Interesting thoughts from Yahoo’s Virginia Heffernan:
Mostly I don’t mind it, getting jumped by commenters day after day. Often I think it’s good for me, like growing up in a tough neighborhood. Sometimes I’m even surprised at how thin-skinned new writers are, or writers who aren’t used to the rough-and-tumble world of online commentary. “I can’t take it,” a prize-winning, top-selling poet told me recently. “I’d rather write for my mom only than get knocked around by the bullies who comment online.”
I try to tell these sensitive writers that online commentary is its own form, with its own conceits, tight as a sonnet.
And in gaps in the vitriol, there are often flashes of extraordinary insight. I would say there are always those flashes. [There] are questions I’d genuinely love to address with readers, maybe in some shared space between the column and the comments. But the truth is, I get a little scared to go down there to comment-land. It’s a rough scene, like a punk club, and I might—I will—get hurt.
Is there a way to comment without trolling, bullying or gaslighting? Does the threat of rough commenters scare you away from writing? Does the sight of cruel comments at the end of the piece color your impression of the piece?