I have been blogging for over a decade now, and in that time I have certainly received hurtful and/or hateful comments. I have had my share of trolls, personal messages from particularly irate readers, as well as (empty) threats.
At first they used to bother me. A lot.
But now, I find them quite amusing.
Does something that a complete stranger writes on their personal blog bother you so much that you feel the need to continually argue your point?
To refresh the page over 90 times in an hour to see if you had gotten a response? (Yes, someone actually did this to me quite a few times.)
To link to the offending post in an online forum or social media site to ask for reinforcements? (A militant atheist used to link to my blog whenever I wrote anything regarding my religious beliefs.)
I personally find that it is completely useless to argue with someone over the internet, let alone with someone whom you’ve never met. So you know my stance on the issue. 🙂
My favorites are, by far, the comments and emails that tell me that they will stop reading my blog. These are almost always from readers who have never interacted with me before — those who I never knew were reading in the first place — so I find it a bit comical that they expect me to get upset.
Perhaps these people think that by no longer reading this blog, they are no longer supporting me financially?
The truth of the matter is that although I have recently started to monetize my blog, I probably made in the last month what I used to make in one day when I worked full-time. So no, I can do without the money and I have done without the money all this time.
Do they stop reading other blogs over differences in opinions too? Because personally, there are many, many blogs and websites I frequent that often publishes content I disagree with politically, religiously, and even sometimes morally. But I continue to visit them because I find the majority of their content interesting and/or relevant to my needs. So I find it a bit difficult to understand why others can’t do the same.
My friend Maya did a very thought-provoking post last month about Socially Conscious Shopping which sorta treads on this issue. How much do you really know about the inner workings of a company? How much do you really know about the blogger behind the blog?
I tend to share more about my life than the average person, but it is still only a slice of my life. So how do you know that I do not run a sex trafficking ring in my spare time? How do you know that I am not actually a 42-year-old man who has painstakingly created the “Geek in Heels” persona?
The answer is, you don’t.
Look, I do not expect to change the world with this blog. I am well aware that I am just one lone voice amongst millions, and that this blogs holds very negligible to no power when it comes to influencing society, laws, popular opinion, and so forth.
What I share here are my personal thoughts, tidbits from my boring life, and amusing findings I discover online.
And as far as I can tell, I am quite within my rights to continue doing exactly what I’ve been doing.
This post is not meant to dissuade people from posting disagreeable comments. I am perfectly fine with healthy debates where all parties stay respectful. Rather, this post is directed at those who insist that their opinions are right, no matter what, and will continually harrass and/or insult me or another commenter.
Why would they get so upset over the opinions of a perfect stranger?
How could they be so convinced that they have a blogger “figured out” when what they read is solely based on what the said blogger chose to share?
Do they react similarly when they find out that a friend or acquaintance holds differing opinions too, ie confront them and argue their point?
amen to that!
When you mentioned that we don’t really know who you are, we only know what you choose to share, I thought about the two lesbian bloggers who were recently discovered to be married middle age men, who had created entire personas and lives on their blogs. You really never know, and while I’m pretty sure you’re not a guy, :), it’s incredibly presumptive for a reader to stubbornly refuse to back down because they think they’ve got you figured out.
However, that xkcd? Totally my husband. Not so much on blogs, but he gets so irritated on a few forums he belongs to when someone is stubbornly insisting they’re right. He’ll spend hours trying to reason with them and make them see how they’re wrong, and it usually doesn’t work. Just seems like a waste of time to me… stubborn people are usually pretty good at being stubborn. 🙂
I had never heard of the middle aged men who posed as lesbian bloggers — I’ll need to go check it out!
And as for the cartoon? That used to be me too. Back in the days when I used to visit online forums and chatrooms quite frequently, I used to stay up till all hours debating and arguing my points. That’s when I realized that fighting with someone over the internet really IS useless, especially (as you point out) when stubborn people are involved…and I can be as stubborn as a mule! I hope for your husband’s sake that he realizes this too. 🙂
There was a good CNN article but I can’t seem to find it now… this link should get you started: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jun/14/second-lesbian-blogger-exposed-paula-brooks
My husband made this:
There are some blogs (not this one!) that I’m not sure why I even read. I find the bloggers annoying and disagree with much of what they post. I think it may just be some kind of window into the life of someone I can’t relate to?
I think as long as the blogger and his/her readers are civil and participate in healthy discussion, disagreements can make for interesting interactions. It’s blogs where only praise, support, and agreement are acceptable that really turn me off.
For instance, I recently just stopped reading the blog of a woman who is planning a home-birth. I commented on a post about her planning a home-birth, saying that I could never take that chance for fear of what could happen and how I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I didn’t say she shouldn’t do it, wasn’t rude, just participating in the discussion (or what I thought was supposed to be a discussion). However, my comment was instantly set upon by a horde of home-birthing fanatics. That was kind of the last straw for me. I stopped reading. Her blog was basically a place where any dissenting opinion was attacked- I felt like I was viewed as a troll instead of a reader/follower. I’m curious how she makes out, and pray that she doesn’t regret her decision, but I’m not giving her any more ad revenue (she HEAVILY monetized her blog- doing reviews and giveaways of anything/everything she’s offered).
I confess that there are some blogs I read where I too, frequently wonder to myself why I still subscribe. I guess it adds some spice (as in the blood-boiling kind) to my otherwise mundane life? Or, as one person told me, it’s so that you can have your “I can’t believe he/she just wrote that!” moments and privately seethe/laugh/roll your eyes?
But even if I find a post particularly irritating or just plain WRONG, I never comment for the sake of arguing. I never tell a blogger, “You’re wrong” or even “Please don’t do that.” Yes, there have been moments here and there where I will hit refresh a few times to see how others have commented, but for me — as stated in the body of this post — arguing with someone over the internet is pointless.
I’m sorry you had that experience at the other blog. Having seen many blowups in mommy forums, commenting against a blogger on controversial pregnancy/birthing/parenting issues, especially when the majority of the commenters seem so supportive, is something I have learned NEVER to do. 🙂
P.S. — Thanks for the link! Love it!
AMEN. AMEN and AMEN AGAIN.
This post sums up exactly how I feel, right down to the readers I never knew I had but send me nasty hurtful emails and comments rather than nice ones to begin with, and those who think I make my living as a writer because I cannot possibly have two blogs FOR FUN.
For the record, I make more in an hour at my real job than what I do in one month with these blogs. For money, I’d rather work than blog.
Also, differences in opinions are what I like, although if people don’t like a blog, they should just quietly stop reading rather than get up on a high horse and criticize about something they’ve never experienced or done.
You are right on painstaking, if you really are a 42-year-old man behind Geek in Heels! It’s funny, the bloggers I like best are those that seem real and interesting, but they really only exist in my mind. I recently learned the real name of a blogger I’ve been reading for years and I felt so strange after.
I’m glad to see your great attitude, I should try to do more of that. It is difficult to deal with moral police or idea police, sometimes I find it hard not to engage them.
Yeah. Sometimes it’s not even a stranger. I haven’t talked to my dad for a year because he started to SCREAM at my one day about my posting my views on the Arizona immigration law on my blog. It’s my blog-I can post whatever the hell I want.
YES yes yes. Amen. I’ll be honest: it isn’t uncommon for me to read someone’s blog post and disagree with what the author is saying. However, I launch my own “attack” in my head, not in the comment section. Every once in a while, I might post a polite comment stating my stance, but never in a derogatory way! I just don’t see why people think it is a good idea to put people down on their own blog. Oooh, so you’re not going to read anymore? Ok, fine by me. I can live without your mean comments. Please go elsewhere! 😉
I’m glad you have such a great attitude about this. It’s just not worth it. Some people are just nasty. I don’t know why or what they get out of it. It so… pointless.
I wrote a book review on Amazon and most people loved it. There were a couple of people who commented and attacked me personally saying I was fat & lazy (wha?). I really wanted to respond and defend myself but decided against it. Interesting, a random third person came to my defense. I felt pretty good that day 🙂
Somehow I feel that post is related to me 🙂
At least that there is an odd temporal coincidence.
Actually I had commented before, though rarely. On that particular topic however I felt that there was a severe lack of opposition.
But I had no expectations regarding my unsubscription. Probably I shouldn’t have mentioned it at all.
Believe or not, but you are no nobody in the blogosphere. The number of comments you receive is considerable, and opinions you voice are received and digested. Insisting on being right has never been as easy as on the internet. But why it has so strong effects: I don’t know.
Actually, no. 🙂 While I admit that the spanking post did contribute to my wanting to write that post, it was directed to ALL the trollish, hateful, argumentative comments and emails I have received in the past (in addition to all the private messages I had received regarding that post). Plus, you had made it clear in your comments that you were unsubscribing because my content is no longer relevant to your wants/needs, which is perfectly understandable.
As for me being a “somebody” on the blogosphere, I thank you for the compliment. The ratio of comments I receive in relation to my pageviews is very, very insignificant compared to my blogging friends, and I have been told many times in the past that my blog really doesn’t matter much when compared to others.