Enablers.

There is a blog I know where the blogger regularly has these dummy spits about people not commenting on her post quickly enough. As in, within a couple of hours of a post being posted. When she spits the dummy she posts something basically accusing everyone of ignoring her, or saying that she’s going to quit blogging. Then a few hours later she deletes that post and replaces it with a post where she apologises for spitting the dummy. It is so regular it is almost like a cycle – if I bothered to go back and look I could probably tell you exactly how many days are in between each dummy spit. Some of you reading this may know who I am talking about if you read the same blog..

There’s a bunch of people who read her blog who are essentially enabling her in this cycle – they comment with things hoping to make the blogger feel better. I spotted it as a cycle early on and I called her on it. Ever since then she hasn’t taken my comments very well. I actually stopped commenting entirely on that blog a few months ago. I kept reading, hoping that she would eventually realise it herself and get the help she needs, whatever help that might be.

But then the cycle repeated itself again, and I came out of comment hiding to say exactly what I felt – though I can’t repeat the comment exactly to you now because surprise surprise – my comment got deleted, and all the comments on that post also got deleted. In fact comments got removed from that post entirely. So I emailed her to say hey, I can’t believe you deleted those comments, I give up – now I am going to unsubscribe and stop reading. I just wanted her to know I was done. I was very surprised by one of the comments that came back to me.

She told me “Those comments were for me – and I will do whatever I choose with them”.

So I didn’t reply – I don’t think I even know what to say to that kind of ego – and I mulled this over for a little bit. I wonder what you think – once you press submit on the comment form, does your comment “belong” to the person you wrote it to? Are they then allowed to delete them, or remove them, or even edit them to say whatever they like?

I would never assume that your comments were “for me” and therefore I can do what I choose with them. You leave a comment partly “for me” and partly “for you” because you want to have your say on something. Sure, if your comment is offensive or contains swearing (which my comment to this blogger did not) then I might have to edit it or delete it as per my comments policy (which says – Snoskred reserves the right to delete any comment which is vulgar, contains profanity, or is generally offensive. Please note that this occurs very rarely – it is only if you use a swear word or if you were to use a word which resulted in unwanted search engine traffic.) But that happens so rarely.. and I would always choose to edit out the offending words rather than delete entirely.

For me, deleting stuff you wrote on your blog is a deal breaker. If you can’t stand by your own words then you shouldn’t be blogging them. I’ve also known people who have deleted things on forums and I have lost all respect for them. I have known bloggers who did it and I unsubscribed. The only things I have ever deleted from this blog were my old paid reviews – however those do still appear on the old blogspot blog where I was paid to put them, so they aren’t deleted from the blogosphere, they’re just not over here.

Sometimes it amazes me how deluded people can be about themselves. This person actually thinks that people are sitting out there in the blogosphere waiting for her to write something so they can all arrive and comment on it. I think we all know that people have lives, and they are generally living them. I’m not going to be upset when I don’t get any comments on a post. I don’t have that kind of insanely low self esteem that comments = my worth in the world.

Deleting things helps people stay deluded, because they never have to take responsibility for what they’ve said or done and people can’t go back and grab quotes and say here you are, this is where you did this before. It also helps the commentors stay and enable, because they don’t get to read what the person said and they can’t spot the pattern.

Sephyroth and I were once members of a forum where there was this lady (someone over the age of 50, I might add!) from Canada who had to have drama in her life. Once a month she would pull some kind of stunt – whether it was something she did herself, or whether she caused an over-reaction to something someone else did. It got so that we could predict the exact date that the next “drama” would occur. Both of us ended up leaving the forum in the end. We got tired of the drama.

This blogger reminds me a little bit of that situation – I think she feels the need for validation and she feels that comments give her that validation. But imagine if you were a reader being held hostage by this need – some readers would feel like they had to be there regularly to make sure they could comment on anything that has been posted. Some readers would put up with it for a while and then drift away.

Some readers – like me – would feel the need to point out the obvious pattern. But you can only point it out so many times before you realise the person involved is getting off on it – and has no intention of changing the behaviour. So I’m done reading that blog. It’s not like I don’t have enough in my reader already. :)

I wonder what your thoughts are about who comments belong to once you hit submit. The comments section is open, so feel free to comment. ;)

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18 thoughts on “Enablers.

  1. I’m only very new to the blogging world, but I’ve quickly learned the almost-narcotic buzz that you can get from a nice, long comment section. But to find validation from the responses of others defeats the entire purpose of blogging, in my view.

    I blog because I want to put my writing out there for whomever wants to read it. Sure, I’m always curious as to how many people have found my nonsense, but whether that number is one or a million, it doesn’t change the fact that whatever I post is what was forefront in my mind at that moment in time.

    Deleting unfavourable comments is such an exercise in pointless vanity. Blogging is about the exchange of information and opinion in equal measure. Deleting others’ views only shows that you lack the grasp of reality required to accept that you don’t hold a monopoly on wisdom and knowledge.

    Nice post.

  2. I love it when people comment on a post – it makes me feel like I’ve added something valuable (of sorts) to the blogosphere, and when I get a comment, I like that a reader has the confidence to express their opinion as well, whether it be to agree or disagree with me. (Or laugh at me, in some cases!)

    Don’t get me wrong, I used to get really down if I got no comments on a post, but I wouldn’t have ‘demanded’ comments or threatened to close my blog if I never got any – my blog is my journal, I get to talk about things that interest me, annoy me, or whatever. And if people comment on that, it’s good. If not, it’s good also.

    It’s sad to say, but it sounds like this blogger is eventually going to drive away exactly what she wants/demands – and that’s readers. I wouldn’t want to read all that melodrama either!

  3. This is a good food-for-thought yet, sad, post.

    Take away our recent history, Snoskred, this was an interesting read. Are there people/bloggers like that out there???

    It’s staggering that one must equate the number of comments (quantity) over one’s own self worth (quality). That is really, really sad.

    Blogging is simply NOT the platform for this person – heck, I’m so anal about openness that any deletions (posts, comments) and I’m gone from there, never to be seen again.

    And heck, at my blog(s) I never, ever delete a thing (other than the normal swarm of spam). The day I start doing that is the day I pack up my blogging bag…

  4. I’ve never thought about who comments belong to on my blog. I’ve been pretty lucky in getting comments at all and in not getting any derogatory comments that I’ve had to delete.

    A blogger demanding and/or expecting comments would immediately turn me off and I doubt whether I’d hang around for long.

  5. Wow, how insecure, not to mention bizarre! (says me, mind ticking over trying to figure out if this is someone I read). I like comments but don’t worry when I don’t get them on a post … I blog for my own interest mainly, comments are a bonus.

  6. Once, I put up a post saying — among other things — that it caused me immense pain to see or hear the twins’ names. Someone left a comment to the effect that she couldn’t understand why it bothered me. Then she wrote out what she (wrongly) believed to be their names.

    I had no qualms about deleting her comment and closing comments for that post.

  7. I haven’t thought much about who the comments belong to either. I would like to think that most people are trying to leave intelligent and insightful or sympathetic comments. I realize that the owner of the blog has the power to delete/edit comments but I wouldn’t consider using that power myself except in the instances which you already mentioned – profanity or to sneak in an ad link or something.
    I do know of a couple people who tend to behave in cycles like the people you mentioned too and I am starting to believe it is some kind of mental or emotional sickness. They each tend to take things too personally, like to have “control” (power trip?), and have “episodes” that happen in regular, predictable (except to them) cycles. So maybe we have discovered something here.

  8. I generally don’t delete any comments though if something seems spammy I give it a toss. I do like comments, even dissenting opinions if they are respectfully stated. I don’t live for comments, either, so not getting any, while a bit of a letdown, doesn’t bother me.

    There was one blog I used to read where I felt compelled to comment on a post. The blogger wrote about a subject I am passionate about, and her post was exactly the kind of thing that causes people to believe the wrong things about that subject, so I waded through all the “You go girl” comments to say my piece. It was a dissenting opinion that offered some truth about the subject, and my comment was deleted. After thinking about it, I deleted that blog from my blogroll and reader, because I don’t have time for that kind of ego.

  9. Andy put it much better than I could – “Deleting others’ views only shows that you lack the grasp of reality required to accept that you don’t hold a monopoly on wisdom and knowledge.”

    Thanks for the comments all, I appreciate them. And I didn’t delete them or edit them or do anything slightly rude to them either. Your comments are safe with me.

    Cheers,
    Snoskred

  10. She sounds like she’s way… off kilter. Like a nut case actually; no thanks to subscribing to a blog like that.

    Comments are wonderful, questions and suggestions are fabulous too, but they’re not a must have. Whining about why people aren’t commenting on a post within any period of time is very selfish to say the least. What makes what she has to say so incredibly important that subscribers are expected to not only read every single post, but jump on the comment bandwagon immediately too? Geez lady.., get a grip.

  11. As a journalist blogger, I treat blog comments as if they were letters to the editor of a newspaper. As “Editor”, it’s your blog/publication it’s up to you what you do with contributions as long as you’re not breaking the law. Conversely, it’s up to individuals who happen upon the blog to decide whether to read your blog, to comment on it, or to simply ignore it. If a blogger repeatedly throws their rattle out of the pram for whatever reason, they are not going to sustain a community of readers, that’s for sure.

    db

  12. Too funny. I’d just jump ship. I’ve got enough wildy inflated egos and demands on me in my real life (secondary teacher, single mother of 4 teenagers) to want to bother with it in my down time. Any sort of neediness is a bit of a turn off.

    What is annoying me slightly are the people who are stating that it’s rude not to reply to each and every comment made on your blog. Come on! Who has the time to do this? You’d never have time to create any new posts or to experience that thing called ‘life’… Besides, each comments section would gradually spiral in and in upon itself until it disappeared into its own black hole. I email and reply to some commenters but not obsessively to every single person. Who seriously comes back to check on every comment they make anyway? But that’s going off on a tangent. Sorry.

    Excellent post, by the way.

  13. I have only ever had cause to delete spam – I don’t consider them very helpful.

    A very interesting post. S/he obviously considers the blog to be personal space to enact power – may not even realise it.

    As happens with people in real life, being called on that sort of behaviour can create negative reactions.

    The problem is – a blog is not just personal space to expose yourself, but also public space – and inviting the public in to your personal space does come with the fact that the public may well call on your behaviour, same as doing it in the street.

    As to whether you own your comments given, or your comments taken – I have no opinion as I have not given it too much thought (until now). I would hate for my comments to be edited without it being obvious that it was paraphrased and I wouldn’t like being quoted out of context – that being said, sometimes things do fall on deaf ears (or delete buttons) and all you can do is wash your hands and walk away – no matter how hard – as in real life.

  14. I view comments as enriching my blog and therefore they are partly for me, for the commenter but most often I find that a comment is actually for all the visitors reading your article after the comments have been made.

    And really you got to be man or woman enough to be able to admit when you have been wrong and a comment highlighted this. Admitting your own faults actually ads to your credibility I belief.

  15. I don’t delete comments unless they qualify as spam or abuse. And besides its nice to get some feedback from readers.

    As for the situation above, sounds familiar as i have seen it more than once and not just with blogging. It reminds me of the old days of cam girls where there would be the “if you love me buy me something from my wish list” type senerios which just served to piss me off.

  16. I think comments belong to the blogowners for the most part. I think a blogowner has the right to delete a post when it’s purely spam or racist, discriminating or insulting. If there are swear words or other words, you as a blogowner do not feel comfortable with, it’s your right to edit the comment.

    Having said that: I don’t think it’s ok for a blogowner to delete or edit a comment, because the opinion expressed in the comment, does not reflect yours. As long as it’s done in a decent manner, that is. After all, that’s the fun of having a blog: having people express their opinions in the comment section.

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