I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question, as a reader and as a blogger:

Should I comment?

No, I am not talking about the necessity of “polite vs rude” comments, although that can make the subject of a very long and separate blog post, of course.

Today I am just exploring the quandary that we find ourselves in when our blogging friends write about a topic or a subject that may either be uncomfortable or rather, what’s the word, uncharacteristically mean. Our mind wonders if we should leave a comment on their work.

Bear in mind that these are bloggers we love for what they write, so the first instinct is to to say ‘Yes’.

In all fairness, the science of blogging does thrive on two main ideas: comments and shares. The more comments you get, the more likely it is that the post will get views, be read by extended circles and become popular.

All fair so far.

Personally, though, I refrain from leaving a comment on such a post- the unpleasant ones- because it doesn’t sit well with me. I cannot say something that I don’t mean. In other words, I cannot comment for comment’s sake.

Does this ever happen to you?

Do you comment anyway, because the blogger is a good friend, virtually or otherwise?

Or am I the only one worried about this moral dilemma? 😉


Learn more about MicroblogMondays here.

{P.S. Yes, I may be back to blogging. One can’t be sure though. Fingers crossed!}

67 thoughts on “Should I comment? #MicroblogMondays

  1. I very rarely do comment if a post annoys me. I prefer to just leave the page. Often it may be a clash of opinions but even if it riles me a lot, I prefer not to get into the argument. I see it as an extension of the wars we see on any thread in say, a NDTV website news article. People are just fighting and fighting to prove a point and insulting each other. Very rarely does one concede one may be wrong… If you can’t convince someone of your point of view or be convinced by theirs,is there any use just aggravating yourself over it

    1. You and I are alike. Staying away from arguments is my USP 😉 You’re right about it being an extension of a futile debate. We are not going to change the face of national opinion, in any case, or even the opinion of one other person, so why bother?

  2. When I started blogging I used to explicitly post my comments of disagreement on certain posts. I felt I was being honest. But that has led to a lot of arguments on public forum which eventually turned ugly and I disliked it at a later stage. Even till today I have the itch but I have learned self control. At some point I felt it was futile unless I was extremely close to that person. Everybody have a opinion and let them share happily. However, even now in the rarest of the rare cases , I do go off-road and comment . 🙂

    1. You’re a brave soul, Salwi 😉 The online world can easily turn into an ugly place with mud slinging and sarcasm thrown at you from every side. It is one reason I avoid contentious debates and fruitless arguments. Nothing good can come of those.

  3. I try and leave comments, especially if I know the blogger personally. If I do not agree at all I would comment in private rather than one on the blog. But I do find myself pondering under such a circumstance about whether I should comment or no. Usually I will just decide based on how I feel in that moment.

    1. That ‘in the moment’ decision is what usually keeps me from commenting, Jaibala. I would much rather keep mum than comment on the blog, because, knowing me, I would say something and regret it later. Years of practice, you see, of putting foot in the mouth 😉

  4. This might be a long winded answer to your question, but that is the only way I can answer this completely. First and foremost, I am not able to visit and comment on all the blogs that I really want to, due to lack of time. So when I come across something that I disagree with or find downright mean, I almost always just ignore the post completely. In case of disagreement, the only exception is if I really REALLY like the person, then I have pinged them separately to discuss. No point making a public debate of a non-issue. As far as the mean ones go, they normally seek validation, which I refuse to offer even if I understand and sympathize with their POV. Mostly because, over the years, I have realized the truth in this statement – ‘If you can’t be kind, be quiet.’ My silence is my way of being kind to them, even when they are not able to do it for themselves or others. Having said that, I don’t judge people based on one off instances or a random rant post, coz God knows I wouldn’t want to be judged for the same. Ok. This was long. Sorry.

    1. Pinging separately to discuss always would be my first choice too Shantala. Especially when the person is a good friend. I particularly reach out to really good bloggers who won’t mind it if I point out a typo or a correction, in the full knowledge that they are free to do the same for me at any given time.

      With this mean post issue, though, I find that people are generally in an angry state of mind and not really in the mood to discuss anything contrary, so I just leave it be. I wait until it blows over and then reach out, if it feels right. I love your statement- being kind to them through your silence!

      As for judging people based on a one-off rant, not everyone is as forgiving as you are. So, I would err on the side of caution and not write a post in anger. Well, that’s me 😉

      1. Oh yes, I don’t even write a social media post unless I am 100% calm. I have gone down that route in the past, and it has never brought a positive outcome. I save my rants for my husband. 😛

  5. I think sometimes, or rather most of the time, I don’t comment if I don’t agree with what the other person is saying, especially when it goes into the ‘meal’ territory…I think I fear confrontation, I don’t like bitterness..Maybe that’s why and that’s the same for FB posts…I see people share things that go directly against my beliefs but I refrain myself from saying anything…

  6. That’s a dilemma that I go through some times. But mostly, I leave a comment even if I disagree but do it super politely and more to express. I feel bloggers are writing to get diverse perspectives. If the bloggers chooses to defend or something, I get my message. But I am also wary of any sort of conflicts. In those cases – I would just say, “a different take” , “keep writing” etc.
    Politically correct kinds! 🙂

    1. Bloggers write to get diverse perspectives? Well, not all, to be honest. A rant only asks for validation, not open debate. That’s the grim reality, unfortunately. And I cannot make a politically correct comment, Parul. Not in my psyche 🙂 I would rather stay silent than say something I don’t believe in. If people really appeciated the different take, the comments would be very different. But I am glad you shared your point of view. See? This is healthy debate 🙂

      1. Oh yes! A healthy one.
        Let me put it clearly – writers ‘welcome’ diverse perspective. At least I do. And by politically correct I meant words that encourage cos I do see the effort that has been put. I also walk away if I don’t agree but with some folks, I want to encourage them so saying a few kind words is my idea of politically correct. May be the choice of words was wrong :/

        1. No apologies needed Parul 🙂 I know you as a person so I know what you meant when you said it. The point is, not everyone out there does know us, right? So is it worth the risk to leave a comment on a mean topic when it may or may not be received in the right sense? And yes, knowing you, I KNOW you welcome diverse perspectives. Sadly, such people are a rarity in the real world and even less so in the online world, wouldn’t you say?

  7. Been there. I like you generally leave the posts alone. But if I do feel very strongly about something I will leave a comment but make sure I am not being rude and just putting my opinion forward. Its easier said than done though. You never have an idea how the other people will treat the comment.

    1. Ah the balance between a strong sentiment and a non-confrontational comment. Very difficult to walk that, right? I also like the other thing you’ve mentioned- how other people will treat the comment! Yes, sometimes the other ones commenting make it far more difficult.

  8. Great question! If I can comment nicely and feel i have something that needs to be said, AND if I think it will be heard, then I will comment. Otherwise I won’t. I think in some circles, there is a danger in people only hearing what they want to hear, and that it can be good for them to see another side or hear another opinion. But if I think it’s going to turn into a confrontation, then I scurry away!

    1. That’s true of pretty much everything, right, Mali? It’s good for people to see another side. But I find that I can engage in that kind of free and open debate with one, okay two people, at the most. In 98% of the cases, it turns into a confrontation- an ugly one at that. Oh and wait up! I am scurrying with you 😉

  9. Yes, I’ve definitely encountered posts where I don’t want to comment because I don’t think the author really wants to hear what I have to say and I cannot think of a polite way to say a response. It happens a lot more on Facebook.

    1. ‘The author does not really want to hear what I have to say’. Bang on the head, Mel. They are seeking validation for their opinion, not a counter argument or a different point of view. As for Facebook, don’t get me started! It’s Noise Feed over there, ad infinitum. There’s a reason I deactivate my account every month for a week or more.

  10. I’m not sure I should comment on this… 😉

    No, you are definitely not alone in this quandary (as evidenced by the comments before mine). Back in the early days of blogging, I did feel a compulsion to comment, even if I didn’t agree with the post (and I’d sometimes spend the whole day reading and rereading my reply before sending it). These days, unless I feel I can offer a different point of view in a rational, calm, manner, I’ll simply walk away from the keyboard. Sometimes silence is the best reply.

    1. We need more of your ilk, Traci. Walking away, staying mum, being silent are all considered signs of weakness, either in face to face or online interactions.

      Pity, isn’t it? But I choose to walk that path more and more often these days. I cannot gush without reason and I cannot wilfully be mean or confrontational either in person or online. Perhaps we are a dying breed.

  11. Interesting quandary. I think there’s a way to leave a comment that both brings up the discomfort with the subject and/or the way the blogger expressed things with respect and opening a conversation, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Sometimes I’m just not invested enough to deal with that. Or sometimes whatever has been written is so upsetting/hurtful/etc. it’s just not possible to comment in a productive way. I suppose it depends…

    1. Oh absolutely agree! Time and effort- we seem to lack that in equal measure these days. Add to it the fact that the laptop is a very impersonal way of communicating. I’d have to add a (giggle) in parentheses or an emoticon to convey that I am joking. Or worse, stand there saying my piece and have about a dozen people descend on me saying that I am wrong, when they haven’t even read my entire comment. So, yes, not worth the time and the effort.

  12. It happens with me too. Often, I come across blog posts with which I cannot bring myself to agree. And I attempt to frame my comment because, like it is for me, similarly a comment would mean lots to that blogger too. But then I think why to post a disagreeing comment which can go across as mean or why to fake agreement? More often I settle for – there will always be a next time where I will be able to contribute aptly in a comment.

  13. I think a blog is like someone’s home, their personal space. So if I disagree (assuming we aren’t already friends who love a good disagreement together!) I keep it to myself. But I might not visit very often.

    1. Ah this is very similar to what a friend of mine said, when she read a blog post that was downright mean. Having never read that blogger before, she was rather taken aback at the amount of vitriol in the post. She confided that, having read that, she wouldn’t be tempted to go back and read that blogger again. Which is sad, when you think about it.

      How much our actions hurt us, when we don’t pause to think before we speak/write. I know many bloggers shrug and say ‘Well, that’s their loss. It’s my space and you are free not to come by and read me.’ Yet how sad that is, isn’t it?

  14. It depends on the blog post. If it is something I agree with and the blogger has said it excellently–or a question that just hits right (like this one) I comment. If it is something I violently disagree with I seldom comment unless it is to link to a rebuttal.
    Excellent question.

  15. I go on a comment-spree once in a while. On other days I am that lurker whom you love but want to know more about. And frankly, I’m fine with the status. After a few years, you start to take everything with a pinch of salt in this blogging world!

    1. You do mean a bucketful of salt 😉 Yes, but I am referring to the angry posts, the rants, the diatribes that target someone in particular. Do you comment on those? I rather like that image of the lurker I’d want to know more about 🙂

  16. When possible, I always leave a comment. Sometimes it’s because I really want to. Occasionally it is because the ‘author of the post’ has taken the trouble to write something, and regardless of whether it is good or not so much, I’ll try and leave a honest comment when I can. If I don’t connect with the content, sometimes, I do leave a note saying I disagree. Or if it’s a blogger I know, I ping them to discuss.

    1. I am not talking so much about the ‘good or not’ aspect. If you notice, I mentioned ‘mean’. That means the blogger has specifically targeted someone in his/her post. The writer is otherwise very good and a quality blogger, but when it comes to being mean, openly so, something doesn’t sit well with me. I find myself unable to comment because the anger in the person’s tone overwhelms everything else.

      As in any situation, there are two sides to a story. By commenting in support, I am validating this blogger by not knowing the whole story. By commenting in disagreement, I am taking the other person’s side, again without knowing everything. So, I choose not to comment in such situations.

      1. I understand the situation that you’re talking about. I meant generally. And if your example is the one I think it is, simply because I do know both sides of the coin, I chose to comment 🙂 If i don’t, then I reckon it’s ok not to comment. Of course as to if such a blog post should have been written or not, well that’s another matter.

        1. If you know both sides of the coin, it would be especially harder to remain neutral, would it not? As for the writing of the blog post, well, that prerogative rests with the blogger 😉 We only control what we can do- in this case- comment.

      1. Yes, I too was thinking of same thing when I wrote my answer yesterday.

        Since I haven’t been in such a situation before, my answer is hypothetical. I guess I would still opt myself out of commenting… (unless there are some points in the post that would compell me to make some objective comment… Though the post is subjective). In case I know the Blogger personally / or say he is a net – friend… I may still write to him separately.

        I regard objectivity of blog posts at the highest… And conceptually comments Complete /compliment the blog post. So I would try to maintain their objectivity to my best

  17. That’s a tough one. It would probably depend on the issue under discussion and my comfort level with the blogger. If it’s about say a film or a book I’d probably be upfront and argue it out. But if it’s a serious issue or about a person I would give it a miss. When someone is ‘mean’ like you say, they’re often not even interested in listening to a contrary viewpoint. So keeping mum works fine for both sides.

    1. About a person sums it up actually. I think that’s pretty much the only application of the word ‘mean’. For objects and things, you are technically a bit more detached, so arguing over it can actually be healthy. Yes, I also agree with the POV that they are not looking for an alternative view, they are seeking validation.

  18. This is something I’ve been struggling with for eight years now. I used to agree and comment earlier, despite not believing in what has been written. But that was too much pressure on the conscience. Now I just don’t comment. I prefer staying away instead of being fake-ly sweet or honestly snarky.

  19. I would not comment if what the person has written does not gel with my thoughts. I don’t mean a contrary opinion because that I express umpteen times. I know the ones I have been reading long and know well will welcome that. But, if I don’t agree with the subject or find it offensive I move on. No point in leaving a wishy-washy comment.

    1. Perfectly said. Yes, a contrary opinion can be expressed if you know the blogger well and they won’t take offence. But the posts which are mean for the sake of being so, vitriolic without reason, even by the ones we know somehow don’t gel with me. In those cases, I shrug and move on. I prefer to think it is one angry post and doesn’t reflect on the writer, as such. At least, I hope not.

  20. Yeah Shailaja. If I dont agree with the post contents, I generally dont like or comment. But, if I like it very much and it resonates with me/my blog, I also share the post.

    If the comment is irrelevant, or not sincere, I think it shows.

    1. It’s not even the insincerity of the comments that concern me. It’s the fact that people sometimes comment because they feel compelled. Why? Is it so hard to keep away from the keyboard when you don’t agree with something? Agree that I share when it resonates with me too, Lata. Very much 🙂

  21. The timing of this post is perfect, Shailaja. I found myself in such a place recently. And I didn’t comment. I didn’t agree with what the post said, I couldn’t bear the harsh tone of the post, and in fact the post hurt me on several levels. While my first instinct was to comment my mind out, I refrained. I refrained because I do that when I am upset. Don’t open the mouth when you are upset, because that may lead to hurtful conversation. As a blogger, as a human, I believe that we all must make sure that our words wouldn’t result in hurting others emotions, however different our view point is from others. Had I replied there I would end hurting the blogger’s emotions at least a bit, I couldn’t do that despite the harsh tone. So I didn’t comment despite having a strong opinion.

    1. You’re so much like me, then 🙂 I do exactly the same thing for exactly the same reasons. I watch what I type before typing it out. I have a trusted friend and confidante with whom I share my deepest concerns whether it is blogging related or parenting related. This person calms me down when I am in a rage and makes me pause and wonder if I should say anything when in anger.

      Once we speak/type in anger, it’s out there. We cannot take it back. We cannot retract it with an apology, because the damage is done. Sometimes, silence really is the best approach. Glad you decided to do what you did, Vinitha. So much love to you <3

  22. I do comment if I know the blogger but not necessarily agree with their views. But if I don’t know the blogger and their views offend me, I don’t say anything. These days anything could spark an ugly debate and I steer clear of those places, specially the popular websites where everything is supposedly viral.

    1. Ah interesting. So, if the blogger is known to you, you do comment? If the view is divergent, do you say so? Does it ever concern you that it may be misunderstood? I tread warily with bloggers I know. With ones I don’t know, I am even more wary. So, basically, I am wary 😀

      1. now that you have mentioned it I am worried if I was misunderstood 😛 I usually just assume that the bloggers I know will understand the point from other side as well. 🙂

  23. To be honest, I hardly get the time to comment these days. whenever I do, I just head over to the blogs of my favourite bloggers, read the blog post nicely, and then jot down whatever I feel. I personally am not a fan of the comment-for-comment behaviour. I prefer commenting on blog posts that really strike a chord in my heart, or posts which ask for reader’s opinion, like this one! 🙂

    1. Comment for comment behaviour doesn’t agree with me either. Good writing deserves comments, that is one thing I know. If I am stirred enough I will comment on a blog post- especially if it resonates with me. If it upsets me or more importantly, is so completely divergent than what the blogger typically writes, I stay in the wings and don’t comment. I don’t add fuel to the fire. That’s my non-confrontational self speaking here.

  24. Interesting post. If the material stirs something in me, I will usually comment, even if it’s to express a different view point, politely. If i’m overly stirred up, I will sometimes think about it for a while and may opt for saying nothing if I can’t find a way to communicate courteously.

    When I wrote for Yahoo, I welcomed comments from those who didn’t care for what I had to say. I’m not afraid of controversy and finding ways to interact civilly with one another.

    My experience with my own tiny piece of WordPress is so quiet that I’m happy to get a couple of “likes” now and then. Lol

    Thanks for this intriguing piece.

    1. I think that’s a very balanced approach. Unfortunately most people type comments first and think later. They lash out in anger or support- validating the blogger’s opinion or crushing it, without forethought. I keep asking myself would I ever do that in a face-to-face interaction? Blurt things out without thinking? No, so why should it be different online?

      Ah the worldwide web is a scary net, indeed.

  25. Here, for example, I agree with you so am commenting ;). If I didn’t agree with or connect with the content, I would just shake my head and move on – as the only comment I could leave would be a controversial one and that is so not worth it (most of the time!).

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