Discussion: Returning comments

Posted October 15, 2018 by Nicky in General / 8 Comments

Normally, I have a policy of commenting back on the blogs of everyone who comments here. It slipped for a while due to complete lack of time between working, studying and moving, but I’m trying to get back into the habit now. However, during the last week someone commented on my blog and I blithely went to comment back on theirs… only to find that they hold views completely repugnant to me.

I’m (somewhat) okay with having friends who disagree with me, who even think that (for example) homosexuality is a sin, support Trump, support Brexit, think that trigger/content warnings are political correctness gone mad, etc, etc. But those friends are usually friends who mostly keep it under their hat when around me unless we decide to discuss it in a civil manner: they don’t openly rank homosexuality with paedophilia, or tell me my wife should have been turned back at the border, etc. I don’t usually make friends with people who openly declare that they think I’m going to hell, and to be quite frank, pushing one’s boundaries and not living in an echo chamber is one thing — putting up with someone who sounds honestly gleeful about how disgusting they find me and people I love is quite another.

And, being honest… I know another blogger can’t do anything to harm me, but going to their blog to find their comments about homosexuality being a sin and perversion felt like a bucket of ice cold water being dumped over my head. I was scared. People like that make the world a frightening place for people like me. Even if they themselves do nothing but talk, people like them followed me and my sister around at school telling us we should kill ourselves; people like that leave people like me for dead on the side of the road, not just historically but now (with homophobic attacks in my own country up almost 80% in the last four years). People like me have to be careful.

It was a harsh reminder that sharing a love of books with someone doesn’t mean we share anything else. Maybe if their top review hadn’t contained a disgusted comment about the book involving homosexuality, we’d have had a short chat about books and parted none the wiser. But I did see that.

So, should I have commented? I don’t know. In the end, I decided that they too would probably prefer it if I didn’t comment, given the givens. I definitely felt safer not doing so.



8 responses to “Discussion: Returning comments

  1. Ooph. I like commenting back too, but it’s a choice, not an obligation. There’s a difference between getting out of the echo chamber vs inviting trouble. So I’d say there’s nothing wrong with having boundaries – and everything right with feeling safe. I think you’re absolutely right to back out of that one quietly.
    imyril recently posted…Persepolis Rising opens a new era of The ExpanseMy Profile

  2. I do my best to try and comment back to those that take the time to visit me, but if I find myself in a situation (not that one has ever come up yet) I wouldn’t be so inclined to comment on a racists or bigots blog. I might even delete their comment from my blog. But that’s me.

  3. Comment, don’t comment, in the end it’s up to you. Personally, being middle of the road when it comes to social and political issues, I’m frequently chatting up people whose ideology and opinions don’t match up with mine, and I have friends across the spectrum. Doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree, they’re allowed to voice their opinions and express their lifestyle choices or religious views, just as you are free to exercise your choice to comment or not. So, if you do not feel comfortable with the person, by all means don’t feel obligated to interact with them.

    On another note, this is exactly why I try to keep my book blog strictly about…well, books. I definitely one of those people who prefer to keep my private life under my hat. No one needs to know what my personal leanings are or what I ate for breakfast, and I’m not one inclined to share anyway as it’s no one’s business. My only hope is for my blog to be a welcoming place where everyone who loves books can feel free to chime in.

    • I’ve never found that my identities could stay under my hat, so I’ve made a virtue of necessity in being as open as I am. It has its costs, but it is also worth it for a lot of reasons. 🙂

  4. It’s totally ok to not want anything to do with someone whose blog content upsets you and offends you. I wouldn’t follow a blog that had a ton of racist, bigoted and homophobic content however many comments they left on my blog. Disagreeing on politics and Brexit and stuff is ok if we respect each other’s opinions and don’t get nasty but there are some things too offensive to go near! Sounds to me like you did the right thing for you and that is what matters.
    chucklesthescot recently posted…Chuckles Chat #88 Horror Month-ZombiesMy Profile

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