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Discouraging Behavior

  1. I write for my blog (http://thelinguafranca.wordpress.com/) as an outlet for several ideas brewing in my head, and in hopes that my posts will be of some help to my readers (I write about cross-cultural communications between English and Chinese speakers, and quite a lot about learning Chinese).

    I have found that 95% of the people who ask me for help--a recommendation, advice, an evaluation, a translated name, etc., don't bother with a thank you, even though you might have spent a hour responding to them. I've also noticed an increase in the number of comments that are nasty, unhelpful, rude. Some guy the other day left a comment calling me a liar in connection with a (very real and true) statistic I quoted on my blog.

    I'm old enough (40) to know that the human animal ain't such a glorious creature. I'm suppose I'm writing to vent. Do any of you bloggers have similar feelings? How do you work past them?

    Cheers.

  2. when people leave discouraging comments, i defend my position but at the same time try to see the message despite the motive - it might contain a certain truth even if the commenter was abusive or rude.

    as for helping people, unless you really want to, best not to put so much effort in helping readers (unless they're regular readers) who most likely were just passing by your blog. that way you minimise your disappointment. you could briefly try to answer them and if they're interested they'll know how to contact you for more help.

  3. In my experience, although it would be nice for people to at least say thank you, I long ago decided that if that were why I was doing it, then I was doing it for the wrong reason. Not saying that is the case with you, but I think you get my meaning here.

    Whenever we do something nice, or something to help another, we will always be repaid it is just that the "thank you" will come from somewhere else.

  4. Thanks for your comments, sulz and thesacredpath. I don't go about looking for a thank you. I am genuinely interested in helping those in need. It's just that it sometimes seems there is a conspicuous absence of gratitude out there. That, combined with comments from ill-balanced people makes it somewhat discouraging to blog at times. More of an aggregated affect than disappointment in the actions of any single individual.

    I supposed I'm a bit old-fashioned, expecting people to behave online as they normally would in real life. Perhaps it is just an Internet thing.

  5. Isn't there a saying about no good deed going unpunished?

    You have the option of filtering your comments. Those that have never been published go into a queue for moderation. Unless you have a point to make that will be helpful to all your readers by replying to a nasty or unwelcome comment, just send them straight to your spam dump. They'll go away once they realise they can't provoke what they crave: a reaction.

  6. How about a comment policy? And I agree with Sulz, I wouldn't go helping people unless they are regular visitors to my blog. How about making that your new year resolution.

  7. George Bernard Shaw once admonished people not to "wrestle with pigs," because "you'll get dirty, and the pig likes it." I don't publish rude comments, or the ones that aren't really comments but advertisements disguised as comments. I did post a comments policy page once, but after a few months, I found that nobody really read it. I don't think it's much of a deterrent for the Internet cowboys who like to drop semantic turds on the pile and leave.

    aw1923, an excellent suggestion. One of my greatest "weaknesses" is a desire to help strangers. The root is probably egocentricity, something most of us could do with less of.

    Happy New Year and thanks to all for your feedback.

  8. Yeah lettershome some turkey made a stupid remark on one of my posts so I edited it, it now is a glowing compliment.

  9. Of course, the flip side to that coin is that controversy is very good for traffic. I'm not sure if that's what we're all into blogging for (traffic), but certainly at some level we all have a side that desires to see traffic spikes. It's rewarding.

    Having someone pick a fight with you typically makes others do the "oh snap!" thing, and check it out again to see how you respond.

    I'd allow it, as long as it doesn't start driving other readers away. Now, if the person in question starts lobbing salvos that cause your viewership to deteroriate, or cause regular readers to go elsewhere, then I'd condemn them to spamalot. Otherwise, consider it perhaps an opportunity; an opportunity to express yourself, your reasons for assisting, etc. Other readers might actually enjoy that, even if the intended recipient leaves without so much as a thank you or retort.

  10. you are sooo right, whenever some makes a negative comment it brings in a flood of positive comments.

  11. Kevin THERE you are, you are both right of course, I have allowed one guy's negative comment [a real snotbag] to stand. He says "your work would be more appealing if you improved your drawings" I mean I know they are not more than scribbles, but prior to May last year I had no idea I could either draw or write poems that other people would enjoy-that still astonishes me-but some people like those little scribbles. The comment I improved on was a music imbed and simply said "well I like other artists more than this" and goes on to name a few who he thought was better so it wasn't personal just cranky.

  12. Throughout the christmas holiday my mom and I worked *at her church* running a homeless shelter, througout that time I learned alot about human behavior, especially because every one of our guests, *We don't call them clients* are were or will be on drugs and are homeless. In that time in 26 days we had 18 people come to us and say they wanted to go into recovery and get off the street.

    We've had about 12 stick it out, two days ago my mom had her purse stolen, my phone and my keys were in it, a few days before that her wallet had gone missing. The two things I learned is that a)the guy who stole it is going to be a very scared little man for a very long time *My mom is utterly adored by all those who are on the streets of Whalley BC, because of all her good work* and b)more importantly, is that you can offer all the help you want, and some people will lash out because it's either what their best at, it makes them feel stronger then they are, or more importantly, they are just damned terrified of hoping for better having had their entire life, pretty much suck.

    And yes it hurts and it kills, but that doesn't mean that what your doing isn't valued by someone out there, and it's that one someone that matters because it's that one someone who although you may not know it, owes a better quality of their life, to you and you alone. Thank yous shouldn't be expected because that will only let you down. It's nice but it isn't needed because you know that in the eyes of karma, your doing what you feel and know is right.

    Ohna

  13. Gentledove - Yup, I'm back. Never really left though. Just had to take a brief hiatus for the holidays and for the birth of our second son. I'm a sleep deprived zombie now. Plus, I'm due back to work tomorrow (moan, groan, sigh, gasp, zip, pow, bang). :-)

    Plus, it's been down time on the racing front, and I've hit the proverbial writer's brick wall. It's like I think of a post I want to dictate, and then something in my brain says "nah, just go ahead and work on your "cousin Balki" impression from Perfect Strangers instead." (it is a hit with the ladies, you know). :-)

  14. I don't have similar feelings: I have no pre-existing expectations of a world of strangers. Their level of courtesy towards me defines the level of courtesy I extend towards them. You cannot have preconceived notions of humankind without the universe picking them up and smashing them on the sidewalk.

    Save yourself time: drop your expectations.

  15. Yup humings is humings and sometimes they of the supposedly rougher sort are just more honest
    *
    @Kevin cousin Balki eh?

  16. He was the random 80's sitcom character that came to mind at the time. I'm sort of like that cartoon Family Guy - I throw in random and totally absurd (and ill-fitting) references in a cheap attempt at humor. :-)

    There's one other thing with people - our inherent smart assedness increases exponentially the minute we hide behind semi-anonymous avatars and handles...and multiply that by 10 for the ubiquitous "anonymous commentor." There's simply no ramification for dropping buy, being an arse, and leaving into the night.

    Then there's also old people. Apparently someone decided to tell them about the internet in the last decade, thereby balancing out their comparitve place in the universe when compared with our ability to blame strange elevator smells on them ad nauseum.

  17. If you're writing for you, do whatever makes you feel better. That might be turning off comments completely, posting a comments policy, or moderating all comments so only the nice ones are allowed to appear. Throw people in the permanent black list (I have a nice assortment of neo-nazis in mine, and it's improved things immensely.)

    You control this space, so make it yours.

    I have been pretty ruthless about telling people I won't help them, and it's made life much better.
    http://membracid.wordpress.com/bug-girl-will-not-diagnose-you/

  18. Amazing...I never would've taken the "neos" to be readers of bug blogs. I wonder what it is about your blog that threatens them so? This is most fascinating! :-)

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