Image credit: Mike Licht
The fitness is cranky around here, but the people aren't. Or at least, the commenters aren't.
I love the comments on Cranky Fitness. Not only are the comments intelligent, but they make me think or they make me laugh. Sometimes both. And the comments are almost uniformly positive, which is not the case with all blogs. (Some blogs, you'd think they recruited their commenters from Rent-a-mob, complete with pitchforks and torches.)
So that's probably why I remember so clearly that we got one semi-negative comment a couple months ago. By the standards of most blogs it barely registered on the neg-o-meter, but it stands out in my memory because it was so rare.
And it got me thinking. (Yes, that does happen occasionally.) But don't panic!
For some reason, when I do this:
People react thusly:
So I'll keep this brief. Here's my thought: I don't see the point of leaving a negative comment on a blog.
If I read something that isn't as interesting as I thought it was going to be, I move on. I don't stop and tell the person that I don't like what they're writing. (Please believe me, the comment that started this train of thought wasn't all that terribly negative a comment. It just got me thinking.)
I have a little blog (Sheesh) that I use to track daily exercise. It's not wildly exciting to read, but I find it a useful way to guilt myself into exercising. About a year ago, someone left a comment to tell me that they had just wasted three minutes of their time reading one of my posts. I calculated that he or she also wasted an additional minute, or even two, to write that comment and send it in. Was it really worth their time? Why bother?
I follow the blog written by an expatriate Britisher now living in San Francisco. One day, someone wrote in to say, "Your blog is still boring." Somehow, I can't seem to forget that comment. I mean, someone came to her blog, read it, found it boring and went away. Fine so far. Why did they come back? And when they came back, why did they feel it necessary to tell the woman that they found her boring?
I can't imagine any scenario in which they thought this could be considered a helpful comment, or any way in which this could be construed as an attempt to start a constructive debate. The only conclusion I can reach is that it felt good on their part to express their contempt.
Why go to someone else's blog to do that? Seriously, this I don't get. You want to write about things that bother you, create your own blog. Fill it with all the things that irritate you. Maybe it will become popular and lots of people will flock to your blog to read about everything you hate. Hey, the man who wrote the blog Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About went on to write an entire book on the subject.
I mean, there are loads of things you can do:
- Read about things that irritate other people.
- Write about the irritating noises that women's shoes make.
- Do the dishes, but in an irritating way.
- Perform a research study to determine the Top 3 Things that Irritate Australians.
- Join the French Foreign Legion. Go to foreign climes and annoy people there.
- Think up irritating things to tell a vegan.
And if all else fails, write a comedy sketch about how to irritate people:
Am I overreacting here? Why do people leave non-constructive negative comments on a blog? Is it fun? Does it ease the frustration of reading something that you didn't enjoy? Is there a secret society out there that goes around leaving negative comments in an attempt to destabilize modern society? What gives?
Apologies to William Safire for twisting his words to suit my title.