On Commenting and Me

I don’t comment frequently on other blogs. It has been…what… one year and a bit since I started blogging, but I must have commented for a total of…less than 20 times in total during this period?

I do know that commenting on other people’s blog is one of the recommended ways to build your own readership. And as much as I am not blogging for monetary rewards, I still like to have some readership so that I would not feel like I was talking into a vacuum.

But still, I hardly comment.

For one thing, I have problems leaving “Me too!” comments on sentiments I agree with. I feel that I need to add something substantial to the discussion and “Me too!” doesn’t add too much meat. The other way I see that I can comment on such posts is to share a personal anecdote that corresponds to the theme of the post. However, I always feel that if I do that, I would become one of those people who always make the conversation about them. If you talk about your medical problem, they would always butt in with a story about their medical problem. While you are sharing about your coworker problems, they are busy searching for their coworker story in their head. So I don’t do it. I guess I just have a problem saying “I agree!” in a slightly more verbose and intelligent way, so I don’t even try. Bad, I know, but it is what it is.

So, on to sentiments I don’t agree with. It used to be less so, but I feel that the blogosphere has become this “judgmental minefield”. No, not in the sense of being judged, but being called out for being a judgmental prick. Some bloggers are now so defensive of their choices that they sometimes don’t even wait to be called out to lash back. I like to offer alternative view points, but I never know when they will be seen as judgment calls on others. In this current blogging environment, I prefer to be safe rather than sorry, so I keep quiet.

(As an aside, I just want to make a comment to all those bloggers who have been talking about shutting up when it comes to other people’s personal finance choices. Asking everyone to mind their own business would not keep the real haters away. They won’t care if you call them out for being judgmental, if they are real haters. But you are also shutting up those who may have legitimate alternative viewpoints to offer, and who will now be afraid to offer them because they will be worried about being judged as a judger. I feel that this is everyone’s loss. Defensiveness is never a solution. I prefer that everyone learn to take the wheat and leave the chaff. Okay, rant over.)

I also have a very slow thought process. This used to give me lots of grief during timed examinations back in school, and it has only gotten slower the older I grow. Anyway, when it comes to blogging and commenting, this means that when I read a blog post, it takes me some time to process my thoughts and reactions to it. I can read a certain post and feel that it bugs me some way, and then I have to go back and read it several times, and it is one week later that I pin down what exactly it was about the arguments presented that bothered me. And then it takes me another week or two to put together my counterpoints, but then the window of commenting on that post is over. The blogger in question already has another six posts up. I never know what the etiquette is when it comes to commenting on older posts, so I don’t.

What I sometimes do is turn those counter-arguments into my own blog posts. Actually, I think this may become my modus operandi in future, rather than commenting. I like to do this because then I get to take my own sweet time to form my arguments and word things properly to reduce misunderstanding. I also don’t have to worry about the length or my post, as opposed to commenting, where you don’t want to get too wordy. Writing critical posts about other posts also means that I have to be prepared to defend my posts. I do know how to concede a point, but my pride doesn’t like to. So, to avoid that, that I have to critic my own criticisms and make them as watertight as I can. I can’t begin to count how many arguments and posts I have abandoned just because they didn’t stand up to scrutiny. The best thing is that this process allows me to fully understand where the other party I was trying to critic had been coming from. And I get to concede his/her points in privacy where I don’t have to eat my words, which would probably have been the case had I gone with a knee-jerk comment.

And also, to those who have been generously commenting on my blog, the same applies to comments being made on my blogs. Please don’t think that I don’t value your comments if I don’t respond to them. To those agreeing with my posts, thank you, but I simply don’t have anything else to add that wouldn’t be embarrassingly similar in sentiment to “Me too!”, and you now know what I feel about that. I haven’t had many comments in disagreement yet, but if you should post one, just know that you have caused me some insomnia and things are brewing in my head, and you may get a counter-post a few weeks down the road. Hehe.

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2 comments on “On Commenting and Me

  1. Revanche says:

    For my part, I enjoy civil discourse and the exchange of stories. I blog because I’m talking about me but “in return” I love hearing how it resonated (or didn’t) with you and why. That means, your personal stories are very welcome, at whatever length you might wish to write them.

    Not sure if I gave the impression we should shut up about other people’s PF choices, but if I did, I just meant that in general, we could stand to take a minute and consider what we’re going to say. It’s not realistic not to judge but must we spew venom every time we disagree or are disagreed with? That was just my exasperated response to other people’s experiences but thus far, my experience has generally been positive and I continue to welcome all points of view.

    I might not have been obvious about it but when someone makes a great point, or shares a good idea, it’s no hardship to change my mind or stance.

    In the main, I gravitate to those blogs who can have discussions and disagreements without throwing tantrums so it doesn’t feel like a minefield. Typically, blogs on the smaller side, I suppose are more “normal” to me.

    Anyway, that’s all a long way of saying: say anything you like, whenever you like, on my blog at least, if you feel so inspired. It’d be lovely to hear your thoughts.

  2. Miss JJ says:

    Hi Revanche,

    I’ll definitely try and get over my phobia of telling personal stories on blogs that are not mine and comment more.

    As for the “shutting up” part, it’s not you per se, or any particular blogger for that matter, but there HAS been a lot of posts all over the blogosphere about this in a very short period of time (now eclipsed by the plagarism stuff). Which has a bit of the witch-hunt effect, if you will forgive that analogy, and the feeling that any comment sounding just a bit out will be called out.

    I definitely don’t agree with the spewing of venom, but then again, I realise that different people have different ideas what that involves. I see a lot of comments that, while sounding a bit stern, are comments that I would have no problems with on my blog, but they get called out for being insensitive and rude. So naturally I get somewhat cautious.

    It’s also a bit hard to comment even in a neutral way when bloggers start ranting defensively about being judged before the judging has even begun.

    Well, anyway, I definitely never have felt any discouragement from your blog to say whatever I want to say. It’s just myself that I have to get over. And the fact that I formulate responses about 3 days late on the minimum. It is sometimes easier to throw up my hands and keep everything to myself. Hehe.

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