anything. And though I cannot remember for the life of me who it was, as I remember when I read the comment I was sort of taken aback, but I remember getting a comment on one of my posts where a person said you basically banned them from the challenge linkup. And I was kind of thinking, that doesn’t sound like Nicole…I mean, you would literally have to have done SOMETHING to upset her greatly in order to be “banned,” as they put it. I don’t think I even replied to the comment because it just totally threw me off guard. But after I read your post here, it made me remember it.

    While I do believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, if you’re breaching into those sensitive topics, you really ought not to link them up to a linky list like this. I mean, my inner child still likes to abide by the old rule of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” kind of thing, mainly the things that come off as an attack of some sort. Granted that’s not to say you can’t say negative things in a review, like you didn’t like certain characters in their developments or actions or the writing style…just you know say it in a polite way. I feel like I’m even struggling to explain this in writing. But yeah, posts that come off as attacking groups should not be promoted on the linky. As you said, the linky is a community pileup of posts and to have something that while is just one opinion, if it’s coming off as harsh, it really doesn’t belong here.

    I like to think that our true book blogging community is still made up of good, friendly people. I’ve always thought that book people are the best kind of people! And honestly, if my post isn’t somehow book related (or something Disney related) it really doesn’t belong on my blog about books. So I feel like if people are running book blogs, they need to keep that in mind and not try to tie a whole political or societal rant post to a book that somewhat involved such a theme that incited said rant.

    • I totally agree with you about the book blogging community as a whole. Shannon was spot-on when she pointed out in her comment that it says a lot that this is the first time we’ve ever felt the need to remove anything from the link-ups (besides a few random spam posts). I feel like my little corner of the blogosphere has been blessed with a whole lot of incredible friends!

  11. Yup, I agree with you and the other commenters here that you get to make the rules about what is and is not allowed in this link-up. I was going to suggest a disclaimer as well, but I see that has been mentioned a few times already. In addition, though, I think a comment that “such and such kind of posts are not tolerated” would not only work as a disclaimer but would also reinforce that this is a safe space. All told, I think you two are doing great things by thinking this through in as much detail as you are, and I do appreciate the transparency. I’m upset that this happened, but I think you are handling it exactly the right way.

    Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits recently posted: WIP Wrap-up for April 2022
    • You make a really good point about establishing the link-ups as a safe space—I hadn’t really thought of it that way. When the original incident happened, Shannon and I talked about adding a disclaimer, but then we honestly just kind of forgot about it (and it felt like overkill at the time – I mean, this was the first time anything like that had ever happened and we knew that 99% of the bookish community would never even think to post something like that). But you’re right that letting people know that those types of posts aren’t allowed helps everyone.

  12. So it’s like this you’re not a government and therefore there is no legal requirements for you to give everyone a space. You absolutely should censor the nasty comments and posts that do not align with the values of your blog. Trolls will always troll unfortunately there are many unkind humans.

  13. I am sorry this happened to you. I feel like the blogger in question has a right to what she puts in her space, and you have a right to determine what you want in your space as well. I agree that allowing links is a way to promote, and I know I wouldn’t want to show support for views that lean hateful. In my opinion, you were within your rights to delete the links. It’s not like she payed you for a service. You owe her NOTHING.

  14. Sorry this happened. It’s a sucky situation. Luckily, my blog doesn’t get a ton of hate or spam, but my Pinterest account is a different story. I’m very familiar with block/report/delete. Like someone already said, I treat my blog and social media just like I treat my house. I’m happy to have friends and strangers come visit, but if you disrespect me or my family, I’ll toss you out and not feel bad about it. Free speech laws protect people from the government. I’m not the government, and I also have free speech. You have the freedom to say what you want, and I have the freedom to delete it from my “house.”

    • Yes, this blog has been home for me for a very long time. And you make a good point about disrespect. The first situation was cut and dry for me, but the second one was harder because she wasn’t harming anyone but me. But it definitely felt beyond disrespectful to link up to my blog and then complain about me in the comments. It was certainly a slap in the face!

  15. First of all, I want to say sorry you had to go through all of this. It’s horrible that something you had hoped was a one-off and moved on from ended up recurring a year later and someone held a grudge. You can’t control what people write on their own blogs, they are free to their views and opinions, but you are free to not promote them on your own blog. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you have the right to spew hate wherever you go and not face any repercussions and people don’t seem to be able to grasp that. They took it too far when they started attacking you and bad-mouthing you to others without any provocation. As it’s a link-up you host it’s fair if you realise a blogger is promoting hate that you can remove that link. You don’t need to agree with everything people say, we have different political views and can have different beliefs but people seem to think freedom of speech protects hate speech as well and it doesn’t.

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: Sunday Summary // 8th May 2022
  16. I think what could be a solution is to write a few words in your link up posts saying that you ask people to only link up to post respecting others and that you reserve the right to delete the link if you find this goes against your rules. Or something similar. That way people won’t be able to protest. Because yes, allowing them to link up to your blog is akin sponsoring in my eyes.

  17. I’m so sorry that you and Shannon had to go through this. Honestly, I think that you are in the right in taking out the offensive links because you don’t want people of any group to be offended by these types of posts. Also, this is your personal blog and if a person is making comments that doesn’t gel well with your personal opinions or your content, then you have the right to remove said offensive comment. I also would start making guidelines about what content shouldn’t be allowed in the link ups so that way if some people are trying to start some trouble, then you have the upper ground in terms of explaining to them that they broke the rules by posting content that is offensive to the site and that you have already stated these rules in the guidelines. I hope that nothing like this happens to you again and I’m really sorry that you went through this.

  18. This is a tough spot to be in. While I do believe in free speech it’s your link up and it’s on your blog. If I was in your situation, I’d have done the same thing. Since it’s your linkup, it’s your right to decide what posts are there. Simple as that. The other blogger can post anti LGBTQA posts (I don’t agree with that POV personally as a member of the LGBTQA) on their own blog. They shouldn’t be getting this upset and making up crap because you don’t want that kind of post in your linkup. Your blog, your linkup, your rules. I’m sorry this blogger is taking things this far. It’s got to be hard to deal with. But I do think you’ve done the right thing.

  19. “Does the link-up “belong” to me and Shannon since it’s hosted on our blogs?”
    I think it does, absolutely. I’m sorry you had to put up with that person at all, not to mention, for so long. And as other people above have noted, it’s not like hate speech is protected or encouraged by the law, so no one can say you have violated their rights. Haters would blame anyone but themselves when their rhetoric backfires…it’s pathetic. Don’t lose your sleep over her – you were in the right all along!

  20. First, I’m just sorry you (and Shannon) have had to deal with this situation over the last year. The fact that this person didn’t accept your feedback and let it, but instead continued to press the issue and resort to lies and personal attacks, makes them sound less than reasonable to start with. It’s been said many times by others, but this is *your* blog and *your* space. You are under NO obligation to give voice to anyone else’s opinions. Especially when they are so clearly not aligned with your own beliefs. This other blogger is right – she does have freedom of speech – on HER blog. That does not extend to anywhere she wishes to spout her beliefs. Just because she wants to use your platform to drive traffic to her blog, and spread her hate, doesn’t mean it’s something that is owed to her. I really hope you’ve heard the last from her.

  21. In my very early years of blogging I ran a charity auction (donated signed books an swag – money going to a charity) and I had someone who lost the bid, create a blog just to go after me and hound the author until they ended up giving them the books – for free. I was in the right but it felt awful.

    This is a totally different situation but it’s still your blog. I think people are a tad over sensitive to differing opinions these days – but I’m talking about bookish thoughts – not human rights.

    I also believe in free speech but this is a personal blog, a private entity. The free speech amendment only applies to government infringement on freedom of expression. She is absolutely free to post whatever she wants on her blog but you can choose not to let her link up.

    I agree with other commenters that you could add a comment about you potentially deleting links that don’t adhere to your rules so it’s clear from the start for everyone so they can choose to participate or not.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

  22. I think you were definitely in the right to remove that person’s posts. There is a huge difference between having a ‘controversial’ opinion and openly spreading hatred, and although I don’t think I read their posts, it sounds like they were on the hateful side.

    You have every right to delete links to posts that you feel are hateful because you’re not deleting their post altogether, just the link that they posted to your link-up. I may have received a comment from the blogger in question because it was worded oddly and condemned people who use ‘word that end in “ism” or “igot”. Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

  23. I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this. But I’m in agreement with you – it’s your blog and your link-up. You can delete the posts if you want to, and if people don’t like it, then don’t post! Move on! It’s not cool to post something so hateful about a group of people, and if you find it offensive and harmful, then by all means, take it down. It shouldn’t have to stay up just because you’re letting people link up blog posts. You can make the decision to take down whichever links don’t align with the spirit of the link-up.

    At any rate, I know you’re amazing, and I hope this all just blows over soon.


  24. Denise

    I operated a web site in the very early days of the internet (back in the 90’s!) and you are reminding me why I shut it down. In my more recent online ventures, I’ve learned to just block and delete what needs to be blocked and deleted, without interacting with the people who post that kind of content. This blogger had already demonstrated to you what kind of person they are by that first hateful post. You can be sure any more interactions with them will be in the same vein. This person sounds like a classic internet troll, who lives for these kinds of negative interactions. If you don’t feed them, they’ll go away.

    • You’re absolutely right. Unfortunately, the linky doesn’t give us the option to just completely block – that would have solved some of my problems. And I know that this person is a real book blogger who also posts about regular bookish topics, so I was hoping we could have some sort of real interaction beyond that of just trolling. But I was obviously being very naive! 🙂

  25. Jen

    Oh my goodness, what a nightmare, sending all the hugs! It’s your space and your linkup, so you get to say what goes and doesn’t. Just like she can write whatever she wants on her own blog. It’s not a public space, our blogs are our own mini homes. I think the recommendation to add a disclosure, that you can remove any links, is a great idea! Here’s hoping the person will just walk away and not cause any more issues or awkward situations for you *fingers crossed*. Hugs!

  26. wow, sorry you have been going through all this. Whatever her positions, this person sounds like she needs some psychological help…
    This is your blog, so it seems to me you have the right to accept or refuse links. If it’s not there yet, maybe specify something to this purpose in your policies. Wait, it seems you don’t have a Policy section. I think it’s an important thing to have as a book blogger. Then whoever doesn’t follow your policies, then you are covered to delete their content.

  27. Nancy

    That’s too much drama for me (sorry but I didn’t finish reading all that). I think you might want to state what is acceptable or not on your sites & refer people to that policy. Personally, it seems to me that this person was bullying you…it’s not your job to provide a venue for every disgruntled person. Stick to your policy & don’t feel a need to cater to these attention seeking people. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  28. First of all, can I say that I am so sorry this has happened to you? This is your blog so you certainly have the last say on what appears, either in published content, comments or allowed link-ups. I’m glad to hear you stood up for your beliefs on this matter, you are doing the right thing.

  29. I’m sorry that this happened to you. Like everyone else said before, it’s your blog and therefore your rules. You shouldn’t feel obligated allow someone to link or comment something that is hateful and/or harmful.

    I had to turn on comment moderation on my blog because I was getting hateful comments. And while whoever was leaving those comments wouldn’t agree with me doing this, this is my blog, I should be allowed to delete anything that I don’t want or display anything that I like.

    I think though in order to prevent drama in the future, it’s always good to have a set of rules for your readers to follow. While I haven’t created any, yet, I had some when I first started my blog. You can always refer to those rules if something gets out of hand. So that no one thinks you’re doing something for “no reason.”


  30. I understand why you feel conflicted. Thinking about this in a broader context makes it feel slippery. But life is really situational, and in this particular situation, I agree with your choices. It’s not like you’re on a power trip, picking and choosing only the posts you like. A post promoting hate affects the safety and well-being of visitors and other people linking up. And it sounds like you did everything you could to settle this reasonably. Ultimately, a link-up that you create and host on your blog is under your control, your rules. And if people can’t understand that, that’s on them. I’m pretty sure I once didn’t link a discussion because it wasn’t very family-friendly, and I didn’t know if that would be ok, and it wasn’t worth it to put you two on the spot by asking just so I could link one post. But like others have said, it might be good to add to the rules that links to posts with hate speech will be deleted. Plenty of site and forums have rules about that, so it’s definitely not unreasonable.

  31. I’m so sorry you and Shannon are dealing with this and they’re blowing it publicly rather than resolving it privately. Honestly, I don’t think it’s extreme to remove her completely from linkups given everything that went down.

    I do think that by creating a public space on your blog, you do invite others to link or leave comments, but at the same time, I think that you do deserve to have control of your blog. It’s your blog after all, and if you don’t feel something is appropriate or is being discriminatory toward you, another person or a community, then you definitely have the right to set the rules and remove as needed. Like Shannon said, disagreements about hobbies are totally fine but disagreements about the fundamental rights of human beings are not. I personally wouldn’t want to stumble upon a post carrying an anti-Asian agenda, and I think if it were the other way around for them, they wouldn’t want to stumble across the post either.

    On the public space, though, I do think blogs are somewhat private, especially as small as book blogs. If it were a huge linkup like Top Ten Tuesday or your blog had millions of readers where you’re practically a celebrity, then it would be a lot harder to keep track of them. And even then, I think even those with a much more public and larger platform also have control over what can be posted just as much as they have a right to their privacy as well.

    Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts recently posted: Should You Blog Under a Pen Name? Why it is Absolutely Okay
  32. Your blog, your rules – simple as that.

    Also, I usually follow the tolerance paradox – the only thing we can’t tolerate is intolerance, because if we tolerate intolerance it will destroy tolerance.

    …And this person’s behaviour towards you and Shannon is enough to ban them from the link-ups as far as I’m concerned. You have to maintain order somehow!

    Cee Arr recently posted: Life/Blogging Update - Covid
  33. Can you email me with the URL? Or to confirm whether someone might be them? Because this sounds a bit like someone who was in your linkups, but would come to my posts about autism with a lot of prejudice/ableism. I only know of her old URL 🥲 so I am good with confirming that, if possible. 😅

    Otherwise, I might have someone else to add to your radar. 😬

    • Also also ALSO: Your blog is your playground. There are a few lawyers who are content creators also, who share about what freedom of speech doesn’t cover.

      The intent of this person is not exercising freedom of speech, and freedom of speech doesn’t extend to getting to do whatever you want wherever you want. You do actually have to be a decent person. 🙃

      Izzy recently posted: Why is neurotypical the default?
      • Also⁴: Include this in your terms! You can reference mine if you want. They’re from an actual lawyer’s template (paid). It will emphasize the conditions of partaking in the linkups/etc., and you can just direct people to your terms in situations like these! ☺️

        Izzy recently posted: Why is neurotypical the default?

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