Saturday, May 28, 2005

Mysterious Blogger Emotions

flaming and flattering: why bloggers react to online text Posted by Hello

This post is going to be rather different than most of my writings.

(I'll bet my buddy Satish Talim in India will really like this one.)

I'm just asking a question here. No heavily linked and deeply researched article. Just a sincere sense of wonder, puzzlement, uncertainty.

(In my recent post "Readerless Blogging", I encouraged bloggers to blog on in spite of many things, including "uncertainty". Here's one of my own uncertainties.)

An odd, troubling aspect of blogging has always bothered me.

"Why do we react so extremely
to online text: harshing, flaming,
flattering, praising, trolling,
baiting, griefing, challenging?"

Not just blogging. This applies to any internet/textual situation: chat rooms, text messaging, emails, bulletin boards, discussion lists, web forums.


"Why are we so easily hurt
by online text criticism?"

"Why are we so quickly pleased
by online text compliments?"

I've noticed this strange phenomenon
in many applications, especially
in blog comments.

I've seen it in myself.

A nice comment on my blog: ecstasy.

A nasty comment on my blog: misery.

Maybe not that extreme all the time,
but think about it: are you like this?

Do you easily get depressed or angry
when you read a harsh comment on your blog?

Do you easily feel delight and satisfaction
when you read a friendly comment on your blog?

If I was a highly trained and experienced
psychotherapist or psychologist, maybe
I'd be able to analyze and explain this.

If someone says something to me
in the real world, off computer,
to my face, in my presence...

not a big deal.

But say it online, in a blog comment,
in a discussion list email, in a forum,
and watch the sparks fly.


It's not just me.

I've seen bloggers be super sensitive
to the slightest questions or attempts
to suggest a correction or improvement.

Bloggers seem to be very tempermental.

Very sensitive.

Very emotionally fragile.

Not very resilient.

Not very flexible.


(1.) Try this experiment.

Post a harsh comment
at a blog you like.

Don't be mean or hateful,
just mention something
you think could be better.

Or disagree with a statement.

Or point out an error.

Like: "You said John C. Dvorak's
predictions are often wrong.
Please define 'wrong' and prove
that what's 'wrong' to you must
be universally considered 'wrong'".

Watch what happens.

(2.) Try another experiment.

Post kind, complimentary comment
at a blog you like.

Praise something that is not
really praise-worthy.

Like: "The colors you use in
this blog are AWESOME. How did
you configure the hexadecimals?
Wow. Best in the blogosphere!"

Watch what happens.


later email the blog author
or post another comment

and say it's my fault,

"Steven Streight told me to"

and explain my experiment.

I'll bet they don't think
it funny, scientific, or nice.

LOL (lollygagging off lozenges).

I bet I get flamed, harshed, and
trashed for suggesting you
toy with blogger emotions.

LOL and ROTF (rolling on the floor).

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate aka The Leper Guru


SatishTalim said...

Steven - interesting read. I completely agree with you here. My take on why I would get upset by nasty remarks to a particular post of mine is that they are there for other bloggers to read; what would they think; would they come again and read my other posts... But then if the comment is about something that really sucks in my blog, I would take the effort and improve on it.

carrie said...

projection is powerful