Dear Letter Writers and Commenters

When Jacquelyn Fletcher and I first launched this site several years ago, we thought it would be a place where people could come — anonymously — and write a letter they felt they could never send to the recipient.

Throughout the years, we’ve received many amazing and heartfelt letters. We’ve also received letters that left Jacquelyn and I wondering if we should somehow intervene and offer resources.

We’ve watched as our site has become a saving grace for some people who would have otherwise kept their feelings bottled up. It’s been an honor to be a part of that experience.

Simultaneously, we’ve watched as people have offered their opinions on the letters and/or writers via the comments.  Some of the comments are written in a helpful tone and are clearly helpful in nature. We seem to be receiving more unhelpful and judgmental comments these days which puts us in a difficult position.

Jacquelyn and I only wish to help people with this site, not tear them down. Therefore, starting today, our commenting policy if you don’t have anything genuinely helpful to say, then don’t say it at all.

Examples of genuinely helpful things to say would be:

  • Sounds like you’re in a rough spot. Are there any resources I can offer to help you?
  • I’ve been in a similar situation and this is what I’ve found helpful…….
  • Have you considered doing this/talking to X/

Similarly, to our Letter Writers, please do not hesitate to write letters to the site; however, please realize that in submitting to the site, you will likely see suggestions from commentors on how to better cope with your frustrations.

Let’s not be our own worst enemies. Let’s please help each other out rather than tear each other down.

Thank you.

Erin and Jacquelyn, Stepfamily Letter Project co-creators

~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on June 10, 2011.

5 Responses to “Dear Letter Writers and Commenters”

  1. Thank you, thank you Erin and Jacquelyn for this timely reminder! I’ve been saddened by the tone and judgment of many tear-em-down comments lately. I view this place as a safe haven and I feel sadness for someone who may have thought it was a safe haven only to be treated to unkindness.

    I truly believe in the old cliche “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”….being in a stepfamily (regardless of which role you occupy) can be brutally hard. We all need a little more positivity in our lives and a little less negativity. I hope readers of the letters posted here will come forth with many helpful suggestions!

  2. I think it’s sad the only way readers can be perceived as helpful is if they only commiserate or offer words of encouragement when constructive criticism is more appropriate. I believe both, when well-meaning, are a great resource to anyone struggling as often people are if posting letters here.

    Thanks for the letter. Glad your vision for this site is plainly stated so we can participate or not without any confusion on it as readers.

  3. Erin –
    I appreciate your insight. We’re trying to foster an environment of genuine caring on this site which, you may or may not agree, often comes from a place of empathy.

    Criticism, even when constructive, is still criticism. We’re not asking for commenters to always offer a “great job”; however, what we will no longer allow are comments that are clearly judgmental in nature.

    To use your own experiences — as you’ve written about in the comments — as an example, if a stepmom has written a letter about feeling alienated, an accepted/able comment would be something like “Having been alienated from my own biological children myself, I’ve found ……..”

  4. I really enjoy reading the letters people write in. I have your site save as an RSS feed on my home page so I can view it constantly. I am thankful to you guys for having this site. Because of all the stories I read, or share, I feel like I’m not alone.

    Some people just dont know the meaning of manners or encouragement and I wld hate to see you shut the site down bc of their comments.

    Thanx again!

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