Let's talk about what keeps us bloggers going--commenting. 5.8 times a week (that's how many times I post according to Google) I put words and pictures out there in the blogosphere and then I look forward to feedback. Sometimes there is a lot of feedback, and then sometimes when I write about things that are small and relatively boring, like moving our mattress up, we receive less comments. It's cool. There's not much to say about moving a mattress up. Unless we fell through it--I'm sure that would receive an overwhelming response. Especially if there was an action shot included.
When I was studying art in college, there were days that extended into late nights where I would work on a drawing or painting or print for hours and hours and hours. Then, the next day in class we would all hang our work on the wall and the teacher would critique each piece. As the semesters wore on and us students got more comfortable, my peers and I would also jump in on the critiques--imputing our opinions, praise and thoughts on improvement. It was great. I grew as an artist and a person. In the beginning, I remember being a first year art student in my very first drawing class, Drawing 110 (killer!), one particular texture drawing I spent close to 8 hours doing. It was a close up of a basketball and a towel. When it came time for critique, the only thing my teacher pointed out was how although you couldn't see the whole ball (it extended off of the page), you could tell it wasn't round. He concluded by saying, "that's unfortunate." After 8 hours of work, I didn't receive a good grade or an ounce of praise, but I did learn a very valuable lesson: use a compass! In addition to learning some valuable skills as an art major, I also learned how to take constructive criticism, negative opinions and even praise. I am a firm believer there is always, always ALWAYS room for improvement. I believe that applies to paintings, projects and personality.
Perhaps the idea of working and creating and then hanging my project up--or now posting it to this blog-- to be critiqued has been engrained in me. It still excites me. I still thrive off of feedback. That being said, I hope you know that I don't expect all of your comments to be bubbling over with praise. I can appreciate when a reader doesn't dig the purple wall in our living room. If you think there is room for improvement in a project, like our 15-frame grid, let us know. If you saw someone else do it better, leave a link, so we can improve for goodness sake. It's why we blog, to share what we've been up to around here and to open communication with our readers.
Yesterday, I made a comment on a fellow DIYer's blog, later to realize my comment had been deleted. I was a little taken back. I had never had a comment deleted before and I felt as if someone had virtually told me to "Shut up" without even giving me the satisfaction of saying what I wanted to first. To clarify, I didn't think my comment was rude or even border-line bullyish. I decided to write the blogger an email (names and project titles have been changed.):
I commented on your blog post today about "[Up and Up]" and how it was very similar to [Very Popular Blog's] "[One Upped.]" I went on to say "Round and round we go, us bloggers." My comment was simply stating how in the blogging world it seems there are very few truly original ideas, but rather ideas executed differently--perhaps even at different levels. I was shocked to see my comment deleted. I hope you didn't take offense, but even if you did--I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on comment deletion, and what qualifies for it on your blog.
As a DIY/design blogger myself, I encourage my readers to comment whether they like it or would leave it. I think publicly blogging is a great way to open up communication between readers and writers, to share ideas, to critique--even if all of the communication or comments aren't exploding with bubbly praise. I would love to hear your thoughts on this as I have fallen victim to what would obviously be grounds for deletion according to you.
I receive the following response:
Thanks for your email! I am glad that I have the chance to tell you why! I did delete your comment but it wasnt because I dont want differing view point on my blog. I actually rarely delete comment on my projects or posts but because it was more directed to [Krissy] than me that is why I deleted it. She is one of my best friends and I didnt want her to see it and feel bad. To be honest I am not sure why you felt the need to leave it, obviously when we live in a world where we are so interconnected you will see the same thing a lot of different ways. I thought that by leaving that comment you were assuming that [Krissy] got the idea from [Lori], which she did not seeing as how she has done it more that just this year. I think that there is plenty of criticism in this world and although negative comments dont hurt my feelings, they do hurt many peoples. One thing that I see often in this online world is things being taken differently than they were meant because things are read a million different ways. If that is the case I am sorry for deleting your comment. I honestly have no hard feelings and actually really like your blog, you are super talented (I LOVE your painting that you just did that was the melty chevrony piece!) I hope that you can understand where I am coming from!
Although I am glad things were worked out, it did get me wondering about our own blog. Would I ever delete a comment? Chris and I have talked about it and have concluded if it is spam, crass or inappropriate for our parents' eyes, then yes. This is only DIYing, so I can't really imagine how any of that would come into play, but we're just covering our bases. We really want this to be a place where you can share your ideas and thoughts. Whether praise or constructive criticism.
When I asked a few friends and family member's their thoughts on deleting comments in blogging, here is some of the responses:
As someone in publishing, I don't think any of the comments should be deleted. All feedback should be handled constructively. I say, use it as an opportunity to help your readers get to know you better.
If you are going to post online and leave things open to discussion, you need to try to be open-minded and listen. It gives the writer, as well as the reader, a chance to grow.
It's still the right of a blogger. And necessary in some cases. I think we all expect our reasonable comments to appear once we hit submit, but it's always possible they won't.
In my mind it comes down to severity. If the comment is severely negative and or over the top, then I can see a case for deletion. But the blog owner also must recognize than they will lose credibility in the process and feel that even though they will come across as fraudulent due to the severity of the comment it must be done.
Publish. Publish. Publish. It's what it's all about. I've had my comments deleted from peoples blogs before. And it really makes both my comment and my reading AND the blog/author of blog seem invalid. Block all or none.
Now it is your turn to weigh in. What constitutes a deleted comment for your blog or, in your opinion? Did I step over the line? Should all bloggers take Drawing 110 before publishing a post? *wink*