Most people know that there’s one cardinal rule of existing on the internet:
DON’T. READ. THE COMMENTS.
There’s nothing funny or cute about the ridiculously abusive garbage people spew in the comments, and it seems like it’s only getting worse. Most people who have written anything on the internet anywhere have been exposed to vitriol in the comments section, whether it’s a post on your personal Facebook page, a blog post, or a YouTube video. When did we all collectively forget that there are PEOPLE on the other end of the screen? Things we say have an effect on the people who read them, and yet the presence of bots and trolls seems to be increasing on almost every platform.
But what about the comments that aren’t from bots or trolls?
Here’s a story about my first interaction with negative comments:
Once upon a time, I wrote two articles a month for an online sheet music store. Most of these articles were in the “Buzzfeed style,” quick facts or thoughts that are easily digestible for readers on the go. I wrote an article about conductors who were known to be, let’s say, less than amicable to the musicians in their ensembles. Some would physically abuse their players, but even more used manipulation and aggressive verbal abuse to achieve their goals.
That night, I got a message from my editor: “Angie, have you seen the comments? Maybe don’t look, if you haven’t seen them.”
Of course, being a glutton for punishment, I went and looked. Here’s a few examples of the comments on my silly article:
“What does this bitch even know? She went to a state school.”
“Ugh, seriously? These men were geniuses, who cares how they behaved? Fuc**ing snowflake.”
Those are just some highlights. It definitely means that I rethink every article before I post it, and I’ve shied away from posting more incendiary thoughts, even if most people would think they were fairly benign.
Here’s another story:
About 18 months ago, I posted my very first crafting tutorial. I made it, in my house, without assistance, lighting, or proper tripods. I’ve since learned a lot more about creating videos, filming, and have gotten some decent equipment. It’s been a steep learning curve, but an exciting one! I provided the tutorial as a helpful assistance for my free rainbow granny square pattern. I spent a day filming and editing a free resource to try and help people. For free.
And yet, every single comment I’ve ever gotten on the video has been negative.
“awful, can’t see anything”
That last one hurt the most, because I write all the music that ends up in videos I make (with the exception of videos that borrow theme music from shows and games).
I’ve hidden most of the comments, but I still get a few negative comments each week. In the beginning, I would respond to each person apologizing for the poor quality and explaining what I planned to do in the future. I never once got a response. It seems like people are happier to leave a negative comment and never look back.
A final story:
About 6 months ago, I simultaneously got messages on every GamerCrafting platform: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Etsy, and here on the blog. The messages were all from the same person, about the same issue. She was very, very angry that she bought a pattern from me that had errors in it. She threatened to report me for fraud (which doesn’t make much sense), she threatened to complain about me to Ravelry, she said she would tell everyone how terrible I am. I immediately responded, offering assistance and asking which pattern she was having trouble with. She responded that she had purchased a (
redacted) pattern from me.
I then responded that I don’t have any patterns like that, but I’d still help her if she needed it.
She never responded.
These interactions are becoming all too commonplace on the internet today, and I say, ENOUGH. (I know I’m preaching to the choir here as my followers are some of the nicest, warmest people ever!) I’m tired of all the overt hostility, especially against people who create content (blog posts, patterns, videos, music, etc) FOR FREE. For you to enjoy! For Free!
Here’s a task: leave 10 nice comments on content you enjoy this week. Just tell them you liked it. Those comments go a long way, I promise.