The first time I heard about the empty, noisy pail analogy from my dad was 13 years ago. It goes like this:

When you hit an empty pail on the side, it’s noisy. But if it’s full of water, it’s not. It doesn’t even make too much sound.

It’s quite an analogy, even for my dad. And I remember it as clearly as ever just now.

Sometimes I wonder if other people are forgetting that I’m, first and foremost, a designer (and a full-time one at that), and problogging is only a part-time job (if you call it a job). Between the three of us organizers, I think I’m probably the most calloused when it comes to criticism. If I wasn’t, I’d be out of business. If my sensitivity to criticism was similar to that of a Makahiya plant, I’d be bawling every single day I open my inbox.

My clients demand the best service, and that is understandable. They are, after all, paying for my services. So I guess that’s why I take “the header doesn’t look good, I’d prefer it this way” as a venue to improve my work—and not something for me to lose sleep over. But when people cloak personal attacks as criticisms, that’s an entirely different story.

As I have posted last Sunday, we are very grateful for the work done by the volunteers. And the support from the blogging community. And the sponsors. You can just imagine how much it pains me to see personal attacks disguised as criticisms. Sure, it wasn’t directed at any of the three of us organizers. But the volunteers have worked sleepless nights for weeks just to make sure that the Awards Night pulls through. They don’t deserve that kind of treatment. Actually, nobody does.

If you think something needs to be improved, go ahead and say it. Tell us what you think. But resorting to personal attacks will do no good. Did personal attacks offer solutions? No. It only resulted to discord. The total opposite of what the Philippine Blog Awards is all about.

Yes, as bloggers we are all independent publishers. We have right to freedom of speech and free thinking. But freedom is also exercised responsibly, taking into consideration the right of others to respect and dignity. Free thinking isn’t about putting labels on people, is it? Unless I’m mistaken, describing people using degrading adjectives is one of the worst forms of labeling others. Just because somebody doesn’t share your belief doesn’t give you the right to insult them. Yes, you have the right to freedom of speech. But passing unfair judgments to other people for expressing their opinion (not to mention calling them names online) is simply an irresponsible practice of this right to free thinking and speech.

If you abhor any aspect of the Blog Awards, go ahead and say it. We welcome your criticism. Feel free to email me at kutitots[at]gmail[dot]com if you’re shy. We definitely want next year’s Awards to be better than this year’s. But please do us (and everyone) a favor and not cloak your personal attacks as “criticisms.” Insulting other people just because you don’t agree with them will not help improve next year’s Blog Awards.

Remember, there is a big difference between a constructive criticism and one that is not. I’m glad to see that there are a lot of constructive criticisms aimed for the improvement of the event. But unfortunately, there are some that aren’t—and even encouraged promoting discord.

But before you think I’m being defensive or trying to prevent you from practicing your freedom of speech… Fine. Go ahead and make all the noise you want. Insult us organizers. Curse us till kingdom come. Call us inefficient and insensitive. Say what you please about the three of us. Attack us personally. Who cares about blogging responsibly? It’s your blog, not mine. I won’t stop you.

But when time comes and we would once again ask for volunteers, would you heed our call?

My dad was right. The empty pail is indeed the noisier one.