Me and Comments
Confession: I’m terrible at leaving blog comments. I read lots of blogs but rarely do I ever comment even if I adore a post. I use the Feedly app on my phone and it’s miserable to try to leave comments from an iPhone (or at least I think it is.) I’m far more likely to share a post I love on Facebook than leave a comment. And I bet there’s some Carrots readers in the same boat. I want you to know it doesn’t bother me one bit if you’ve never left a comment. I’m just glad you’re here.
You and Comments
As for those of you who are faithful commenters: you are awesome. Why? Because of the tone you give to this space. I am always encouraged, enlightened, and impressed by what you have to share. And on the rare occasion that I get a hostile comment, if you respond to it before I get a chance to reply, I’m always so pleased with the kindness and compassion you display. Usually your tactful and understanding note to the previous commenter gets a reply that is no longer hostile, but is now open to the conversation. Thank you. Sometimes I cover controversial topics like contraception and matters of faith that trigger something in someone who has been hurt. Instead of giving them a sharp reply, you treat them like a person who deserves respect and kindness, not an argument that should be dismissed. I love you for that.
As Carrots continues to grow, I find myself unable to respond to each and every comment (which has been my goal until now.) I just can’t do it, y’all. And that makes me sad, because I wish I had the time to reply to each of you! I remember when I first starting reading Catholic blogs before we converted and it meant so much to have a window into the life of a Catholic family. And when the blogger would respond to my comment, I felt like it meant I was welcome there. But usually when I commented, I wouldn’t get a reply. The blogger responded to other bloggers, but not to me and I felt like I didn’t belong in the club. I didn’t ever want anyone at Carrots to feel that way! But I simply don’t have time to write new posts in my limited time to do bloggy things (3 kids 4 and under over here!) if I keep responding to each comment. Please know that even if I don’t respond to your comment, I read it and treasured it. Sometimes I read them out loud to Daniel because you all are cool and smart and say clever, inspiring things. I’m glad you’re here and I so wish I could reply to each of you. I will still try to respond as much as I can and answer any questions in the comments.
My Fellow Bloggers and Comments
And a note for my fellow bloggers: Stay strong and don’t get discouraged. If you state an opinion about anything, you will receive some downright nasty comments (and often on posts you’re not expecting to trigger them!). I am always braced for a backlash when I write about sensitive issues like birth control, but nothing has received as much name-calling, angry comments as a post I wrote about the problems I see in the Twilight series. It was over a year ago and I’m still getting the angry comments!
I’ve adopted a certain attitude to negative comments that has been helpful to me. If a comment stating disagreement is an attempt to open a conversation, I am all about responding. If it is respectful, logical, and kind-spirited, I consider it carefully and often learn something in the process. For instance, I’ve received some thought-provoking comments on my post about the Christian themes in Harry Potter that bring a different perspective that I want to carefully consider and respond to. However, if it is simply someone venting, calling me names, and being mean without actually addressing any of my claims or arguments, it gets deleted. Ain’t nobody got time for that! My blog is simply not the place for people to work out their issues and any attempt I make to respond it such comments is usually met with more hostility because they don’t actually want a conversation.
I think it was on the Simple Mom podcast that I first heard the idea that a comment says more about the person who wrote it than about your post. So true! When a person is name-calling and venting their anger, it’s because something has triggered that response. They don’t know you, it doesn’t have anything to do with you personally. However, if they are kind and respectful, then they genuinely want to enter into a dialogue about something they disagree with, presenting their claims, offering a differing opinion, and contributing to the conversation. The more reasonable and kind the comment is, the more seriously I take it. When I read a really cruel comment, I realize that the person must have written it because they’ve been hurt or are struggling through pain. I don’t approve the comment and I say a prayer for them and whatever they’re going through. That way I can offer it up and move on. And wouldn’t you know, it’s on those days that I always get an incredibly encouraging email from a reader to more than make up for the negativity!
So bloggers, if you’ve got anything to say, you’re going to get some backlash. Don’t be discouraged. Respond with kindness and openness to respectful disagreement and move on from the downright mean stuff.
I’m interested to hear from readers and other bloggers about comments. Are you a frequent blog commenter? And bloggers, how do you deal with negative comments?