Comment etiquette?

English: Comment icon

English: Comment icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kind of funny, Nadine Marie has been blogging about reactions to unsolicited advice in comments over on Aligning with Truth and today I got a comment that I’m not sure what to do about.

I’m really not upset. Just taken aback.  And interested in some feedback about how others would take this.  I’ve learned over time that often when I take offense or feel miffed about what someone else said or did, they just accidentally hit one of my buttons.  So I rarely get bent out of shape initially.  I take a breath as I note my reaction and then step back to ask myself if I just have an issue.

And sometimes I like to check out how others say they would take the same words or actions.  So I thought I’d show you all this comment (which I have not approved, so the original, identifying the writer, is not on my blog at this time).  This reader dropped by my blog for the first time ever, read yesterday’s post that explained I wasn’t putting up a regular post and left this comment:

“i have a drafts folder for blog posts, sometimes it’s just a title, sometimes it’s the first two sentences. I keep a few there and when NaBloPoMo started I had like 7 or 8 blog posts ready to expand and go. That left me available to write on days when I had the time and stack up a couple in advance. Right now I have zero in my drafts and the next three days of blog posts ready to go. Think of NaBloPoMo as Thanksgiving 0 you gotta do the prep work. I too started cooking today. Good luck with both.” {sic]

I blinked when I read it.  My first thought was “Well, bully for you.  Aren’t you the queen/king of organization?  And thanks so much for dropping by to chastise me.”  But, of course, I’m all about blogging for peace and, well, that’s not exactly peaceful 🙂  Not quite sure how I want to respond, whether to respond at all…  whether to even approve the comment.

I can step back and view it as an attempt to be helpful.  But my post didn’t ask for help.  Since this person doesn’t read my blog s/he obviously doesn’t know that I have openly stated many times that my commitment is to post twice a week.  I’ve never posted about how I work on blog posts, so it’s a bit presumptuous to advise me how I should do it better when s/he couldn’t possibly know my habits.

Now, rarely, I’ve received comments that were clearly offensive and clearly meant to be and I just delete them and never think about it again.  But I also periodically receive these unsolicited advice-type comments and always feel a bit on the fence.  Again, they don’t really upset me, I just don’t know what to do with it.  You can see my thoughts about Right Listening and Unsolicited Advice here.

When bloggers with whom I regularly exchange comments offer a suggestion I don’t mind at all.  I’m a little bothered when someone who doesn’t know me or my blog  presumes to offer advice that displays they know nothing about me and, often, didn’t really read the post on which they’re commenting.

Bottom line, I find the above comment an oddly offensive way to say “hello” on a first visit to someone’s blog.  And I’m curious whether anyone agrees or whether you think I just have a button being pushed here.  If you want to be quick, use the poll, but I’d love to hear more if you have time to comment.  What do you do with comments that offer advice you didn’t ask for and/or find off-putting?

14 thoughts on “Comment etiquette?

  1. Hi happy Thanksgiving!

    Well, I think it’s a button. And it turns out I have so much to say about this, it’s going to turn in to a blog post. (My comment was getting lengthy.) So tomorrow’s post, I’ll write about this.

    Short version: I think the person was honestly trying to be helpful. I have that same tendency. I think that’s part of what makes blogging difficult. We can’t look at someone and see if they’re smirking or if they’re being earnest. In this case, I truly think it’s earnest.

    • Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you’re enjoying all those favorites you were fixing.
      With a day to think, I agree, it was probably well-intentioned. I forget sometimes that most of the world isn’t trying to practice right speech or right listening.
      And I know it’s the American way to assume that every problem requires someone to step in and fix it. I fight the habit myself. But I need to remember lots of people who might visit aren’t trying to practice right listening by breaking the habit of unsolicited advice (which I don’t see as the same thing as suggesting something to do or read or whatever to someone you read regularly or know well).
      Thanks so much for weighing in! Hugs, Leigh

  2. Leigh, I just emailed you my super-lengthy response, which, as with the previous commenter, was turning into a post. And I will post about it — I had actually already been mulling over it…

    Bottom line, and funny, because unlike the previous commenter, I don’t believe that you just have a button that’s being pushed. 🙂

    Thanks for this post Leigh! ❤ ❤ ❤ Blessed be. ❤ ❤ ❤ And thanks for the link! 🙂

    Nadine Marie

    • Ok Leigh…With your permission, here’s my super-lengthy response.

      Oh how funny indeed, Leigh! When things like these happen synchronistically, I firmly believe there’s something in the collective that’s coming up for clearing and transmuting. And that, we may be, as a group, being called to collectively create a solution on how to deal with such energies….as we live in the New and create our New Earth and New Reality.

      Now, this response will be lengthy — lengthy enough for a post…lengthy just like MY posts ;-). Please allow me to indulge…

      I’m doing as best I can to be objective. I’m setting aside my own issues and lessons and putting myself in your shoes and viewing it from YOUR perspective. But I can only do so much and it’s really impossible for me to remove all my personal biases, and only you can know for sure what’s best for you — and I know you already know that.

      Anyway, having said that though, and because you’ve asked for our opinion, here goes….

      One thing I am most certain about Leigh is I don’t believe that you just have a button that’s being pushed. I am completely with you when you said, “When bloggers with whom I regularly exchange comments offer a suggestion I don’t mind at all. I’m a little bothered when someone who doesn’t know me or my blog presumes to offer advice that displays they know nothing about me and, often, didn’t really read the post on which they’re commenting. Bottom line, I find the above comment an oddly offensive way to say “hello” on a first visit to someone’s blog.”

      Yes! Those words struck a chord Leigh. That’s exactly what’s irking me with those who comment and give unsolicited advice. Often, I sense these people — the first timers — are simply making a good first impression. I feel it’s their way of enticing me and other readers — subtly and not so subtly — to check their own sites, in their hope of getting more readers and followers. This, as opposed to the sheer joy and pleasure of genuine connection and authentic interaction. And sometimes, they’re really just being their arrogant selves — displaying their superiority — intellectually, spiritually, etc. — with their ‘deep’ comments….
      At least, you have switched on the ‘comment moderation/approval’ feature which buys you some time to think and decide what to do with the comment. Times when I receive a not so pleasant and unwelcome comments and unsolicited advice — which truly doesn’t happen that often but when it does, boy does it send me to the roof! — I wonder if I want to employ such a feature to give me some filtering control. I’m still on the fence about that.

      Anyhow, so what do you do with this reader’s comment/advice?

      Hmmmm….It’s really hard to have a clear-cut rule on this Leigh. I will refer back to what you also commented in my post which I found useful. “Sometimes I set a boundary with people who leave those comments, sometimes I just don’t respond to the comment or I reply with something noncommittal.”

      There have been comments in my previous posts to which I responded very briefly — just out of courtesy. Just to acknowledge their comments. There are some that I put off responding to at a later time — when I’m more up to it and I’d have thought of a more appropriate and respectful and courteous response, until I had completely forgotten about it. I would only realize that I have a pending action when I am ‘linked back’ to my posts months, sometimes even more than a year later!

      Just last month, I wrote something similar to my recent ‘ranting’ post where I was also quite clear that I was simply allowing myself to express. I wasn’t asking for anything other than to be heard. I even ended my post with, “And for now, no words can take away the pain of my loneliness. This pain needs to be heard. To be listened to. And just for now, the pain of my loneliness does not need to be spoken to. More than anything, and more than ever, it needs to speak through.” Then, a newly-subscribed follower gave such a lengthy comment, giving me the run-around….it was also seething with arrogance and superiority that was being sugar coated with compassion. The comment/advice that he was sharing — short of being self-titled as ‘wise words from a sage’ — wasn’t what I was looking for nor was it what I wanted/needed to hear. I also sensed that this individual was fishing for some compliment from me on how far along he has been on his journey — much further along than me! But I most certainly wasn’t going to feed that energy and was clear that I didn’t want to engage in any form of conversation or interaction with this individual and such energy. Was he aware of what he was doing? Did he do it intentionally or knowingly? Probably not. But that doesn’t make it less wrong or less offensive/intrusive. So, I nipped it in the bud and simply replied with, “Thank you for your insights and your well wishes. Blessed be. “

      But just like you, I also “blinked when I read it. My first thought was ‘Well, bully for you. Aren’t you the queen/king of organization? And thanks so much for dropping by to chastise me.’” LOL 😀 😀 😀 I chuckled when I read this! I can so relate and saw myself responding that way too!

      I’ve dealt with a few others with similar energies in a similar fashion. With my brief and noncommittal responses, I was sending the message subtly that such energies and comments are not welcome in my space/site. Sure, I cannot stop them from visiting, reading or following, but I can at least prevent them — hopefully — from commenting in a similar fashion again. And hopefully also, they eventually get ‘turned off’ by the energy of restraint that I’m ‘imposing’ and find other sites where such energies and comments are welcomed and allowed.

      As you also commented in my recent post, “I realized I’ve leaned more toward having insurmountable boundaries than no boundaries. For me blogging has been a chance to open the boundaries a little.” So, I can really only speak with much certainty for myself Leigh, on what I’d do because I would use the opportunity for my growth and lessons — which may or may not be the same for you. For me, it’s strengthening my boundaries; For you, it’s opening them a little.

      That’s the end of my lengthy response which I now know will end up as another post in some shape and form in the near future. Because the truth is, I had been thinking about writing yet another post on the same topic — still. But I’m still mulling over it. And your post clearly nudged me to go ahead and write it! Thanks for nudge!

      I leave it up to you Leigh if you want me to post this in the comment section of your blog or keep it here in private. Either way works for me. I was just thinking of the space that my long comment would occupy in your site, and didn’t want to turn you off or your other readers with my very lengthy response…

      Again, thanks for this post and for giving me the chance to share my thoughts and opinions with you. And again, I am so thankful that we’ve met each other and got connected by our blogging!

      Blessed be. ❤ ❤ ❤

      Btw, thank you for the link to your post, Right listening and unsolicited opinions. — Love it! ❤

      • After reading all the comments and having time to think I think i’m going to give it a day or two and approve the comment with a noncommittal thanks. I appreciate the support and that you took so much time over your response. So pleased that you liked the right listening post — I’ve decided to put it up again later tonight, with some editing.
        This is a tough one. I think you’re right that some people do it just to show off their delusion of being better and some just toss it off as part of the “come read my blog”/network phenom. But I also think that this habit is so deeply embedded in American culture (and, as you say, possibly other parts of the world) that a lot of people are doing it thinking that they’re being nice. So I think I’m going to come down in favor of the noncommittal response as my general practice. Some sort of compromise between showing compassion for them and drawing a line about encouraging the habit.

  3. I have a good feeling this person is having a really bad time and I hope things improve for that person. For whatever the reason you connected and maybe it was for you to show more compassion towards another (not saying you don’t already). Maybe there is someone else you have been hard on and this individuals comments is a way of illuminating that and not the actual comment made. Finding things are not that cut and dry anymore yet this could be just someone who is mean. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. It’s a tough one to answer. My initial reaction was that it’s a button being pushed as I to think the person was trying (in a slightly odd way) to be helpful. Having said that, there is no real way to know their intention short of actually asking them and that could potentially provoke more trouble than it is worth.

    I am off to read the linked blog now as I think you have raised a really interesting point, and it is definitely something worth talking about. 🙂

  5. I read it and had no reaction at all, just that she was saying how she did things. On the other hand if something like that had shown up on my blog I have *no* doubt I’d have reacted as you did, as in *Who* do they think they are!
    And then I read it again and my reaction was same as yours – well bully for you! Aren’t you special!
    I would reply I’m sure. I reply to pretty much everything, but not much more than thanks for your input, but it wouldn’t work for me, etc (someone up ahead said it better.)
    Interesting post Leigh. Lots to think about.
    Alison ❤

    • Thanks. In the end, I agree, I don’t think the comment was made with malice so I’m going to approve it and write some vague thanks. I’m so pleased to have gotten such an array of reactions — especially those like you who had more than one– and that so many have joined the conversation. Hugs, Leigh

  6. Pingback: Of Right Listening Instead Of Unsolicited Advising | Aligning With Truth

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