Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Best Policy?

I like to think I'm a pretty honest person. I'm not one of those people capable of shallow praise. If an outfit is not flattering, I'm not going to tell you it looks good. I will make every effort to be kind. Perhaps find some element that does look nice. Honesty doesn't have to be cruel.

This attitude generally carries over into my interactions on the interwebs as well. I am not overly effusive. I do compliment people. Their kids. Their ideas. But if I seriously don't like something, then I won't say I do just to be nice. Per the old adage, I will generally say nothing rather than lie or hurt their feelings.

However, there have been times where I left a comment on someone's blog regarding a post where they have voiced an opinion or requested ours and I have either disagreed with them or given a negative response. Most of the time I feel pretty much okay with that, because I have not done so in a malicious or intentionally harmful way, but every now and then I get a weird feeling afterward. As if I have overstepped the bounds of what is expected of blog friends and commenters.

I believe that, for the most part, we, mommybloggers in particular, but bloggers as a whole, go to the internet for validation, affirmation or support. Anyone who says otherwise and allows comments on their blog is just not being truthful. We want to share our stories and to feel good (or better) about them. To feel like part of this community of people. But the question is: how much does honesty factor into that. Do we really want to hear the negative, too?

Is honesty always the best way to go?

PS - It's National Delurker Day! So if you normally skulk in the shadows, opining in solitude, let's take this opportunity to come out and leave long, fawning comments about just how wonderful I am. M'kay? Thanks!


  1. Interesting...with blogging, I think that some people do it just to get their thoughts/feelings/frustrations out of their head before it causes their brain to explode. I try (desperately b/c I am an honest-by-nature person as well) to only give advice when it is asked for. At that point, if it is asked for, you should be as honest as possible.

  2. I have to say, most of the time, if I don't like a post or agree with the blogger, I usually just don't leave a comment on that post. There was a blogger I used to follow a year or so ago; she made some really offensive remarks about scrapbookers and mommy bloggers in general...Instead of leaving an honest comment about my opinion, I just stopped following her. I doubt if she even missed me.

    I go with the old adage, if you ain't got something nice to say, then don't say nothing at all.


  3. Yes. Except if it actually looks like I'm smuggling small, fighting animals along my backside. Then lie. Please.

  4. I agree with Heather. I'm usually "stay quiet if I don't have something nice to say" person. However, there are times when something makes me angry enough to warrant honest (but hopefully not mean) feedback or the choice to stop reading.

    I'm not sure how much honesty I can handle in my own commentors, but then I don't ask people about issues that are all that tough. It's hard to get hurt by comments posted in response to "What's your favorite episode of Gilmore Girls?"

    All the same though, I have had comments here and there that hurt my feelings. Luckily, not too often.

  5. Yes, I like honesty. Sometimes I even reallly think about it and see the other side more clearly. Actually, I believe you've been honest with me once or twice on my blog, and I appreciated that. I think once I even printed an revision, lol.

    Yes, honesty is best. In real life too. If something makes someone look horrible. I'll tell them. I'll be nice....but I'll tell them.

    ps. you are wonderful. :)

  6. I try to be respectful of everyone's blog as I would if I were in their home. However, I also think I can disagree with someone without being rude about it.

    And I expect the same in return. I don't need a bunch of "yes" people agreeing with me. I would rather hear your honest opinion, even if it's not the popular one.

  7. Well....I disagree with you. :) I don't think validation is quite the right word, because it implies that we're not secure with our decisions. Of course, we all have our sensitive topics, but overall, I stopped caring what people think a long time ago. In fact, it's one of the best things I ever did for myself as a mother.

    I blog for myself and for family and friends, and yes, I allow comments because I like to see what people think. I don't get a lot of negative or nasty comments, but I delete anything cruel, racist, etc and I delete spam and I leave the rest. I feel like it would be dishonest of me to delete the comments with differing views.

  8. OMG...
    I am so glad you brought this up. It has been bugging me for a long time. I am the type of person that enjoys a healthy debate. I love to analyze all sides of the idea. I love the point – counter point approach. So, when I read a blog and ALL the comments are “love this, love that” “you are so right”……..I often think…….dang people let’s make this more interesting, challenging and fun and kick around more than just praise and adulation.

    You know what I mean!?!?!? Like doesn’t it get boring sometimes....just dishing up agreement?

    I knew this one blogger that was always dishing out advice. One day I finally decided to comment and challenge an idea she had posted. I was not mean, I was just saying “yes, but did you think about this?” She freaked out……she deleted my comment; she acted like I had come from hell to ruin her life. I was amazed that she was so wigged out.

    So, if I know a person well enough I may post something other than praise, but I learned the hard way that if you are in doubt, don’t ruin a person’s day!!

    BTW.....I love YOUR blog!! :)

  9. There are so many blogs to read and so many different points of view. I lose interest pretty quickly if a blog is in direct opposition to my way of thinking. I'm not trying to be an isolationist or anything, but I am on the internet to make friends. In my real life I gravitate toward people who I have a lot in common with and the same goes for my internet buddies. That leaves very little opportunity for nastiness. Friends have respectful differences of opinion, but they don't tear each other down.

    Of course, some people do crave drama in their real lives and that spills over into their web interactions. I stay away from those people, not because I fear their opinions, but because their opinions are meaningless to me.

  10. I agree that I tend to just not comment if I have nothing nice (or interesting) to say. But, when I ask for opinions, I really do hope that people give me the negative along with the positive. Sometimes I feel like when people only have positive things to say they are actually being disingenuous. Maybe it's just paranoia on my part, but you know what I mean? Nothing and no one can every be totally perfect. Except for Martha Stewart. She can do no wrong in my eyes.

  11. I agree that honesty is the best policy...but its all in the way you say it. I always try to say everything as well as I can and so far that has worked well for me.

  12. I have grown a backbone from blogging and would have cried 2 years ago if someone honestly wrote that they disagree with me. However, now I enjoy when someone sheds light on something that I would not have originally realized. It's refreshing to get someone who is honest, being nice, that presents another point of view.

  13. Personally, I prefer the truth. I also believe that honesty doesn't have to be cruel.

  14. OK Cara this is a good one.
    If someone asks for my opinion I give it, nicely. When I ask for an opinion, I expect the same. But in just general blog post, I just like general comments. I've never felt the need to be ugly even when I disagree....but I've had to delete one or 2 UGLY comments by, of course, anonymous! To them I say "Man Up"!

  15. Unless they are specifically searching and ASKING what are you thinking people, and I feel really strongly, if I don't agree I don't leave a comment.

    Delurker day huh? Bring it On!!

  16. I think the world would be awfully bland if everyone agreed or kept their mouths shut if they disagreed. That being said, disagreeing does not have to be nasty or unkind.

    That's my $0.02.

  17. I too am of the ilk, if you have nothing nice to say.....

    If someone asks, I will give my opinion but be as kind as I can. If I disagree with you, I often don't bother b/c what is the point? You're never going to get them to see things a different way anyway.

  18. Mmmm, this is an interesting post. I am going to have to chew on it for a while.

  19. Thought provoking, this is.

    I try to be honest, and want others to be honest with me... but it is all in how you say it.

  20. I don't know. I like polite or well thought out disagreement especially if it is done in a respectful fashion.

    I like things that make me think.

    I know that some people just write for the ass kissing, but I prefer honesty.

    And any blogger that writes a controversial post and doesn't expect any negative feedback is just deluding themselves.

  21. I think you're right. Anyone who is publishing and allows comments probably wants validation and wants to feel like they have support and are heard. I think it's important for moms especially since sometimes we can feel isolated and alone--being a mom is the hardest job!

    But it is good to be honest. I think one can be honest with comments without being rude. And so if I don't agree, I think I can comment without being mean or hurtful. I hope others can, too.

  22. I am a big baby so I tend to just not respond if I don't agree!

  23. You bring up a good point here. Personally, as a mommy blogger, I do put myself out there and love to get positive feedback, but I welcome differing opinions. I hope that people will feel comfy enough to tell me to my face (so to speak) that they don't agree rather than bash me behind my back. Case in point, I found a blog a few months ago where someone (and her readers) had torn apart an entry that I wrote a while ago about my opinion on thank you notes. I wasn't upset that she didn't agree with my opinion AT ALL, but that she didn't have the balls to comment on my entry with her opinion. Whatever.

    And I agree, that honesty doesn't have to be cruel. Expressing a differing opinion can be done just as easily with kind words as with hurtful words.

  24. Heck, I am happy if I get a comment at all.. :) Good or bad.

    There is this one blog I read, and I didn't know why at first. A lot of the time, it ticks me off...and there are usually 200-1000 comments on each post concurring with every...single...word. Not to mention all the grown women getting excited if they are first to comment. ;)

    But, I realized that I read it because it shakes me up. I may not comment, but it does make me think. I like that. :) That is why I read blogs!

    (I just discovered yours...and now I am gonna click all over it, if you don't mind...)

  25. I'm all about hearing the good and bad. I just hope for honesty, since I try do so with my writing. That said, I am not a fan of the judgmental or slamming comments.

  26. When I ask for thoughts, I expect that some people will share things that aren't my cup of tea (but I hope they do it without unnecessary nastiness). And if I don't want to hear it, then I try not to blog about it. As for commenting, I guess I usually keep my disagreable comments to myself, but that's because I usually just think, "Hmmm, I don't agree," and that's not even worth posting as a comment. That's more about my lack of brain power than a commenting philosophy.

  27. I always appreciate honesty, but I also appreciate when it is delivered gracefully. I strive for that while realizing that my normal tendency is toward bluntness and sarcasm, so I try hard to moderate that. In blogland I typically just don't comment if I disagree, unless someone really pushes a button. I totally agree with you that what most of us are here for is friendship and support, not negative feedback.


Give me some sugar, baby!