don’t read the comments

I try not to jump on the bandwagon of blogging about what Seth Godin says on a given day, but I think this is enough of a tangent from the post that it’s okay. Seth’s you won’t benefit from anonymous criticism makes his usual valid points: anonymous critics are not writing from a place that wants you to be better at what you’re doing. It’s better not to read it.

I wouldn’t go so far as to characterise online commenters as trolls. I’ve had a lot of comments on this site over the years, and enjoyed the dialogue the vast majority of the time. In that situation – on a personal blog in particular – the comments are directed at the blog owner, or in progressing a conversation.

Mainstream media sites are a different story. The comments are often made by people in search of a large audience. When comments are more about shouting your own opinion, and shouting down the minutiae of another person who you perceive as your enemy, not your conversation partner, then there’s no communication taking place.

And so I end up with the mantra of “don’t read the comments” echoing in my head whenever I’m on a newspaper or magazine site.

Am I wrong? Have you ever been persuaded of something by reading the comments? Email me, or, you know, fill in the boxes below.

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