Thursday, July 29, 2010

Refuse-to-read commenters (a pro-active venting)

All regular readers know that, while I love blogging, there are a few things, a few comment thread events, that tick me off pretty fast.

There's the first-timer's "Nice post; see my blog, here's a link" comment, the first-timers who on the basis of one post make sweeping comments about the entire blog, the "That's refuted in (link) this post" comments who don't themselves engage the post, the "My dog smells bad; what do you think about that?" (i.e. wildly off-topic) comments, the broken-record (i.e. everything is about their pet-subject) comments.

But those are all fairly minor. Here's probably the two that bug me the most. Don't tell anyone, I'm sure no one suspects it. (Rolls eyes.)

The first is the "I don't really want to discuss the content of your post, but I demand you answer this tangential question" comment, and the second is the "I insist that I have thoroughly studied every syllable and punctuation-mark of your post, but I demand that you answer this question (which will require you in effect to re-write your post, because you already did answer it)."

I mention this today because I expect to get some on the Pyro post I just published. Few topics bring out these two sorts of comments like talking about Da Gifts.

I would wildly theorize that it is because charismatic-types attribute an excessively high value to their feelings, and an excessively low value to careful reading and analytical thought. So they (it seems) glance at an opposing post, react "Oh! this criticizes what I know in my heart to be true about The Gifts®! Here's my boilerplate response for when someone does that! Nothing will pry my fingers from that response, which gives me comfort and assurance!"

Both responses have in common a refusal to read the post. It is the sort of thing that does make me look out the window at the ledge, and ponder. I think you'd have to be a writer, and particularly a writer who tries to be a careful and clear and exact writer, to feel how that feels. It makes me think, "Why did I bother writing that? All that time, studying and thinking and picking the right words... why? I might as well have posted 'Bibble babble bop.' I might as well have told about the time I was fly-fishing and caught a bat. Why? Why?"

But it gets worse. It gets worse when you — you, the author of the post — tell the commenter that his answer is in the post, and he insists it isn't, and insists that you answer. He wants you to re-write the post, in the comment-thread, just for him. He has a reading-comprehension issue, but it is your problem, and you must solve it for him. After all, he's paying... well, he's paying nothing, but still, you must.

Similar is the other commenter, the "Here's my tangential question" person. You want to say, "Look, I know my post doesn't interest everyone. Really, I'm okay with that. But it does interest some people. Not you — I get that, and that's okay with me. Why can't it be okay with you? Just... get a hobby or something. Wait for a topic that does interest you to come up. This one was kinda important to me, so... dig in, or move on, and no hard feelings. Okay?"

Yeah, but it's never okay with this reader. I did a (still-unfinished) series about the sufficiency of Scripture at Pyro, and was plagued with a couple in particular who would not discuss the actual post contents, but insisted that I interpret their experience for them. Which was kind of the point of the posts... but they would not make that connection. Would. Not. No matter what I said. Sigh. The ledge... it beckons....


Well, I write all that while letting comments pile up at today's post, unread. I suppose I'd better go back and see what's happening.

Though I think I know.

49 comments:

David said...

What kind of readers are you talking about?

I don't like your tone.

8-P

DJP said...

Oh! yes! and tone! Thank you. The commenters who are not competent to read the black words on the whatever-color screen, but can somehow read and judge my heart and mind! Thank you!

Merrilee Stevenson said...

There are some days when I can tell the comments will go well over 100, and I just decide I can't commit the kind of time that it takes to carefully follow the comment thread through to the end. (Like today: I have 14 lbs of cucumbers and 16 lbs of zucchini to deal with--as well as four children.)

And they do typically go through a progression that involves what you already noted, along with snarky comments that begin to get people heated up and distracted, and eventually accusations of tone-fouls, and sometimes even humble apologies by some who needed to "keep it between the ditches."

But I have to say, that's one of the things I have come to love about it. Sure I could do without having to wade through the snarkiness and resultant need for apologies, but I have come to love the way the TeamPyro guys are diligent and patient, and at the same time not wimpy when it comes to defending the truth--especially with atheists and other trouble makers. (And y'all have a healthy sense of humor too, which makes it fun and not boring.)

Most importantly, reading your blogs has encouraged me to think more deeply about what I believe, and essentially drives me to study the Word of God more!

All that to say, keep your eyes off of the ledge, brother!

2 Corinthians 10:5!

Chris H said...

You caught a bat? I want to know more about this. Perhaps you can tell us, instead of being so preachy.... :P

(word verification: raddly, which is how I describe the way in which you write, DJP)

DJP said...

They're coming, I know they are.

Soon as The 700 Club is over.

UinenMaia said...

I'll leave this comment here so as not to derail the thread at Pyro. I enjoyed the series, especially the plain look at how one can use fuzzy language to incrementally wreck the theological train. I hope you are spared from having to deal with too many refuse-to-readers.

But for me, the best thing in this last section of your series was the phrase "Clinton down". It is now a permanent part of my lexicon. Thanks for that!

DJP said...

Hee hee.

Mission Accomplished.

Al said...

Is there a subscription fee I could pay so that you will answer my off-topic rants? You could be the next Hank Hannegraaff.

al sends

Peter Eddy said...

So, a week and a half ago I commented on an insignificant detail (implicitly at that), that had nothing to do with the point of your post. Did that bother you? If so, you must despise seeing my name in the comment thread here. Sorry.

Anyway, I will defend myself, nonetheless. Your posts are always so clear and exhaustive that I find nothing left to discuss directly in line with what you've posted, so I dialogue on the subtle littles things you also raise in your posts.

For example: What did you mean by "pro-active venting"? Did you mean "preemptive"?

Thanks for putting up with me.

DJP said...

Yes, Peter, I'm furious. Wait -- what were we talking about?

Naw, 'tain't you.

Well, if pro-active becomes preemptive, that's a good thing, isn't it?

Al said...

not going to answer me, huh?... (insert ad hominem here) I will never read this blog again (unless you post something hateful).

Your traffic is about to decline as soon as I post about this on my blog (stinker-stinker.blogspot.com). (it will be the first post in two months, but may get me back to the halceon days of 6o views a week!)

al sends

DJP said...

Sorry, Al, I didn't share my LOL at your first. So...

LOL

(c:

Mesa Mike said...

Charismatics, feh! Not much different from Mormons in that the "burning in the bosom" trumps the clear Word of God.

College Jay said...

You think it's bad in blog posts... I've found the same phenomenon to be equally true when talking to Charismatics in person. Then it's REALLY frustrating.

(And sorry if I've ever been one of those commenters, because I think I can think of a few instances where I might have been).

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Go to the ledge.

Just don't jump.

Robert said...

Dan,

I want to thank you for taking the time to research and thoughtfully write the three posts about the Poythress essay/article. I did take time to read a good bit of the original text from Poythress...I think you did a good job of summarizing his train of thought and exposing the flaws with his argument.

With that said, can get into the discussion about inerrancy of Scripture? (hope the sarcasm font is working here)

Rachael Starke said...

Well, given what's going on over there, I wouldn't call you pro-active, I'd call you prophetic.

It's distressing that you felt the need to quench the Spirit by downplaying what God was clearly speaking into your heart with all this "I think I know" business.

NoLongerBlind said...

DJP wrote "Why did I bother writing that? All that time, studying and thinking and picking the right words... why? I might as well have posted 'Bibble babble bop.'"

If you did, you be drawing all the Tongues-interpreters out of the wood-work! They'd prolly find that dissertation to be extremely thought-provoking and profound.

~8^}

DJP said...

Rachael:

Think so?

(c;

Mark | hereiblog said...

I ain't readin' this post!!

Chris said...

Dan,

Another getta-load-of-this article! Who'd-a-thunk the environmentalist nut-jobs would find a way to not only say that Christian beliefs/philosophy conflicts with their environmental religious agenda, but they are now able to cite the physical practice of Christian baptism (via the Jordan river) as ecologically unfriendly to their mother earth! Naturally, Christians will listen to the father who created the earth.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/07/29/christian-tour-operators-israel-counter-claims-jordan-river-polluted-baptisms/

candy said...

They're coming, I know they are.

Soon as The 700 Club is over.


Funny. :)

candy said...

Now to go check out Pyro.

James Joyce said...

The Gifts®!

:o)

Peter said...

Ich glaube die ganze Sache dreht sich um weder man denkt oder fuehlt.

PFK57

Halcyon said...

Al:

Hey! That's halcyon, not "halceon".

Keep your spelling between the lexicographic ditches. 8^P

DJP said...

Keiner einer?

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Dan, I only know a few words in German, and have a German-speaking neighbor, but I'm going with my gut feeling on what Peter is trying to say. He's blaming the weather man for global warming. That's what I get out of his message anyway.

: )

James Kime said...

Dan, do you really believe man has a freewill? I studied your post and did NOT see that you answered that.

Peter said...

Nein, entweder haben Sie recht oder es ist falsch, es ist schwarz oder weiss, nicht ein Gemisch!

BTW, Ich habe den Fuze geditched und habe jetzt auch ein Iphone.

PFK57

DJP said...

Sehr gut!

threegirldad said...

Your post has been up for several hours now. Where's Russ???

candy said...

Frank Turk has his Mexican guy and you have your German guy? What gives?

threegirldad said...

{sigh}

Shoulda refreshed the screen and read through the comments at Pyro before posting my previous. "Witness" beat me to it.

rwt said...

I wasn't going to post until I saw my word verification and I thought it must be a prophecy about you:

agilewit

I think it's appropriate.

DJP said...

Well Ralph, that may be half-right.

threegirldad said...

[scans up and down through meta...]

Who's "Ralph"? Do I need to get some lemon juice and a blow dryer?

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Nice post! Visit my blog and I'll send you a frisbee with anchovies! And a bat!

Actually... well done, Dan, and with humor to boot.

Now back away from the ledge. Please.

Julie

Four* Pointer said...

Or how about the drive-by's that you know didn't read word one of the post, since the first words off their keyboard are an accusation that your post is "nothing but a strawman argument."

Because, when all else fails and you can't refute what the post says, throw out the old "Strawman" accusation. Or call the writer a "Pharisee."

Gov98 said...

Well, I would just like to take this moment to thank you for blogging despite difficult commenters. I greatly enjoy it, and while I didn't post on your pyro series (because I didn't have anything thoughtful to add) I always enjoy reading your posts.

I find that I don't always agree with everything, but almost always do, and appreciate your writing. So...Thank you for writing despite the good reasons to not.

Rita Martinez said...

Dan,

Save yourself the frustration:
"Don't answer a fool according to his folly."

Not reading a post, or posting a tangent question classifies as folly in my dictionary...

So just ignore 'em :D or delete it and voilà! all that will remain are the good comments :D

Rita Martinez said...

on the other hand...my question is (totally unrelated to your vent :P) what do we do with those faux gifts? or what should we name them, or..what explanations can we give for them?

Robert said...

Does it frustrate you more when you get comments that you have to glean through for parts that apply to the original post? In the case of your post on Pyro, if somebody wrote what they thought of Pythress and your critique of his work, but kept tacking on comments about cessationism vs. continuationism. I think that would be worse because on the one hand, you could have good comments that are on topic...but on the other hand, is leaving the comment up worth the attempts to derail the discussion?

As for tone, I've been on both sides of that at various times, but I try to remind myself that we shouldn't be easily offended AND that we have NO CLUE what the person on the other end of the screen has in their hearts and minds. Maybe they are trying to lovingly correct me. And, truth be told, I think what stings most is the conviction that comes with the truth...and all that is left is to attack the person who wrote the words.

DJP said...

Robert: yes.

Sir Aaron said...

I'm sorry Dan, I didn't have time to read your post or the other 44 comments. Could you please tell me again what you said?

:p

J. Scott Smith said...

Love this line: "charismatic-types attribute an excessively high value to their feelings, and an excessively low value to careful reading and analytical thought"

bp said...

Dan, with all do respect, in regards to your Sufficiency of Scriptures post, I did not want you to interpret my experience for me (am I wrong in thinking I was one of those you were irritated by?) I simply wanted you to tell me, "No, bp, it didn't happen to you as you thought it did." Point being, you couldn't say it, and neither could anyone else. Basically it came down to: We can't say it did and we can't say it didn't. This is what I was trying to get out of you, but, (for whatever reason) you didn't want to say it.

Anyway, though I think you were kinda tough on me in that thread, your blog style has grown on me, so I'm sure you'll be pleased that I didn't get LOST. hehe

DJP said...

bp, you likely are a wonderful person, a terrific cook, and have a lovely singing voice. But (A) you absolutely did repeatedly demand that your experience be interpreted, (B) gave no evidence that you got the point of the series you were ostensibly commenting on, even as far as it went, and (C) in spite of having had months' worth of opportunity to slow down, rethink, and reconsider (as you were fairly begged to do), there still no sign that you get the point even now.

Whether it's the fault of poor writing on my part, or poor reading on yours, may be for God and others to judge. But we're not going to have yet another meta steered off to that pursuit. So please, again, for the last time: if you think the whole PAST interchange gave you nothing to learn or change, then let it go.

bp said...

You are SO wrong, Dan. I have an awful singing voice.