Friday, September 12, 2014

Let's Talk About Comments

Now we’ve all seen them.  Some of us have even been there.

JJ blogging, you know those comments.  The rants, trolling, insulting, raging, etc.  The negative, or looking for a reaction, comments.  Anytime I read one of those comments I wonder what type of person would make them.  Then I try to think about the stage of life the person is in and what's going through their mind.  Example: An older person with signs of age and sort of dated clothes.  I think this person has gone through the stage of life I’m currently in.  They’ve experienced almost everything I have.  Had the same problems and joys.  See what I don’t understand is the adult, and I use that word loosely, that is yelling and screaming at an employee.  I think 'This person is throwing a tantrum like a child.  They pay rent or mortgage, have credit cards, drive a car, have responsibilities and they are acting like a little child that isn't getting their way.  What a shame.'

Other bloggers have experienced livid visitors making obscene comments.  Natfka, Goatboy and Susan Lewis to name a few.  I imagine most bloggers don't experience viewers making poor comments.  All of them have handled them appropriately in my opinion.  I'm personally not a fan of moderating comments.  My belief is that speech should never be restricted.  However if a comment is purposely insulting a line has been crossed.  Not by me.  By those who made comments.  You always have a choice to make an insulting comment.

Now I've made a lot of mistakes making comments over the ages.  First back on the White Wolf Vampire forum in 01.  Will admit I trolled plenty of times.  It wasn't pretty while I was doing it and certainly didn't make me feel better.  Eventually, due to the great work of some forumites, I grew up and learned to handle myself better.  Even after the many Vampire forum format changes there are forumites that still won't chat with me because of how poorly I handled myself.  This leads to my next point.

The internet never forgets or as it is said in the grim dark of the 30th millennium; the Mechanicum never forgets.  How people represent themselves online is remembered forever.  With the advent of email and forums, often archived, what we type and how we present ourselves online will never be forgotten.  Adding human feelings and emotions, especially unresolved feelings, to the mix and we have a terrible concoction that can greatly damage someone.  Like what I did on the vampire forums years ago.  Impulsive acts with little thought of what would happen in the future led me to an unfavourable outcome later.  We need to remember bad reputations are near impossible to shed and good reputations are easily dismissed.  People will not spend more time learning anything new about you.  Once they've established their thoughts on something they rarely change it.  As Dale Carnegie wrote "A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still."  You can undo all the harm you've done.  Take back all the bad you created.  It doesn't matter because the label assigned to you once will never be removed.  People will never go through the effort of replacing the label they placed on you.  And comments labeling people as gay, homo or fag.  Really, do you know what year it is and how olde you are?
Most customers are not forgiving when they receive bad service.  Yet companies are expected to bend over backwards for poorly behaving customers.  I've never understood that.  Bad behavior should never be rewarded, yet companies do that everyday.  The customers that act their age, are respectful and responsible for their actions don't get the same generous treatment as customers who act like little children.  Do we really need to exercise the olde saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"?  I genuinely believe customers should be held responsible for their poor actions.  Does a company really want an adult size infant throwing tantrums as a customer?  I know I don't.  Would rather relate on a mature level with my customers where we can talk about grown up things and move our relationship forward instead of holding the hand of some little snotty brat.  Perhaps we should start making a website of ill-mannered customers.  They do this for companies, why not customers?
People are amazed by the results I get when handling a poor situation as a customer.  In a calm and understanding voice I explain exactly what the issue is and what went wrong.  You'd be surprised by the looks on the faces of employees.  They are often confused and relieved that someone isn't yelling at them.  Often times I turn down the free things given to me by employees.  Try some level headedness and you'd be surprised what results you get.  You'll also be surprised what the word 'please' does.

Or for the Brits amongst us.

I think people should consult their friends about the situations they are in.  I've done this a lot since starting my commission painting site.  Received extremely helpful info.  As my good friend Bryan says "Friends see you differently."  You'd be surprised how close the people in your life are to your situation.  You live your situation all the time.  It is literally written across your face.  It affects every part of you.  Instead going off on someone online, consult a friend of yours and you'd be surprised at how rational they are about the situation.  They can be, you can't.  You're too close to the situation.  This is where we learn something about ourselves.  Of course time is a great teacher as well.  Looking back at comments I've made on forums and posts after some time has passed helped me to realize how useless the comment really was.  There's a saying that after you type something you should wait 24 hours to post it.  If you think it has some merit a day later post it.  If not, don't.  If we actually practiced that we would be spending a lot of time bouncing around sites reading something we wrote the day before.  I believe the purpose of those comments really don't matter, and that when we do use our words they should truly mean something.  This is where check yourself comes into play.  We need to police ourselves not to save others but to save ourselves.  I've held onto a lot of negative comments, unfortunately still do, that I've posted and many of them do more harm to me than anyone else.  Learned to be more compassionate towards others when chatting online.

In closing, I've learned as a business owner we have to be careful with our words.  While irate and tantrum throwing customers don't have to be, because really what is going to happen to them, they aren't going to be held accountable for their childish behavior.  One bad word online from a business owner to a customer and they will use that to tarnish the business owner forever.   This is something I've heard from many of my friends.  To be careful how I respond to messages.  This is actually a good thing.  As it allows business owners to let go of the negativity easier.   Which is more healthy than getting involved in some flame-war-comment-fest.   How we handle ourselves now greatly affects the person we become in the future.  Be kind to someone while being respectful and you'll never know what will happen.

In lieu of my normal closing I'll advise this: Be careful with each other and yourself.  Love yourself first.  You're the only one that can truly make you happy.  No one is going to it do for you.  Each of us is fighting a hard battle.  Please be mindful of that.


  1. This article was on a completely different subject then I thought! I thought it was going to be about the importance of commenting on blogs and interacting with each other.

    It's a very interesting post/article. I think there is a definite age gap between the current younger generation, and the generation that grew up when the internet was still forming.

    A meme I saw today put it perfectly.

    "I'm glad I grew up in the 80's and 90's, because I did tons of stupid things,that there is no record of".

    These days, as you stated, there is no end to how things are saved, recorded, and archived. Every statement, every thought, post, photo, until the servers go offline.

    I grew up in a time when I saw this happening, and "hopefully" matured at a decent enough rate to realize the type of impact words can have, and statements can last for a significantly longer period of time then we realize.

    I think that is where some of these comments come from. It's an age of people who don't realize the lasting effect their words have, don't realize how long they will continue to exist and be referenced, and don't realize how little anonymity they actually have.

    Really thoughtful and insightful post. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Go dig a hole!

    Kidding, nice article.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...