Sunday, December 2, 2012


I just happened to stumble upon a blog with an interesting current post, so I read it. The blog author presented a particular topic, however, I thought it left the door open for a reader to bring up another topic—homosexuality. The first few people who commented danced around it, or maybe “lesbian” never entered their minds at all. Well, it entered mine. I thought, “Do I comment on the intended subject or bravely mention the controversial subject or not comment at all?”

I commented—second option.
Mine was not the first comment. That person had the opportunity to begin and steer the conversation in a certain direction and interestingly, she and the second commenter sensed that the post would evoke emotional views which would provide them with some entertaining combat.

“Can’t wait for the comments on this one,” she wrote.
The second commenter followed with (her exact words, spelling, and punctuation),“I know right! The minute I saw the post I had to run an get some snacks…::munch munch munch::. Waiting for the shinanigans…”

(First time I’ve seen the periods and colons combined. Another emoticon?)

Somewhere down the line, someone used the word “tomboy.” She was being a little careful, I suspect.

But I was in a mood for more depth, so I left my comment which was purely “academic.”  Still, someone questioned my thoughts, implying that my comment was misguided.  Her words were respectful, though, prompting me to answer; and then I received a sort of, “Now I understand what you were saying,” back from her. I responded once more telling her that I enjoyed our interesting exchange and that we might meet again on this blog.

Then… someone else commented on our thread with something funny, but ugly… towards moi! I could not resist a final comment: “Grow up,” with an added smiley face, of course.

That was my time to exit. I did not and will not go back to the post because Anonymous may have retorted and I see no reason to allow myself to get upset by Anonymous.

Prior to this blogging episode, I’d been thinking about the three commenting formats that Blogger offers, wondering if I should switch to the Embedded format, the one that has “reply” written under each posted comment allowing threaded comments—readers replying to other readers’ comments. Most of the time, instead, I’ve seen this used mainly by the blog author to respond to individual comments/people; probably because my blogging circle are people like me who are not getting a thousand hits per day (or are you?!) with the accompanied five hundred comments per post from anonymous commenters or people with names like catwoman, free to say the first thing that comes to their minds. In my circle, we are passionate, too, but we leave out the “I’d like to beat up on you factor,” (most of the time) like my “Grow up,” comment; albeit, that was quite mild. It’s so easy to get sucked into that when you are a stranger to a blog.

In fairness to popular blogs, many are peaceful places to go; like The Pioneer Woman, I would imagine. But if you’re reading news blogs or blogs of those who have an “agenda,” your emotions might spike a bit more than it would over a recipe and you may be compelled to go through the tortuous method (becoming a member of the sight) to leave a comment. Personally, I like a good debate on a hot topic once in a while.

Back to my blog’s comment setting: I’ll leave it as is for now, which is the Full page option, because I respond to your comments via your email address instead of on the post (when your profile is set up to attach your email address to your comment). Someday, when a post of mine goes viral and the, uhhh, hundreds of you want to duke it out, I’ll change my setting to Embedded, which is set up for back and forth dialogue.

Oh—to those of you who would like to comment on any of my posts by email, feel free. I’m at Write what you like, sign your name (be it Joe, Jane, catwoman, or anonymous), and I’ll cut and paste it onto the blog for you—without your email address. Be bold! J

When you read a post and want to write a comment but you don’t, why?  Are there certain topics that you won’t “touch” …regardless?


Abby said...

A few opinions bubbled up as I read this...

Firstly, anyone who comments as "Anonymous" doesn't merit much attention in my book.

And there are some blogs who have clear agendas, one of them being to rile people up. I avoid those, it's not why I blog, but to each his own.

I think there are also blogs where the main goal is to increase the number of followers. I don't care about that either.

Finally, you mention the blog post in question was dealing with homosexuality. I guess I'd have to see the original post. I think homosexuality has become less controversial, but can still has controversy potential.

I don't like to write posts on topics that are divisive, but I would be comfortable addressing homosexuality or abortion, for example. Politics, no.

Hilary said...

There are many topics on which I won't comment.. but it's not because I want to and don't. I just have no interest.

I've been reading your blog for a long while and can't imagine what you could say that would evoke anything negative from someone unless they're looking to create unrest. There are far too many people like that out there. And like Abby said, I don't give too much weight to anyone who posts anonymously. Anonymous is often (but of course not always or even mostly) synonymous with Troll.

In theory, the embedded comment form offers options but I'm not crazy about it because:

1) If someone wants to refer to a previous comment they can always reference the person as part of their own comment. I think folks (especially those who might be returning to see further comments) are not too likely to read back to see if a previous comment has a remark or not.

2) When the blogger responds to comments via the "reply" link, it almost always dictates that anyone interested in seeing the response to their comment must return to the blog. I'm more interested in clicking on the "email follow comment" link so that I can follow all or just one comment in email. When the blogger replies in this way, they naturally and understandably don't bother referencing the commenter by name, so reading the blogger's responses in email does not tell you when they're responding to you and you have to go back to the blog to find out the reply to your own remark. I see a few clever bloggers who use the "reply" method but still address the commenter by name.

That's my two cents. I'd be curious though to read the post which prompted your line of thought here. :)

Tabor said...

Sometimes I do not comment because I do not think I can enter an in depth discussion via blogger. It must be a face to face conversation and I need to know the commenter better. I may think they are an idiot...but that is just a quick judgement and I do not want someone to judge me that way, so I abstain.

MissKris said...

Very rarely do I even have time to read other blogs, let alone comment. Sad to say, since I blog...sometimes, haha!...myself and always enjoy getting comments. In my early before-the-grandboys days, I had a huge circle of bloggy friends, a regular social network, but lack of time and busyness of life changed that probably forever. Actually, I get pretty healthy traffic on mine but few comments percentage wise. When I questioned that several years ago, a faithful reader told me, "It's because you make us THINK!" and she said often what I'd written stayed with her all day. So, I don't get too caught up on who or how many. As for myself and commenting, something's really got to touch me at some level. I do comment on long-time blogger friends' posts fairly regularly because we've, most of us, been pals for 10 years or more and it's more of a keeping-in-touch-with-a-friend thing than 'commenting'. I avoid politics, sexuality, and religion like a plague. I have my own beliefs on all of them that I'm comfortable with but I have never felt the need to preach or argue about them. As you do read my FB posts, I hope you realize my religious beliefs are as much a part of me as breathing is...I am who I am. I don't try to preach it, and I don't apologize for it. I am, simply, a Christian who loves her Lord. I don't like combative bloggers. I follow a few 'mainstream' bloggers that I really like, you amongst them, and I do TRY to comment.

Barb said...

Hi Anita, Nobody ever comments on my blog anonymously. I would question why a person would do that unless they were willing to sign their name (for example I know several of my friends read my blog but aren't registered on Google). If one of them ever got brave enough to comment, they'd have to do so anonymously, so that's the reason I keep that option open. (What mostly happens is they end up sending me an E-mail about a post.) I have the "reply" option enabled, but it is rarely used even by me.I like a blog that's well-written and makes me think, but I admit I don't get involved in debate in the comments. Life's too short (IMO). However you always come up with topics that make me write more than I usually do on the comments. How do you do that? BTW, you should read State of Wonder - a great piece of fiction.

Haddock said...

Agree with Tabor.
It is not easy to have an in depth discussion on blogger.

Unknown said...

The only anonymous comments I get are spam..ack!!
I mostly read book blogs, so not too much controversy in that.
I'm not drawn to anything that wants to create a division, or argument. I'm way opinionated, but I try to just be kind.

Linda Hensley said...

Once in a while I get an Anonymous, but I think they're people who just don't have a Google acct. I've tried to keep my blog "nice", but once in a while I'll state a point of view that just makes other people want to scream at me. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, no matter how much nice I think the world would be if they did, but if people want to disagree, I think they should be as respectful as if I were standing in front of them. Sometimes the anonymous nature of the web let's people get away with crap they'd never get away with in person. Still, I think most people I've met online have been wonderful, and I sometimes wish everybody lived closer together and we could all go out for lunch. Keep speaking up. We can't let the anonymouses out there make the rules for our playground!

Georgiana Daniels said...

Anonymous doesn't carry any weight with me! If a person feels so strongly they should come out and show who they are.

Nope--not getting thousands of hits per day, lol. Maybe someday, sigh. Until then, I don't need embedded comments either ;)

Rebecca S. said...

Commenting is always an interesting thing. The other day I wrote a post, as you know, on satire, and then I went out for several hours. When I got home I jumped on the computer, excited to see what my regular readers would have to say. Nothing. Nada. Hmm...I actually got a bit depressed for a few minutes. Comments that disagree with me are better than no comments at all, I suppose. Still, I make it a point not to write things that I'll need to put a lot of energy into defending. I've had some negative experiences on Facebook and decided that keeping it light was the best way to deal with internet dialogue with others. I'm far too thin skinned to deal with the kind of ferocity that seems to come from a person hiding safely behind a computer screen.
That being said, I always, always, appreciate your comments, not to mention your blog :)

Shelly said...

I get an anonymous comment rarely, and usually they hide behind anonymity because what they want to say isn't nice. It's true- commenting is a tricky thing sometimes, but I've told those (or that) anonymous person to at least own up to what they say and put their name by it.

I enjoyed reading your post and thank you for your visit at my blog and your kind comment. I'm a new follower~

Shelly said...

I get an anonymous comment rarely, and usually they hide behind anonymity because what they want to say isn't nice. It's true- commenting is a tricky thing sometimes, but I've told those (or that) anonymous person to at least own up to what they say and put their name by it.

I enjoyed reading your post and thank you for your visit at my blog and your kind comment. I'm a new follower~

yonca said...

I get anonymous comments each day. I don't have time since I satarted to work again to check them everyday on my own blog but when I get a chance I read in my emails. All I can say is if it is an anonymous comment %98, spam or advertising their link only. İf there is anything about my post in it I do publish them, otherwise I don't.
Miss you!xx

Buckeroomama said...

I'm like most of the others here in thinking that "Anonymous" commenters do not carry much weight nor do they merit much attention.

Politics and religion are two topics that I choose not to comment on.

Jen said...

I try to follow to the advice I was taught as a child: "If you don't have anything nice to say..."

You can disagree and still be nice. Ignore the anonymous commenter. He / She's not worth another minute of your time.

Sharon said...

This was a great post, Anita. I, too, have hesitated to get too involved in the comment section. I try not to comment on hot topics (i.e. politics, etc.) because I do not like confrontations. BUT, I do love getting comments. :)!

Jenny said...

Some people want to be annoyed.

Some people seem to wait to pounce on any wayward or non-cookie-cutter comments.

Some people seem to have too much time on their hands.

Tolerance, people.

It's interesting to try once in a while...:::)))(((({}{+:

Unknown said...

Ah, but are you not preventing an article from being extended through the comments by only replying through emails, which could stunt the growth of this site?