Within a community of practice, negotiating of norms is often done at a "point of conflict" (Wenger, 1999)

After a number of harsh postings, Ann called her fellow eWeb members to task on this issue in the "Submissions Forum":

From Date Subject Text
Ann 11/12/99 Emma...

Emma, that's a little harsh, isn't it? I mean, you could nicely say, "I didn't really enjoy that because..." and then state it. Constructive criticism, not rude remarks having to do with someone's soul... Maybe you should try being a little bit...more supportive...of people's work. You can hate it as much as you like, but at least hate it nicely.


Ann 12/19/00 Rebuttal

Emma, maybe it's just the few messages I've read of yours but I'm really not getting along with you on many things it seems with eweb. Your criticism to this is of little help... I'm sorry that we're not all as "wonderful" writers as you are, but you can't just go around harassing [sic] other people's works without justification...

Emma 12/19/99 Hmph Well, sorry for being honest. I don't mean to incite anger by saying exactly what I think. I think we have enough people to offer creative criticism around here, I just try to give a different viewpoint on things. Most of this writing is plain bad and I don't want to see it again, revised or not. Whether everyone else likes it or not... that never really entered into the picture for me. I'm saying what I think. However, this did get me thinking... sometimes I am a bit too sarcastic and plain mean-spirited. As fun as that may be, I'll TRY to be nicer. That doesn't mean I'm not going to stop shooting down bad writing. PS: I have nothing against you, Ann, and I really admire your work. You're a nice person (usually) and I would like to get to know you better. *sings* Why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends...
Ann 12/19/99

Problems with conduct (also put on eWeb bulletin board)

All right you guys, I am sick and tired of reading all of these nasty comments on these people's writings. D--- tired of it. What give us the right to sit here and rank on these people's words that mean something to them? The poetry, the short stories, they'v [sic] put EFFORT and TIME into these and, yes, many of them aren't of the best structure but instead of sitting here on our "high pedestals [sic]" why not try and HELP them? Or are we too good for that?

Look, I'm sorry, I don't want to seem over pretentious or act like a witch or anything but I am just SERIOUSLY ANGERED by some of the comments we've left. Even Mrs. K' letters of rejection posts have had comments in the subjects such as "left out the harshness." EWEB is not about preaching our greatness on the subject of literary works, or our superiority on Teenlit because we've been lucky enough to be chosen as editors...This website was created for us to HELP our fellow writers to improve their writing.

We're not here to bash, people. We're here to learn and to teach.


Emma 12/21/99 Re: Bone to Picl [sic]

First off, I don't bash people. I do not... well, okay, yes I do. And I will stop. And I am sorry. But the vast majority of my comments are targeted at the writing. My replies get my point across, whether or not they are rude, and they do pick out the bad parts of the writing for closer examination. I am not regretful of anything I've done on this website, nor will I recant my evil ways *s* I also will not start writing in a way that is geared toward teen writers with fragile mentalities that cannot handle criticism. I refuse to become candy-coated...However... *sigh*... I admit that you are right, Ann, and that we... well, nevermind [sic], it's just me. I will admit that I am overly sarcastic and mean-spirited. As fun as that can be, I'll try to include more constructive criticism and less rudeness. Like I said, I'm not changing my style.

So, let's compromise. I'll stop bashing people over the head with the leaden bat of sarcasm if everyone else stops sounding like my mom.

Oops. Sorry, no offense. :)


Ann 12/22/99 Bone to Pick...Emma…

appreciate the compromise....Thank you for understanding. And the comment wasn't directed solely at you--believe me, there are other members that have done some bashing to you. Thanks again for taking my request into consideration.


Emma 12/22/99 Big grin

Wow, I'm just really glad that didn't end in a big conflict. That would have been rather bad. You really opened everyone's eyes, Ann. Thanks for the wake up call, we really were being a little condescending.


Molly 12/21/99 geez

ok, ok Ann. I never like to admit when i've been being a high-and-mighty b---- child. i guess some of us are finally able to criticize all the crappy writing that has eclipsed our own talent... it makes us feel better to belittle stuff. But this place was created to help everyone out, and we were chosen because Mrs. K thought that we were mature enough to participate. I'll do my darndest not to make anymore unappropriate [sic] comments.


And, in the end, Emma never really changed her pattern of harshness, except under very different circumstances.

17. Possibilities from Disconfirming Evidence>