A little while ago I put together a little community post on Karandi’s blog, combining what several bloggers would have liked to know when they first started their blog.  It was a fun project. However, one response stuck with me and I realized that I wanted to come back to it. Aria had an unusual answer:

Aria comment
Sadly, it was only after the post had been published that I realized what I wanted to say in this regard. In fact, this is also something that I think is important to know when you start a blog and to be reminded of once in a while: you just can’t please everyone.

Fact is no matter what you say, someone out there will disagree with you. Occasionally they will do so very forcefully. Even if you actively strive to stay far away from any type of controversy, you probably will have to deal with an unhappy reader at some point. I’ve had people chew me out in comments over what I thought were offhand remarks or simply for stating personal opinions. Sometimes very neutral personal opinions at that. The same drive that pushes me to share my thoughts on anime will push someone else to comment on my thoughts. Occasionally they will not be pleased with my thoughts.

I could say you just need to thicken your skin a little or it’s just comments by strangers on the internet, no big deal. But I’ll admit I also found some of them to be hurtful. And I’m generally fairly insensitive. The bulk of these comments in my experience are hilariously unjustifiably aggressive (or passive-aggressive) and often contradictory when you take a step back. However, even the funny ones get a bit exhausting.

One thing I have noticed when talking to other bloggers is that you definitely get some things lost in translation. I have seen bloggers get very upset over comments that seemed pretty innocent to me and I’m sure the opposite has happened as well. I try to remember that communication, in general, is a skill and it’s even harder online. Someone may just be clumsy rather than malicious.

and then, some are both

However, as Aria said, sooner or later, as a blogger, you are likely to attract some negative attention. Even a relatively small blogger such as myself goes through it. That’s simply the way it goes when you open yourself up to a large group of people. Some of them are going to disagree with you. Occasionally, loudly. We all have different opinions and beliefs after all. That’s not a bad thing.

It’s the second part of Aria’s comment that struck me more though: eventually, you are going to disappoint someone. To me, that sounds like a more painful situation. I don’t think I’ve ever disappointed anyone. I just never got the impression my readers expect all that much of me. But I worry about it.

(Someone did comment once that they were disappointed in me but as their only previous comment on my blog was that my post was too stupid and badly written to read past the first paragraph, I ended up just a little flattered they still read my stuff at all. I also doubt they would bother to have any expectations of someone they think is an absolute idiot. Should I make an Irina reads mean comments post? On Twitter, this idea got a fairly positive response.)

I can see where Aria is coming from if I look at it from the reader side as well. There are a lot of bloggers I look up to. Whether consciously or not, I do expect certain things of them. For the most part, I have not been disappointed but on a few rare occasions, let’s just say I’ve had to readjust my expectations. Sometimes that was my own fault. Projecting my tastes or values on someone else just because we *seem* similar, is unfair. That’s why I can’t really say disappointed. Same thing when bloggers move on. I am disappointed I won’t get to read their thoughts anymore but I’m not disappointed in them. It’s absolutely fine to change hobbies.

anime cry
I wonder if that’s really what Aria meant. I might be reading too much into it but to me, there was a tone of melancholy to that message.  I really should have picked up on it sooner… (Yes I could just ask, it feels a bit invasive though.)

Or maybe we are talking about the big struggle we all go through at some point: disappointing ourselves. Whether it’s not living up to the goals we set for ourselves or realizing something we published isn’t up to our usual standards, it’s not uncommon to feel like we’ve let ourselves down now and again.

The way I see it, both these outcomes do hide something positive under them. Even if it may be hard to see at the moment. People that get upset by your opinions must respect them on a certain level. If your opinions didn’t matter at all then why would anyone be affected by them? I don’t get angry when small children disagree with me….much… As for disappointment, the way I understand it is that you failed to live up to something. Sometimes that disappointment can be justified other times it would have been impossible for you to know the expectations. Either way, the one you disappointed believed in you in some way.

I once had a professor tell me that any discussion of any importance at all will upset someone. That’s how you know it matters. And the only way to avoid disappointment is to assume no one (including yourself) has anything of value to bring.

And so I go back to my first thought, you can’t please everyone. And that’s ok. Some of you found this post trite or boring. Possibly both. I’ll try to be more entertaining next time. I know I can still improve so it’s ok if I get criticism. There are good things to get out of these less pleasant moments.

Macaron Rini

31 thoughts

  1. I really enjoyed your post and I have dealt with the negative aspects of anime blogging. Most are ussually comments basically go like this; It’s just anime stupid and keep your science out of my anime. It’s annoying, but I’ve got a thick skin, ( I kind of have to as a teacher.) Don’t feed the trolls and think of them like freshmen, it makes life a lot easier. Well that’s just my thought anyway, animescience101.

  2. Irina is wise.

    As creative people it is hard not to take it to heart when someone makes a negative comment. I didn’t get much of this as a blogger, but more with a few quite nasty reviews of my books on Amazon, and some of my writing elsewhere online. The very fact that you expose yourself online means that there are those trolls who are going to try and create negativity where really, there is none. And while we all know to agree to disagree with reasonable people, and to ignore those who are trying to hurt us because they can – anonymously, more or less, it doesn’t stop it from hurting emotionally. You simply have to find the courage to deal with it as part of the package, and to balance knowing that the vast majority of your readers enjoy your work – even if they don’t always agree.

    Here’s a toast for you. Make yourself a drink and… “here’s to you and me. And if ever we should disagree, then to hell with you, here’s to me.”

    The only way you could possibly disappoint me, as a reader, is if you decided to stop blogging. And that’s not so much disappointing as heartbreaking – for me – but I’d know that you had good reasons and accept that so…not really disappointment at all. 😀

    1. That is the best toast ever. It’s going in my next review for sure. Also Foovay you are the awesome in general. I admire the fortitude of creators like you that put their works out in the world like that and keep going regardless. It’s a sad thing that we tend to disagree and disparage vocally while keeping our joy and wonderment to ourselves. Every good comment means 10 unwritten.

      1. Every good comment means 10 unwritten.

        That makes my little heart warm, it really does. I hope it’s true. 😀 Now it it awesome, or glutton for punishment? I’m confused. LOL. j/k and thank you again 😀

  3. I’ve had one particular post have so many randoms commenting dissent. It’s actually fun sometimes, though I’ve also been known to lose my head over things.

    Good thing nobody reads my old comment threads, yeesh.

  4. By that standard, I must not be posting anything of importance. I think I’ve had one post anyone bothered to disagree with. It was about one of the Fate animes. Even posts I thought were controversial don’t generate controversy.

    Heavy sigh!

  5. Yeah, a lot of this rings for me as well. One of the problems I’ve had is something you touched on, which has been projecting my opinions on to other people, and then getting mad when they don’t agree with me 100%. There is honestly no reason for it, but its kind of just a bad habit I have developed that I should probably get rid of.

    1. Hey I feel you. It’s sort of an impulse when we agree with someone 90% of the time, that 10% comes as a bit of a shock

  6. That’s something I’ve come to terms with even before I started blogging again. I accepted that I have several opinions contrary to the norm. I will ignore the low-hanging fruit for things I’ve discussed that I’m actually surprised I didn’t get bashed online. That even goes for my posts where I talk about controversial subjects such as racism, classism, crimes, cultural appropriation, or other unsavory things on the main blog. I feel like I have to express myself whether it’s through my experiences in life, uncomfortable truths, or opinions that are atypical. It’s part of me showing my honesty which was suppressed for so long.

  7. I agree with all the above comments. The most vital thing is to be able to separate out those people reading your posts to be informed or entertained from those who are only out to insult and try to make you feel bad. Most of them don’t even care who they’re attacking. Sounds like you can easily tell the honest readers from the malicious ones, so all that’s left is to ignore the latter.

    As for disappointing readers, I agree that as long as you’re honest in your writing and true to yourself, no one should be disappointed with you. In fact, I read your posts because you seem so open and honest about your views, even when they may be conttoversial. I know we now live in a time when the slightest disagreement can lead to being blocked on Twitter, but most people aren’t so unreasonable.

    1. I do think that there’s occasionally a vocal minority that can overshadow the calm and positive majority. It’s important to remember that.
      And thank you! I do try to be as open as I can. Fortunately I’m not particularly controversial so that makes it easier.

  8. I don’t think I’ve read anything you’ve put out that’s boring.

    Opinions will always come from two ends of a spectrum, which is why I think discussions are great. But of course, when they become malicious, it’s totally unacceptable. But at the same time, the more strongly one feels about something, the more sharper their words may sound. Sigh, mortals…

    1. Well aren’t you just the kindest. And yes, I do appreciate that at the end of the day if we can stir passion in our readers, either way, that’s a win!

  9. I ran into these issues basically not in blogging but in real life. Opinions are NEVER factual.
    Code Geass IS NOT good. It’s quality is not a fact even if some people think it is. It’s well received is the only fact we can say about the quality. If people say they find my favorite anime trash they aren’t wrong, if they say it IS trash they are wrong. It’s completely fine if you think my favorite wine tastes like swill, but I am well in my right to feel hurt about you questioning my taste either.

    If we start writing not to offend we lose our sincerity, we begin to fill in stuff for people and we can never fully see what’s in their brains so if we try we will fail sooner or later anyway. So I think it is better to embrace someone will not like your opinion or be disappointed at a blog/video you made at certain points in time.

    This may sound depressing but I see my opinion as something insignificant and trivial in the grand scale no opinion holds actual value, but it’s not a issue because we don’t have to live on such a meta scale. In the end you have to do you as a blogger or as a person. I’d rather disappoint people with a joke I really loved writing, or with a blog I really loved to make, rather than not offended or disappoint anyone but never really having myself heard.

    When I die I want people to know what kind of person I was, what I liked and disliked and if that’s offence to someone else.. shit… but that is me. You can only disappoint those who care.. so i’d rather do that 500 times rather than never have anyone who cared it the first place. I am me, you are you and that’s the way it should be. You never truly know what is in the head of others so the only one you can factualy do right by is you! Because you know what you want to write..or when you don’t.

    So yes you cant please anyone so just make sure you keep writing your content for you.not for your fans. Those should stay because you are you….and for the cocktail recipes.

  10. The point that “any discussion of note will upset someone” is key. I’ve seen that first-hand twice over the course of the last month — firstly with my piece about writing about sex, and subsequently with my more recent piece about not every piece of media being for everyone, and that being absolutely fine so long as you’re not a dick about it.

    The thing about the Internet is that “disagreement” tends to get framed — or read, or both — in more aggressive terms than you might express in a face-to-face discussion. We all know about how anonymity emboldens certain people to take on attitudes that they wouldn’t dream of showing in “reality”, but it’s not even an anonymous thing, sometimes; yesterday I took a fair amount of abuse from someone who has his real name all over his work, purely because I politely disagreed with him and offered him a suggestion that, in the long run, would be beneficial to both him and the publication he worked for.

    I struggle a bit with this side of things, because my Aspergers makes my brain blow anything vaguely negative way out of proportion, and that leads to endless rumination on the one dude with four Twitter followers who said mean things, rather than all the people who said nice things and thanked me for bothering to stand up and say “hang on a minute”.

    I saw a tweet at the end of last year that really resonated with me, and I’ve tried to take it to heart and remember it ever since. It said “It’s not worth getting caught up on the opinions that people who barely know you have of you. You know who you are, you know what you believe in, and the opinion of somebody else doesn’t change that truth.”

    Be true to yourself, and you’ll naturally cultivate a community of like-minded people. That community won’t necessarily agree on everything — and that’s good, because it can lead to interesting discussions — but it’ll be one built on respect.

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