Commentariat class

I’m strongly considering shutting off comments on my blog. As I said the other day…

So yeah, I do control the observation but I can’t control the interpretation of that observation by you readers. This was made clear when Drew showed up and I wrote about the relationship that followed. Even though I explained how that all came into being and Belle’s role in opening our relationship, there were people who commented who clearly didn’t understand what was going on. Either through ignorance or choice. Then, because I allow comments and feedback, they were able to share their sometimes hateful and misguided (though, to be charitable, perhaps well-meaning) thoughts and opinions. Then I, in turn, had to choose to ignore or respond, but in any case, those comments affected my future behavior and choices. It made me feel defensive and act defensively even and contributed to my angst since I knew there were all these judging eyes out there waiting for the doom and failure they predicted. Sure, there was also a lot of support, but that’s not how this works. I only really focused on the dark side.

I can’t say for certain why I blog or why I keep blogging at this point in my life. The reasons I started doing it are perhaps not the same as they are today. Back then, I needed and was seeking the feedback of others who had been over the ground I was covering for the first time. The readership was relatively low and the quality of the comments was relatively high. Today, the number of people who read my words on a daily basis is dramatically higher. There are a few people whose comments I genuinely look forward to and read avidly, there’s a group of well-meaning friends I have here and on Twitter, and then there’s a bunch of newbies/anonymous people whose comments are the source of most of my issues.

For example, I wrote yesterday about my need to feel inferior as a submissive. I got this gem in return.

After reading your post, I reread it a second and then a third time. Try as I might, I did not comprehend a single word you said. “Inferior” as something worthwhile is completely foreign to me. I guess i’m too much of a traditionalist when it comes to the meaning of words.

That was from a person calling themselves “Noah.” Never commented here before. No link. No identity other than the email address they used when leaving their comment (which may or may not be real). It was the blogging equivalent of a drive-by shooting. WTF is the point of such a thing? To me, he’s basically calling me out as broken or flawed compared to his “traditional” POV. This wasn’t, as has been happening on Twitter lately, someone who wanted to understand or explore the motivations and sexuality of a submissive person. This was someone who’s basically saying they can’t figure it out so “I guess” blah blah blah. It’s bullshit. Useless. Negative and shaming.

The bottom line is, I don’t want to hear from any random stranger what they think of my life. I’ve made some really valuable acquaintances from the blog, but for the most part, those days are over. Comments today are more of a drag to me than anything else.

I’m not saying I don’t want any feedback at all. I want better more considered feedback. I think by removing comments from the blog I’ll get a better quality of comments via other channels of communication out there. An open comment field is like an invitation to drop a hot take and blow. Thing is, this blog isn’t about my opinions on new movies or technology or even politics. It’s about my life and, as such, my threshold for offense/injury is substantially lower.

So how would I like to get feedback? In order of preference…

  • Pingback from your blog. A well thought-out post on one’s own blog is far superior to a quickly dashed comment that’s much more than a “you go, girl” kind of sentiment. Posts in response to other bloggers is a time-honored way to exchanging ideas on the web.
  • Call-out on Twitter. Every post here gets a tweet. Quick comments of support or inquiry or whatever can be made by replying there using an account of yours that’s more closely tied to your personal reputation. Anonymous commenters have zero reputation so it’s far easier to be an asshole.
  • Feedback form. I have a whole page dedicated to sending me private messages. Of course, nobody else will see them so those inclined to be showy while demosntrating their lack of empathy will lose some of their motivation.
  • I’m also on FetLife, though I sometimes go a while without checking my inbox there.

I’m curious to know what other bloggers think about this (and for the time being, feel free to leave a comment 😉 ). As I mentioned on Twitter earlier, I know of many muggle blogs that have shut down comments because they are, typically, the scourge of the internet but I can’t think of one in our perverted corner of the web that doesn’t have them. Why not? What are we getting from comments? Is it worth the trade-off? And why not take these conversations to social platforms where people might feel more accountable for their words?

Update: In the mean time, I’ve changed the site settings to only allow those who log in via Twitter, Facebook, or WordPress to leave comments. That actually might really help. We’ll see.

12 thoughts on “Commentariat class

  1. Changing your site setting re: log-in seems like a logical step toward the change you want to see.

    Personally, I have rules about blog interactions. They are clearly posted, as are the consequences for breaking them. It’s gone a long way toward preventing assholery. I get a mixed bag where quantity is concerned, and quality is subjective (we stray from topic occasionally 😉 ) but I have had very few issues in terms of respectful dialogue.

    Also, you have the option to restrict comments (and likes) on a per-post basis. So that’s an option if you want to test the “proper response” waters. 🙂

    And I guess I just want to say… Thanks (? – seems odd, I guess) for addressing the trollers and bigoted fuckheads. Because, as a reader – one who is interested and engaged – it makes for a hostile environment, one that does not feel safe or comfortable, when prejudicial and hateful comments are allowed to stand. And it takes away from the message(s) you are trying to convey when everyone’s attention is diverted by the no-name heckler in the metaphorical bleacher seats.

    My two cents. 🙂

  2. I completely agree with your assessment of comments. My blog, like yours gets a much larger audience than I had imagined when we started. I’ve deleted a lot of comments; particularly the ones that start with “My wife ordered a chastity device…” and go on to spin a predictable chastity fantasy. Like you, I’ve gotten a good number of comments that hurt to read. I’ve shut off comments on all of my static pages and only allow comments on posts for fourteen days. This helps keep the fantasies out.

    I really love when another blogger posts a considered opinion about something I wrote. Those of us who blog about enforced chastity, etc. are known entities whose writings are always available. I may come up with an off-the-wall opinion, even about you, but you know where I live and you can start a blog dialogue.
    In fact, I would love it if we (bloggers) would have more dialogues with one another. I think that we would all benefit and I have, in fact, done exactly that; most recently this week when I posted about your posts.

    Comments, to me at least, always felt like it meant people were reading what I wrote. Of course I don’t need comments to know that. I have a very powerful web analytics system that gives me more than enough data to know how many people are reading and how long they stay. Still, I like the feedback and for the most part the same people, whose feedback I value, tend to comment most frequently on my blog.

    If we do as you suggest and turn off comments, then we risk developing an incestuous feel to our blogs. On the other hand, we aren’t commercial web sites who live and die on unique visits, so who cares?

    1. “I would love it if we (bloggers) would have more dialogues with one another. I think that we would all benefit and I have, in fact, done exactly that; most recently this week when I posted about your posts.”

      I know! I loved that. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d like to see more of.

      “I may come up with an off-the-wall opinion, even about you, but you know where I live and you can start a blog dialogue.”

      Exactly.

      “If we do as you suggest and turn off comments, then we risk developing an incestuous feel to our blogs.”

      I’ve thought about that. Perhaps. But as I said up above, there are still lots of places to talk to me. I’m no trying to shut down dialog, just raise its bar.

  3. Your blog and input on male chastity were/are the reason I started my own blog. Your blog led me to Drew’s, Caged Lion’s, etc. which has given true meaning to my feelings of wanting…no needing…to be submissive to MrsL.

    My blog is new enough that I don’t have many comments and the ones I do get are all from others I follow. I am not sure how I will feel when that first “drive-by” comment shows up but I will look back and refer to this post and think it through.

    Thanks for your blog.

  4. Well, I would like to go on the record as saying that I disagree with your lifestyle choices, worry about how Belle must feel with you so publicly cheating, think this whole chastity thing is indicative of further emotional problems, and I sure hope that boyfriend guy doesn’t turn you all the way gay since that has been his main goal since the beginning. And, by the way, even though he is evil, stop being so mean to him too.

    I will pray for you that you will be able to fix all of these things before it’s too late.

    Did that cover it all? What did I miss? I don’t want you to miss getting these drive by damnations so I stand ready to jump in and help by posting any of the above at any time. Okay?

    As for the comments, I think it will be interesting to see what happens. I worry in one sense for the few that actually learn from the valid responses and comments, but also know that those tend to only arrive after you have received twenty non valid responses.

    But, something clearly needed to change so I look forward to watching.

  5. I can understand how you feel. It can be hard to not take thinks personally when you read them. Even wen they are written by people who are just judging or who do not understand. I would say don’t read them but that is hard as well. I know I can tell from the first few sentences of they are being nice or not. You have to do what is right for your mental health. People who want to interact with you will do so in one of the other ways.

    Hugs.

  6. I’ve been very lucky with commenters on my blog: I get my hate in other forums.

    Unlike yours, most of my haters prefer to send me private email to tell me that they wish I would get ebola and die a horrible death because I’m a sexist shitstain-cunt who deserves it. I made myself laugh writing that, but I’m not kidding, and god knows if I got a lot of those, my inbox would become a minefield that I’d navigate with a feeling of dread. I imagine that feeling is how you are getting with your comments: it hurts and it’s horrible and you can’t just pretend you didn’t see it once you’ve read it.

    “What are we getting from comments? Is it worth the trade-off? And why not take these conversations to social platforms where people might feel more accountable for their words?”

    For me, the dialogue and banter with my readers makes me feel a sense of kinship, it makes me feel supported, and I want to make having those exchanges as easy and accessible as possible so that I can get that interaction (that is, it’s all about me). Most people (me included) are too lazy to go to any effort to interact if they have to ‘go elsewhere’ to do it unless I already ‘know’ them via other mediums.

    I think that once your comments section starts to make you feel bad, it’s a different story.

    I banned two commenters by IP address when they came into my blog over and over primarily to tag-team insults towards me that my OTHER commenters would then engage with. It was making the comments section all about them and their idiotic ideas so I shut it down. Obviously that doesn’t work for fly-bys.

    I think your idea for requiring some kind of login is a really good one, especially because it saves you having to look at those comments to moderate them (if you have to moderate them, you STILL have to read them :(). I really hope it helps.

    All this to say: Do whatever you have to do to keep this space safe and positive for you and I’m really sorry you’re having to deal with those arseholes who feel compelled to spew their stupidity all over the place.

    Ferns

  7. If the comments bother you, and make you feel anxious and tense, then shut them down. You don’t have to let people continue hating all over your blog. You don’t owe anything to anyone on the internet.

    There are so many people who benefit from your blog, and from you sharing this journey that you’re on. When I first started putting my husband in chastity, your blog was a huge help, not only to me but to him, because he could see that someone else had felt what he was feeling, someone else had gone down the roads he was currently going down.

    And, since our situation was the opposite of the “norm,” in that he was somewhat reluctant to be caged, and I was the one pushing him, being able to read your blog, along with some other blogs written by men in chastity, may have been the difference between success and failure in the use of chastity our own lives.

    You’re making a pretty significant contribution to the lives of the people who look to you for your experience, knowledge, and intelligence. Wanna take a guess how many times I’ve read through your reviews of different devices before buying one for one of my boys? Wanna guess where I sent Sounder a few weeks ago, when I brought up the subject of chastity, and he was hesitant AF to go ahead with it? Yeah, his chastity cage has already been ordered and is on its way.

    But the people who feel like they have to publicly insult you or rudely question your life choices aren’t contributing anything. And as you mentioned, one has to wonder why they choose to do it publicly, rather than ask you privately for clarification.

    They’re just looking for attention, and they’re using you to get it, to validate their own life choices (which they’re most likely feeling insecure about, hence their reasons for spending so much time on a blog focusing primarily on kink and fetish).

    Insecure and small people will always need to find ways to validate their own choices, their own beliefs, their own lives. The fact that so many of them are doing it at your expense is really sad. Especially considering how many people your blog has helped.

    It’s your blog, you have the power to shut them up. The people who enjoy reading your blog, and the people who benefit from reading it will still enjoy it and benefit from it, even without the option of commenting on it. And for those who do want to give you feedback, you’ve listed a number of ways to do that.

    You don’t need to answer to anyone on the internet, and you don’t have to explain or justify your decisions. If you decide to shut down comments, you don’t have to explain why, and you don’t have to defend your decision to do so.

  8. I rarely comment, but I am an avid reader. I always like to read blogs that present something different or encourage me to think more. In the world of kink, where most D’s are male and most s’s are female – you guys defy the norms. Wait a minute…we’re talking about kink here…should I even use the word “norm?” All in all, keep writing and tell the judgy Janes and the Nosy Nellies to back off. This is your unique patch of the kink quilt and you can make is as beautiful as you want. The quilt would not be complete without your patch! 🙂

  9. First, let me start by apologizing for my own tweet yesterday that came out as me being a dick, because I was, I think, being a bit of a dick. And twitter as a medium for correcting dickheadedness is not the best. Apologies. My lesson learned, don’t tweet about anyone else unless you have a better grasp on what’s going on. I need to save such tweets for talking about my own damn self.

    I’m glad to be able to follow up in your comments thread here. It seems from the blog that you’re having a rough patch in a couple ways and that’s totally fine and it’s excellent of you to share with your readers. It’s easy to write about all the good stuff that happens to us, but to write about the hard stuff puts one in a far more vulnerable place and exposes one to all the slings and arrows that might be out there, as you’ve demonstrated with merely one sample.

    I do like the brief conversations I have with readers in my own blogs (There are non-kinky ones as well which have been around longer, but aren’t THAT much more active, but still more traffic than my newer kinky one). I really do feel that it’s a great forum for interacting personally with the readers. And, well, I think my view toward that is completely naive as I haven’t HAD any haters on my kinky blog (a few on the vanilla, banned!) yet, as you have. So I’m a little rose colored glasses perspective. I think that’s the nature of my failed tweetversation with you yesterday.

    I know over on LJ (yeah, I still have one of those!) I’ve often set my comments to be friends only or off at times, but there it’s a closed audience, so I know what to expect more. Sometimes I simply don’t WANT to talk about it. I just want to vent, get it over with, say my peace and GTFO. And I do. Perhaps it might be a tactic for you to take, as others here have suggested. And yes, I also think the tightened restrictions of commenting (logins needed) will slow the drive bys at least to some extent.

    In the end, it really comes down to what you want. And even if all the people say “let us comment!” and you decide that “Fuck this, no more comments!” then THAT is how you’ll run things, and you should do exactly that. Those of us who might miss commenting will find a way to send you a note and we’ll get on with the rest of our own reading and commenting and likely miss the ability to comment here. But it’s 100% your call to make… and even if we miss the opportunity, I doubt we could validly blame you.

    Ferns and Cagedlion seem to have some good technical suggestions, though that dualdrew guy should likely be banned. 😉 I hope the technical ideas, including the ones you’ve already started with, can help stem the tide and put comments back under proper control. There’s a chastity pun or connection to be made with this last sentence but I can’t figure out what it is at the moment.

    Best of luck to you in all things. I hope the rough patches get smoothed over and you feel better soon. Maybe that massage will really help. I wonder if my shitty week might be helped by a good massage. Thanks for continuing to write. Cheers!

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