Okay, my darling’ friends.
Can we talk a minute about being a reader on the internet?
So let’s pretend you come across a writer on the internet whom you’ve never heard of before. You read an article somewhere like Medium or here on wordpress let’s talk about stuff not to say to them.
- Don’t troll.
- Don’t point out that you are doing something they are talking about wanting folks not to do?
- Don’t assume they are brand new writers just because you’ve never read their work.
- Don’t ask them to give you their entire bibliography.
- Use fuckin google.
- Don’t be an asshole.
- Don’t use google to then find everything that person has written and comment on everything you can to tell them how much they suck.
I don’t say these things because feelings.
Most of the writers I know who have been doing so for more than five minutes have heard it all. I personally went through a lot with a group of commenters who hated a blog I had a long time ago, then when they realized I was a hated blogger who was writing at XoJane, they had at it.
Most of what they said made me scratch my head or just sort of chuckle. I mean, XoJane wasn’t known for the sweetness and light of their community, but y’all, some of them were just so silly. And yes, YES, I really did use a half a sentence in a 1200 word piece to poke a little gentle fun at them because it was funny. And as y’all might imagine, that didn’t go over well either.
That said, they did help me make the decision to no longer publish with Xo. The thing is, my feelings weren’t really hurt. I’ve heard worse from better. What bothered me was that I had to take the time to wade through that bullshit in order to get through to the folks who really had questions or wanted to talk.
People who take up space with bullshit are a pain in the ass.
I have made it a personal goal to never post extraneous comments on shit just because. If I kind of like something, if I really hate it. I just don’t. Mainly because my opinion is not that important and neither is yours.
Most of us who write on the internet, have to deal with a lot of shit. And frankly, there’s no reason for any of us to pipe up to be the shitty one.
I also say this because, most of the time the internet is a crap filled enough place. And really, if you have to point out that you don’t like a random article or blog post on the internet, ask yourself a few questions.
- Was this thing I don’t like for me? By that I mean, is it addressing you personally? Do you exhibit the behavior the author is talking about? If so, do you need to do it on their piece?
- Is what you have to say actually relevant?
- Are you just talking shit because you’re bored or whatever?
If you have to talk shit, here’s how without bothering the author, unless your main goal is to be an asshole.
- Don’t direct link to the piece. If the author uses analytics and sees a shitload of traffic from one source, they are gonna come and look.
- Don’t hotlink to their images.
- Don’t decide that the author is wrong because of their looks, because you’ve never heard of them before etc. Especially if they are talking about their lived life.
- Keep it amongst your friends. Talk about it in a group chat, text messages whatever.
Basically, keep the author out of it.
Lastly, I say these things because often people who engage in this behavior think they are offering some sort of critical response when 90% of the time they aren’t. They are sealioning, trolling or just being an asshole.
Don’t be an asshole.
If your critical response amounts to LOL LOOK AT ME TROLL, nah son.
I personally either ignore that flavor of comment or, do the following: