Friend Friday: Sticks, Stones, Comments, Criticism, and Kindness

Sticks and stones may break my bones…

Yeah, you know the saying. That’s what we try to tell ourselves when a cutting quip has assailed our ears and egos.

But words will never hurt me.

This saying is a half-truth. Because words do hurt and they do damage lives. While some of us have learned the art of letting insults go in one ear and straight out the other, not everyone has the fortitude to do that. Or perhaps an insult has hit at a moment of weakness—while someone is already weary from the stress of relationships or finances, or everyday life. And they cannot deflect one more thing.

Last week, reader Terri of Rags Against the Machine left a comment on my Friend Friday: Blogging and Negativity vlog and asked if we’d take up constructive criticism as a Friend Friday* topic (thanks, Terri!). I suggested it to the group, and it was selected, and I think the timing of this topic couldn’t be better.

Negative comments and actions DO hurt.

Allow me a moment to digress, because negative commentary and criticism on fashion blogs is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how cruel humankind can be. I’ll spare you the details of my own experience as a girl who was teased quite often—I’m fine, I made it through. But not everyone does. So before you watch my video, I hope you’ll watch this one with the amazing Tim Gunn. This PSA was recorded after Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student, leapt to his death from the George Washington Bridge last week after learning that a video of him engaged in a gay sexual encounter was broadcast on the Internet by his roommate. You can read more about what happened in Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump.

Bullying, negative comments, and being hateful all have consequences for the bully and the victim. Suicide is an extreme response, but not uncommon. If you feel suidical, or suspect someone may be suicidal, visit The Trevor Project or call The Trevor Lifeline at 866.488.7386 (866-4-U-TREVOR).

UPDATE: Since this post was published, blogger Perez Hilton recorded a heartfelt video about how recent suicides (as a result of bullying) have affected him. Watch I’m Going To Be Doing Things Differently. JOIN THE KINDNESS MOVEMENT!

••

On blogging comments and criticism…

Here are this week’s Friend Friday questions:

  1. Do you allow comments on your blog? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think at times people leave comments that are insincere or not well thought out? (like the ones who write two words and just seem to be trying to comment on as many blogs as possible.)
  3. Would you ever leave a comment that could be considered negative?
  4. Most people claim to like constructive criticism. Do you really and how do you offer that kind of criticism to others?
  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?

*The Friend Friday project by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and create a friendly connection with other bloggers. Join the conversation by joining the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group.

Comments

  1. says

    First, a general comment before I respond individually:
    Thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses on this post. I am so grateful to have so many engaging, intelligent, AMAZING READERS and blogging buddies! A big kiss to you all.

    To answer a few questions many of you asked:

    The painting…did she or didn’t she?
    OK, y’all are some smart little cookies. Or observant little cookies! The painting is indeed signed by me, and I did paint it. Have been doing a little home improvement, and because of some new wall color, I decided to swap the location of my paintings. The one that used to be in the spot in the video (see older vlogs in that spot) is another I’ve painted. But now it’s in my den/living room, and the painting that used to be there is now here. Thank you all for your compliments on it. I actually began college as an art major, so I have some abilities in that area, I suppose. But I only pick up my paintbrush like every five years or something. Maybe I should do it more often.

    The lippie.
    Because several of you mentioned it…funny, it looks pink in the video, but it’s actually a 1960s-looking pale coral. I’m really bad about mixing up lipstick colors and do it often. So in this instance, I am wearing:

      A base of YSL Rouge Pur #52 Rosy Coral
      A layer of MAC Myth
      Top coat of YSL Rouge Volupté #2 Sensual Silk

    Finally, Terri of Rags Against the Machine has a fab recipe for giving constructive criticism>.

    She wrote:

    For twenty years, I have taught a creative writing workshop. In graduate school, I weathered some pretty brutal and unproductive workshop sessions in which people “ganged up” on a vulnerable writer. So, in my classes, I have imposed a format that confines commenters to “constructive” comments. I think these can be applied here.

    For each piece of writing, readers must describe what is MEMORABLE about the piece of writing (or in this case, an outfit). Then, they must describe, one STRENGTH of the piece of writing/outfit. In most cases, the student writer receives two positive strokes, before we take a deep breath and describe what we feel in a WEAKNESS of the piece of writing/outfit. The writing may have many weaknesses, but they are limited to discussing one. In a workshop of 15-20 students, I can trust that the variety of responses will hit on all the weaknesses, but if everyone mentions the same weakness that is likely something the student writer wants to work on. Finally, they are allowed to make ONE SUGGESTION that would improve the piece of writing/outfit under discussion.

    what is MEMORABLE + one STRENGTH + a WEAKNESS + ONE SUGGESTION = constructive criticism done right

  2. says

    This was one of my favourite Friend Fridays! I love how passionate you are about the topic of insincere comments because it is quite likely my biggest pet peeve in the blogging world. I find it insulting when people leave the same generic comment on everyone’s blog with a link back to their own blog. It puts up a major red flag. It’s doubtful that they even read the posts they comment on.
    I love the conversation aspect of blogging and every good conversation includes a little give and a little take. I would much rather have a few meaningful comments and a small active community on my blog than a high number of insincere self promoters. I wonder if they realize how transparent they are and that they’re not doing themselves any favours.

    Whew! Sorry for my babbling, but it’s obviously a topic that I’m quite passionate about as well. Great vlog V!! I loved everything you had to say and you looked damn good while doing it too. I love the lip colour and your hair is SO super shiny. Also, I never noticed your name on the painting in the background before. It is gorgeous! One of my goals is to create some art for my own home someday. I love what you’ve done! xx
    brookemeagan’s latest post: Booty CampMy Profile

    • says

      Aw, thank you Brooke! What a sweet and generous comment.

      Like you said, every conversation is a little give and take. I recently removed some blogs from my Blogroll page and Bloglovin’ because they never came back after the first comment. I refuse to feed the stats of bloggers like that. Or waste any more time commenting when the blogger not only doesn’t comment on or visit here, but worse, doesn’t even acknowledge my comments on their blog, ever. And we’re not talking super famous bloggers. I’m over the small-timers who think they’re better than everyone else.

      And thanks for your compliments on my hair, the lippie, and the painting! I put a little note about these things above.

  3. says

    WOOT!!! Love your Friend Friday vids!! I’m SO with you on this topic + your honesty is so damn refreshing. I sincerely cracked up on your answer for #2. It’s also extremely cool that you tied this in with the unfortunate (and unnecessary) unfolding of events that happened at Rutgers. I saw that video yesterday + I thought it was awesome that Tim Gunn stepped up and shared his story and advice as well.

    Sorry this is getting pretty long BUT I had to ask since I noticed the lovely painting in the background and your name in the corner – did you do it?? Woman how many talents do you have!? One of these days could you take a full pic – it’s gorgeous :)

    • says

      Thank you Raven! I adore your enthusiasm. You always make me smile. See my note on the painting above. I could possibly take a photo of the painting, but I’m a little hesitant, because it never captures the texture and color play that happens in real life, you know? I’ll think about it.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective here. It means a lot to me, and it gives me the chance to get to know you better too. I agree that Tim is fantastic for taping that PSA. I love him.

  4. says

    I’ve just read Brookemeagan’s comments and I also noticed the exact same thing and was going to ask about 1. The glossy hair, 2. The gorgeous lip colour (have i seen it before?), 3. The fab painting in the background (by you?) -something I may have not noticed before??? Lastly, the cushions – love it all!

    Now onto the big stuff, I really really felt this post and loved the vlog and pretty much the same views as BM on preferring a small active blogging community – you guys are like my family online you know!
    As for the negativity, it’s just not nice and just shouldn’t be aired/commented really. Contstructive critiscism is good, but only when one has people skills! Liike you said it should be informative/helpful -from where they’re going wrong/right but wrapped up with something super nice at the end!!! Shooting someone down is horrid (this applies to work scenarios too) !!! No-one likes to feels like they’re completely useless or rubbish!

    Right, i’ve gone on for way too long too, sorry!!! Have a great weekend V!
    x.o.x.o
    A Brit Greek’s latest post: Bachelorette Part Deux- Hollywood GlamMy Profile

    • says

      Ha! Thanks Ms. Brit. Please see my little note about the lippie and painting at the top of the comments. You’re a doll.

      Thanks for your comment…you are so right: No one likes to feels like they’re completely useless or rubbish! Constructive criticism does take skills…but if people would just THINK before they write, it would help!

      Hope you have a great weekend too!

  5. says

    As ever, I do agree entirely with you in all points.
    I do love commets very much, it takes the pulse of my blog. So far I had no bad comments, but yes some advise like :why don´t you try with another belt , etc.?,. I think that dding rather than taking away inspiration is good.
    I would never considere leaving a bad comment, as you said, if you don´t like it, just go somewhere else…
    About Criticism “per se” is so destructive that have no reason to be.
    You are fabulous, lovely V.
    Mil besos
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxxx
    SACRAMENTO’s latest post: Green Hospital RedMy Profile

    • says

      Hello, YOU fab thing, Sacramento!

      Thank you for your thought on this, and for your compliments. I can’t imagine telling you to change a single thing. I love you just the way you are. I wish more people would appreciate individuality and creativity.

  6. says

    V you know I adore your vlogs, and this one was one of my faves! I completely agree with all you have said, especially the insincere comments, grrr they make me so angry.

    On the topic of constructive criticism, did you ever analyse the results from that survey you did? You might have done a post that I missed so I’ll look for it in a minute! :)

    Hope you have a great weekend too, lovely lady! xx
    Leia’s latest post: Curly Hair TutorialMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you Leia! You are so kind, sweetie.

      I am SO glad you mentioned the survey. I do have the results and have started a post about them, and I know it’s going to be long and involved and I have been procrastinating. You all gave me some excellent constructive criticism that I think others will benefit from as well. I guess this is the kick I needed to wrap it up!

  7. says

    Oh, it seems like my comment didn’t post for some reason! I completely agree with you on all the points you made, especially about the insincere comments. Luckily I don’t get too many at the moment but I think insincere commenters are as bad as spammers!

    Hope you have a great weekend lovely V! ):
    Leia’s latest post: Curly Hair TutorialMy Profile

  8. says

    Definitely have noticed, and spoken with some other bloggers about insincere comments. My only concern is that some days there are a lot of blogs I try to read and catch up on, and I’d hate for anyone to think I was leaving an insincere comment or just trying to draw traffic to my blog because that’s not the case, there’s just only so many hours in the day – but hopefully everyone understands that as we’re all trying to fit this into our lives. I hope so, anyway.
    Katie’s latest post: Lip Product Organization and StorageMy Profile

    • says

      Katie, thanks for your comment.

      You’re right…there ARE only so many hours in the day. Avid bloggers and blog readers know this. That’s where the relationship comes in. Because I know my readers, I know when someone hasn’t visited in a while, or if they leave a short comment that they are just busy. I struggle to keep up as well…it’s NOT easy. And I like to respond to every comment when I can, and visit my readers’ blogs too. So you do have to pick and choose. But I can tell, and I’m sure others can tell, what the intent is.

      It’s all good!

    • says

      I agreed with what you said to most of this. Re: commenting insincerely–there are some times when I make a big effort to read a comment on all the blogs on my Google Reader (okay, not all, but on at least the 30 blogs I read daily). I always make sure these comments are applicable and sincere. So, if you are going to mass comments, at least make them sincere and thought out, as you said.

      Also, I love your couch. is that your painting behind you? I see your name on it! Would you ever consider doing a tour of your house? Or at least little parts of it?

      Oh, oh also! I repurchased that Prestige liquid eyeliner (mine rubbed off really easy because it was very old) and I love it now! Do you use the black or the black/brown?
      Courtney’s latest post: The Siren aka Makeup as it HappensMy Profile

      • says

        I know. Tim Gunn rocks!

        Katie above mentioned the same thing…it’s hard to keep up. I currently follow more than 115 blogs! So I really have to pick and choose because I believe in showing my readers the same support they show me. But as I wrote above, that’s where history and the relationships you build come in. You know who means well and who doesn’t, not by the length of their comment, but by the frequency and relevance.

        Thanks about the painting and couch…see my note at the beginning of the comments for details. As much as I’d love to give you a tour of my home, I don’t feel comfortable doing that. I already feel like sometimes, I put too much out there. But I am flattered by the request, regardless.

        About the eyeliner, I LOVE it. I have the black. It can stay on for literally like 12 hours and look great. It’s awesome! But I’ve learned it’s best piled on thick. Took me years to come to terms with that.

  9. says

    I so agree with bloggers leaving comments just to get attention. I have seen it on my blog. I can’t stand when someone is like cute, pretty, nice. It’s silly. What’s nice, pretty, or cute in my post? I like when people point out something specific that they like so I know they actually read the post or observed it. I love when you said “Honesty doesn’t have to be hurtful”. I think that is important to remember. I have never left a negative comment on a post because it makes you look immature and just plain mean. I was talking to my mother about people being rude these days. We both agreed that being polite always goes a long way than being negative and rude.
    Paulettew’s latest post: Charms of the Week- Indy Grrrl- Rolling Stone Vintage- and HolsteeMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Paulette, thanks for your comment! Rudeness is epidemic right now. It’s so unfortunate. Y’all are definitely right: you catch more flies with honey!

  10. says

    V I always love your vlogs on Friend Fridays! :)

    Like you I also get very passionate when it comes to negative comments and people being hateful just to be hateful. I experienced this twice when it came to blogging about plus size fashion and with a post I did about my relaxing my hair. I got soo much slack for that and people said some pretty hurtful things. It taught me how to take time to cool off before totally going off in a response and how ignorant people can be sometimes.

    As a writer (I’ve been working on my novel and short stories) I also feel that the editing and critiquing process is one of the best lessons in constructive criticism. You want to be honest and truly help the person your critiquing so you have to make sure you’re positive and reinforce what they’re doing right while giving them alternatives (like you said) to choose from. Also as the person being critiqued you have to remember that although it may sting a bit at first, it was done with the best intentions to make you better!

    Okay I’m done rambling! Have an awesome weekend!! :)
    MJ’s latest post: Friend Friday – Dealing with Negative CommentsMy Profile

    • says

      MJ, thank you sugar. I really appreciate your thoughts (and go on Ms. Novel Writer!). You raise a great point: It’s good to cool off before responding to ANYTHING inflammatory, on blogs and in life. It’s still unbelievable that people would be so mean.

      Thanks again for your comment…have an awesome weekend too!

  11. says

    “Honestly doesn’t have to hurtful!” resonated with me. I absolutely agree with your thoughts on this subject. I myself could not have said it better. I would probably ask people to come read this … ‘coz they drive the crazy and there is no way to get the message across to them! Great Vlog. Probably my favorite so far.
    Tanvi’s latest post: Take 10 with SonaliMy Profile

  12. says

    “If you can’t say something nice, shut the hell up!” AMEN. Loved your vlog on the topic this week – I completely agree with you on many of the points. And, now, the purpose of my comment – a little something nice:
    your lipstick is INCREDIBLE! What shade/brand is it?

    • says

      Alli, thank you so much for your comment and compliment. See my note at the top of the comments regarding the lipstick.

      Also, I so loved how you responded to these questions on your blog…this was my favorite part:

      At the time I’d been a long time and regular reader of WIW. As someone who moderates web sites for a living, I was totally shocked with the way the situation was handled. To be absolutely blunt, I found the whole thing akin to a temper tantrum. Comments like “I don’t like that scarf with that outfit,” or “this looks a little matronly” suddenly translated (in posts on comments policies) to “you’re overwhelming me with negativity!” “you’re trolls!” “You’re jealous!”

      I found it wildly unprofessional that a blogger who made their livelihood from their site would IGNORE the majority of comments – which were positive, inspiring, supportive, and occasionally apologetic in favor of arguing with detractors. (One snarky person mentioning that a belt makes you look like The Nanny, or someone asking, politely, whether you might be pregnant, should not drown out HUNDREDS of comments from long time, productive, readers). Eventually Jessica shut off comments altogether. (Although she’s recently reopened them with a very stern comments policy). At the time, as a reader, I felt kind of like “what’s the point.” I mean really, what is the point of visiting a site, taking the time to comment, thoughtfully, only to be ignored in favor of a brawl fest with an alleged troll? The time that Jessica spent engaging with a handful of commenters who she didn’t seem to want on her site anyway would have been better spent responding to and engaging with supportive, long time readers, offering up insight into the situation or their own perspectives on comment policies.

  13. says

    I really enjoyed your analogy about constructive criticism and your editorial work. As a professor, I spend a lot of time reading and commenting on student work, and I always try to comment on the things that students are doing well in addition to giving them guidance about where they missed the mark and how they could have done better. (I also never grade in red pen.) It had never really struck me before that I could use that same approach for offering constructive criticism to bloggers. I do try to avoid negativity and leaving negative comments, but sometimes I feel like the style blogging community can be too gushing to the point of insincerity.

    My favorite thing about the blogging community is the aspect of dialogue and through that the ability to get to know (at least virtually and occasionally IRL) other wonderful women and men. I’d much rather have those real connections and thoughtful commentary than a slew of comments to the tune of “lovely shoes!” I know that we are all busy and sometimes it’s brief comments or none at all, but you’re exactly right that it becomes quickly transparent when a comment is simply to drive traffic back to a blog.
    La Historiadora de Moda’s latest post: Thinking Pink Days 3 &amp 4My Profile

    • says

      LHdM, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I appreciate your perspective…and it’s so nice to know that professors are moving away from the dreaded red pen.

      I agree that the blogging community CAN be too gushing…that’s the other aspect of commenting that annoys me. I call it the Emperor’s New Clothes Phenomenon—it’s abundant in the fashion industry and in fashion blogging, and it is nauseating. But like you, I relish the dialogue when it is witty, thought-provoking and entertaining. So I, too, would much rather spend my time visiting the blogs of those sorts of people. I’d rather have the connection than the count.

  14. says

    First, I love how you tied in this FF with the recent unfortunate events and Tim Gunn’s response. You really thought about the big picture when it comes to negativity and took this FF to a whole new level. I applaud you for that, my dear.

    Re: the topic itself, as always, I agree with what you say. Although I tend to be on the side of NOT shutting down comments, I also admit that you are right – it is every bloggers personal decision. My hope would be that the positive comments would always outweigh the negative, but I can imagine in some instances the opposite would be true.

    I love how passionate you are about Question 2, and I, like many others, agree 100%. It is extremely transparent, and it won’t get anyone new followers if you spam everyone with generic comments and your blog address. I also love your comments on constructive criticism and agree wholeheartedly. A few of my answers were slightly different, simply because my focus isn’t on personal style, and I think editorial posts lend themselves to more critique – but of the subject, not the writing style!

    Something we both touched on is this: you don’t have to take mean, negative comments in real life, so you shouldn’t have to take them in the blogosphere either. It is unfortunate that some people can’t see the negative ramifications of their actions before it’s too late, whether it be to a commenter or a college roommate.

    On a personal note: you had asked me where I’ve been – things have been so crazy for me the past week and a half between work, a mini-vacation, and now a bad head cold, that I have resorted to NOT leaving comments, even though I’ve been checking posts out, because I haven’t had the time to leave anything worthwhile. Plan to catch up on that this weekend! :)
    Beautifully Invisible’s latest post: Friend Friday- Criticisim and CommentsMy Profile

    • says

      Bi, thank you kindly for your lengthy and thoughtful response. I appreciate your perspective and also enjoyed reading your answers to these questions as well.

      You wrote the following on your blog, and it accurately represents my approach as well:

      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!

  15. says

    cute lippie! Follow me! link link link

    Just kidding! It really annoys me too so glad you spoke out about it so passionately here. Thanks for posting those news articles – fascinating and about time that they starting having conventions about civility on the internet. I think there is a whole generation who thinks that all the interaction that goes on there is just one big computer game where there are no real humans with real feelings involved. Loved your answers – I especially agree about the comments and that people should choose to do what they are comfortable with.
    Veshoevius’s latest post: Friend Friday- Constructive CriticismMy Profile

    • says

      Ha!! Thank you sweetie. I appreciate your comment and readership.

      Like you said, unfortunately, there is a generation of people out there that grew up with one hand on a keyboard and the other on a mobile phone…it skews reality for them, I think. They DO seem to forget there ARE real people on the other end, and there are REAL consequences when it comes to negativity and cyber-bullying. That’s why I believe it’s important for older, wiser, more seasoned bloggers to set an example when possible. And to let victims of bullying know that they are not alone and do not have to take that kind of treatment.

  16. says

    I always feel like you are so sincere. That’s one thing I really like about your blog.
    I liked that message by Tim. Very important.
    There is also a picture of you wearing a jumper with a belt. I LOVE it! I think it is so beautiful!
    I live in a very conservative area, without a lot of gay/lesbian etc people. I am not gay/lesbian. In one of my classes there are a few people who make comments about gays/lesbians and it really bothers me. I think it is important to accept people the way that they are/choose to be. Anyways….
    Loved the post today.
    annie’s latest post: MOVING MY BLOG!!!My Profile

    • says

      Thank you Annie, I truly appreciate your kind words!

      I’m glad this post resonated with you, and that you can tell I’m sincere. That is so important to me. And again, I commend you for going anti-Facebook. So many people think they can’t live without it, and it’s rubbish.

  17. says

    Hey V!
    First off. Who makes your lipstick and what shade is it!?!?!? I must have it haha! In terms of your opinions, I really agree! I love your motto, “if you can’t say something nice, shut the hell up!” Your passion for this topic was so great, it was clear that you cared about this topic!
    -Tess
    Windy City Fashion’s latest post: Fashion Beauty Friend Friday 3!My Profile

    • says

      Tess,

      Thanks, doll! See my note at the beginning of the comments regarding the lippie. I’m glad that someone out there appreciates my little rants! Thanks for your comment.

  18. says

    V – As always another great post. And I love how you rounded out this set of questions with the comments on cyber bullying and the hurtful things we can do with our words. It’s so true, we never know how our words will impact the lives of another. The world needs more positivity, more love and genuine charity. Thanks! – Katy
    Katy’s latest post: Friend Friday- Criticism and CommentsMy Profile

    • says

      Ah, thank you Katy! I think you are instumental in helping change the fashion blogging world because your Friend Friday questions inspire serious thought on some serious issues. They give bloggers like me the opportunity to write about compelling and controversial topics without seeming like we have an agenda or something. I have grown to love the challenge!

  19. says

    Great vlog, V! As usual you say things so well. Comments are such an integral part of blogging. It’s like we’re all at a big virtual partying milling and mixing about. I agree things are best phrased in the positive. I’ve got little room in my life for shit-talkers in general. As for the transparent read my blog commenters who usually leave their blog’s url three times, and the comments are seldom longer than 3 words, they are like the people at a party who walk up to a group talking about a subject and they interject with a random sentence and walk off. Everyone seems to just wait for them to go away, and they pick up where they left off.

    oh, and read my blog!
    http://www.gritandglamourrocks.blogspot.com
    http://www.gritandglamourrocks.blogspot.com
    http://www.gritandglamourrocks.blogspot.com
    Bella Q’s latest post: outfit post- Post-Modern PrimitiveMy Profile

    • says

      HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

      OMG, you kill me. Thank you and I love this:

      “As for the transparent read my blog commenters who usually leave their blog’s url three times, and the comments are seldom longer than 3 words, they are like the people at a party who walk up to a group talking about a subject and they interject with a random sentence and walk off. Everyone seems to just wait for them to go away, and they pick up where they left off.”

      Exactly!

      Thanks babe. You’re the best.

  20. says

    Sometimes I think that people use the guise of constructive criticism or “debate” to attack and “one-up”.

    I think this comment is the best solution to the problem, “You don’t have to take mean, negative comments in real life, so you shouldn’t have to take them in the blogosphere either.” Constructive criticism is not mean, negative, etc… It’s honest but sincere. And it gets lost (a lot!) on the net.
    birdie’s latest post: More Room for my Most Wanted…My Profile

    • says

      Hi Birdie, welcome!

      You are right…I do think that some people use the guise of constructive criticism or “debate” to attack and “one-up.” And you are also right that constructive criticism is NOT mean…it’s sincere and diplomatic.

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

  21. says

    Very well said. Really, enough negative stuff just seems to occur naturally in life – it’s not like people need to go out there and make a special effort to make sure there’s enough crap happening! like you said – is this really how you want to be spending your time? why not do something enjoyable or helpful?

    the good part about insincere or ‘spamming’ comments is, as you said, how transparent they are. so that doesn’t bother me much (tho i do wonder who they think they’re fooling…). i do so much enjoy the conversation with other bloggers, it’s kind of like having pen pals (back in the day). so i would rather have a few negative or brainless comments than none at all…..but i think a blog is like a person’s house – their rules!

    and as great a Mr. Gunn always looks, that PSA shows a helluva lot more style than anything he’s ever worn. great man.
    tiny junco’s latest post: You Feel Just Like An Ice Cream ConeMy Profile

    • says

      OMG, I love your first paragraph. We’re clearly on the same page!

      That’s what I love about blogging…the pen pal feel of it. So true. I have this whole network of friends I could never have had otherwise. It’s so fun chit chatting back and forth with other bloggers.

      Thanks much for sharing your thoughts here!

  22. says

    I see I’m a little late to the conversation here. Thanks for crediting me with the idea for this week’s questions.

    First, I really like how you have framed this post, placing it in the larger context of “bullying,” which time after time has proven to have life or death consequences for people.

    I hadn’t realized that you work as an editor. The editors I have worked with in the past have always had a gentle midwife’s sort of touch–that tends to draw out the best in an author. And that is a good comparison for what thoughtful bloggers might do, even in the realm of style blogs.

    I’d never heard of the “sandwich method,” though that is essentially what I do in my creative writing workshops. I also like what you had to say about suggesting alternatives. Often, this injects fresh thinking that may not even have occurred to the writer/style blogger.

    This is a PSA for civility!
    Terri’s latest post: Friend Friday- Constructive CriticismMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Terri, thanks for your comment. I so love what you wrote about your approach to constructive criticism on your blog that I included it above. Such a great approach.

      I love “This is a PSA for civility!” Honey, that is one of my biggest passions. I always say the only thing that differentiates us from the animals is manners and a great pair of shoes.

  23. says

    I love your honesty and the way you speak on you vlog. And yes, I know that feeling of having quick comments on your blog just for them to get the same traffic or similar comments or theirs.
    I can tell who reads and who reads my blog. To be honest with you I don’t mind if they don’t read it.. but what annoys me is when they leave a comment like “nice post”.. man.. i just wanted to die!
    And other thing is u mentioned is “if you don’t like my blog or post.. fine.. leave and don’t bother”

    Everybody has different way to run they blogs… it’s all about connection! Find yours.
    ps.. i like your belt.. (lol)..
    LOx

    • says

      Hi Lee, thank you! Like you said, bloggers can tell who’s genuine and who isn’t. It IS all about connection, for me at least. Without a personal connection, I either will not comment or won’t return to some blogs.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  24. says

    LOL – “if you can’t say something nice then SHUT. THE HELL. UP!” i love you.

    god, ok – first of all – the thing that happened to the rutgers student is so messed up and so sad.

    as always, your perspectives are so spot on and relevant to things i’ve been thinking myself. your answer to question 2 especially speaks to me because now that i’ve been blogging for a bit longer than 6 months, i feel that i’ve learned so much. when i was a brand new blogger i didn’t really understand the blogosphere and when people would ask me to follow them or leave me comments on my blog asking me to go to theirs, i was so thankful to just have a comment that i didn’t really see how insincere it was. after time when they never came back i figured it out. and it’s likely i’ve done this as well when i was new and desperate =P because really, that’s what it is – desperation. recently i’ve started responding to people who just message me flat out asking me to follow. i’m not mean about it, but i think if someone had taken the time to explain it to me when i was a new blogger i would have greatly appreciated it. i’m going to have to save the link to this post so i can direct new bloggers here. the more i get to know the fashion blogging community, the more i want to protect it from insincerity. this topic is inspiring one of my ranty posts =P
    kristy’s latest post: maurizio pecoraro ss 2011My Profile

    • says

      Thank you so much for your comment, sweetie. I truly appreciate your honesty. I also want to protect the fashion blogging community from insincerity. That’s one reason I like to be REAL about topics like this…as you pointed out, it could be very helpful for a newbie! I think seasoned fashion bloggers (especially those who are members of IFB) have an obligation to share knowledge AND the spotlight. None of us gets anywhere in life without some kind of help. We need to be good blogging ambassadors!

  25. says

    OH and ALSO, that painting behind you says VAHNI at the signature does it not?? is that yours??? because i was observing how beautiful and interesting it was when i noticed the signature. even if it isn’t yours, props on choosing such a gorgeous painting to decorate your wall.
    kristy’s latest post: maurizio pecoraro ss 2011My Profile

  26. says

    I definitely agree with everything you said. I feel fashion blogs(any blogs really), are a place to express yourself. The people who are interested in your blog should be the ones reading and commenting. In my opinion, there is no room for negativity; if you are not interested in that point of view then move on. There are enough blogs out there to find something you like and can be positive about. If you dislike a blog, why are you viewing it and taking the time to comment on it?? Leaving negative comments is just plain mean spirited. Seriously, it is pretty lame, find something else to do.

    thrifteddrifter.blogspot.com

    • says

      Amen, honey! You are so right…it IS pretty lame when people visit blogs they hate just to be hateful. They clearly have nothing else to do!

      Thanks for your comment!

  27. says

    V I appreciate your constructive criticism on my blog. I realized the music on my blog was competing with my vlogs so I changed it. You are a blessing and I thank you for your advice.
    I agree that it’s enough negativity in the world and I try my best to offer positive feedback.
    That hit me when you said it’s good to have a few good readers and establish a relationship. That’s so true.
    I found out about the Rutgers student at a women’s fellowship breakfast with my church at the Ritz carlton last Saturday and that is so sad. That really bothered me and that was so great that Tim Gunn spoke out about it and that there is help out there for people dealing with those issues to please don’t end your life.
    Great post.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment, TJ…your blog is looking great! I like to try and help others when I can. I don’t generally offer a critique uninvited, but I wanted to be able to watch your video! I’m glad you took it constructively…not everyone would.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts here.

  28. says

    Actually I have been wondering for sometime in regards of commenting. Bad Comments are ABSOLUTE NO NOs in my book. But on the other hand I feel that we may should just eliminate comments altogether and treat the bogs as those of magazines, and of course email is definitely allowed as long as the content of the emails are relevant with the posts.
    Wishing u a wonderful weekend darling, Jemina xoxo

    • says

      Hi Jemina, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that bad comments are a no-no. I, personally, like the ability to comment on others’ blogs…I want to be able to tell them when they look amazing!

  29. says

    I always love Friend Fridays and this post was so on point. It is true you do need to unto others as you would have them do unto you, The golden rule should not be forgotten. Also I couldn’t forget the rule my parents taught me, that you mentioned too, If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. since nothing good happens when one says mean and thoughtless unkind words. My only wish is that when I leave comments that they are all right. I have a hard time with conveying my thought via writing. but I give it my level best effort.

    • says

      Thanks Laura! Yeah, writing can be tricky at times, but I don’t think there is any way a simple compliment can be misinterpreted—especially if you’re a regular reader of the blog. The blogger can usually tell what’s intended to be kind and what isn’t.

  30. says

    Nice blog. Keep up the good work.

    Ah ha ha. I jest. Amazing VLOG lady! You do you and let everyone else do them…If only more people thought this way! BTW, I’ve always thought that the way people treat service people is a very telling judge of character!
    Kristin’s latest post: Champagne Saturday- Well HydratedMy Profile

    • says

      Ha!

      Thanks, Kristin! You are so supportive and kind, and YOUR blog network is another great way to bring fashion bloggers together in a friendly manner. I know you’re walking the talk, and that’s why I appreciate you and your support so very much.

      And yeah, the telltale sign of one’s character is how they treat service people. You’re spot-on.

  31. says

    1) I want the recipe for the gorgeous face?! please give me the ingredients and I’ll try not to end up with a clown face ;) Where is the lippy from?

    2)I agree with your point of view regarding the comments & blogging. To me it is all about the comments-it is fun and you can get into some really fun or really serious topics , which i think is so rewarding after you have spent time to find some topics to engage with your readers.

    I can see that you got really aggravated with the ‘trashy comments train’ … and let me tell you that I completely jump on the other train : I do not force myself to comment and never do. If I feel compelled by something then, yes I will share with the blogger in question – and seriously some people need to tattoo this on their fingers ” if you havent got anything nice to say, then just hit CTRL+ALT+DEL’ !

    3) Constructive criticism: i think the same principle applies. The criticism should come for a ‘help’ and ‘support’ perspective – just like you explained. Bashing someone for no reason is ridiculous and petty as hell.

    Great Vlog! I should try and join your Friday thingy, i love the discussions :)

    xxx
    Lady Noix de Coco’s latest post: Lady Gay-Gay- Louis Vui-Vui- Too-too Much Ma-ma-ma-rgaritas !!My Profile

    • says

      Ah, Lady, my lovely, you do flatter me, and I love it! Please see my comment at the very beginning for lippie deets.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts…you should TOTALLY join in the Friend Friday discussions. I appreciate your satire—it’s OK to poke fun at fashion—you demonstrate that it is possible to be sarcastic but not hurtful. And that’s because you poke fun at fashion and fashion personalities, not people.

  32. says

    And a big congrats on making the IFB links ala mode for this week.

    (And I think a little Blogging 101 kit should include this post…so far I’ve got 3 G&G posts I want EVERY fashion blogger ot read.)

    You look fab by the way, I didn’t mention that before, Always do.
    Bella Q’s latest post: outfit post- Back-alley BlossomMy Profile

  33. says

    Whist I didn’t participate in that Friend Friday, I found your answers to be very heartfelt and insightful. I think, however, one experience as a Blogger that is very important to life is dealing and handling criticism. Especially the destructive, mean-spirited ones. .because they will always happen in real-life.
    devilishlypleasurable’s latest post: the devilishly pleasurable lairMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you my dear…I appreciate that. I agree that we have to learn to wear criticism in all forms—you are right that it is part of real life. I just don’t like to perpetuate it online. I think we could stand to have a little less of that.

  34. says

    This subject really hit on a nerve with me. I used to be into a subculture of Japanese fashion called gyaru or gal as some call it. I really liked engaging with other gyarus online and through my blog but on livejournal there is a site called gal secrets. basically people upload pix of other gyarus anonomously then criticize them. i got slated on there quite a few times as much as i tried to not let it get to me it did. it gets quite bad on there with photos taken from girls blogs on there with words like fat or ugly plastered all over them. in the end i deserted that subculture as i had enough. im 29 and a fairly strong person but there were much younger girls on there and i hate to think about how they would feel. people think that just because its online and not in person that itis ok but it not. Thankyou for posting this because it needed to be said. xxx
    fuyume’s latest post: Jewellery Love – TasakiMy Profile

    • says

      Fuyume, thank you for your honest comment. I appreciate your admission and am glad to know that you eventually left that subculture—goof for you!

      I am so glad to know that so many people appreciated this post and feel the same on many levels.

  35. says

    Firstly, thank you so much for sharing that Tim Gunn video because I hadn’t seen it before. It’s so good to see people with such influential standing taking action on this topic. Bullying in general has become such a terrible plague in this society and it really needs to stop. There’s no excuse for hostility, hatred or any such things. I struggle with hyper-sensitivity and anxiety, merely a blunt tone can leave me feeling inadequate, so I’m acutely aware of and sympathetic to the fact that some people simply aren’t built to withstand harshness in any form – and there’s no reason why they should have to. It seems like very few people seem to consider that before they open their mouths anymore.

    On the subject of this Friend Friday, I agree with everything you said. Short comments can pack a punch when they’re done right, but there’s a big difference between pleasantly minimal and a complete hit-and-run. I’ve also noticed people leaving comments about pictures I post without giving any attention to what I write. It makes me feel like my writing must be uninteresting – and that’s not a good thing for a gal who wants to publish novels! As far as constructive criticism, I certainly take it much more personally than I out to (for reasons mentioned way back ^ up there) and I don’t dish it out, usually because I just don’t look at things with a critical eye. But I think it can be a good thing, too, because it shows a blogger’s desire to support other members of the blogging community.

    Anyway. I’m sorry this comment is all over the place. Last thing I want to say is that I love your vlogs! You’re such an engaging speaker. (:
    Casee Marie’s latest post: etsy love- cinderbellasMy Profile

  36. says

    1. Do you allow comments on your blog? Why or why not?

    Yes, but I don’t get many comments, because I don’t consistently post. I allow people to post without word verification and without moderator approval. My spam filter actually does an excellent job of catching random gibberish or people trying to comment just to comment. I actually do get quite a few of these every time I post. The spam filter just catches them, and I end up with 0 comments.

    2. Do you think at times people leave comments that are insincere or not well thought out? (like the ones who write two words and just seem to be trying to comment on as many blogs as possible.)

    Yes, but the spam filter catches them.

    3. Would you ever leave a comment that could be considered negative?

    I have sometimes vociferously disagreed with blog posts on blogs I read regularly (such as yours V), but I always, ALWAYS respect the person. There is a difference between having a negative take on a blog post, and being negative about the blogger. One can criticise ideas without being critical of the person who originated the idea. Sometimes those new to academic discourse (and I consider fashion and style to be a type of philosophy, the study of aesthetics) are not capable of separating criticism of their ideas or content from personal attacks. There is, however, a huge difference.

    4. Most people claim to like constructive criticism. Do you really and how do you offer that kind of criticism to others?

    See above. I’m a writer, journalist, philosopher, and English teacher. In all of these positions, constructive criticism is important. Especially the last position. I deal with junior high school kids. Adolescents especially are very sensitive to criticism, and so I hope I have developed a sense of where the line is. There is nothing that makes me feel worse about myself than causing a thirteen year old to start crying because of something I said.

    When it comes to how I deliver constructive criticism, that depends largely on my audience. With someone like you, V, I just lay it out there, because I know you know that if I attack your ideas, I am not attacking you. You’re discourse savvy, and I am not as concerned that you may misunderstand my intent. With others, I usually use the sandwich approach, which is compliment, criticism, compliment. Beginning and ending on a positive note will reinforce good feelings while also pointing out perceived errors. I use this with my students, children in general, and individuals who have either proven themselves to be less than discourse savvy or are simply unknown quantities.

    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 think this is a mistake. Discourse shouldn’t be restricted. That leads to groupthink or self-referential and self-promotional behavior. Sometimes you really DO need someone to say, “I’m sorry, but that hat just isn’t working” or “your arguments are not clearly explained, you need to reorganise.” And a good friend, a good discourse participant should be cherished when they let you know you’re not at your best.
    Kionon’s latest post: Japanese BarbequeYakuno- KyotoMy Profile

  37. says

    Just got around to watching this video! Another great one V. I couldn’t agree with you more about the insencere comments. It’s also something that irks me to death! when I fist got involved with the blogging community I had a few here and there and because they’d comment on my blog I’d comment on their blogs, and follow and read, took me a bit to realize the few that just NEVER came back. Really they only commented to gain another blogglovin’ notch on their belts or whatever. I don’t understand the point. Now its obvious. You can see right through those types of comments. As far as negative comments. I’m lucky to have only endured a couple. I did not leave them up. I figured the negativity wasn’t something I wanted there.
    Monique’s latest post: Make up EssentialsMy Profile

  38. says

    Oh darn! I posted that too fast. Ummm your makeup here is fab! Funny bc as I was watching the Vlog I was noticing your lips, then your painting and then after the vlog was over I read below! Thanks for the clarification! LOL xo
    Monique’s latest post: Make up EssentialsMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you sweetie! I don’t blame you for deleting negative comments. If they’re not constructive, I delete them too. Actually, that said, I’ve never had any truly negative comments. But I’m sure I’ll get one eventually.

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