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.