So why did I think I needed to flap my trap?

Faux type

So it was just four days ago that my blogging friend mewhoami posted her excellent piece titled “Whose Blog Is It Anyway?”

If you click the link above, you’ll see that she wondered about folks who “hop around to various blogs, critique their writing styles and make suggestions on how they would have written the post instead.”

Oh, how I agreed. In fact, I commented, as I love to do. I wrote: “A blogger who’d do that is pretty ridiculous, Me Who. A typo or blatant grammar mistake point-out are appreciated. But any unsolicited English teacher/editor advice is egregious and pompous. It would call for an unfollow. Maybe even public shunning.”

She agreed, and responded back: “It can be very helpful when people point out errors and like you, I appreciate that. That’s how we learn. But editing another person’s work without them asking for it, is crossing a line in my opinion. I’m not here to edit anyone’s work. I just want to read.”

Oh, happy day.

So, why, oh, why, did I click comment on a certain food blog yesterday and offer a list of suggestions to a guy who used to own restaurants? And he came back and let me have it for it. I deserved it. I sheepishly commented back “Never mind.” And then I sent him a personal email stating that I really just wanted his experience to be better and the readers’ too, and that I came in peace.

What? I may have made things worse. Sorry, sir, if you are still reading me. (I am the one who said unfollow and shunned, after all.)

I will not name names here because you deserve to go on doing things your fine way without me further sticking my foot in your business. I already stuck it in my mouth. Have a good day. Sorry.

I need to take my own advice and stop giving it away unsolicited.

Hit publish. Hit send. Say, what did I just do? Have you ever, what was it about, and how did it turn out?

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87 thoughts on “So why did I think I needed to flap my trap?

  1. “Hit publish. Hit send. Say, what did I just do?” How did it turn out? Well, sometimes the recipient deleted my comment, so there’s that. Sometimes they responded and I decided to not make matters worse by responding back. And sometimes I made matters worse by responding back. And then I thought to myself, What did I just do?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have had the same experience of having someone tell me how to write a story that came from my own tiny brain. I immediately un-followed them. I agree that we do not need other bloggers telling us how to write on our own blogs. With that said, I only “like” on blog posts that I have actually read. Not every blog I read needs a comment. Just had to say that because people click “like” on my posts 1 second after I have posted them… no way they could read the post. Move on friend. We are all human. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The answer is yes I have done something similar. I have given unsolicited advice in kind of a strong way. Although I did not mean it to come out that way. Geez. I think it is this medium we are participating in. I have thought about it like this; that it is not like talking to someone face to face where you can gage each others reactions and correct a misunderstanding. When I put a comment in writing it seems more magnified and if the person takes it the wrong way they may not say it or they may get upset and respond. I think it is harder to correct misunderstandings with blogging and comments. It is kind of tricky because when we are blogging it feels sometimes like we are in a conversation with others but it seems it is a strange type of conversation and written words can come out the wrong way. But I think many of us has had this happen and that we have to not be hard on ourselves about it as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No one likes to be criticized. When I was in Writing 101 we were “suppose” to comment on other class members posts. I did this, and apparently not gently enough because it hurt a lot of people’s feelings. I can assure you, I meant it only as “I care about you and your writing. This is only my opinion…We are all here to learn “from” each other.” Maybe the method of the constructive criticism needs to criticized. Maybe the reason for the constructive criticism needs to be criticized. But the truth is, we should all be open minded to other’s opinions. It doesn’t mean we have to follow their advice or opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t offer advice on writing blogs (or writing in general) ever because I’m not good at it and I don’t feel like I’m someone who should be offering advice on the subject…but where I tend to offer unsolicited advice (and I’m sure it’s just as annoying) is when women (or men) are being abused or struggling in severely one-sided relationships. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to keep my mouth shut when I read or hear of such things because my maternal, caretaker side (or so I like to think) comes out whether I know the person or not.

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  6. Oh Mark. Anyone who knows you even a little bit knows you wouldn’t harm a fly. 😀 I do a lot of editing professionally and it’s always easier to edit someone else’s words. Honestly, I struggle most editing my own stuff because you can look at something so many times that you don’t catch it anymore.

    Having said that, here in the blogosphere, I see errors but don’t mention them unless they contradict the important message the writer is trying to convey, i.e. when they use the can instead of can’t or something like that.

    I love your heart and the love that motivates you to speak out and encourage others. ❤
    Diana xo

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  7. Ha! I just found an error in my own comment! I wanted to add that I really don’t get upset when others offer their critiques on my writing. If they’re right I change it, if they’re wrong, I ignore it and don’t give it another moment’s thought!

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  8. I’ve been blogging long enough that I can honestly say I don’t know if I have done this. If I have I would feel horrible if I offended or stepped out of line by criticizing or offering advice when none was asked for. And if others have ever left negative comments for me, for the most part I have been too oblivious to them, chose to ignore them, except for that one…. but other wise…. it’s been good. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I like to hear comments, both positive and negative. I like to hear suggestions and additions. I sometimes write better on some days than others. The views usually show me which direction to go… I like to tell people what parts of the posts I liked, not disliked! I will try to add something as far as a detail, too. This may or may not attract their attention, but seriously I am not one who wishes everybody to say the same things. One last thing, I made a big mistake once, I changed my post to correct it, this ‘kept’ one of my favorite people around on my blog… If everyone agreed, that would be boring!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robin, as always. You and I have our disagreements about each other’s opinions but our suggestions, we know, are always welcome on each other’s blogs. That’s very differerent than just throwing advice out not knowing beforehand.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t mind any comments either positive or negative — I write, I post photos and throw down the occasional piece of art with no basis in “professional”. I may only be “barely capable” with most of my material. BUT-bloggers have been so supportive that my game has got better – and I think that goes for everyone that chooses to stay here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. mark if you have any suggestions on my writing/blog i would be happy to hear what you have to say – but I think of you as a friend and so i wouldn’t be offended. Long time ago i heard some good advice about criticism – if the criticism is wrong ignore it; if it’s right then do something about it. I don’t like criticism but sometimes when I let my irritation calm I realise that the person who criticised is actually right and maybe they are helping me!
    Hope that makes sense!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Every time I write about my eating disorder or depression. I worry about someone being triggered by my experiences and saying “screw this, I don’t want to fighting this at almost forty”.

    I have written comments on others’ blogs where I have followed up with an email, just to show I meant no harm in case they took it the wrong way. Luckily, they followed me already and knew that but since you lose all tone in comments, I just wanted to be sure.

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  13. i know that you would never intentionally hurt anyone, so i know that it was done in the spirit of helping out a fellow writer. it is up the recipient, as to how it is received, though you’ve done everything you can to try to smooth things over, in case your intentions were misinterpreted. that is all you can do, forgive yourself for what you feel was done wrong, and learn from it. you have a good heart and are a natural writer, so you and i both know that no harm was intended.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Interesting timing, Mark. I’ve been thinking about blogging and what I want to do with it come 2015. I actually have never found myself in the position you describe via blogging…what?! Message boards, yes. Twitter, yes. Blogging, no. I’m hoping to change that starting in January 1, 2015. Really, I’m just not putting myself out there enough if I haven’t stepped on a toe or two, right? So while I agree that I’m not big on giving or receiving unsolicited advice, there is such a thing as being overly cautious and/or thin-skinned.

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      • Agreed. Do you think that some folks feel that they have more of a relationship with each other, a relationship that can handle feedback, than they do? I wonder?

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      • I think that some people DO have a relationship that fosters honest feedback and never any hard feelings. I don’t think that I have that with a handful of people, a very few people such as yourself, and am wrong about it, no. The problem is if you think you can say anything to hundreds. That can’t be right, probably, Angie McFly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re so right, Mark. And I’m privileged 😀 I’ll just add that you have proven yourself to be very thoughtful, helpful, and kind. So don’t be too hard on yourself, OK?

        So when I break loose in 2015, will you have my back? I can be much more brave if I know that friends will be there to give honest feedback.

        OK, gotta go watch Elf 😀 Happy weekend to you & Karen ❤

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  15. How did it turn out, you ask? Not well, my friend. I thought I was being clever and insightful, and I think I ended up on an enemies list. I am zipping my online lip for the foreseeable future.

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  16. Hmmm, I don’t think that I am guilty of editing format or style. i do sometimes diagree with content and am not shy to say so – although i try to do it in a nn-confrontational way. I have also had others disagree with content in my posts (the few) or comments – i am fine with that as well. I will tell you Mark, that IRL I, oddly, tend to be most critical of those who i perceive want to be the best and have a chance. So, if I get a dentist who is an idiot – i say very little and just switch dentists. A while back i had a dental surgeon do a root canal and he was excellent. He actually did a root canal in 35 minutes and caused not one bit of pain (and it stayed together forever). When he was done, I told him i had a few suggestions to make it better. He was taken aback, and yet he was, without a doubt one of the best i had ever cencountered – and i was most critical of him (little stuff like: he dragged an airline for a drill across my throat and left it there- very upsetting for me; his assistant was clueless and he had to explain every tool and every move – she should have had more basic training before helping with a patient; etc,)

    I can’t see you ever being critical in any but a constructive manner Mark – you are kind and caring of others.

    great topic Mark, thanks. 🙂

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    • I like your approach, Paul. I bet the dentist appreciated your constructive suggestions to make his practice better for his patients. The comments I made on that food blog I thought would make it better, but I had no clue as to the mission of the writer, the goals for the blog … Ah, I didn’t say anything in a mean way, but I just shouldn’t haven’t assumed I was being positive.

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  17. you are sorta tight. “who’s blog is it?” I like to think it is mine but on the other hand I would like a comment every now and again to just keep me believing people are really kinda interested in what i blogged. As for the negative commentaries well it if you can not see it as constructive criticism how do you go in the real world of work?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If someone says, please tell me what would make this better, then yeah. Otherwise, I go along with a forum I go to in NaNoWriMo- basically titled ‘say something nice about the post above yours.’ I know I have shortcomings. But here we are artists sharing. There is no way everyone here is going to like me or see my vision. I’m good with that 🙂 Even my husband doesn’t see my vision.

    Well written article that got a little dodgy near the end hehe but we’ve all been there, and kudos for you for being so humble about it. I hope the food dude sees it.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Don’t beat yourself up, Mark. As someone else commented, it’s hard to communicate tone and all the other subtleties that cue emotions using this text thingy stuff that didn’t exist ten years ago.
    I’d be happy to GET a comment like that on my story blog…

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    • Thanks, Thorton. You are not going to get a comment like that on your story blog because when somebody undertakes a novel endeavor such as that, as obvioulsy well-thought and crafted as it is, the helpful suggestions would not be chapter-by-chapter, but more of a big-picture sort of synopsis at conclusion. I think. Anyway.

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  20. It is understandable. There are some bloggers who writing skills that are very poor. I am tempted to some times point things out. But I know some people are touchy so I keep my mouth shut. Hints and pointing out issues is good if we aspire to do more with our writing. If you can’t take critique from your peers how will you ever handle it from a heartless editor.

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  21. Ok, so here’s what you did wrong in this post….blahhahahha. Oh Mark, your intentions were good and now you’ve learned an important lesson. I once alienated my own brother by correcting his pronunciation of nuclear. I didn’t do it to show how smart i am, but to save him from ridicule and possible embarrassment. Man, he didn’t take it that way. So good, from now on, I conduct numerous grammar and pronunciation seminars….in my head!

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  22. One of my students told me that I should write and correct people when they’ve made a spelling error or grammatical error. I told her that if I did that I wouldn’t have a friend in the world.

    I did tell offer unsolicited advice to someone I know. I wanted to caution her about things she was saying so that she wouldn’t suffer any repercussions. She didn’t say anything, but she did “unfriend” me. Lesson learned. Even when you mean well, that doesn’t mean the recipient wants or needs to hear it. So, I just ignore it and move on.

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  23. Going to have to watch out for you then, Mark! 😉 Not sure what I could criticize as a food blogger. Sometimes think folks don’t write very well, but it’s about the food, right? And anyone could take me to task for my food photos. Your comment was well-meant, I’m sure. And following it up with an email apology shows style. But I know what you mean about having stuck your proverbial foot in your mouth. This was before the days of Hit Send, but I still remember asking a lady when her baby was due when she was not pregnant and this was 20 years ago. Ugggh.

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    • Yeah, look out for my comment-verbose ways, Liz. We do have many common WP friends. 😉 I thought I was helping this blogger, but what do I know about the blogger’s motivations? I assumed way too much. Speaking of which … Back in the day, you fell into the mythical never assume about a pending baby trap! Oh, no!!

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  24. I delete a lot of comments without posting them. In fact, I’ve probably deleted all of my most hilarious ones, simply because it’s hard to know your tone will come through properly in the written word. Lots of people use emoticons to help, but I figure if I need one of those, I should probably just not write it. It’s so easy to be misinterpreted without voice cues.
    Having said all that, I still put my written foot in my mouth from time to time.
    You’re a good guy. I’m sure that will come through in the end.

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  25. Ay, Mr. B! I cannot imagine anyone being “mad” at you. I agree with your friend, mewhoami and you about keeping the advice to a minimum but I also think we need to consider the source. If it is a random reader who puts in his/her two cents (or 50), then NO. If it is a loyal follower who is looking out for you and wants to help you (which I am certain was your intent), then one should not take offense. I have learned from your most unfortunate experience however, to perhaps send the advice in a private message instead. As Taylor Swift says, Shake It Off! 🙂

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    • It is, as James Bond would say, now shaken not stirred, Mrs. B. I learned that I cannot assume what I think somebody wants to do, somebody actually wants to do. 🙂 As my good friend you would say: Ay. 🙂

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  26. LOL! We all have those oopsie moments from time to time, Mark. You’re not the grammar police. You only tried to be helpful in something you had a strong opinion about. You meant well. You followed up and apologized when you saw that he took it the wrong way. Don’t let it rent space in your head. Don’t forget, you’re awesome! 🙂

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  27. There is one type of blogger I am tempted to call out. The ones who write multiple posts wondering why they don’t have many followers. I really want to tell them that no one wants to read a blog complaining about why more people aren’t reading it.

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