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July 31, 2014 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Inside the Internet’s Craziest Destination for Blogger Hate "I just like to point and laugh at the absurdity of personal blogging as a career," A. continues. "I mean, people quit well-paying jobs to become personal bloggers. They get book deals so they can put their ramblings in print. They make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year through sponsorships and partnerships. It's all so insane to me, and my only motive is to point, shrug and go, 'WTF?'" posted by danabanana (108 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
GOMI makes it to Metafilter! My two worlds collide! Although I would question if GOMI is really the "craziest" destination for "blogger hate"- have these people not been, well, anywhere else on the internet (including Metafilter)?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:16 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


GOMI is pretty good at self-policing. It's not really crazy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:17 AM on July 31


So has the founder of GOMI quit their day job already? Because the irony is thick here.

And I'm not sure if it's gomi or this article, but oh so typical to see only female bloggers criticised like this.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:21 AM on July 31 [18 favorites]


Wait until GOMI gets a load of celebrity Let's Players and Twitch streamers.
posted by codacorolla at 10:23 AM on July 31 [3 favorites]


I, too, find professional navel-gazing blogs to be rather tedious—but I've found it to be exceptionally easy and effective to simply not look at them, rather than adopt an active hobby of disliking them.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:24 AM on July 31 [7 favorites]


So has the founder of GOMI quit their day job already? Nope. As long as I've been reading, she's always been doing various contract stuff, so I'm not sure there's a day job to quit, even.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:25 AM on July 31


Any numbers on how many of the subjects of GOMI are women? Based on the article and the first page of GOMI, it sure looks like 100%. How much of this is just misogyny disguised as "discourse about the new celebrity"? I mean, I recognize that bloggers skew more female, but at what point does this become a fun place to bash women who dare to have public voices?
posted by Mchelly at 10:26 AM on July 31 [17 favorites]


You'd have to break down the forum threads (and there's a ton of them; anyone can start a thread on anyone), but I think most GOMI subjects, both on the front page and in the forums, are women. My experience in the community suggests that most GOMI commenters/members are women, too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:30 AM on July 31


The founder of GOMI has always worked as a programmer -- it's never been a money maker.

GOMI is user driven - it's women talking about women a lot of the time.

Surprised they didn't mention the Julia Allison site, which is sort of a spin off from GOMI.
posted by 99_ at 10:30 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Ha, I find GOMI totally crazy but I still read it. The front page is more sensible than the forums, which are a special kind of vicious and hateful. There are threads dozens (or in a few cases hundreds) of pages long devoted to criticizing people who blog about the death of their children, being alcoholics, recovering from crippling plane crashes, being foster parents.

I think most of the posters are probably fine people, and GOMI is just letting them tap some well of jealousy and superiority. Which of course is why I sometimes hate-read GOMI itself, even if I also hate the blog GOMI itself is hate-reading. Then I get to feel superior about not feeling superior to whatever random mommy-fashion blogger. I am vast, I contain multitudes of pettiness.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:32 AM on July 31 [16 favorites]


I am vast, I contain multitudes of pettiness. = please inscribe this on my tombstone
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:33 AM on July 31 [13 favorites]


METAFILTER: I think most of the posters are probably fine people,
posted by Fizz at 10:34 AM on July 31 [3 favorites]


You know, I might have been all over this site ten or twelve years ago, back when blogs were everywhere. But I'm old now, and I don't get as much joy out of hating people and things as I used to get. And some of the people GOMI particularly enjoys crapping on are people I know. And they're alright.

(Kind of glad I shuttered my blog before this became a thing. Not sure I'd have made their radar anyway, but still.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:35 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


everyone shit-talks something or someone, somewhere, at some point.

That is one of the laziest, most facile get-out-of-jail-for-crappiness-free cards I have seen someone play for themselves in a long while... Look, the thing about this kind of stuff that bugs me is not the harm done to the poor bloggers being made fun of, but the harm done to the people who do the mocking, as they're conditioning themselves to get a titillating thrill out of engaging in what's essentially useless, petty and creativity-stifling antisocial behavior.

When you spend too much of your time stooping down to leer at and poke at petty little things that bug you, you become permanently stooped. Don't abuse yourself this way, people. There are actual useful and non-corrosive things you could do for yourself instead. This is just training yourself to be a judgmental ass for no good reason because no one has to read anybody's blogs and forgotten, irrelevant or even crazy-pants blogs don't do any real harm in themselves.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:36 AM on July 31 [71 favorites]


Finally, someone is tackling the issue of Finite Internet. The tubes are getting clogged with trucks full of pointless blogs, people! The crazy cat videos are having trouble making it through!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:37 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


saulgoodman: When you spend too much of your time stooping down to leer at and poke at petty little things that bug you, you become permanently stooped.

You want this, don't you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon keyboard. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.

It's like road rage: by shouting at other drivers, you're not blowing off steam, you're creating more heat, and the other drivers might not even notice you. If they do, it's unlikely anything will get better, but they could become more aggressive, making the situation worse.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:40 AM on July 31 [12 favorites]


Google finds 3,990 pages on getoffmyinternets.net mentioning "Dooce." Dear gawd, people, get a life.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:44 AM on July 31 [4 favorites]


that's not a motive... it's a response, a reaction maybe?
posted by Naberius at 10:44 AM on July 31


The thread dedicated to Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere has 517 pages worth of posts and counting.

Ha, that's nothing! The thread dedicated to Kelle Hampton currently has 3130 pages of hate.
posted by lalex at 10:44 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


The day I discovered that making fun of everything was no way to go through life was a good day indeed.
posted by bondcliff at 10:45 AM on July 31 [13 favorites]


I read the running blogger forum sometimes. Once in a while, a blogger will come in to their own thread and respond to it, and a lot of times they'll say things like, "Wow, I do actually do that, and it's annoying. I'll stop." And it's a good thing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:45 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Ew. These aren't high and mighty celebrities, they're just ordinary people. Criticizing their weight and who they're dating? Really? The internet has so much potential and this is what we're spending it on.
posted by naju at 10:51 AM on July 31 [5 favorites]


I really believe in the idea of criticism punching up, rather than down. This feels like a huge ballroom of people in a vast scrum furiously trying to box each other in the jewels.
posted by selfnoise at 10:54 AM on July 31 [10 favorites]


When you spend too much of your time stooping down to leer at and poke at petty little things that bug you, you become permanently stooped.

Um, not according to this nice guy from Microsoft Customer Service who wrote back to me. I spent yesterday pretty out of it based on a combination of "being really sick" and "drinking a bunch of NyQuil during the day" so I wrote an email whining about how I just got a computer with Windows 8 and it doesn't have the regular games on it and I have to register an account with Microsoft and some other BS stuff. As per usual when I write to customer service*, I apologized for venting about stuff that is outside their power to correct and that they get all the anger and none of the power to fix it, and someone responded to me:
You don't have to worry anything about venting out your frustrations and disappointment on the new Windows 8. That's alright. Atleast, by doing that the load you feel on your heart will lighten up. I hope you feel better now.
Which was oddly sweet and pretty unexpected and frankly amazing. Anyway, now I have important official confirmation that venting out my frustrations will lighten up the load I feel on my heart.

*It doesn't happen THAT often; I am not a crackpot, no matter what my husband says.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:57 AM on July 31 [39 favorites]


I always knew GOMI would make Metafilter someday, and FWIW, this is exactly how I predicted this thread would go. Snarkers on Metafilter snark on snarkers elsewhere! Next up, responses to this comment sputtering about how GOMI and Metafilter are NOTHING alike ever, no way, no how!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:59 AM on July 31 [13 favorites]


Nothing new under the sun, women have been making sites ripping on other women's personal websites since the dawn of the personal Internet. I used to be amused by the hate, but not so much now (teenagers can be horrible, you know)

On the other hand, I read a lot of book reviews. I know that book reviewing has always been driven by publicity and both professional old-media book reviewers and bloggers get free books from publishers. That's OK. But a lot of the supposed amateur reviewers puff up every free book they get with 5 stars and overenthusiastic squeeing. Not every book you get is 5 stars, not even every book you finish is 5 stars, but they all get it. I hadn't seen GOMI before today but from the front page of the site it looks like a lot of hate is driven by the blogs that are in it for the swag. I don't particularly like the tone of the site, loads of body-shaming there, but after looking at all these style and media blogs where you look back at the earliest archives and they're pretty decent and seeing the current posts where it's all sponsored, all the time...I can see where people would be getting irritated with the fakers.
posted by Electric Elf at 10:59 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Generally, don't need people to tell me what to hate.
I'm good enough at that on my own
posted by edgeways at 11:01 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


How much of this is just misogyny disguised as "discourse about the new celebrity"? I mean, I recognize that bloggers skew more female, but at what point does this become a fun place to bash women who dare to have public voices?

The answers are all of it, and from the start. All of it is misogyny. The point at which it becomes a fun place to bash women is from the start. The underlying premise is that any woman who does anything, anywhere is a perfectly acceptable target of vicious attacks. It's 100% pure misogyny.
posted by medusa at 11:01 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


Next up, responses to this comment sputtering about how GOMI and Metafilter are NOTHING alike ever, no way, no how!

Certainly, MeFi is home of plenty of snark. And yeah, we'd be kidding ourselves to say we were entirely different. But we also have a rule of never posting just to say "Look at this asshole!"

"Look at this asshole!" is practically GOMI's raison d'etre. There is definitely a marked difference.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:02 AM on July 31 [11 favorites]


My experience in the community suggests that most GOMI commenters/members are women, too.

So earlier this week, my facebook feed spent too much time on some recent news from sweden, and I noticed a worrying trend in that the "all these things other people do really pisses me off" crowd was my age or older, while younger friends were a lot more "cool not a day too early".

Which made me really worried that I was getting close to some kind of grumpiness tipping point.

Which I then learned is an actual thing.

(which resulted in me spending too much time reading up on hassles and uplifts, hedonic threadmill models, and other entertaining research subjects.)

Anyway, apparently the "get off my internet/lawn/just stop doing whatever you do, you annoying person" point for men is around 70. So is the GOMI crowd mostly not-so-nice old ladies, or does it start earlier for women? Or are these people just bored?
posted by effbot at 11:13 AM on July 31


Hatereading is like porn -- everyone knows it when they see it, and their kink is harmless while everyone else's is morally repugnant.

GOMI was started by an outsider to the NY blogging 'scene' and some of that initial anger may have been a result of feeling marginal (JELLS!) but also knowing enough people to have witnessed some really shitty hypocritical behavior (Emily Gould use to do a hateread blog) either in public or on backchannels. Is it that much different than Jessica Roy's party rant about Keith Gessen? Maybe. A lot of the people participating would say no - that that coarser language is more style than substance.

I know more than a couple people who all day long 'fight the good fight' then then lurk or spew on GOMI or sites like it.
posted by 99_ at 11:15 AM on July 31


This is so very much not a new thing that I'm only surprised I had no idea people still did it. I think the old sites where this was hosted don't exist anymore -- if it's any comfort to these folks, they're walking in very, very old footsteps that go back to the dawn of the chatty internet. But I admit, I sort of thought this went out with the word "weblog" and the word "diarist." It's less that it seems wrong to me than that it seems so ... dated. I was like, "Isn't this kind of a Geocities thing?"

Speaking for myself, I can't imagine spending this much time engaging with things I don't like, and I say that as someone who has written this week about Sharknado and The Bachelorette. It's true that everybody sharpens their claws now and then; I must admit it seems like a waste of blood to go after people most folks have never heard of.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:17 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Never heard of this site. But then, I have a weird car-wreck queasy feeling I get reading lifestyle blogs; admiration that turns to envy that turns to annoyance/skepticism that their life/house/spouse/children are really that awesome when not "curated". Then I start asking myself how this is any different from the popular girl and her little circle-of-sycophants thing that happened in school, and then I stop and go read something else.

I think that's what I like about Twitter, actually; it took the place of personal blogs. A few interesting 140-character observations are about all I need to know about someone online, most of the time.
posted by emjaybee at 11:18 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


This reminds me too of the Shakesville & mods vs anti-SV tumblrs thing that suddenly appeared this week.
posted by jeather at 11:18 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


But we also have a rule of never posting just to say "Look at this asshole!"

Eh, I'd recommend you reconsider the existence of this rule by examining this semi-related thread... Also... Meta!
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:19 AM on July 31


Man, I love reading GOMI and other snarkblogs. And I'm not going to argue that there's no element of internalized misogyny going on here from GOMI commenters because there so often is in life, but that goes the other way too.

A lot of these lifestyle and fashion blogs are extremely judgemental and push that "women, stop being lazy and just have it all" attitude. You are not raising your perfect baby right, you are not being a perfect wife. You need to spend your day being beautiful AND making designer cupcakes AND decoupaging pencil holders for orphans. And god help you if you are fat -- there's just no coming back from that.

So yeah, GOMI is full of snark, but a lot of these blogs push very unrealistic expectations specifically for women and I can't really blame people for feeling a little bitter about it.
posted by jess at 11:25 AM on July 31 [15 favorites]


I only learned about GOMI recently, when Allie of Wardrobe Oxygen posted about it. It was an interesting read, because I was somewhat new to her blog and kinda wondered why it got recommended so much, since it was rather lackluster. It sounds like some of the GOMI criticism helped her out.

The last time I was really absorbed by shit-talking sites on the internets was back when there were a bunch of knitting snark sites, mostly on LiveJournal, but also sites like You Knit What? and someone who called herself the Knitting Curmudgeon. I can't remember what the LiveJournal catty club was called, but they went private and had a big membership purge in which I (among many others) was kicked out. I then decided I actually enjoyed knitting a lot more if I didn't spend a lot of time bitching about and judging other people who also enjoyed it.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:25 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Skimmed through and was thinking it wasn't too terrible, just had that gossip-rag feel (which I get and it appeals to me on occasion) and then I got to this: "Michelle Phan, allegedly Asian, is apparently being sued by Ultra Records for using music in her beauty vlogs without permission."

I ... what? I feel extremely uncomfortable right now.
posted by brilliantine at 11:31 AM on July 31


This stuff, the "slymepit" that targets feminist bloggers in the skeptic blogging scene, and the anti-Shakesville sites all remind me of nothing more than junior high school, when the girl who (through the cruelty of alphabetical order) sat in front of me in most classes liked to turn around and ask me "how does it feel to know no one likes you?" Last I heard, she had grown up and become an adult. I wonder when these people will.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:34 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


Well, I'm perfectly ok with hating on this blog linked from GOMI because it seems its owner is a complete asshat. Yes, let's target children, shall we? Uggggghhhh. (Eponysterical, I know!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:38 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


everyone shit-talks something or someone, somewhere, at some point.

It's not that hard to just keep scrolling past the shit you don't like. I never read GOMI that often, but I did hateread a lot of blogs a few years ago, and at some point I realized that I did so for mostly petty reasons, and I have better things to do than to recount for the millionth time why I hate it when so-and-so does xyz. So I avoid whenever I can, and if I get really absorbed by blogs I absolutely cannot stand, I modify my hosts file.

I see less and less nowadays the point of going 'Look at this asshole!' when it comes to (generally) harmless people.
posted by supermassive at 11:39 AM on July 31


Snarkers on Metafilter snark on snarkers elsewhere! Next up, responses to this comment sputtering about how GOMI and Metafilter are NOTHING alike ever, no way, no how!

There's a pretty big difference between these two things:

1. Following people's blogs just so you can trash them and talk about what idiots they are (which is what happens on GOMI—based on my skim of the home page, anyway; this is the first I've heard of the site), and

2. Seeing the above happening, and saying "man, it's kinda sad to see haters organizing their hate into a full-blown hobby with its own website and forums and everything" (which is what's happening in this thread).
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:45 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Mrs. Pterodactyl: What you're describing sounds like a perfectly justified case of punching up--Microsoft is not some small fry blogger you can safely ignore without consequence.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:45 AM on July 31


So is the GOMI crowd mostly not-so-nice old ladies, or does it start earlier for women? Or are these people just bored?

I think a lot of it is smart people who work at pink-collar cube-farm jobs (clerical, call center, etc) that are boring and poorly-paid, posting from work with the spare brain power their jobs don't require to express. frustration/irritation at the bloggers who don't have day jobs and post a lot of things about how much fun they had hanging out at a cupcakeria at 11 am on a Tuesday ALONG WITH posts about "having it all" or "keeping all these balls in the air" or "finding time to get it all done" or "fashion on a budget." A lot of bloggers can dip a toe too far into the Gwyneth Paltrow pool and come off as clueless when they're primarily trying to come up with a post for the day. I understand why it grates on people; it grates on me.

I always knew GOMI would make Metafilter someday, and FWIW, this is exactly how I predicted this thread would go. Snarkers on Metafilter snark on snarkers elsewhere! Next up, responses to this comment sputtering about how GOMI and Metafilter are NOTHING alike ever, no way, no how!

Heh, my feelings on GOMI are complicated, clearly, but I...oh, I don't know. I can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound pretentious and superior. I will happily confess that I sometimes search for a mention of my tumblr that no one reads in the GOMI forum and can never decide if I'm disappointed or not that I'm not discussed there.

Also Metafilter showed up on GOMI yesterday so I guess the snake devours its own tail.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 11:48 AM on July 31 [9 favorites]


When you spend too much of your time stooping down to leer at and poke at petty little things that bug you, you become permanently stooped.


It's like road rage:

It's also like gossip. When I gossip about someone (not talk about someone who isn't there, I know the difference) I feel a little sick. That's because its bad for me. No big deal I guess but I find it nicer to live without.
posted by shothotbot at 11:52 AM on July 31 [2 favorites]


This is going to sound all "wah wah, I'm a special snowflake," but hear me out.

I grew up in a relatively abusive household. One of the things my mom did to make herself feel good was snark on people (although at the time we called it talking behind someone's back). Who gained weight? Who lost their home? Whose kid was failing out? Who was cheating on their partner? I figured out when I was super-young that if my mom was doing it, everybody must be doing it and that must mean that everyone was talking behind my back too.

It made me terribly insecure, so for a long time, I didn't really have a lot of close friends. When I did make friends, rather than making me want to snark on others, it made me want to bring everyone along for the ride. No one should feel left out, excluded or talked about behind their back -- so if I was in charge, everyone was invited. Even the super-picked-on.

I've never heard of GOMI before today, but all of these sites remind me of my mother. They're mean. They're juvenile. They literally make me feel sick inside.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:54 AM on July 31 [29 favorites]


saulgoodman: When you spend too much of your time stooping down to leer at and poke at petty little things that bug you, you become permanently stooped.

Mrs. Pterodactyl: Um, not according to this nice guy from Microsoft Customer Service who wrote back to me.

saulgoodman: Mrs. Pterodactyl: What you're describing sounds like a perfectly justified case of punching up--Microsoft is not some small fry blogger you can safely ignore without consequence.

I think it sounds like perfectly reasonable venting of frustration, with some "punching up" at a larger entity who has made certain decisions that annoy you. Compare that to GOMI, where there are years of human-hours dumped into critiquing and hating other individual people, the stooping and poking that saulgoodman mentioned. If someone were to constantly post about how they hated Microsoft, that's a case of getting permanently bent out of shape by your hate.

Most things are fine, in moderation. But make that a primary focus of your life, and they can change how you think and act, for the worse.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:55 AM on July 31


I'm not against hating as such. It has its uses. But where do a bunch of Eternal Septemberists get off telling other people to get off their internet? The pre-web internet was FULL of lifestyle stuff, and most of the things they're complaining about have been around in some form well before they were.

And why the low-hanging fruit anyway? There's nothing in the world easier than avoiding makeup vloggers. I get hate-watching, even, but it just strikes me the same way that grown adults who think way too much about Justin Bieber do. I mean, probably most people do that sort of thing a little bit, but shouldn't you be a little discrete about it? Aren't you kind of embarrassed? I know I have a little healthy shame when I get weird about something I don't need to be getting weird about.

Are they scared to go after something bigger than a mommy blogger? Afraid of the things they can't avoid like reddit or Facebook? Where are all the MRA blogs and the people of Walmart style creeper sites? How about smug technical forums where people answer simple, straightforward questions with LMGTFY links, which then become the top Google hit on their own damned link because they don't understand how the internet works?

Yeah, OK. I'm just saying.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:59 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


>So yeah, GOMI is full of snark, but a lot of these blogs push very unrealistic expectations specifically for women and I can't really blame people for feeling a little bitter about it.

But GOMI (which I've perused on about a half-dozen different occasions) also spends a lot of time dissing two blogs* I like that try to unpack and examine those "unrealistic expectations." So how's that helping anyone?

* No, I am not affiliated with any blogs, except as a commenter.
posted by virago at 12:01 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


That .. is so weird. I know a couple of the linked bloggers personally and I feel incredibly uncomfortable seeing people speculate about these guys as though they are not real people. 21st Century, you weird me out.
posted by kariebookish at 12:08 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


Michelle Phan, allegedly Asian

I tried reading some of the comments to see if that would be explained but it just got grosser, really. Ugh.
posted by elizardbits at 12:10 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


I know that book reviewing has always been driven by publicity and both professional old-media book reviewers and bloggers get free books from publishers.

I seem to have been unfairly overlooked on this front. Come on publishers, I'm easy. Just shove a half decent fantasy or science fiction novel in front of me and I'm happy.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:14 PM on July 31


I've visited their SOMI (Stay on My Internets) forum, and discovered a few bloggers that I follow. The rest of the site can be funny, but it is usually so negative that I don't even bother to wade through. SOMI is okay, though. In a mucky pool of snark and hatred, a tiny spark of positivity shines through.
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:17 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


Sorry for the double post. In the interest of full disclosure, here are links -- should anyone wonder -- to the two blogs I like that get a lot of GOMI hate.
posted by virago at 12:17 PM on July 31


I seem to have been unfairly overlooked on this front. Come on publishers, I'm easy. Just shove a half decent fantasy or science fiction novel in front of me and I'm happy.

Do you book blog regularly at your own place? Do you guest post or review for a large SFF site that you don't own? Do you review at Goodreads, and what's your ranking for Best Reviewer or Books Read? Sign up at NetGalley and request to review things. Romance seems to be a lot better with getting books out to book bloggers, but it depends--I review baseball fiction, and some publicists deny my requests because I'm not running a romance blog, or because I don't use the 1-5 star scale in reviews, or because I've reviewed other romances negatively. Who knows? (TBH, most of my books come from the library or my personal collection; the rest are hard copies that I get from publicists via my editor for the large site I write for.)
posted by Electric Elf at 12:21 PM on July 31


Do you book blog regularly at your own place?

Since 2001.

I review baseball fiction,

Now that's a genre I wouldn't think enough novels were published in to make it worthwhile...
posted by MartinWisse at 12:27 PM on July 31


bitter-girl.com: Yes, let's target children, shall we?

Holy god we praise thy name, an ostensibly grown-ass woman is picking on chubby kids. Now I feel like GOMI is like a flamethrower, and at first I think, a flamethrower, that's relatively indiscriminate in what it hurts and could even backfire badly and we don't really need something like that, but then I see something like what you linked and think, now hold on, let's not be hasty.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:28 PM on July 31


"I really don't like the people who smear their children all over the internet. You can argue all day about how it's no different than child performers, but child performers get paid, and there are laws in place to protect them and the money earned by the use of their face or talent. There are no such protections for children who are put on the internet by their parents. What about their right to decide their own internet presence and personal exposure? It just seems wrong to me."

That's... actually a really good point. I never thought about it like that - how ARE mommy(/daddy) bloggers any different than the Toddlers and Tiaras set?
posted by Itaxpica at 12:38 PM on July 31 [7 favorites]


I know a couple of the linked bloggers personally and I feel incredibly uncomfortable seeing people speculate about these guys as though they are not real people.

Yeah, that bothers me. I get that bloggers are putting themselves out there by posting details about their lives and lifestyles on the internet, and that it's reasonable for people to not relate or not agree with their choices. But there is this attitude that if a person exposes themselves to any degree it is totally acceptable to rip them to shreds on any and all fronts, and it gets very ugly and out of control.

I am not by any measures a famous blogger, but I have a nail art blog that gets a decent amount of traffic. This is just pictures of my nail art and me answering questions about how I do different stuff, nothing controversial, nothing that makes me any money. And while most responses to it are positive, there is a small but vocal contingent of people that send nasty comments. I really do not get it. I get messages about how my hands are disgusting and I must be gross and old, or conversely how they are super sexy and someone is fantasizing about me giving them a hand job. This is on the basis of me showing people pictures of my hands. And most of it has a misogynistic tilt to it, even that which is coming from women.

The amount of shit some of these bloggers must have to wade through... I can't even. I would not be able to do it.
posted by bookish at 12:39 PM on July 31 [8 favorites]


The first and only time I saw a GoMI thread, they were tearing a woman apart for the crime of being a human living a human's life. GoMI is the Worst of the Internet. Any comparisons to Metafilter indicate a miscalibrated moral compass,
posted by Yowser at 12:49 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


I remember now, the blog was actually linked from meFi (go figure). GoMI was ripping the woman to shreds for the unforgivable sin of wearing an emerald engagement ring.
posted by Yowser at 12:54 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


I don't think a site can be properly judged based on one thread. There are certainly individual Metafilter threads that I would not hold up as indicative of the site's worth as a whole.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:54 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


It makes me oddly warm inside to know there are still corners of the net with 3130 pages worth of hate for people I've never even heard of before.
posted by tyllwin at 1:00 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


I know a couple of the linked bloggers personally and I feel incredibly uncomfortable seeing people speculate about these guys as though they are not real people.

I used to write for a site which had fairly high traffic and i think the strangest thing I ran across was an emphatic conspiracy theory that I was also actually another writer who had piece posted on a different site.

As a person who considered themselves very much a regular Jane and not famous, it was disconcerting! And I kinda wanted to say, "I'm standing right here! I can see you saying that!" I didn't, but I did choose to stop working as a writer on the internet eventually.

Aw, GOMI hates on Already Pretty? It's one of the few fashion blogs I haven't stopped following, because much of the advice is sensible and Sal works hard to be inclusive. Don't tell me the details. :(
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:10 PM on July 31 [4 favorites]


i guess i would probably feel about it the same way i feel about reddit. a delicious milkshake that just so happens to be made of 10% pureed shit is still not something i want to partake of.
posted by elizardbits at 1:13 PM on July 31 [13 favorites]


That's... actually a really good point. I never thought about it like that - how ARE mommy(/daddy) bloggers any different than the Toddlers and Tiaras set?

I would assume a lot of them are probably sharing family pictures and stories with friends and relatives who actually want to be a part of their kids' lives in some way (rather than just showing them off for the benefit of random strangers, though I'm sure there's that to a lesser extent, too). People rarely have the luxury of getting to live anywhere near their friends and families anymore because economic opportunity is spread around so haphazardly and unevenly for the various trades in the US, so a lot of people depend on the internet, blogs, social media, etc., to try to maintain normal social relations that have been strained by economic diaspora.

For a lot of working adults with kids, sharing their lives with distant friends and relatives on social media is the closest thing they get to regular normal social interaction with many of their friends and relatives because their lives don't leave much room for socializing. Others of us (like me) are spread out across different sides of the Atlantic and just want to feel like we still have some kind of connection to our distant friends and families.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:14 PM on July 31


(But then, I don't really post pictures of the kids to the FB or any blogs either, but my wife posts pics of the kids to FB all the time, and that's why.)
posted by saulgoodman at 1:20 PM on July 31


As a person who considered themselves very much a regular Jane and not famous, it was disconcerting! And I kinda wanted to say, "I'm standing right here! I can see you saying that!" I didn't, but I did choose to stop working as a writer on the internet eventually.


After I left my old job at a newspaper covering prep sports, I found a single comment on a GOMI-like site specific to my small town that read, "They all have personal agendas in [our town], trying to glorify a particular athlete. For instance, this Snarl Furillo is very transparent yet she tries to be smart."

"Disconcerting" is exactly the right word for it. Luckily, I didn't find it for a couple years- it would have upset me if I found it while still working there. Now I find it hilarious and kind of want to get calling cards made up that say "SNARL FURILLO: very transparent, yet she tries to be smart."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:22 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


I enjoy reading GOMI, and people who think it's nasty have clearly never been to Guru Gossiper! Occasionally GOMI does get a bit mean for my taste, and they also tend towards a narrow view of what is a "real job" (something corporate) and they value making money as an end goal a lot more than I do. That said, what the Racked story and many comments here have missed is that much of the GOMI snarking is in fact legitimate criticism of the business practices of bloggers who mislead their hoards of impressionable teenage fans about how they make their money and how they get to live such a seemingly "perfect" life. There's also a good deal of horror about bloggers who exploit their young children for page views and disregard the frankly scary obsessions some readers develop with said children. At the level GOMI usually deals with, bloggers are not just some regular women living their life but more like small magazine publishers. They're business owners promoting major brands and making major cash by publicizing a carefully constructed fiction about their lives. They speak at packed conferences and are considered experts in their fields and get book deals. In my experience it's hypocrisy, such as when a blogger doesn't disclose that a trip or very expensive item was gifted, that tends to really bring out the snark. There's also a pretty strong policy (official or not, I don't know) against fat/skinny/slut-shaming bloggers. And I don't see the site as misogynist, either; blogging, in the genres where you're writing a lot about yourself, at least, is a largely female industry. And I've seen plenty of criticism about male bloggers who are shady, when they do come up.

So yeah, to people who are outraged y it I would just say that it's certainly not a font of positivity and support, but it's extremely entertaining and if you spend a few days reading threads there, you can learn a lot about how professional blogging really works.
posted by ocksay_uppetpay at 1:22 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


Saulgoodman, I'm not talking about regular people who post pictures of their kids on FB or personal blogs to share them with friends or family. Plenty of my relatives do the same. I'm talking about the capital-M Mommy Bloggers who do maintain family based lifestyle blogs as a business, attending conventions, pulling corporate sponsorship, etc. It's like they build entire commercial mini-empires on the backs of kids who don't have the capacity to have an opinion on it, and that kind of squicks me out. I feel the exact same way about, say, 19 Kids And Counting.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:26 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


I was probably better off never knowing that this existed, but it's easy enough to add to my mental SCP file, just like 4chan.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:39 PM on July 31


I looked at the Already Pretty thread just because it's one of the only blogs they hate that I have read a lot of: it is entirely like my junior high school. The entire thread is nothing but "What is the worst outfit Sal has ever worn?" and "What do you think of Sal's new haircut?" and "What do you think of Sal's tattoos?" with occasional implications that writing a blog, a book, and newspaper columns about fashion, doing tv spots about fashion, and consulting with women who need help with fashion do not combine to constitute a legitimate career.

Honestly, I've never met Sal, I read her blog like once a month, and my face is burning and my heart is thumping like I just made it down A-Hall at good old J.M. Alexander Junior High with only a few dirty looks.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:41 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


Ions of the early comments here contextualizes it for me. There's nothing more loathsome to me than the idea some University dropout sociopath can make a dime playing hopelessly outdated Nintendo 64 games on Twitch. So maybe I understand GOMI after all.
posted by Yowser at 1:52 PM on July 31


The day I discovered that making fun of everything was no way to go through life was a good day indeed.

But we should be able to make fun of EVERYTHING. In a joking manner. But for me, hating stuff is really tiring. I probably spent all my hate on my family during my teenage years, and it's hard to hate other things now. It takes work to actively pursue a hate, and I don't gain enough satisfaction from hating people to make it worth it.

It's one of the thing which sorta puts me off of Metafilter. I'm both rather put back by the amount of anger at the both the world and close-minded groups, and the amount of FPPs that discuss it, but at the same time, I'm satisfied that people have an intelligent forum to express their passionate thoughts, which are articulated in a much more comprehensive and coherent manner than I can do. Especially since many here were denied a conversation space elsewhere.

Well, I guess I'll again start imagining Metafilter as a kitten playground, where cortex's paw slipped and accidentally tossed all catnip into oblivion.
posted by halifix at 2:05 PM on July 31


I disagree about GOMI being "100% misogynist". I actually find it pretty feminist in that a lot of it (though not all) is a reaction to blog culture's giving women this narrow set of parameters for what they're supposed to be and want in life, namely husband, babies, staying home, crafts, cupcakes and lots and lots and lots of material goods. It's a zeitgeist that needs calling out badly.
posted by Jess the Mess at 2:20 PM on July 31 [4 favorites]


But we should be able to make fun of EVERYTHING.

There is a big, gigantic difference between making fun and having fun. I think this is where the idea of the humorless feminist comes from and it's a damn shame, because it's so facile. I hate, hate, hate making fun of people. I think things like Jackass and Tosh and all of the other "humiliation television" is terrible, but that doesn't mean I don't have fun or I don't laugh!
posted by Sophie1 at 2:55 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


Ah--the "serious" lifestyle bloggers, eh? I guess I wasn't really considering those, as I've always managed to avoid them. But still, dwelling on things you hate that otherwise don't really effect you can't be healthy.
posted by saulgoodman at 3:19 PM on July 31


When I was working on my PhD, my area of research was the intersection of culture and technology, and my focus was on mommy bloggers, and I am pretty well versed in GOMI as part of that research. And I would defend GOMI, for the most part.

The thing with GOMI is, they are actively critiquing a very specific set of online media. With only a very, very few exceptions, they are only discussing heavily-monetized blogs, in which bloggers are selling their family life as a brand, through affiliate linking, corporate sponsorship, etc. GOMI isn't going after small blogs written by women who want to use social media to keep up with distant relatives. It is an important distinction. They are discussing bloggers who aggressively seek out corporate sponsorship, and whose content is designed to monetize advertising revenue, or to drive attention to a consumer product via advertorial-type posts. GOMI isn't out there just randomly trolling the internet looking for women bloggers to trash. My research data on the GOMI forum showed that most GOMI users were there to discuss only a few bloggers, and that they were formerly part of those blogs' audiences, but who became disillusioned by the disconnect between a blogger's online identity performance versus their real life.

There isn't a GOMI vs bloggers divide, either. Many bloggers, seeking better audience stats, deliberately bait GOMI and other sites, to try to get on the front page, or to rile up the forums to get more hits. There is a lot of money in provocatively baiting your online audience with an extreme point of view. Some even create sock puppet accounts on GOMI to start threads about their own blog, to see if they can work up a good 'hate read' following. Others clearly read their threads and use the suggestions made in them as blog fodder to keep GOMI posters coming back for more.

Other bloggers keep secret GOMI accounts to talk trash about their competition in the hopes of ruining their reputations, and to submit gossip about each other to the site host, further eroding the notion that there exists this set of readers, who are trashing another set of bloggers. They don't admit publicly, but most of the women I interviewed admitted to posting on GOMI at some point.

GOMI isn't perfect. Some comments cross the line, and sometimes the critiques in the forums are about such minor things that it seems hard to reconcile why anyone would care. But for the most part, their media commentary is pretty astute, and users police themselves and each other pretty well.

These monetized bloggers are Kardashian-ing themselves: why aren't media consumers allowed to critique that monetization? Why is okay to critique other people who have parlayed media attention into a monetized personal brand, but not okay to do it when the media format is blogging?

Bonus: the use of GIFS on GOMI is stellar.
posted by kristin at 3:39 PM on July 31 [28 favorites]


I would love to read anything available that you wrote, kristin!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:12 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


Yes, but the practice of wallowing in the awfulness of things--every moment spent giving this stuff attention only feeds it. By your own comment, GOMI is a page-click generating resource for the awful corporate blogs, so it doesn't even meet the stated purpose of discouraging them from existing--indeed it encourages them in their awfulness. Only ignoring them and encouraging others to do the same would achieve the stated aim of GOMI.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:42 PM on July 31


As long as we're on the subject, can anyone recommend insightful or academic writing on misogyny, feminism, and what, for lack of a better term, I'm going to call "the phenomenon of ladies hating on ladies"?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:45 PM on July 31


Being a feminist doesn't mean supporting and condoning everything every other woman does ever regardless.

Men "hate on" other men all the time and it's not considered misandry.
posted by Jess the Mess at 5:12 PM on July 31 [8 favorites]


The thing with GOMI is, they are actively critiquing a very specific set of online media. With only a very, very few exceptions, they are only discussing heavily-monetized blogs, in which bloggers are selling their family life as a brand, through affiliate linking, corporate sponsorship, etc. GOMI isn't going after small blogs written by women who want to use social media to keep up with distant relatives. It is an important distinction. They are discussing bloggers who aggressively seek out corporate sponsorship, and whose content is designed to monetize advertising revenue, or to drive attention to a consumer product via advertorial-type posts. GOMI isn't out there just randomly trolling the internet looking for women bloggers to trash. My research data on the GOMI forum showed that most GOMI users were there to discuss only a few bloggers, and that they were formerly part of those blogs' audiences, but who became disillusioned by the disconnect between a blogger's online identity performance versus their real life.

Okay, but I clicked on the 4th blog down under Fashion Blogs and got to see over 630 pages of people discussing one of the only truly feminist fashion blogs on the internet and all they had to say was basically "Sal is ugly and we hate her." Yes, Sal makes money off of her blog. She makes no secret out of that. It is how she earns a living. But she also provides a place that is focused on helping women be comfortable with themselves, helping them find ways to look good in their own skin. She has over the years invited guest posts and even permanent regular features by women of different ethnicities, ages, and sizes. And all of it in a very gentle, positive supporting voice. I don't think I've ever even seen her have a harsh word for a commenter, even when someone is being a jerk. And for that, she gets 630+ pages (over 3 years) of "Sal is ugly and we hate her."

Perhaps Already Pretty is one of those very very few exceptions. Or maybe GOMI has gotten nastier since when you were writing your dissertation?
posted by hydropsyche at 5:15 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


GOMI on Metafilter.
posted by humanfont at 5:24 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


Okay, but I clicked on the 4th blog down under Fashion Blogs and got to see over 630 pages of people discussing one of the only truly feminist fashion blogs on the internet and all they had to say was basically "Sal is ugly and we hate her."

I follow that thread on and off (wouldn't consider myself a fan of the blog but I peek in every now and then), and I don't think that's an accurate representation of the discussion. Surely, there is a a lot of discussion centered around how she looks, but most of it revolves around her outfit and grooming choices, and isn't that sort of the point of a fashion blog? Like kristin says, Already Pretty is another fashion blog "whose content is designed to monetize advertising revenue, or to drive attention to a consumer product via advertorial-type posts", and therefore, why aren't media consumers allowed to critique that monetization? If readers think her outfits stink for her body, or her general advice on fit is poor, or her shopping habit seems excessive and focused on quantity, not quality (all common themes in the Already Pretty thread), I don't see why saying so is the exact same thing as saying, "Sal is ugly and we hate her."
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:58 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


I would like to officially retract my general negative impression of that site since I've looked at it some more. At first, it really just looked like it was specifically lady-hating, but I'd missed the monetizing and gender policing aspect of so much of what they're hating on.

They're still a bunch of newborn internet babies, but THAT'S OK I GUESS.
posted by ernielundquist at 6:09 PM on July 31


The spirit of her blog is "dress in a way that makes you feel good." If how she dresses makes her feel good, then she's doing what she says she's doing. I saw, for instance, page after page making fun of her tattoos--how is that related to critiquing her monetizing? I don't see how trashing the way she looks like 12 year old mean girls is in any way a useful critique, and it's not even a little bit feminist.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:10 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Being a feminist doesn't mean supporting and condoning everything every other woman does ever regardless.

Sure! Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that. I guess what I'm interested in is writing about the ways in which women critique one another's performances of femininity.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:29 PM on July 31


I think one thing that really depresses me about blogging, particularly blogging by women, is how many women have so little economic clout or business acumen & they really really get into swag.

The PR stuff is incredibly cheap to provide, since the cost of manufacturing is generally nothing like the list price. In return, bloggers write biased and rave reviews, and provide links, and the theory is that then their followers eventually think fondly of that thing and buy it. These women are selling themselves cheaply that way. You can see campaigns roll across blogs, and you can see women encouraging their "friends" to go click on things or do giveaways or otherwise support media campaigns not because they are good, or valuable, or being shown next to meaningful or entertaining editorial, but because you should "support them - why not?"

It's a weird, weird mix of business and social clout. Worse than a Tupperware party. And savvy PR people exploit it, because them showing these women appreciation gets them a lot of promotion for a small budget.

Also, even though the ad/edit wall is under attack, it's still in respectable brands being waged. Sales people do not write editorial. Bloggers take it down. They are entrepreneurs, yay. But they are in both seats - sales and editorial. They often are pretty naive, believing that is what everyone does. They haven't been mentored through conflict of interest guidelines. It seems like everyone assumes it's like the Devil Wears Prada, marching around in outfits from The Closet and insisting on free Hermes scarves...and where I have worked, anyway, so not the case. That would get you fired, immediately.

So I don't love GOMI's mean girl aspects but I do love that there is a site calling that stuff out because I don't know who else will educate bloggers and their audiences, unless it's just by them getting sucked into the PR machine, having their audience used up, and then spit out the other end.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:42 PM on July 31 [8 favorites]


If readers think her outfits stink for her body, or her general advice on fit is poor, or her shopping habit seems excessive and focused on quantity, not quality (all common themes in the Already Pretty thread), I don't see why saying so is the exact same thing as saying, "Sal is ugly and we hate her."

It's not the fact that they're critiquing her, or even the fact that the critique is negative. It's the fact that the site exists to invite people to say negative things. It's right there in the title.

Critique is not the site's raison d'être. Negativity is.

Actual critique is saying "okay, here's a thing; let's check it out and see what we think". And you might find that it's pretty great, or you might conclude that it's total rubbish, or you might find that it had good parts and not-so-good parts, or anything in between. All of those are valid and possibly valuable conversations.

But GOMI is just like..."LET'S FIND STUFF TO RIP ON". Which is just petty.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:49 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


I googled for Chris P, the biggest corporate lifestyle/tech blogging whore on the planet (last name not given as this annoying, super privileged asshat doesnt need the publicity) and couldn't find a single mention of him.

Either my Google fu sucks, or GOMI gas some serious (gender?) blind spots in its coverage.
posted by Yowser at 7:45 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


This would probably be more fun if I'd heard of (or read of) any of the bloggers they were ripping on.
posted by signal at 8:14 PM on July 31


Yowser, you should join and start a thread about him. I personally would like to see Gomi's coverage expand a little to cover more male bloggers. I'm sure there are many who richly deserve a smack down.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:16 PM on July 31


Jess the Mess , the problem with that is that any publicity is good publicity. Venting about professional bloggers just makes them more money in the long run.
posted by Yowser at 8:54 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


So I decided to actually look at GOMI before commenting (I know, right?) and while I've only read a few entries, I'm right on board with kristin and others about how the monetization of lifestyle/parenting blogs is well worthy of criticism.

The third entry on GOMI (when I clicked over) was about the not-so-candid nature of the love Taza mommy blog (spoiler alert: those photos are carefully staged and edited!) but reading some of the GOMI comments really helped to send the message home for me. Comments like this (the first one on the page):
Mr. TurkeyVulture and I went to our favorite cupcake shop the other day. A pair of mommies and daddies were there with two cute kids. The poor kids just wanted to eat their cupcakes, but the dads were shot-directing the whole affair, with huge DSLRs shoved in their faces.

Mr. TurkeyVulture wondered what the hell was going on, and I replied, "Mommy bloggers. Those can only be mommy bloggers."

It was ridiculous. It looked like the fucking paparazzi.
and followed up by this (from the same person):
My sister has a big DSLR camera and takes beautiful candids of her kids. But I've seen her do it -- she doesn't have it constantly in her hands, snapping away. she just grabs it if something cute happens without trying to shot-direct the moment, gets one shot, and then goes on with life.

The Cupcake Incident wasn't like that. The dads were moving the kids' cupcakes around so that they could include them at the most artistic angle, I guess, and taking multiple shots and telling the kids where to look and how to sit. It was bizarro.
There are more quotes from others along these lines, but the point is that this kind of criticism is valid. And more than just valid; it's helpful. I read these articles and I realize how ridiculous it is to be so involved in "capturing the moment" on film that one loses the actual moment, and I worry about how traumatized these children must be to have every good moment ruined by fussy parents trying to make money off their kids' enjoyment of a simple cupcake.

So then, I think about my own photography habit with my own two kids and I do a little self-check to make sure I'm not falling into the same kind of trap. And I'm not, because I don't even have a DSLR camera (mine is a little automatic Canon) and I don't do any staging (other than making sure that there's not a trash can or something in the frame when I'm taking a shot, because that's just embarrassing when I look at the photos and see all that clutter in the background) and while I do have a kids blog, it's password-protected and for the grandmas and spinster aunts on the other side of the country.

But still, it's helpful to have that reminder of how some parents do take this photography thing to an extreme. And this isn't a new thing; if you think back to your own childhood, you might remember somebody's parent who was always taking photos at the birthday party and giving stage directions and so on.

And so yes, surprisingly, sometimes a little bit of internet hate can make me into a better parent and a better person.
posted by math at 5:37 AM on August 1 [5 favorites]


And so yes, surprisingly, sometimes a little bit of internet hate can make me into a better parent and a better person.

Between this thread and the Slyme Pit/Shakesville Kool Aid stuff, what I've learned is that although I try to only go to places that are not full of hate, like Metafilter, Free Thought Blogs, and Shakesville, I am surrounded by people who enjoy spending way more time than I ever realized hating things.

There is a way to do thoughtful cultural criticism without hate. That is my personal preference.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:08 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


@Hydropsyche, and others, it's very easy to just say it's a 'hate' site and dismiss it outright, but that doesn't really speak to what is happening at GOMI at all. It's a better characterization to say GOMI is a frustration site, where blog readers gather to express their collective frustration. Scanning the front page of GOMI, going back a few pages as well, is very enlightening about what is happening in the monetized blogosphere, and what bloggers do to drive traffic and their income. Things like: a lifestyle blogger posting a 'recipe' for dessert that consists entirely of putting store bought doughnuts on a cake plate, the luxury lifestyle blogger who stole credit cards and used them to purchase the luxury goods he featured, the disturbing trend of poverty tourism cropping up in the monetized female blogosphere, and an open discussion about how the top monetized blogs in mommy/lifestyle are all written by women who conform to a very narrow set of media standards of beauty, that include race and social class.

And there's plenty in the forums that never makes it to the front page: the bloggers who 'fashion' blog by going into stores, taking a million selfies while trying on the clothes then leave without buying anything, or who buy stuff, wear it to photograph, then return it. The self-proclaimed alcoholic who just posted a selfie on Instagram complaining about a roadside sobriety check being irritating, who then later posted another selfie of herself taken while driving down the highway with what looks might like her kid in the back seat. The mommy blogger who posts naked pictures of her intellectually disabled child on her blog, the cooking bloggers that steal their recipes and don't give credit for them, the lifestyle bloggers who pretend to be living a life they really aren't, etc, etc.

It's really easy for bloggers to keep themselves off of GOMI: be an ethical blogger who discloses their sponsorship. Don't shill products you don't use. Don't photograph your kids naked. Don't use your blog to create a social media footprint of your kid just to make money. Don't whore your family to do advertorial writing for corporate sponsors. Don't pretend to be anything you aren't. Don't hire a photographer to take pretend candid pictures of yourself every day and post them. Don't actively try to screw over other women blogging in your field. Don't falsely claim to be pregnant with a sick baby to drive your traffic and get attention, then fundraise for a second baby that may or may not exist, or use other people's children in your sponsored instagram posts. Or kill your child slowly while blogging about how hard it is to raise a special needs child.

Don't be a massive, unethical jerk. That's the bottom line. Because the readers are watching, and they will discuss what they read with each other.

(edit: screwed up link)
posted by kristin at 8:33 AM on August 1 [6 favorites]


I've been reading GOMI for a year now. I have mixed feelings. I love the snark in the comments but like the one GOMI "victim" said, after a while, it doesn't make you feel good to witness (or be a part of) the bashing. However, like @Kristin said, it does call out the bullshit some of these women bloggers put out there. If you're going to act like a tool, sometimes people call you out on it.

I was big into the women blogges and blogs in general back in the early 2000s. But the interest stopped after I saw (and got mixed up in) drama galore. Now, I only read things like DListed, because that snark is HYSTERICAL.
posted by stormpooper at 9:24 AM on August 1


Another thing I enjoy about the GOMI forums is the chatty threads that develop. This spinoff from the YHL thread about the terrible things people do to houses has been amazing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:57 AM on August 1


Between this thread and the Slyme Pit/Shakesville Kool Aid stuff, what I've learned is that although I try to only go to places that are not full of hate, like Metafilter, Free Thought Blogs, and Shakesville, I am surrounded by people who enjoy spending way more time than I ever realized hating things.

I've only recently had the pleasure of learning about the Slyme Pit, so most anything one reads in opposition to that will likely seem civil, but that thread you linked to is pretty coarse all way around.

So is hate more a measure of rhetoric or ideology? Because the SVKA people seem like they are fairly progressive feminists who are have fallen out with former allies (unless sock puppet-ing has gotten a lot more sophisticated), and GOMI in many ways is more progressive than a lot of what they criticize (mommyblogging and fashion blogging don't really fix on political position that is comestible; most of the fashion blogging I ever saw on tumblr was two steps away from being Women Against Feminism), whereas the Slyme Pit people seem to be straight up anti-feminist (I honestly have never tried to read it directly, just see self proclaimed members elsewhere).

Being civil is generally a standard that seems reasonable, but Free Thought commenters seem to deviate from that a fairly typical rate and certainly more aggressively than MeFi.
posted by 99_ at 12:17 PM on August 1


This is reminding me of the time I had an epiphany about how I was relating to a playwright I sort of knew. (I promise this is going to be relevant, and the reasons will become clear.)

So there was this playwright. S/he was...well, she wasn't, like, MST3K bad. S/he had a pretty vivid and unusual imagination; it's just that s/he would use it to write plays that were kind of wackadoo (one play combined elements of voodoo, horse racing, and feminism. Feminism was always a kind of theme this playwright returned to again and again.) And s/he kept entering our contest; to the point that my partner and I would crack a joke when we saw an entry come in each year; usually it'd get read and wouldn't make it into the semifinals for the contest. A couple times an entry would make it into the semifinals, but go no further.

This playwright later joined my group's playwriting group, and s/he was sweet, but...a bit dizzy. One of those "overly enchanted with the romantic ideal of being a writer" types. And still cranking out the same kind of not THAT abysmal but still kind of eennnnnh stuff.

And for a while I really, really did a lot of private snarking to a couple of confidants about the playwright, and how it wasn't fair that s/he was cranking out all this stuff, and why didn't s/he stop and what the hell was wrong with that theater company that was giving one of playwright's plays a reading, and oh my god s/he just wrote another one, and...

....And then one day I stopped myself mid-thought and asked myself, "okay, yeah, playwright's plays suck, but how many plays have I written lately?"

Oh. Right. Yeah, maybe I thought I could do better than playwright, but at least playwright was spending time writing plays rather than reading other people's plays and snarking about them. And maybe that was why they were getting so much further than I was - because s/he was actually writing rather than snarking.

Oh. Right.

It was an uncomfortable moment, and even though my snark had all been private, I'd recognized it for the jealous laziness that it was and cut way back. I still occasionally crack jokes about a couple of those plays, but today it's more from a more affectionate place of "ah, bless 'em" and I'm a lot more focused on my own paper.

I wonder how many of the members of GOMI secretly want to be writing their own blogs but haven't yet gotten the discipline to do so, and this is how they're soothing those pangs.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:51 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many of the members of GOMI secretly want to be writing their own blogs but haven't yet gotten the discipline to do so, and this is how they're soothing those pangs.

Well, GOMI is actually a blog. A- doesn't really travel in the same circles as the anti-Julia Allison crowd, but GOMI started around the same time as the rebloggingdonk tempest in a tumblr, so I always think of them as the same, though I suspect the forums are pretty distinct from the reblogging donk "community" which has always been bloggers, many of whom are/were journalists/writers (big Venn overlap with early Gawker/early Awl commenting scene).
posted by 99_ at 1:18 PM on August 1


Yeah, I was kind of looking more at the forums when I was thinking of that. I got the sense that the blog was more taking the piss out of the whole culture that's grown up around following lifestyle bloggers and fawning over them (rather than the bloggers themselves), but the forum seemed a whole other level and that's what I was thinking of.

In the interest of full disclosure - I have spent time on Fandom Wank and its affiliates; that's also a mock-and-laugh forum, but it's much stricter about a) who deserves mockery (it's usually reserved for REALLY egregiously bazonkers behavior in fandom - the high spirits over proving whether the stars of Supernatural are doing it, for instance), and b) not taking the snark to the people directly. I read in this article that some GOMI forum folk are emailing bloggers directly with insults; Fandom Wank would NOT go for that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on August 1


I have fairly mixed feelings about this. For the most part i feel the way kristin feels above, and think that there's a lot of stuff going on here that needs to happen. I'll also admit that i'm an asshole, and being an asshole is like being an alcoholic. You're an asshole for the rest of your life, even if you stop...erm... assholing.

Any time anyone criticizes anything like this they get accused of doing it wrong. It always happens. Especially when it's women, or a woman criticizing something... even if it's other women.

Do i think there's plenty of hateful stuff on this site? yea. Do i agree with everything posted? no.

But there is some stuff i find completely insufferable besides the obviously beyond the pale stuff kristin mentioned. Like the "gayby" blogger on the first page.

I understand why it's relatively wide open, because at any level of moderation you'd get enormous amounts of "why is this allowed but this isnt?" bullshit that would just clog it up so bad it would be impossible to maintain. I don't see it as some 4chan-like mostly shitposting force though, there's definitely a lot of tiresome and embarrassing crap being called out here i enjoy seeing roasted.

That, and i mean, i'm an asshole. Something deep inside me just enjoys seeing Things I Don't Like Or Agree With get fucking totaled and mocked.
posted by emptythought at 3:22 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I usually really love this sort of hardcore sarcastic group slagging - I was well into Popbitch for about a decade, and my love for technology and web stuff was nurtured by the late, great, wonderfully cruel NTK - but there's defo something a bit off about GOMI.

I think the problem might be that the GOMI folk don't love the thing they hate, if you see what I mean? The raw evil of Popbitch - the board more than the mailout - was (is?) rooted in a deep love of all things pop, so all the rage and pisstakery and goss was based on the targets being rubbish compared to the good stuff.

GOMI seems to be based on the idea that all lifestyle blogging is utter shite, no exceptions, so there's nothing to temper or leaven the relentless hatred, which makes the whole enterprise sort of depressing and bitter and mean. (I may be, er, completely wrong about this, only having dipped into GOMI occasionally - kristen's comment suggests I might have the wrong impression?)

I have spent time on Fandom Wank

The above is true of Fandom Wank, too, I think - the folk who post there are part of the fandoms they take the piss out of, so it's more like eye rolling at fandom extremists than wholesale derision for everything fandomish.

It seems that, for this sort of site to really work, there has to be at least a tiny nugget of positive feeling underpinning all the meanness.
posted by jack_mo at 3:34 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


GOMI seems to be based on the idea that all lifestyle blogging is utter shite, no exceptions, so there's nothing to temper or leaven the relentless hatred, which makes the whole enterprise sort of depressing and bitter and mean. (I may be, er, completely wrong about this, only having dipped into GOMI occasionally - kristen's comment suggests I might have the wrong impression?)

Yeah, I would go with kristen and say the opposite- I think most people on GOMI really love/loved blogs as an art form, and that's why they get so pissed off when a favorite blog "sells out" or it seems like everybody is chasing after sponsors all the time. I've loved blogging since, what, high school, and I remember when having a blog meant you had to write something, because nobody had figured out the whole digital picture hosting thing yet. Now a blog without pictures seems strange! I suppose part of that is the rise in use of social media- you don't need to have a blog to write about your life anymore, you can do that on Twitter and Facebook. Blogs seem to have more of a structured purpose these days- here's a blog about my wedding, here's a blog about my weight loss or debt reduction journey, here's a blog about my house. Not surprising that blogs like that are easier to monetize.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:26 PM on August 1


When I was in college, the word 'weblog' had just been invented, and it generally meant a collection of links to cool sites you had visited on the world wide web that you thought other people might think were cool, too. Which possibly explains my attachment to Metafilter as what a blog is actually supposed to be in my mind.

To me, 'criticism' implies a mix of positive and negative comments. The reason I referred to GOMI as a hate site is that (like the Slyme Pit and like Shakesville Kool Aid) it appears (from skimming a few different fora) that maybe one comment out of 100 (or 1000) says something positive, and the other commenters seem to get annoyed when that happens. The other 99% (99.9%) of comments seem to be completely negative, and yet the commenters keep reading these blogs they hate and discussing them for years. To me, that's just not criticism.

I generally just don't read things I don't like. Several folks above said they actually like unpleasantness and prefer to be around it. So GOMI sounds great for you. But I honestly wish that I didn't know sites like this even existed. It makes me sadder about the world.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:34 AM on August 2


Other bloggers keep secret GOMI accounts to talk trash about their competition in the hopes of ruining their reputations, and to submit gossip about each other to the site host, further eroding the notion that there exists this set of readers, who are trashing another set of bloggers. They don't admit publicly, but most of the women I interviewed admitted to posting on GOMI at some point.

This....is not really making me want to read it?

I definitely get that the stories need to be told, and shills need to be exposed. It seems like a very mob-justice type of way to go about it. It seems like it would be easy to be unfairly pilloried if someone decided they knew you were doing something wrong and set out to expose you.

I think it's kind of like hating on any woman celebrity who builds a public image. They found an image that made them money; they stuck with it; it required a great deal of pretending to be more perfect and less human than they are. I don't admire them for it, but I find the system that makes this happen a better target than an individual woman. And hate-watching or hate-attention still results in eyeballs, clicks, and the perpetuation of the system. Not paying attention does seem to be a better strategy. Journalism about the hypocrisy/sponsorship issues would be great, also, though I can say that corporate sponsorship of people pretending to live aspirational lives goes back much farther than lifestyle bloggers.
posted by emjaybee at 10:07 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


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