The wounds of a stranger

From time to time, I receive a critical comment from a reader. The most recent such comment came on my diet blog. How odd that a comment from a stranger can cause me such consternation.*

And yet, it does.I never have taken criticism lightly. I don’t have the personality for that. Ask my long-suffering husband.

I wonder about commenters who choose to type a reply rather than click away to a more soothing Internet address. I think they intend their words to wound, to stab the blogger in some way.

The comments do sting, too. Even if they are delivered by toothpick, rather than ice-pick, snide comments hurt.

However, Random Commenter, you should know that it is not possible stab me to death with a toothpick. My skin is much too thick. Your toothpick will never reach my heart. I’m not sure why you try, but the mental picture of an irate reader attempting to attack me with a toothpick does make me laugh.

* (The reader objected to my use of the word “sin” and says that I “regularly turned the whole diet thing into a religious/moral issue.” I object to that characterization since I in no way believe that my personal issues with food have any spiritual, religious or moral grounds.)

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The wounds of a stranger

19 thoughts on “The wounds of a stranger

  1. Some jerks act like jerks and go away. Some jerks act like jerks and wait for attention in the form of a reaction, positive or negative.

    Beware of the latter. I understand that you don’t take criticism lightly, but if these jerks discover that they’re getting to you, you’ll waste a lot of time and energy defending your words.

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  2. If you live in this neighborhood (the blogosphere) long enough, you’ll see it all. Including horrible comments. I tend to look at the positive feedback and ignore the rest.

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  3. One more thing, I once had a “blog fight” with another blogger about something that they wrote, or something that I wrote, whatever, but it was really stupid and all started over a comment to another blogger. What a waste of time, virtual arguing. I figure that if I want to get into a screaming match, I have family to help me out.

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  4. It seems to be an epidemic lately. Several of the nicest, most inoffensive, women I know have received nasty comments and one actually shut down her blog.

    I hope she reconsiders but couldn’t blame her if she didn’t.

    Nobody deserves it.

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  5. I have had a couple of nasty commenters too this past week… basically they told me that I suck as a mom. Anonymously. I decided to disallow anonymous comments. I KNOW that what they think doesn’t matter but it still hurts and I still spend far too much time stewing about it.

    And the thing is they don’t HAVE to read my blog! They can just do one click and I’m gone!

    Sigh.

    I think your blog is lovely. SO there.

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  6. Ok- you made me laugh, too! I liken a person’s blog to their home and think readers should be respectful of that. UNLESS I am asked my opinion if I differ from something the blogger has written, if I don’t have anything nice to comment, then I don’t comment at all. I click that little red “x” up in the corner and move on. I wish more people would be so considerate. You still made me laugh, tho.

    Steph

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  7. Well, at least you were brave enough to leave it on…maybe ‘brave’ isn’t quite the right word, but so often people will delete those kinds of comments. I guess if we need constant stroking of our egos, writing public blogs is not the place to do it. The nastiest one I ever got was from a commenter who said my life was “paltry and boring” and who was I to think it was interesting enough anyone would want to read about it. At first it stabbed me with that toothpick you mentioned…now, for ironic humor, I use his phrase every now and then. I never have gotten tons of comments like some blogs but I get a very decent amount of traffic and my stats show me lots of people have my site on their reader services. So I must be doing SOMETHING right. Just like a life lesson I learned a few years back…not everyone who crosses my path is going to like me in life. Well, not everyone whose paths I cross are going to be on my ‘nice’ list, either. It’s all relative. Cowards and mean people exist everywhere, even here.

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  8. I hate when that happens.

    I am probably the last person who should be blogging, as my skin is not particularly thick. I have been known to be upset for DAYS over a comment, which if you think about it, is just silly.

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  9. I handle a lot of customer complaints for my company’s website, and I find that the Internet makes people think they can be rude without feeling any sort of guilt or remorse. Some people don’t need the Internet for that, but I think most people are generally quite polite, but on the Internet feel that they can be rude.
    Anyway, I find that as I respond to people’s questions and concerns (politely!) that they often apologize if they have been rude. It’s an interesting thing to observe.

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  10. Jane Duquette says:

    I am not a blogger because writing can be torture for me. I do find that some of my food issues are a result of sin and not just the sin of gluttony. When I have strong feelings or emotions or am way overtired, I take in too much food. It is getting to the point that too eating too much food (or even thinking too much about foods that are not good for me ie LEMON BARS) lets me know that I have other things I need to deal with. Calling it SIN makes it easier to find and deal with. This has not let me lose weight but I have stopped gaining. Calling it my sin does mean that I can not blame anyone else and that I have work to do.

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  11. LD says:

    Well, yes it’s irritating when someone responds in an aggressive way to a post that comes from the heart. On the other hand, your blog post directly preceding this one is rife with anger and aggression toward others: “Dear STUPID driver.” “Dear Children: Stop talking to me. … Go away. Love, Mom.”

    Those are really funny open letters–made me laugh–but let’s recognize the undercurrent of aggression that makes them funny. To quote a great sage I once read: “Even if they are delivered by toothpick, rather than ice-pick, snide comments hurt.”

    If you’re interested in learning to better handle criticism, the first step may be understanding that you (and I, of course) can be just as critical as the next anonymous blog poster.

    Sorry to preach. I know there are 3 fingers pointed back at me.

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  12. I think several people here have hit it. The internet allows people to be rude and cruel in a way that they would never be brazen enough to do in public. Someone I even considered a good friend published a horrific picture that was labeled to imply that I was a whale. Then when I got mad they called it a miscommunication and just a joke. While the internet is a terrific thing, it is sometimes very dangerous for this kind of issue. The flip side is that sometimes people say thing in blogs or e-mails that they don’t mean quite as harsh as they end up sounding. I know I have discussed things in my blogs that were interpreted by someone other than the way I intended them. Sometimes it is obvious when the person was intentionally being cruel, other times I think it really is a mistake. I would agree with you Mel, that there is nothing wrong with the use of the word sin in the context of your blog, and that the comment posted was unnessesarily cutting and frankly rude. I’m sorry that you felt a needle stick, but I also agree that you are strong enough to not let it get to you.

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  13. majenti says:

    Here is what matters…your helping alot of people with your weight loss blog. I guess you annoyed one person. That person clearly has some issues.(Not being able to read between the lines. Being a little self-righteous. Being rude and obnoxious.)Overall I’d say you have nothing to worry about.

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  14. Amy says:

    Soak yourself in some loveliness, Mel. You are loved, appreciated, and even if you did want to turn it into a moral issue (which you clearly didn’t), you are allowed to. It’s your blog, after all. Phooey to the ugly hearts.

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  15. Rachel says:

    Just for the record, I believe that weight is a spiritual issue, just like everything in life….. (so there). [:-)

    I love love love your blog. Don’t let a nasty comment discourage you from your honesty.

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  16. Sometimes I think bloggers get behind their keyboards and forget they’re typing to/about REAL individuals with REAL feelings. Would that person have corrected you in a crowded room? Probably not, but some are quick to dish the critisism out there for everyone to read. Good for you blogging about it!!!
    (pent up frustration turns into a Brownie Fest for me) šŸ™‚

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  17. Mel – she was probably obese and she’s probably been struggling with her weight for a long time and she probably DOES believe her issue is a spiritual one and your use of the word was convicting to her and it really has nothing to do with you at all. It was all about her trying to justify herself.

    At least there’s my big fat presumption. šŸ™‚

    šŸ™‚
    Sarah

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