When And Why To Ignore An Asshole

A good part of the blogging experience is comments.  The “likes” are great, but the comments evoke an emotional reaction and a connection is made, sometimes transient and sometimes a relationship, yes even a cyber one, blossoms.  I’ve never met any followers or people I follow, but there are those who I’ve almost come to count on as supporters, and those I like to support in the blogosphere.

What I witnessed this week, related to a woman blogging about a commercial that affected her in an extremely negative emotional way, was unbelievable.  A good majority of the comments that followed were atrocious, thoughtless, idiotic and actually rather pointless.  They were made in a way that attacked the blogger’s opinion without really considering her point.  I won’t give the comments airtime in this post because they’re not worthy.  They’re garbage.  I’d like to think people who make remarks at the level that I witnessed are strung out, because to think that rational people are making the remarks is actually too hard to take.

The danger in social media platforms is always that individuals can fairly anonymously attack you.  We know it’s cowardly and that it is usually best to ignore.  However, once read, it’s hard to undo whatever emotional/psychological/mental damage is done.  Especially if it’s a post where one has made themselves vulnerable.  By definition this makes them exposed to the possibility of being harmed or attacked.  Unfortunately, there are people out there that will respond in an unproductive and harmful way.  Then there are people who will try to stand up for the person being attacked and unfortunately engage the attacker in a way that spurs the ass on.  Nothing is resolved.  The attacker likely gets off on the exchange, and then looks for the next opportunity to spew negativity.

I think for the most part we’re better than this, more compassionate than this and more intelligent than this.  But there are misguided souls out there that aim to inflict some damage, likely because they’re damaged themselves or in some cases because they are just simple assholes.  I don’t know that it’s possible to stop them, but it is possible to ignore them.  Don’t get caught up in the back and forth.  Don’t engage.  They make outrageous comments to get a reaction, and a reaction they get.

We owe it to the post author to concentrate on their content.  Encouraging assholes, however well-intentioned to start, is only buying them additional airtime.  A stronger response it to focus on the post itself, constructively contribute to the author’s subject, perhaps share a laugh or know when to shut-up and not say a thing.  Criticism and debate are healthy among people commenting if done in a respectful way.  But let’s weed out the assholes by not being drawn into their agenda of hijacking a post topic and running it mercilessly into the ground.  Let their comment stand isolated; let them stagnate and wallow in their own shit.  We’re better than that.


24 thoughts on “When And Why To Ignore An Asshole

  1. I am with you on this – totally! It’s like these assholes use the internet as the shield to hide behind and just launch un-called for crap at others – be it the post author or other commentators. We shall not engage with them in any way, and least of all, add fuel to their “shit-stirring” agenda. Yup, I call them the “shit-stirrers” because all they seem to care about is stir up shit. They really make a career out of it. But we are way better than that 🙂

  2. somebody makes a comment that offends me, I just turn it into trash, executing my executive privileged. I have found that most of these people won’t consider any opinion save their own.

  3. hahaha…touche…loved it..especially the way you’ve summed it up ‘But let’s weed out the assholes by not being drawn into their agenda of hijacking a post topic and running it mercilessly into the ground. Let their comment stand isolated; let them stagnate and wallow in their own shit. We’re better than that.’
    very well written. (still laughing)

    • Hello Moods,
      Glad you’re with me on this one. Shitty comments are never nice to read, but the assault of a series of back and forths between people making comments are extra difficult.

  4. And then, there are those that know you personally, attack you privately, and still stalk your blog. And, as a public blog there appears to be nothing you can do to eradicate them from following. How’s that for irony :S Go private and lose the audience that cares and wants to read your stuff sans the BS. Or stay public and delete those individuals from your life as best as you can.

  5. Like you, I feel for the brave bloggers that are just starting out that get idiots commenters! I’m pleased to say that 99% of comments I get is positive … Well, relieved, I guess, is a better word. Great post, thank you! 🙂

    • When I first decided to blog a couple of years ago, I googled ‘blog’ and I joined one and discovered OVERWHELMING NEGATIVITY and sniping and just extraordinary passtime of nasty. I couldn’t remember my password & couldn’t close it – & I can’t even remember which blog it was!!

      Yet, someone recommended WordPress, and I am so glad at the maturity and humanity in the fold.

  6. sofagirl and I blog occasionally for a major publication. Recently, one of our posts generated 17 pages of comments: some were supportive, some were thoughtful, some were pointless. A few were so rude we just couldn’t believe people would go throught the effort of spewing such venom at complete strangers arguing a point but not criticizing or condemning anything. It was a major lesson. We chose not to engage at all (we would have needed an assistant anyway to go through that load!) and only took down the merely offensive. We enjoy critique and debate, in the spirit of carrying on a conversation and enriching each other but, when you open yourself up to the blogoshpere, all kind of stuff seeps through. Can’t take it personally I suppose.

    • I agree with all you said, especially not taking it personally. Though, I think for some people it’s easy to get beaten down by shitty people and then feel shitty themselves. I’m completely impressed with the amount of comments your piece generated. I’m sure within the bulk there was a lot of good stuff to outweigh the shitty.

  7. Stagnate & wallow – here here!

    Great post Denmother, & expecting no less from a mother.

    I wish you’d link to the post (perhaps privately?) as I’m interested to read what was the commercial & what was the effect.

    It’s true likes & comments do generate a sense of relationship. I say ‘sense of’ because I’m not actually good at relationships… but I do recognise a SENSE of a relationship!! And it’s nice. I genuinely appreciate the mental/emotional connection with others.

    Hope the writer of the commercial post read this, & felt way more grounded about it all 🙂

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