Friend Friday: Criticisim and Comments

Image via Google Images

I was sad that I didn’t have an opportunity to participate in the last few Friend Friday discussions, but enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on Highlighting the Negative, Fashion Do’s and Dont’s, and Work Wear vs. Blog Wear. This week, the topic is all about the relationship between criticism and comments.

My general thoughts on the subject are summarized in this quote:

“Make visible what, without you,
might perhaps never have been seen”

– Robert Bresson

Sometimes we need others to open our eyes to certain things and, sometimes, that comes in the form of criticism. The question is: how do they go about doing it?

  1. Do you allow comments on your blog? Why or why not? I absolutely allow comments on Beautifully Invisible, and go a step further by trying to encourage my readers to post them as well.

    As I have mentioned before, this is a different type of fashion blog.  Because it isn’t a personal style blog, like most, I don’t have to deal with individuals criticizing the way I look or my style choices.  That type of negativity is something I don’t have to deal with right now.  Would I still allow comments if I was a personal style blogger?  Yes, simply because I know I enjoy commenting on personal style blogs.  How would I handle the negativity?  I honestly can’t say, because I haven’t had to deal with that yet.

    I think blogs like Beautifully Invisible lend themselves to comments. The posts, whether cerebral in nature or simply an inspirational photo, hopefully encourages reader interaction. And I love reading what others have to say.
  2. Do you think at times people leave comments that are insincere or not well thought out? What’s the point? The answer to this is definitely “yes.”  Something I have witnessed on numerous sites, including my own, is people leaving comments that have no bearing on the post they are responding to. Others obviously quickly glanced at a photo, but didn’t read the content.   The worst are the people who simply leave comments because they are advertising their own blog.  I think it’s obvious when someone does that, and it won’t get you a new reader. Things like this drive me crazy.

    When I first visit a blog I make it a point to leave a well-thought out comment. If I am a frequent visitor/commenter, I don’t always leave long comments, but you better believe I mean what I say when I do comment, regardless of the length!
  3. Would you ever leave a comment that could be considered negative? I think there is such a thing as constructive criticism, and, if I was going to say something negative, I would try to do it in a constructive and polite manner. If I was to say something negative, I would try to sandwich the negative remark between two positives.

    That being said, I would not criticize someone’s personal style choices (unless I was specifically asked to do so). I think every person has a right to express themselves they way they see fit, and that is what fashion is – a way to express yourself. Just because I wouldn’t wear something, or I don’t like the way something looks in a photo, that doesn’t mean the other individual isn’t rocking the hell out of that piece in real life.

    On the flip side, would I say something negative about an editorial-like post? If I did, it wouldn’t be about the writing style or insulting to the author. If I disagree with something they say, I will comment about it, but I won’t do it in an insulting tone. And hopefully it will start a conversation. I like it when people do that to my posts. Let’s get the conversation going!


    Image via off the mark

  4. Most people claim to like constructive criticism. Do you really and how do you offer that kind of criticism to others? According to wikipedia, the definition of constructive criticism is this:

    “Constructive criticism, or constructive analysis, is a compassionate attitude towards the person qualified for criticism. Having higher experience, gifts, respect, knowledge in specific field and being able to verbally convince at the same time, this person is intending to uplift the other person materially, morally, emotionally or spiritually.”

    Again, I think this answer will vary for people who do write personal style blogs versus blogs that are more editorial in content. I do like constructive criticism, and encourage it. I actually sought out (gasp!) criticism about a month ago when I asked a blogger that I deeply admire to critique my blogger blog for me (you know who you are – thank you AGAIN!).   There is always room for personal improvement, and sometimes others see what you yourself can not. As long as the person is pleasant and compassionate with their criticism, I encourage it.  But if it’s criticism simply for the sake of being negative, no thank you!

  5. Some bloggers don’t allow comments in order to cut down on negativity. Do you think that is the way to go or are there other ways to deal with the negative vibes? I actually don’t like this practice. For me, personally, the blogging community is what this is all about.  Getting to know other bloggers, interacting with them, and developing relationships with them, even if only via the computer, is the biggest strength to be gained by blogging.  If you can comment on my blog, I would like to be able to comment on yours as well.  The same is true for readers without their own blogs. I want to be able to build that relationship with the people that are reading my blog.

    I understand that some people go overboard with comments.   I also understand that some people are just mean – they either don’t care to or don’t know how to be constructive in their criticism.  But don’t the positives outweigh the negatives?   Isn’t it worth wading through the negativity if it helps you build relationships with your readers?


    Image via Cartoon Stock

    On the flipside, as a blog owner, you have the right to remove any comment you deem is spiteful or intentionally hurtful.  You don’t have to take those types of comments in real life, so you certainly don’t have to take them in the blogosphere.   Is it censorship?  I suppose so – selective censorship.  I delete spammers, and would consider anyone who is consistently negative in tone and content a spammer.  If you are an internet troll – be gone!


Image via Google Images

What are your thoughts on criticism and commenting? Do you ever censor your comments? Have you ever had issues with an unruly commenter?

To see what other bloggers are saying about this topic, click here.
For more info on ModlyChic’s Friend Friday series, click here.

{ 16 comments… add one }

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  • Heather Fonseca October 12, 2010, 1:53 AM

    Nice post as usual and I really liked your cartoon choices as well! They injected a nice bit of humor. One of the things I did want to comment on was the subject of short comments. There are lots of times when I don’t have a lot of time and I just want to post a little something to show my appreciation and to let the blogger know that I’ve read the post. Sometimes I just don’t have a lot to say! I do know what you mean about the spamming though. Sometimes I wonder if a real person has actually written “I found your blog on “Biz” (or whatever) and have bookmarked your site. Great content! I’ll be returning frequently.” I mean what’s the point of that?

    • Beautifully Invisible October 13, 2010, 8:54 PM

      Thanks Heather! I am the same way – sometimes my comments are brief, but I always mean them. If it’s a blog I don’t visit frequently then i do try to make a point of leaving something with substance, so they know I really do appreciate what they had to say.

      What gets me is the spammers who sometimes forget to change what they copy/paste. Someone the other day commented about how they found me on SUCH and SUCH website, and please follow them back. I looked, and there was no mention of me anywhere. Needless to say, they aren’t being followed back and the comment wasn’t approved.

  • Casee Marie October 10, 2010, 1:08 AM

    Great topic and great answers. #2 is something I’ve been seeing a lot of lately. It doesn’t really effect The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower because my posts there are quite simple at the moment and therefore a simple comment is perfectly appropriate, but I’ve had instances where I put a lot of work into my writing on SHE and a “cool pics” paired with a link to their blog can be a bit deflating. I’ll leave a comment to say that I enjoyed an entry simply because I enjoyed an entry, but if I come across a post that I just can’t get invested in (usually by no fault of the writer) then I’ll skip the comment process entirely; I’d rather leave no comment than a forced one.

    Your blog is certainly the most engaging that I’ve read. It’s probably quite obvious by my comments. I’m usually a very introverted girl, I tend to keep my thoughts to myself, but I feel like your posts always get me thinking and forming opinions. And the environment generated by both you and the other readers’ comments doesn’t intimidate anyone to join in the conversation. It’s always an exciting experience. (:

    • Beautifully Invisible October 13, 2010, 9:14 PM

      Thank you for your comments (both here and everywhere! LOL). My hope is exactly this: “the environment generated by both you and the other readers’ comments doesn’t intimidate anyone to join in the conversation.” I think this blog thrives on the conversation – it’s really the lifeblood of Beautifully Invisible. I am thrilled that others find it engaging.

      I have started seeing spam comments more and more as the blog grows, but so far it hasn’t been TOO bad. It is frustrating when you are really excited about something you wrote, and you are looking forward to feedback, when all you get is a “nice pics. Follow me!” comment. Really? Do you think that will work?

      There are certain blogs, like yours and V’s, for example, where I ramble in my comments, because the posts are so engaging! I am thrilled whenever I hear someone feels the same way about mine.

      • Casee Marie October 15, 2010, 12:55 AM

        I don’t entertain that my blog is even half as engaging as yours or V’s. Biggest compliment EVER, thank you very much!

        Something I’ve experienced lately is people following my blog and leaving a nice first comment while also saying something along the lines of “I’d love it if you followed my blog”. Then after I reciprocate they never comment on my blog again. Other times people leave the comments because they want to add you to their little blogging community, and I think that’s quite fun. But if they’re just trying to build up their follower number without any intention of talking to you again, that takes a lot of the fun out of it.

        • Beautifully Invisible October 20, 2010, 9:33 PM

          Agreed completely. People will always come and go, and sometimes they just disappear for a bit due to time constraints – but quite a few just go “poof” and disappear into the ether!

  • Anonymous October 9, 2010, 2:54 PM

    This is a great Friend Friday topic, just because the issue of turning off comments is so popular among blogs. Some of my favorite blogs have turned off comments for various reasons, mainly because of the consistent negativity. I for one do not have a problem with readers speaking their opinion as long as it’s not a full out attack on me or my opinions. Being constructive and voicing a reasonable opinion is what blogging is all about.

    I agree that as a blog owner, I have the right to block any commenter that continues to attack me or my readers. I don’t play that! Very intelligent and thoughtful answers, kudos.

    • Beautifully Invisible October 13, 2010, 9:26 PM

      Thank you!

      I really do think that personal style bloggers have to deal with a lot more negativity than others. I understand why some of them go on the defensive when they have to deal with frequent attacks on their looks/styles/clothing. It’s much harder (in my opinion) to offend someone when you are attacking an opinion, verse attacking the way they look!

      And some people definitely do it simply to be spiteful… and that I will never understand the purpose of.

  • Grit and Glamour October 8, 2010, 7:19 PM

    You make so many wonderful points here (and thank you for your thoughtful response to this subject on my blog). You are right in that editorial-type posts are more likely to incite negative commentary, but if it is a conversation, a constructive and sensitive dialogue, it is wonderful. So much of what you post is this type of thought-provoking content, and I get the sense that you like the interaction with your readers. I have noticed that historically, you tend to pick controversial topics or images, and you aren’t afraid to share your thoughts, and you invite others to share theirs. I don’t see anything wrong with this, because we all know that controversial and provocative photo shoots are published for that very reason: to provoke. I think you always handle your posts in a professional, very well-written and constructive manner. Yours is a blog with depth, which is rare in a sea of fashion blogs that are often little more than pretension and surface-level hype, so I appreciate this and hold you and your blog in high esteem. Also, you (and several others who commented on this topic on G&G) noted that sometimes their comments are short, and that’s OK…we all do that. But that’s precisely why bloggers must develop a meaningful relationship with their readers. It is through ongoing commenting and dialogue back and forth that we come to know that even a short comment from a regular reader is meaningful—and is appreciated. We ALL know and can tell the difference between one-liners from newbies, or flippant comments from those that feel like they’re just making the rounds to keep their readership up. Again, I love your blog and since you’ve also had the courage and determination to make changes on aesthetic and technological levels, it’s just gotten better. I dare say it is one of the best out there in terms of quality, originality, professionalism, and appearance. You get better all the time, doll. Hats off.Oh, and the first comic. I literally laughed out loud! Love that.♥ Vhttp://www.gritandglamour.comtwitter: @gritandglamour

    • Beautifully Invisible October 13, 2010, 9:37 PM

      I know I responded to some of this over at G&G, but I just wanted to say thank you again.

      You are right in that I try to post thought-provoking content. Sometimes it’s controversial (because, as you said – the point of that type of content is to provoke!), other times it’s just items I find interesting. When I first started blogging this wasn’t really my intent. I used blogging more as a personal outlet for my own thoughts. It wasn’t until conversations began to form between myself and readers that I realized that I – personally – thrived on that. And I think it’s the real lifeblood of this blog. It’s certainly what keeps me coming back to it and posting!

      I want to encourage interaction with my readers, and hope that this continues to increase as the blog grows. I still feel like I don’t deserve the praise I have received from you and others, but I am grateful and humbled by it. It fuels my desire to continue making it an engaging one for you all!

      I could go on, but just wanted to say thank you – again – for everything!

  • MJ October 8, 2010, 5:09 PM

    Glad to have you back on the Friend Fridays! 🙂

    I agree with all of your answers (and the cartoon images are hilarious!). I don’t do personal style either but I definitely enjoy reading other blogs like that and comment on the things I like. I don’t see how people can be so insincere and think that just posting their link in a short, generic comment would acutally help generate traffic.

    • Beautifully Invisible October 13, 2010, 9:38 PM

      Thank you, MJ! Feels nice to be back.

      I think the problem is, those people don’t think at all! If they did, they might realize what they are doing isn’t beneficial to anyone 🙂