Frankly, my natural politeness and desire to help my fellow foodist is wearing mighty thin these days. My website, The Grub Report, turned five this past August, and I realized that I am still answering unsolicited requests for recipes, San Francisco restaurant and accommodation recommendations, culinary school advice, and general food information. Honestly, I have no problem answering such requests, I really don’t, but I rarely get any sort of response. Do I require flowers, chocolates, wine, or proposals of marriage? Of course not. While I do happen to get a few of the latter in response to my rants and recaps at Television Without Pity, I don’t tend to get them at Grub Report.
When Sam — possibly the most generous and non-egotistical food blogger I know — touched upon the idea of bad manners across emails, I knew it was okay for me to feel the way I had been feeling for well over a year.
Am I grateful that people read and think highly enough of me to ask for recipes, restaurant and accomodation recommendations, advice that could affect their life, and general information? Of course, but would it kill them to hit “reply” on their email and simply type: “T-h-a-n-k-s”?
What has happened — and this is something I’ve been wondering about for years now — to manners on the Internet? Where are the polite, the kind, and the thoughtful? I know there are some out there because when I was dealing with my fairly disturbing vertigo, my inbox filled with sympathy, shared experiences, and general inquiries for my well-being. When I had my travails with pies this summer, I got a similar (and very welcome) deluge of helpful, considerate emails. I know these people exist, so why do extensively answered queries go unthanked and unrecognized?
Frankly, it’s not even just about getting thanked (that’s the least they can do, actually), because I’m genuinely interested to know if my cooking tips helped, if the local restaurant was enjoyed or hated (really, I like to know both sides), or what was thought of the suggested brunches.
I know the Internet has made it easier for people to demonstrate their rudeness, their ignorance, and their hate. I also know it’s more likely that someone will take the time to write something mean than to write something nice. Just…why? Why not err on politeness and kindness? Why keep filling the world with hate and incivility?
The Internet never forgets. Why not make it remember the nice, rather than the nasty? Before you hit “send” on your email, comment, or response, double check your manners, people.