This is going to offend the hell out of the people who religiously comment on pieces here on the Thought Catalog. And, let me just start by saying that 99% of commenters, regardless of their opinion, are absolutely wonderful. Whether they agree, disagree, hate, love, or fall somewhere in the middle – writers cannot be thin-skinned when it comes to the comment section, and largely it is considered taboo, to openly take shots at those who comment.
However, after reading a collaborative piece by Chelsea Fagan and Chris Hudspeth – which Beyoncé (the icon, brand, and possibly unofficial God) was the subject matter – I saw something that I couldn’t really come to terms with ignoring.
The Thought Catalog is a place for thought. It is, by its own definition a place for open, and free thought.
And, after talking to my own circle of writers – there is really only one comment that I cannot justify anyone writing, unless an absolute rare occasion.
The exact language used will vary, but I will paraphrase to get the point across. It will say:
“The fact that you spent your [precious]time writing this, says a lot more about you – than it does about [insert topic, person, or subject here].”
My question: What exactly, does it say about the writer?
It would seem that the person commenting is attempting to take a shot at the writer’s credibility by pulling the “single-out” method of discrediting.
And that would be great, if whatever the person was conveying in their piece was at the very least offensive.
For my money, that is what this comment should be reserved for. Subjects, or topics that can be taken as genuinely insensitive, or offensive. Reading about someone condemning equality? Go ahead and drop the aforementioned comment.
In fact, add to it – because there sure as hell isn’t any place for ignorance in this world when it comes to gender equality, marriage equality, sexual equality, or just basic human equality. I mean, it would literally take less than 5 seconds to find a generally hateful, or disrespectful opinion that is more than deserving of this comment.
But, can we withhold this comment on pieces that have titles like “17 Reasons Why Obsessive Beyonce Fans are the Worst,” or a billion pieces condemning certain behaviors on social media?
Can we just take a few minutes and really think about the subject matter that is being discussed before we jump directly to “Let’s question your existence as a human being – because you don’t share my opinion on this subject, so screw off?”
And, if you’re the individual making this comment – can you keep in mind that more writers than you think on the internet are paid to write. So really, they’re just doing their job.
Where do you work? In a store? In an office? In a factory? Do you sit behind a computer?
For writers, especially on a site like the Thought Catalog, opinion is the subject matter. The idea is to evoke thought. Writers may use tools, styles, and formats, like letters, satire, and blunt-force-verbal-trauma, to get their point across, but it isn’t to offend or shake at your core – especially on these light topics.
So, if you’re one of those people reading this, and you are fighting the urge right now to comment on this and ask me how I get off writing about this, or saying any of this – remember that for writers it is work. Just like we have to be callused to the idea that anyone, can quite literally say anything they choose to about our work – we’re doing it because it’s a job.
Yes, it’s the profession we’ve chosen, and like I said – it comes with the territory. But, think about someone taking shots at your ability to do your job from the protection of complete anonymity.
Most comment threads have this awesome ability to link to your Facebook account, or Twitter handle. Better yet, you could create an account with the site that actually manages most comment sections on the web like Disqus.
Then, go ahead an openly question the character of a satirical writer whose personal life you know nothing about. I guess when you look at it like that, the only person whose character would be judged under those circumstances would be the commenter. But, then again – this is just another great example of the internet mimicking society.
Thought and opinions are embraced – but only with those who you share.