There have been times, over the past 5 years that I’ve been running YDV, that I’ve taken a sabbatical from it. Sometimes it was because of stupidity, sometimes it was tragedy, and sometimes- like this time, it’s because of my mother. She told me long ago, “If you have nothing nice to say don’t open your big mouth.”
My mom probably said it nicer than that but the message is the same. I have had nothing nice to say, so I haven’t said anything at all. But I’m feeling better about things and so- sit down vegans, I want to talk.
For the past few weeks my inbox has been filled with hate-filled, rage-y type emails. Lots and lots of them.
As a vegan with a vegan website, I’m used to a certain level of hate mail. People who are non-vegan will, on occasion, send me an email filled with rage against veganism- or worse, an email filled with religious arguments against veganism.
But these rage-y emails are from my own community. They are from vegans. They are filled with anger, which I could handle, but they are also filled with personal attacks- which I won’t tolerate. You might be wondering what I did to piss off so many people. Did I write an offensive article? Did I act like the vegan police? Put down other people? Was I really loud and brazenly disrespectful to a non-vegan? No. I did none of those things.
So what did I do? I started a vegan education series on YDV- the webinar series. No, really. That’s what I did. I did it using my own time and money and it has pissed off people everywhere. Apparently people are angry that I have the audacity to charge for these webinars.
Now, listen, if you have read anything I’ve ever written before today you know that I don’t mind anger. I do, in fact, encourage people to use anger for good. So, while I never mean to anger anyone, I don’t mind hearing about it when I do. However, personal attacks? For a vegan education series? Really?
Like this one. This was from Matt, after finding out that the Will Potter webinar was not free (I left in the spelling errors for fun.):
your no better than a fucking omnivore! you are blocking vegans from getting information that they need to make decisions. your making a profit off of animal suffering by charging for this information. scum posing as a vegan!
Part of me wants to respond like:
- Owning your own domain costs money.
- Hosting your own website costs money.
- Plug-ins for creating a webinar series costs money.
- Hosting webinars costs money.
- Hiring awesome speakers costs money.
The other part doesn’t want to respond at all. Generally speaking, I don’t think it’s worth my time to respond to each and every anti-vegan email I get- it’s the internet– you know, where people feel free hiding behind a screen so they can be someone they’d never be in real life. But Matt had gotten under my skin. I am, after all, a human. And so, instead of responding to the negativity with negativity, I stepped away from my computer. I asked the YDV writers to do the same.
I’ve thought a lot about this incident over the past few weeks. It has made me think about the role that YDV should play in the vegan blog community- if any at all.
Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity, or arrogance, but simply because they no longer lead somewhere. – Paulo Coelho
Is it time to close the door on YDV?
While I don’t believe in responding to negativity with negativity, I do believe in staying strong in one’s convictions and speaking out when necessary. So, here’s my response to the hate mail:
- I wish I didn’t have to charge for webinars, but I do (see: monetary requirements noted above).
- I am “no better” than anyone- vegan or not. I am a work in progress.
- What I stand for is evident in every page, post, image, and graphic on this website. If you think I am not a good enough vegan- well, that would be your problem, not mine.
Really, that’s all I can say.
Except this- the team is on break and the fate of YDV will be shared soon.