Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Blogger's Guide To Being Heckled


Since I've spent the past few weeks looking at what I think bloggers should do less of, I've decided to spend this week helping bloggers in cases where they may not know what to do.

The online argument, a time tested tradition that proves time and time again that intelligence is entirely relative. To what, nobody has the slightest clue. Of course you have the ever famous Godwin's Law by which he proposes that with time any online argument will ultimately lead to someone (or something) being compared to Hitler or the Nazis. And, unfortunately, being film bloggers we're among the most openly scrutinized for being A) film critics and B) bloggers in general.

Though recently I've noticed cases in which several of my fellow bloggers have come under fire for things they've said in their reviews. Whether these be opinion on film, or life, it's a tough situation to be in, and our pride is never an aiding factor.

So, how does one handle the situation?

1. Ignore it Entirely: The blogging equivalent of walking away, it's the one thing so few of us do once we feel attacked. Those natural defend thyself instincts kick in, and we're left needing to push back. But, the one advantage of the online world, you don't have to hit the reply button. Best way to avoid an argument is to never partake in one. Though unfortunately this isn't the way most bloggers, or online people in general, go.

2. Play into their argument: This takes a certain sense of humor you may not find prevalent enough to get by with in every day use, but it's your next best option. For example if someone called you homophobic simply go 1 of the following two:

a) Yep, you've caught me. Whatever will I do with my life now.

b) Yeah, I know. I've been getting counseling, but these damned people in white sheets just keep screaming about burning a cross. And since I love a good bond fire, I just can't turn down the opportunity. I'll now go repent my ways, and open a Blue Oyster bar in their honor.

It may sound odd, but what you've basically done is what I call the Clear and Present Danger defense (based on a key scene involving Harrison Ford advising the President). By building up their argument you give them nowhere to go. Nowhere to dig. Now, if you do it as sarcastically as I stated above you may get heckled for making light of the situation. But don't waver keep playing it up and they'll bugger off (not to mention future comment readers get good laughs out of it).

To be honest just about anything else you do will result in a 20 comment rant where both of you are ultimately proving nothing. If anything all you get out of it is hours of frustration, and wasted time. You know who you are, and if they're going to attack your opinion, you know you can't win, so why bother? It's wasted effort that leads to one of the two eventually saying something they either don't mean, or getting trapped in stupid over analysis.

This may apply to daily life as well, but try working with the world of blogging and online forums first. To be honest, I think there's enough arguing and complaining in the internet, no use feeding the fire.

7 better thoughts:

Heather said...

I have to say over the last year I've so many random posts calling me essentially every awful thing one could think of, even long written out emails explaining how disappointed people have been in my failure at grammar and tendency to take part in run-on sentences (who has that time anyway..........) I realized I was glutton for even more punishment as I started a reddit account, which I used not only for my own self promotion but fellow blogger friends as well. (How was that for a run-on sentence?) The end result was as bad as DEATH THREATS. Not even kidding. I could take stuff personally at times, but once that happened I realized the lunacy of the interweb and people heckling you for no apparent human reason was if anything a compliment. Somewhere my words evoked enough irritation in a complete stranger to send them off the deep end.

If I ever retort at all, it is usually with the blatant sarcasm you noted (could be also called the "8 Mile" defense) and if ever there isn't often a response.

Great post!

Alex said...

Good tips! I've had this problem with a few posts, and usually I just ignore it. Especially with Fantastic Planet. People LOVE that movie for some reason and I just don't feel like dealing with it.

The biggest issue I've had so far is actually with the filmmakers finding my website and reacting really aggressively when I don't love their movie. That at first made me feel really bad, since it's definitely a more personal affront to them. But then I realized, whatever! They're putting themselves out there to be criticized/reviewed, and if they're going to bitch and whine rudely on some insignificant movie blog about how I just didn't understand their movie, then that's making them look bad, not me. One guy ranted about how I wasn't "qualified" or "experienced" enough to even talk about his movie, and it's like, "Dude, I never said I was! You are blowing up at a regular college student who watches movies for fun! And also you're coming off as super pretentious and rude!" Pretty sure I win that one.

rtm said...

Great post, Univarn! I can totally relate. One of my posts that was featured on IMDb last year – which happens to be a quite frivolous list – was lambasted by quite a few angry people. Some used the racist card because there wasn't a person of color on the list, since when is personal preference considered racism?? I find it funny being that I myself is non-white.

In any case, I went with your #1 suggestion for the most part, 'cause you really can't argue with people who already have certain viewpoint on their mind. Funny how people forget it's a MOVIE blog, I'm not talking about politics or world leaders. Besides, if it bothers 'em so much, then they should make their own list, or whatever post they're unhappy about. So you're absolutely right, no use feeding the fire.

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

I wonder where you got the idea for this ;)

Yes I tried to have a reasonable conversation with a commenter who only wanted to call me names and all it brought was frustration. Ultimately they took there "opinions" of me to another board and got very little of an audience (which proved everyone else thought they were nuts as well) and probably went off to harass someone else. Lesson - don't bother trying to reason with people who start off attacking you.

Now I have a loser stealing all my posts... I tell you the last couple months have almost caused me to give this up. Too much frustration for a hobby that started being calming and enjoyable.

Simon said...

Helpful. I'm afraid I'm too agreeable/low-key to cause much detraction, though.

Univarn said...

@Heather Yeah, some people have too much free time, and way too much sexual repression (yes I said it). Can't do much but ignore them. Most of them couldn't afford to get off their mother's couch to really do anything about it.

@Alex That's the right attitude. If they want to complain that's their business. If they want to make films they're going to have to accept the fact that people will hate them. Not everyone, mind you, but some will, no matter how good the film. And when that happens they have no say in how those people choose to voice their opinion.

@rtm If I was to add a tag to Godwin's Law it'd be that one of the posters would be labeled a racist far before Nazis are brought in. It's just one of those things. You make a list of your favorite singers, none black, suddenly you hate black people. I've yet to understand the logic.

@MVP Haha you were a catalyst for my selection in #2, but yeah there's been about 3/4 other bloggers I know who've been going through this.

@Simon I get that. I was far more over the top in my early days, but have toned it out recently.

James R said...

This is part of why I don't have comments on my blog. Part of it is that I really can't be bothered weeding out spam, but also I used to run a weblog years ago that went into political topics and engendered a few controversies, and I lost interest in giving a forum to other people so they could play out their interpersonal dramas and the like. I know the interactivity the comments box brings with it is supposed to be the great thing about blogging, but I'm less and less convinced that people are willing to use them responsibly.

As such, I have an email link on the blog instead; anyone who *really* wants to say something can use that. Of course, no one *has* used it, so maybe it's too much effort for them, or maybe no one agrees or disagrees with me too strongly. Or, more likely, nobody's reading it in the first place...

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