Lifestyle

How to Respectfully Disagree with a Blogger?

I come from a long-standing family tradition of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” But lately, I’ve found myself in a grey area especially when it comes to blogging and commenting. I think engaging in dialogue is really important for the growth of our society in general, but lately I have found myself struggling.

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Recently, there are have been several posts I’ve read by bloggers who I interact with or at least read on a regular basis that I fundamentally disagree with. The conundrum I’ve been battling internally is: should I comment with my viewpoint of why I disagree? Or should I just ignore it and click the little ‘x”? Is it false to only comment with “I love this so much” but keep other personal opinions to myself? Can you point out if you are disappointed that a blog has taken a turn to all sponsored posts? Does a blogger actually want to hear what his or her audience thinks? This really came to head the other day when I wrote and then deleted one particular comment 3 times on a blog the other day before just not commenting at all. 
If we were face to face I would undoubtedly express my viewpoint so what has been holding me back online? The place where the anonymity of the internet is supposed to make people more viciously opinionated? Where has this commenting cowardice come from?
Fear mostly. Fear that my comment will be taken the wrong way, and that a blogger that I generally enjoy will take my comment as a personal attack. We all know how hard it is to read someone’s intentions when they are just in text. Fear that if I disagree with a blogger with a large following their other readers will dismiss my genuine attempts at discussion as me being a “troll” or a “jealous loser”. Of course, if someone commented on my blog that my face looks like a sack of moldy oranges, and another reader defended me and told them to shove it, it’d make me narcissistically feel good inside. But I’d also worry that maybe I looked like a sack of moldy oranges.

silly faces
You mean you don’t want to kiss this face? Is it the moustache?

  
I know I’d never be able to handle attacks on my physically appearance with the grace of celebrities reading tweets on Jimmy Kimmel. If a commenter insulted Sam or another loved one, I know my gut reaction would be to defensive.  I’d be distressed. But I hope that if a reader of Rhyme & Ribbons disagrees with any post I’ve written that they’d feel that we could have a respectful dialogue without worrying that they’d hurt my feelings. 
I love the camaraderie that I have found inside the blogging community but I also see that occasionally this leads to fanaticism that prevents healthy discussions.  What’s the point in trying to make a well intentioned point or open a discussion when you know that at best you’ll be dismissed or deleted, at worst insulted and harassed?  I think it’s this sort of relationship between blogger/blog reader/commenter and hero worship that allows anonymous blogging “hate” sites to flourish. 
Personally, I am willing to accept that if I am opening up some facets of my life to the internet for blogging fodder that I am opening up for criticism as well. That’s to be expected. I’m not saying that negative comments wouldn’t hurt me. They would. They will. I am, as Sam says about me “a sensitive soul” aka a big ball of ALL the feelings. 
It’s my pledge to my readers that as long as a comment isn’t either spam or filled with racism/sexism or pornography that I won’t delete it. I do not moderate my comments and I don’t envision ever doing so in the future.  I’ll also try my best to always respond to comments with grace and kindness and try to stay clear of passive aggressiveness or meanness, even if I disagree entirely. But maybe some days I’ll fail. I am only human, and after all, this is only a blog. 

But the moral of the story is do we only comment with love or is it okay to disagree?
 
*This is about no bloggers in particular besides myself and the general state of blogging lately. 

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  • This is still a something I really grapple with. What I do currently depends on the relationship I have with the blogger. If we are close I’ll email her and speak to her about it in private. If it’s a large blogger that invites and welcome dialogue, I’m more likely to just write a comment. And if it’s someone I don’t know well/have a blogging relationship with, I guess I’m more willing to bite my tongue. But are those the wrong choices? I don’t know. I’m still just as confused as ever! x

  • Allie

    I like to think that I welcome disagreement with what I post on my blog, as long as it’s respectful. The first time something I wrote sparked some controversy, I was really excited! I think that, generally speaking, you can’t cross a line if you’re respectfully commenting on something a blogger’s written; however, criticizing their personal life is dangerous territory and (in my opinion) rarely okay.

    • I’m of a very similar mind as you. However, I know that some people are more sensitive about the issues or subjects they blog about (even if not personal) and even genuine constructive criticism can be written off as “trolling” etc. I try to gauge how I think my comment will be received, but I’m not always successful.