The Letter ~F~ Or If Hamlet Were Writing This: “To comment or not to comment~that is the question”

The third quarto of Hamlet (1605). A straight ...

The third quarto of Hamlet (1605). A straight reprint of the 2nd quarto (1604) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Failure to communicate appropriately is the topic of this little post today. I have found myself guilty of perpetrating this crime, and am looking for an antidote.

My question: Are you careful when you comment on other blogs?

I try to be careful, but every once in a while when I am in a bad mood—I get carried away and reveal more than I generally would, or heaven forbid—criticize someone. Then I feel bad. Really bad—because you cannot take your words back—they are out there.

I try to judge any comments I leave behind on someone’s blog or response to a comment on my blog using one criterion: if I received that comment how would I feel? But sometimes I fail to meet my own criteria, and leave a comment that could perhaps be misunderstood or that I would not want to receive.

I am really not the proverbial good sport—I try to be, but I am not. I am generally a pretty gentle soul, or at least that is how I present myself. But we all have our breaking points. Today I left a comment on someone’s blog whom I trust, and the criticism that I voiced was not toward her at all—my comment to her was complimentary, but then I complained about a comment I received recently that irked me.

I wrote an Addendum comment to her telling her that I think I do not take criticism well in the blog world because, on the whole, I receive such overwhelmingly warm and lovely responses, that something that even hints of criticism (and it really was only a gentle hint) gets my nose out of joint. I have since decided to “mature up” and not take myself so seriously. But I find that I am at my most vulnerable (and height of grumpiness) when other things are bothering me.

It is a bit of a conundrum—the antidote being: do not leave comments or responses when you are in  less than a jolly place. So when my universe is spinning a bit out of control, I am going to  put my tap happy fingers to another task for the moment, hold my tongue, and find my happy place before unleashing my reaction to the world.

Published in: on September 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm  Comments (64)  
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  1. Lou Ann — I hope that I’ve never jokingly said ANYTHING that would hurt or offend you. I worry about the same thing as you’ve stated above. Sometimes sarcasm, wit and joking around doesn’t translate. Great post and advice we should all take into consideration.

    • never, ever Brigitte — oh now, I don’t want to worry my blog friends –seriously I should think before I send these things out–
      now, no one is going to comment cause I am such a wieny
      I have probably done it to you–but you are mature (unlike me)

  2. You are NOT whiny. You are sensitive and that is a very, very wonderful attribute to have, friend. No worries and I will always comment on your lovely and wise words. I think many people feel the way you’ve described above; they just don’t “voice” it. You’re great and I love your blogs!!

    • my husband says I have delicate sensibilities (code for not a good sport, ha, ha)
      glad I have not scared away on of my favourite people!

  3. What a great, thoughtful post. I have left a comment or two that were interpreted differently from my intent when I left them (a joking comment, for instance, misconstrued as real) and I just felt HORRID. Your advice is so good … thank you! 🙂

    • I have done the same – odd how a sense of what is supposed to be humour does not always come across – thank you

      • Best to put a LOL or a smiley when it might be taken seriously 🙂
        I like your humor Louann, and I tend to make silly jokey type comments every now and then with you that I wouldn’t do with a lot of other bloggers – so I’m really taking a chance thinking I know you well enough to do this. Just let me know if I ever offend you!

      • never ever have you offended me — and keep making your jokes!

  4. It’s hard to show subtlties in comments, isn’t it? Sometimes things don’t come out the way they were intended. There should be a 15 minute editing period where only you can see your comment before it is sent. That would help me and my poor spelling skills a lot. And that stupid autocorrect on the ipad should be abolished. It has changed some of my comments to the borderline bizarre.

    • I so agree about the stupid auto correct! You’ve really got to be on your toes and remember to read through before you touch the post button! 🙂

  5. that is a good solution – 15 minutes to contemplate whether we want to send a comment and check our spelling – though I am afraid that I am so impatient sometimes I would probably hit send before I realized I had some time to ponder
    you head the nail on the head about subtlties

  6. I have appreciated all the comments that you’ve left on my blog!

    • I am so glad — I do not slip up too often — but every once in a while the gremlin steps in

  7. Good blog today. I’m still learning how this whole blogging thing works. I appreciate the lesson.

    • Me too – who knew when we first started blogging that we had to follow rules – but with any social interaction we have to be polite 🙂

  8. Sometimes if I’m afraid that people may not realize I’m joking I make sure I put a smiley face at the end of the comment just to be sure.

    • I know–when I am in my right mind I do that or an lol–but I am not always in my right mind
      Your comments are always thoughtful and funny

      • Awww thanks! You see, you always say the right thing :).

  9. I have had comments interpreted differently to what I wish my fried, I understand exactly what you mean! It is so hard to express tone in writing!
    Know my friend that I would never intentionally leave a bad comment for you 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    • you never have – you have always been kind and encouraging and I hope I have been the same for you 🙂

  10. I know exactly how you feel. When you write a comment it’s not like speaking face to face so the receiver cannot see your expressions. Sometimes things can come out as terse when they are supposed to be funny or helpful. I received a ‘slap in the face’ response to one of my comments to another blog and at first I was a bit upset about it, but when I looked at it again I realised this was just the way the person wrote their responses.

    This is a very interesting subject – well done

    • Sometimes it may just be the mood we are in, and admittedly it is hard to gauge emotions in the written word sometimes — 🙂 — if I ever am guilty of this, know that I do not mean it

  11. I think we all try our best buts am sure we have left comments which the reader percieves in a different way.. If I ever leave one I don’t feel confortable with, i would go black and either clarify or apologize!

    • no worries — you have always been thoughtful and encouraging –but same with me — 🙂

  12. Sometimes if the response seems like what I’ve written may not have been taken the right way ..I’ll make it a bit more clear, but then the response from that is that what I said originally was okay! I am sometimes a ‘worrier’ for no reason!…Diane

  13. I think sometimes because we are all from different areas, countries, backgrounds, etc, it can be easy to misunderstand a comment. Or maybe to have a comment taken up in a way that you didn’t mean. I have loved your comments on my blog so keep them coming!! 🙂

    • you are one of the first blogs I followed – so you are special to me — and all your comments have been wonderful

      • Holy Mackerel! I just thought of something: what if a person leaves a comment to someone in another country and it has to go through translation – can you imagine how it might come out?!

      • I notice that we have all kinds of people who check out our blogs in a lot of different countries so your concern may be one we should consider–but I do not think I will lose sleep over it (lol)

  14. I find commenting to be one of the hardest aspects of blogging! I love the ability to connect with other people, but I always worry about “tone.” Will what I’m trying to say come across the right way? It’s hard to gauge sometimes, especially because the majority of the time the conversations are with people you have not had the chance to meet and speak with in real life.

    • you know 99.99% of the comments I receive are wonderful and touching — this post was really more about me being careful when I am grumpy and not letting my grumpiness out on other people
      Andrea–I have never received a comment from you that could be misconstrued (sp?)

      • 🙂 Well that’s definitely good to hear!

        But yes, I know what you mean, sometimes it can be a bit difficult. I’m never one to take a breath before speaking in real life, so it’s something I really try to concentrate on when responding to comments…I find it helps if I wait and respond to comments all on one day rather than as they pop up individually – but I think you probably worry more than is necessary, I always enjoy your posts and comments!

      • thank you – I like your idea about taking time to comment and put some thought into it

  15. Firstly, I love comments and I think that is nearly unanimous. Of course, it is nice to read positive and supportive feedback. However, I want honesty and someone wants to call me on that, I am okay with that. I look at it as helping me to get better. Sure, I can be a bit defensive and will probably respond as such and hope I can clarify what I meant. Ultimately, I don’t want a negative exchange. I don’t think it is the place for it.

    • maybe I only want honesty when it is nice (lol) and I agree with you that a negative exchange is not good on blogs

  16. The problem with the written word is that it just doesn’t always show the smirk at the end of the line that tells a reader if something is said with the seriousness the Pope or the smile of a sinner. I’m sure my snarky humor has raised a few eyebrows, and I apologize when I’ve inadvertently tromped on feelings. But I absolutely agree with you. When I’m feeling bad, grumpy, and prickly, I don’t even turn on the computer. Better to take a walk and kick rocks instead.

  17. I think I said this to you before over on my blog. With almost 29,000 views and 6,500 comments on my blog, only one comment was snarky-ish. My skin was probably thin that day. On the whole, bloggers I follow/follow me are the NICEST people ever! So supportive~!

  18. I’ve had one nasty comment and I deleted it. It didn’t bother me at all. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comment from you that wasn’t kind and purposeful ( is that a word 🙂 )

    • that is a good word – and I have always appreciated your thoughtful comments — Yeah I just delete the nasties — and now they are behind me–I am going to do what you do and not let them bother me

  19. I think the fact that you worry about how your comments come across is already a sign that you’re a considerate person. 😉 I often reread my comment in as many ways as possible, trying to see if there’s a possible offensive angle to it before I send it out. But as Brigitte said, sarcasm and jokes often don’t come across the right way (which is why I often add a smiley at the end). Good stuff to think about!

    • I think 🙂 softens things up and lets the reader know you are joshing them — I have never had a comment from you that was not kind and thoughtful

      • Likewise to you!

  20. This made me think but I know I’ve only had supportive and encouraging comments from you. I just love getting comments! Thank you for this that made me think, always a good thing! 🙂

    • I think thinking is highly over-rated (lol) You have always been one of my most encouraging blogger friends and I love getting comments too

    • I think thinking is highly over-rated (lol) You have always been one of my most encouraging blogger friends and I love getting comments too

      • It makes the blogging all worthwhile! I started off doing it just for me and didn’t realise what fun it would become or that I would make such friends! 🙂

  21. My grandmother always said “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I try to live by that 😉

    I think we all dislike criticism don’t we? 😉


  22. I try to be absolutely civil when commenting on posts made by bloggers I’m not familiar with. I worry that they wouldn’t understand my sense of humour and I’d come across as rude and crass. If I’m unhappy, I close WordPress and don’t look at it again until I’m back in my happy place! =]

  23. I definitely take care with comments. As you said, once it’s out there you can’t delete it!

  24. In response to your comment on the weekly photo challenge…

    You want to have something in the foreground of the photo that grabs your eyes and pulls you into the photo. This is called lines of force. So a straight line moving from say the front left that travels to the upper right would be an example of something that moves your eyes in the photo. From “near,” close up, to “far” further off in the distance. See my photos and let me know if this makes sense to you…

    Now go and review photos! I’ll bet you have a “near and far” sitting in the corner staring back at you! Barb – Life in the Foothills, and the

  25. Lou Ann you ALMOST upset me tonight………… you didn’t……I am weird… I’m not (stomping foot). I will go away now. Love Ralph x

    • ha ha – you are not weird Ralph – although in my book, weird is good and you do not have to go away

      • Okay Lou Ann. I’ll come quietly. 🙂

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