Any comment?

I got the idea for this post because I recently made a comment. I read a post, felt inspired, wanted to let the writer know. So I wrote a comment. I tried to keep it short and sweet, posted it, and then realised I was on the wrong track. Just imagine any of these:

My comment sounded like criticism. The person reading it felt hurt.

I had read my own thoughts into the words of somebody else; they could not have had the foggiest idea what I was on about.

In trying to keep it short, I managed to make it convoluted. You’d need to be in my brain to make any sense of it.

This happened several times and I did not try to remedy it, knowing from experience that I would only draw attention to myself instead of making things right. So, if you know who Β you are, please accept my belated apology.

Cliff in Etretat, picture from User Urban, 2005 GNU Free Documentation Licence 1.2

Cliff in Etretat, picture from User Urban, 2005 GNU Free Documentation Licence 1.2

I like this!

I’ve read several posts on the use of the ‘like’ button, but I find commenting even more of a challenge. Often I really like what I’ve just read, but all I can think of is: ‘Great post’ or ‘My thoughts exactly’.Β Would that be of interest to you as a writer? That last remark might even sound patronising.

In an attempt not to fall into that trap, I might try to be original, or funny. This poses an even greater risk. Irony is not cherished or understood by every other blogger. You can trust me on this one, because I speak from personal experience. There is one mathematician out there interested in my home address. It’s probably just to send the paramedics my way, but you never know, do you?

Other bloggers are real people. They live, breathe and experience feelings. And they might have some awfully impressive IT skills to boot.

Maybe I read a post and find one of mine to be complementary in some way. How can I mention that without sounding as if I am using your blog to advertise my own?

Silhouette and sunset in Fuvahmulah, Maldives by natty CC 2.0 Generic

Silhouette and sunset in Fuvahmulah, Maldives by natty CC 2.0 Generic

I don’t like that

Saying I don’t agree with something is the hardest.

I feel I’d have to know the person before I try that, and when do you know another blogger?

One of the great advantages of blogging is that less time is spent talking about jobs, spouses, kids, colleagues or generally trying to impress one another. You get to know people in an unconventional way. I don’t want to jeopardise that.

My buddhist friends would advise me to not make any negative comments on principle, but I don’t agree with that. I like a lively discussion. I’m sure there are bloggers out there who really appreciate it when you question what they write. Especially when it’s done in a civilised manner. So, if you feel up to it: try me!


About Pipteinpteron

Catch a falling feather. Don't keep it.
This entry was posted in sceptic. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Any comment?

  1. violetwisp says:

    That’s thought-provoking! I guess everyone is blogging for different reasons and responds to different types of feedback, but I figure it’s all public so most people don’t care what you write and just appreciate that other people are reading their words. I’m disappointed that I don’t have more people challenging my posts. I think it’s the only way ideas develop.

    • Thank you, violetwisp. I think you make two important points, one that people blog for different reasons and therefore might expect different kinds of feedback and the other that ideas can develop by being challenged. Sometimes I wonder if one of the things that inhibit discussion is confirmation bias: we’re all likely to spend more time reading articles that we agree with. And commenting on them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  2. I love getting comments and wish, in fact, there were more discussions generated. I write generally very short pieces and I wonder sometimes whether they make any sense or whether my point is lost in my bad writing skills so comments would let me know. That said, getting a “like” is also good because I feel I’m not just barking in the woods. I talked to someone recently who uses a blog site that doesn’t have a “Like” option and he was frustrated by never knowing whether he was even being read. So “like” me or, better yet, tell me you “hate” me, but I appreciate knowing you’re out there. As far as “no criticism,” well, another reason I’m a Taoist, not a Buddhist!

    • Good point on the likes. I like being liked, but it’s also good to know someone is reading this stuff. The reason I started blogging was to share information I felt I could contribute, so being read is kind of important.

      Regarding Buddhism and no criticism, I would disagree. Buddhism is big on not hurting others, “Right Speech” and moderation in conversation. However, it also isn’t against criticism, it just tries to ensure it is productive and delivered in as loving and effective a fashion as possible. A whole realm of thought called “skillful means” was developed in response to this. In fact, they even argue against the opposite view — what they consider a faux compassion born out of a desire to be nice rather than help others.

    • Thank you for your comment. If you were to ask me, writing skills could never be the problem in your case πŸ˜‰ How interesting that you are a Taoist. I’ve been reading about Taoism lately and find it very inspiring. Do you have any particular book that you’d advise me to read?

  3. Very good points.

    If I leave comments, it’s usually because I either want the author to know the post was appreciated or to add some points to the article. I am careful in what I write because I also don’t know if I read my own thoughts into the post.

    Although I try to avoid mentioning my articles on responses, I don’t mind it if people do. Since my articles are there to help, I’m very interested in related takes, further information, etc…, and am perfectly fine with that being provided by others, provided their articles are in fact related.

  4. I usually just “like” something if I can’t think of anything to say. However, I’d always prefer a comment on my own blog, even if its nonsensical, trite or critical.

  5. I also think that its not necessary to treat people in the blogosphere with the same type of courtesy that we would in a private conversation. Blogs are public. There are no faces, no voices. Irreverence, in my opinion, is needed to expose the things which alarm us, and we can’t be worried about feelings.

    • This is really interesting. The idea that blogs are public makes me say less than I would in other situations. But I can easily see your point as well. And I don’t think irreverence is a bad thing.

      • Don’t make me drop my favorite Mark Twain quote on ya … just dealt it to a Christian Capitalist Republican who was getting her feelings hurt 2 days ago …

        • Somehow I don’t think I share her sensitivities, so try me…

          • Oh, no I quoted Twain AFTER she had suggested that we need to be civil on the internet.

            “Irreverence is the champion of liberty & its only sure defense.”

            • That is brilliant. (Do you mind if I use it for my take on buddhist right speech?) Imagine challenging a Republican on Liberty. Keep hitting them with those big words, I’d say.

              • No, PLEASE use it. I mean, I didn’t write it πŸ™‚

                I totally appreciate where the Buddhist Right Speech idea comes from. If the point of life was JUST to avert suffering, then it’s brilliant. But, I don’t believe that. I think life is painful, because society is not designed for the average, social human creature. It’s designed by and for greedy bitches, and I don’t think quietism is ever gonna change anything. But, this is the wrong post to start talking about this.

                Are you posting it soon?

                • I’ll have to mull over it for a few more days. I saw a documentary yesterday on tax evasion by some of the biggest companies. They made your point, I think. They have more influence than nation states, working in Special Economic Zones and the amount of money involved is dazzling. I mean, I’m not easily intimidated by a few extra zero’s, but they were talking a cool 1000 billion in tax evasion in the European Union alone.

                  • ONE BILLION hungry people in the world. 1 IN 7. ALL of them could live comfortably on the SCRAPS of the top … 50 richest people in the world, maybe?

                    No matter how out-of-sight-out-of-mind we THINK this is, I think that it weighs heavily on all of us as human beings. We KNOW we FUCKED UP as a species. I think this is why existence seems meaningless. We all feel guilty at the core and this spawns existential despair & angst.

      • David Yerle says:

        I just read the whole exchange and I wanted to stand up and yell “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

  6. john zande says:

    I…Hmmm….I…..Mmmmmmm…. I…. Erummmmm….. I……..Oh fuck it, I liked this post! I liked the honestly. i liked the candor, the genuineness, the frankness and truth in it. I LIKED IT! Fuck you if you didn’t! πŸ™‚

  7. David Yerle says:

    Great! I often feel the same way. I like a blog post and I don’t know what to say. Pressing the “like” button feels cheap. Sometimes I feel tempted to comment and say: “like.” I actually prefer it when I disagree. Then at least I know what to say, though I struggle to not sound patronizing or insulting.
    Also, lately my brain hasn’t been as awake as usual and I really struggle to say anything original or witty. It just doesn’t come to me. So I keep staring at a post, thinking “what do I say?” for several minutes. Really makes me feel useless.
    On furthering the discussion, I usually just mention “I’ve written something about this somewhere” (this vague) with no links, so that it is clear that I’m not trying to get them to my site. If they ask me, then I’ll give them the link. It’s less convenient but it’s also less spammy. (Did I just make a word?)
    I’m really glad someone shares my commenting troubles. I thought I was the only one.

  8. Lin says:

    my thoughts exactly πŸ˜‰

  9. Great post!

    I often say facetious things to people and they don’t understand me – they take it a face value. It’s even harder for people to pick up the subtle nuances of humour in a written comment! But yes, like.

  10. Yes! As serious as I usually am. I have a purile sense of humour which my husband struggles to understand. But sometimes, I stare at a comment box with lots of stupid comments in my mind, and end up saying nothing. Or just like it!

  11. billyboobs1 says:

    The “madscribe” is now following your intelligently written and insightful blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s