I hope this post doesn't turn into meta-blogging but since this idea is itching me I might as well get it out. It has been 4 months since I started this blog, after many unsuccessful ones, and I sure am satisfied. I have not written any master piece (yet) but people did seem to enjoy a thing, or two about what I have to say. By enjoy I simply mean that I had lots of visitors on those pages. The comments section says otherwise; and boy comments can be mean sometimes.
A few years ago I was desperate to find a job. I didn't have good references, and since I dropped out of school, there wasn't much for me to show in my interviews. So I decided to start websites were I can show off my skills. Among them was a blog. My domains has since expired but it was up long enough for me to land a job. I worked very hard on that blog and made it all ajaxy and stuff. I was really proud of it and I would write once or twice a week. I was really proud of my work. Until that faithful day where I decided to add user comments.
I was devastated by the amount of negativity I received, and the Spam of course. I mean Jeff Atwood titled one of his post A Blog Without Comments Is Not a Blog, does it mean he never received this kind of comments? I am an avid reader of his blog and as far as I can tell, he is not spared from that either. The more comments I received, the less enthusiastic I was about writing. Eventually I just stopped and let the blog die.
After the domain expired, and I built up the courage again and got a Wordpress blog. I wrote just one post before I received a comment that was obviously Spam but it was good enough for me to go back crawling in my cave.
Now I have this blog. Do I have comments enabled? Hell yes. Do I receive negative comments? Well see for your self. Note that some comments are on reddit or hackernews.
Here is the difference today: I understand that no one has to agree with me. People come here to read what I have to say. They can leave without saying a word or they can give me kudos, or they can give me a middle finger. Either way, I am writing. I have finally learned to not take it personally even though sometimes people can really push your button. But that's what free speech is all about isn't it?
Not that I don't get offended at all but I am trying to adopt this idea from Woody Allen:
Back when I started, when I opened Take the Money and Run, the guys at United Artists accumulated the nation's criticisms into a pile this big and I read them all. Texas, Oklahoma, California, New England... That's when I realized that it's ridiculous. I mean, the guy in Tulsa thinks the picture's a masterpiece, and the guy in Vermont thinks it's the dumbest thing he's ever seen. Each guy writes intelligently. The whole thing was so pointless. So I abandoned ever, ever reading any criticisms again. Thanks to my mother, I haven't wasted any time dwelling on whether I'm brilliant or a fool. It's completely unprofitable to think about it.
User comments can be brilliant or useless. At the end of the day comments are just for my readers to read. My job is to write the post.