I Don’t Actually Read Most of My Comments
But, I know when I get tons of bad ones cuz my friends message me to ask if I’m OK
I used to try to read all of my comments, but it was so emotionally exhausting I couldn’t keep up with it. So, I asked myself — do I want to stop reading the comments and keep writing? Or, should I stop writing if I can’t engage with the people who are responding to me?
Ultimately, I decided to keep writing, but I’ve always felt a bit uneasy about it. It doesn’t seem fully ethical for me to put my ideas out there and not acknowledge how they are being received in the world. On the other hand, the vast majority of negative comments I get tend to be people who are in favor of a status quo I wrote against, and I’m usually familiar with the arguments they present. It is a shame that I miss out on unique and insightful comments, but it’s a trade off I decided to make.
It’s something I’m actually thinking about trying to fix. I’m considering running my own site with my own forum with a zero tolerance policy for ad hominem attacks of any kind. All rational arguments will be allowed, no personal insults — no matter how small — will be tolerated. Or, perhaps I’d do some NVC stuff and have people say what they’re feeling or something before they commented. I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone would actually be interested in it, but right now, I fully acknowledge there is no reliable way to contact me if you want to.
And, that sucks.
I do read the comments a little bit, and generally this is how it goes. I skim through them, on facebook, medium and twitter until I find a comment that pisses me off. I respond to said comment, then stop reading. And, this is a pretty lame way of doing it, I admit, because I basically just end up giving my energy to people who are annoying me, not people with the best insight or with novel information.
So, yeah, thinking of how to change it.
On the other hand, if you read someone saying some really horrible shit about me — yes, I am Ok. (I’ve been getting this question a lot after my last article.) I probably didn’t even read it, and frankly, I suggest you don’t either. Personal insults, condescending attitudes, mockery — these are all ways people try to get you to believe what they are saying by manipulating you. These are all ways of triggering you emotionally to stop you from rationally evaluating the material that you’re hearing.
And, frankly, at least part of the reason I don’t like reading these comments is I tend to impulsively respond in turn. When someone insults me, I often insult back. When someone mocks me, I’ll mock them back. I usually regret how my own discourse becomes manipulative when I read the comments. I’m a decently thick skinned person and I can usually brush off an insult in few minutes or so, but I often regret what I say before then.
Anyway, I’m trying to figure out a way to be better about this. But until then, if you messaged me and I didn’t respond; sorry. I probably didn’t read it.