• Alison Tennent

Your Complaints Are Hilarious

But They Won't Have The Desired Effect

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay copyright free

Not once, or twice, but three times of late I’ve witnessed writers bitching about their comment section. Specifically, these writers want to control what other people put in their Medium, Facebook or other public platform comment sections, and feel it’s rather poor form for others to promote their own content by dropping links.

Of course, as a bastard with a wicked sense of humour, I felt a not-quite-overwhelming urge to immediately engage in this activity. But I managed to restrain myself.

Very occasionally I’ve dropped a link to one of my articles in a comment section if it was a relevant part of the conversation. I’ve actually written several articles which started out as comments, but morphed. And those articles were written so I could have a speedy retort, rather than reinventing the wheel each time; if I have written an article debunking whatever it is you're claiming I am certainly going to link to it in your comments. Sorry pal, them's the breaks.

But I do this very rarely, and I understand that these writers aren’t complaining so much about genuine engagement, as they are about what they perceive is the unfairness, boorishness and plain bad manners of other writers promoting their content in what they perceive is their own territory.

Is it bad mannered to drop links for the sake of self promotion? Maybe. It’s firmly in my “unimportant/don’t care” basket, so I’m not one to judge. And manners, after all, are very subjective.

The peevishness seems to stem from the feeling that their own work is much too important and valuable to be cluttered up with spammy links from other writers, which might even detract from the attention being shown to them.

So, here’s what you can do if other writers/content creators posting links in your comments perturbs you:

  • Medium only: Hide your comment section. People can still reply to you, but their responses are hidden, only shown to you or on their own feed.

  • Your Own Blog — delete everything you disagree with. In fact, creating your own blog is probably the only viable solution for people who want to exercise total control over reactions to their work.

  • Block everyone you disagree with/dislike before you publish (Medium/Facebook/Other).

  • Block people whom you disagree with after you publish and accept that others can see their comments anyway.

Here’s what you cannot do:

  • Control what other people do.

And here’s what the unintended consequences of your complaints might be:

  • Perhaps you’re not peevish, ill-humoured, full of your own self-importance and pomposity. Perhaps you’re usually a really lovely person. Unfortunately, you don’t sound lovely. You sound like you have delusions of grandeur. These articles invariably read as self-entitled and humourless, thus many readers and would-be commenters might well be convinced to simply stay away in droves.

  • People might just do it to spite you. I nearly did, but decided my chuckle wasn’t worth the apopleptic fury and possible grief arising from my mischief. Here’s what you can do if people posting links in your comments perturbs you: Hide your comment section. People can still reply to you, but their responses are hidden, only shown to you or on their own feed.

  • Block everyone you disagree with/dislike before you publish.

  • Block them after you publish and accept that others can see their comments anyway.

What’s the right way to ask someone to stop putting links to their own work in your comments?

  • I’m afraid there isn’t one. Decent people don’t do it anyway, or do it for a good reason and to genuinely engage. Your petulance won’t alter their behaviour, except to make them less likely to read your articles.

  • Unashamed self-promoters don’t care at all that you’re complaining, and will continue on their merry way.

So, realistically, if none of the above works for you, what can you do to stop people from making comments you disapprove of?

  • Nothing.

Well, not quite nothing.

  • You can reframe your thoughts to accept the reality that people commenting on your work is a compliment.

  • You can be glad they’re engaging, and simply grit your teeth and ignore that which you don’t like.

  • You can try to develop a sense of perspective, even laugh at yourself.

  • You can keep complaining. It won't change anything for the better, but it might be cathartic for you.

In summary, feel free to spam up my comment section with links to your own articles.

I won’t promise to read them, but I solemnly promise not to give a shit.

Copyright Alison Tennent 2021, all rights reserved. Scottish by birth, upbringing and bloodline, Australian by citizenship. If you’re reading this anywhere but The Garrulous Glaswegian, Vocal+ or Medium, this work may have been plagiarized.

Wishing you, dear friends, fair winds and a following sea:

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay free from copyright

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