Sunday, January 25, 2009

My first negative comment arrives

I have long been wishing for comments on this blog.  In the past few months, I've finally received some, and along with them, I've made treasured connections with other bloggers whom I respect and admire.  Yea for the comment feature!

But until this weekend, I hadn't personally experienced the bad side of putting oneself out there--the negative comments.   On Sunday morning, I found my first bad comment, posted on my post "Thoughts on the Inauguration, part 3."   Boo for the comment feature!

Clearly, this is not the kind of comment I've been wishing for.  I figured so few people see my blog that I wasn't really at risk for such a thing.  And, truth be told, it's not the most evil of comments. It's just self-serving and insulting, which I suppose are two qualities that make for a "negative comment."  

I read it with surprise and a bit of dismay--why target me?  Especially when this person found my blog on a quest to find out how to make a chipmunk costume, of all things! My second reaction, which followed quickly (and I admit to my childishness here) was "Bring it!"   I love a good debate.  Ask any of my former students about how I love to play with argument.    But, after a minute's thought, I abandoned the idea that a "debate" with anonymous would be a good or productive thing.  

I have, in my life, experienced more than my fair share of angry, judgmental, abusive language.  I know how hurtful words can be.   It took a great deal of work for me to distance myself from people who practice this kind of verbal abuse, and I guard this distance carefully.   Seeing that nasty comment brought back some icky memories for me, reminding me that "Yes, Kirie, there are still mean people in the world, despite the little bubble you've created for yourself.  And yes, mean people still suck."

I can't have it both ways, I know.  If I write about my thoughts, and I enable the comments (and wish for them!), then I am bound to get friendly ones and rude ones.  Thank goodness I've not experienced rude comments until now.   I think that if I receive comments like this in the future (and I'm bound to, right?), I'll be taking my actions on a case-by-case basis.  In this case, I did respond, if only to say my piece. You can see what I said here.  For the next nasty remark--perhaps just a delete.  Silence is a forceful weapon.

Now, my dear readers, how do you deal with the negative commenters on your blogs?  Or if you don't have a blog, how do you deal with the negative commenters in your life?  

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Lisa said...

Hi, Kirie.

After three years of blogging, I'm still surprised sometimes when I get negative comments - especially on my non-political posts. I typically view them as fairly non-controversial so I guess that's why it surprises me.

As a rule, I let people disagree with me, but I draw the line at letting them use my comments to commandeer the conversation in an off topic direction. I also don't let them spread lies or personally attack me or the other commenters. And generally, I don't respond to them, but let the other commenters do so as long as it's respectfully done.

I guess the reason why negative comments surprise me is because I tend to just click off if I don't agree with something. I don't feel it necessary to admonish, correct or attack the blogger for their opinions.

The Seeker said...

I'm very sorry to read that this happened to you.
I feel so mad when I read negative comments on any blog or I know that happened.
Why don't people subscribe to the notion that "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all?" Or, at the very least, they could say: "cute look for someone else, but it's not my taste," or something like that (in case of fashion).
On the other hand, I know that there is a large supply of cruel/unintelligent people in the world, who think it's fun, or funny, or entertaining, to make rude/insulting comments. For these people, life is not a source of joy. For these people, it's sport to make fun of others, or to hurt them.
In my experience, these people usually have sad stories, reasons for being this way. I've never met an angry person who didn't have a bad upbringing, fraught with problems in their home.
But what I'm saying doesn't make things any better for you.
When I started my blog I had a person who did some negative comments I've tried to pretend that nothing was happening, completely ignoring the comments.
Inside it broke my heart, and I was feeling insecure, but as time was going by the guy was feeling bored, because it was like talking to a wall, he didn't get any response.
And when he stopped doing those comments I breathed deeply and move on.

After that I had an anonymous comment saying that I was hideous. That time I couldn't stop of not reacting and I posted something like this:
"I could wrongly say that people that make such critics are coward, however when a person fights back those things it makes us stronger.
So continue your comments, but honest ones, so I can learn with you."
I had lucky with that and the person never fighted back. But I took a great risk, because if that person continued to send negative comments I don't think I would have straight to carry that.
During some times I still felt insecure, but never stop blogging because I think they don't deserve that we do that. Again time went by, people's comments were nice and kind and I almost forgot that.

Now I'm having a huge issue on that. That's so mean, that I had to moderate my comments. I start to have comments where I was being offended anonymously by someone saying my real name (so there's someone I know) and insulting me and my private life.
In the blog I'm trying to act if nothing is happening, so maybe the person gets bored.
Now my dear, after I've almost told you my life... ;) I think you must also act if nothing happen. See if it's something isolated. Or if s/he returns it would get bored because you don't strike it back. I think that's the best strategy for now.

Also you can't let that that comment would let you down. People have no purpose but trying to hurt you. Step over this and it will only make you stronger.

Please forgive me for the long comment, but since I'm having a sort of the same problem I thought it might help you knowing that you're not alone.

Be strong, you're much better that whatever mean people tell you.

Oh, I must say that if you talk about that in my blog I would not publish it.

Take care, all the best


angela said...

Hi Kirie

I am so sorry that Anonymous made rude comments on your blog. And I think your handling of it was good. I am really surprised that anyone would bother to send such negative comments - I agree that if you cannot say anything nice then you should not say anything at all.

Love, Mom

Hilary said...

Kir, I'm gonna say the same thing here than I said in that post. The nature of that particular comment tells me that this person is simply wanting to be divisive. And I've learned from having been a moderator of my parenting board that the reason people like to do this is to stir the pot and be an agent of negativity because they're unhappy in their own life. You had the confidence to put your name behind your comments. They did not. That says something right there.

Ali said...

I've only been blogging for a few months and have never had a negative comment but I thought you handled it beautifully. It's such a strange notion to me - to make a negative comment like that on someone's blog. I think if they can be bothered they must have waaaaaay too much time on their hands.

Lydia said...

What a bummer. (Anonymous would probably misconstrue that statement into my having called him/her a bum!) I'll have to pay attention when I push the Publish Comment button to see if you moderate comments at your blog. If you don't I suggest that you change over to moderate. Still, I received a crazy series of comments some months back from one individual who was obviously experiencing some sort of a meltdown. His final comment in the spewing stew was that he was sure I wouldn't publish his comments. Since he hadn't been profane in any way I decided to publish them and my comment following them was simply "I'm nonplussed and I suggest you get off the drugs." Never heard from him again, although I did read an exchange between him and another blog I visit that made it clear he'd been undergoing some severe problems.
I'm just glad he's stayed away from my blog!

I thought your response was beautiful.

Have a wonderful week, and remember you are in charge of the delete key!

Kirie said...

Lisa: Thanks for the support. There is a unique "surprise" to finding a negative comment on your blog. Like you, if I stumble on a blog post that I don't agree with or that irritates me for some reason, I just click away from that site. Why admonish?
I suppose my surprise comes from the context of this commenter. To find me on a search for chipmunk costume, and then decide that I should be derided for a completely unrelated post...
Ah well.
Thanks for visiting, Lisa. I've really been enjoying YOUR blog, and I promise: no negative comments from me, ever.

Kirie said...

You are so sweet and lovely, and I can't believe someone would be so awful to say mean things about you personally. I think you are brave to have said your piece about it, and wise to not let the mean people turn you away from blogging.
I like your strategy of ignoring a negative commenter until they become bored with tormenting you. If I continue to get "weird" comments, that will be a good tactic to follow.
Happiness to you, Seeker. You are a lovely lady, with a great sense of style and a great heart. I'm glad you commented here today!

Kirie said...

Mom--thanks for backing me up. Rude people abound, I know, but I've just become used to avoiding them!
Good advice, as usual, from you.

Kirie said...

Hils--I'm with you. Some people just have a habit of creating negativity. This anonymous person seems to fall neatly into that unfortunate group. How sad to ruin even a happy thing like thinking about making a chipmunk outfit.


Kirie said...

Ali--I agree. If someone has the space in their day to write negative comments on random blogs, they have too much time on their hands.
If only. It's all I can do to find time to fold a load of laundry AND get it put away before Esme "helps" me and unfolds it all into cute little heaps.

Thanks for reading my blog, Ali. I'm looking forward to exploring yours, too!

Kirie said...

Thanks for the support! Thought I'm not moderating comments (good idea, though), I will remember that I *am* in charge of the delete key!
I love your "nonplussed" remark to your odd commenter. That's a great approach, too.

And yes, negative comments are a bummer, even if they are not (I stress) NOT from a bum. There. No misconstruing possible, right? Or not.


Julianne said...

I haven't read the comment or your response yet, I am going to when I finish this.

I haven't received one yet, but I think the best tactic is not response and ignoring the comment if it is really rude and offensive. If it is a difference of opinion and worded nicely , then I welcome it. If it is blatantly mean and meant to hurt, I think I will ignore it and maybe you can do the same. I am sorry that you had this experience.

Paula said...

Its so upsetting that someone would post something negative. Don't let it get to you - I have read and thoroughly enjoy your posts on the inauguration. Keep up the wonderful blogging!

Debbie said...

Kirie - I'm sorry about the negative comment. Given some of the blogs I've been on lately and even participated in I've seen some really ugly comments and people that are just looking to attack. I've read the comment and do think it's negative but I've got to tell you I have been on some blogs and forums that people get down right nasty and really attack people personally. I would say that while your blog shouldn't really open yourself up for any kind of negative feedback you'll always get that one person out looking to prove some point. I would just see this as maybe your first experience with it but be prepared for others and ones that could potentially be far worse. I think you are right that silence is a fierce weapon but sometimes I'm sure you will want to respond and given your way with words I have no doubt you can handle it. Just my two cents.

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