GNOME, GNOME UX Hackfest

Happy Blog vs. Misery Blog

This is how I’m used to blog posting and receiving comments on said posts operating, for the most part:

This is how I feel like my blog has been working out lately:

I don’t think I can be as diligent in responding to comments to my blog anymore. It’s making me feel really unhappy and constantly attacked. I do not understand what outcome people who post comments like this expect.

I am really quite unaccustomed to this kind of behavior at this scale. I am really against censorship in principle, but I think I’m probably going to have to put all comments on my blog under moderations because of this. I really wish I didn’t have to though. Please be more thoughtful when you post comments to people’s blogs.

About Máirín Duffy

Máirín is a principal interaction designer at Red Hat. She is passionate about software freedom and free & open source tools, particularly in the creative domain: her favorite application is Inkscape. You can read more from Máirín on her blog at blog.linuxgrrl.com.

Discussion

52 thoughts on “Happy Blog vs. Misery Blog

  1. I think that jcastro is right on the money. I would go further to say that I’ve never read anything of value whatsoever in a comment on a blog. It’s just a place for unthoughtful kneejerk responses. The exception to that has been aggregators like reddit or hacker news, but even there the signal to noise ratio is so poor that I typically don’t read comments.

    I enjoy your posts Mairin (sorry for incorrect accents), and appreciate the work you’re doing.

    Posted by df | February 25, 2010, 11:27 am
    • Depends on the blog. I’ve seen many cases of helpful responses via comments, some of which end up making their way into new posts. I often see posts about how to solve a problem with comments providing alternate, potentially better, solutions. And let’s not forget the lazyweb; I really find it annoying when someone asks a question via a blog post and doesn’t have comments.

      That said, as mentioned in my later comment on this post, moderation or deletion of comments seems more than reasonable.

      Posted by Anonymous | February 25, 2010, 12:43 pm
  2. The Internet is always angry :)

    Please keep doing the hackfest photos and blogs, they rock!

    Posted by Andreas Nilsson | February 25, 2010, 11:37 am
  3. Hi Máirín,
    i’m a silent reader of your blog and just wanted to say that i enjoy it very much. Just wanted to let you know, because i think a lot of people do like your blog posts and your work(i can’t imagine how to not like it) and just don’t say anything. Comments are maybe mostly for people who have nothing worthy to say. Keep on your great work!

    Posted by steffen | February 25, 2010, 11:41 am
  4. I feeling with u, I have the comments on my blog on moderation because I had a little bit problems what ppl said in there. After the german law I am responsible for that was is written there also for the comments that ppl do there.
    Last time there was a guy and for him I moderated not fat enough and he started a discussion I would censor the comments in my blog.

    a blog is a virtual home, in this case the virtual home of mizmo. I think no one has the right to telling u what u have to do in ur own home. Its a friendly turn to open the door to ur home and invite us to visit u. All are guest in ur home and should remember that

    Posted by gnokii | February 25, 2010, 11:43 am
  5. I’m a Flash developer so you can imagine how terrific I’ve felt reading comments since the iPad announcement.

    But on the upside, I’m here because I saw your “5 Fun Things in Fedora 12″ video and it blew me away. I’m a 2-day Fedora user. So, thank you.

    Posted by Step Schwarz | February 25, 2010, 11:44 am
    • I dont get it? From my point of view you would be ecstatic that iPad comes without Flash, and HTML5 etc is taking over so you can develop on Fedora.

      Posted by lassegs | February 25, 2010, 11:56 am
    • I hope it’s some solace that the lack of flash support has been the deal breaker for most of the folks i know who considered an iPad! I hope Apple will relent at some point!

      I’m so happy to hear my silly little video was helpful for you :) Do let me know if you run into any issues with Fedora or need any help!

      Posted by mairin | February 25, 2010, 7:08 pm
      • Hey, I never thanked you for offer to help. Thanks! Actually, FedoraForum.org has been really helpful so you’re off the hook. :)

        Posted by Step Schwarz | March 29, 2010, 11:00 am
  6. I understand you as I had similar comments in my blog posts too :(
    You should probably disable comments in posts that may start a flame or pay less attention to what stupid people write, in particular all those people that never contributed anything but think they are better than everybody else.

    Please don’t allow this to change your posting habits or make you less involved with GNOME/the community.

    Posted by Marco Barisione | February 25, 2010, 11:44 am
  7. You might also want to look at John Poelstra’s comments here: http://poelcat.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/addicted-to-opining/

    My opinion: Blogs are a personal space, not a communal space. Having comments open is like inviting people to sit down for lunch with you in your home. If you’re having problems where people are coming in and throwing food, breaking dishes, being loud, or otherwise exhibiting rude or crass behavior, it’s your right to stop inviting people, or to screen them at the door. Comments, on the other hand, are a privilege, not a right. I don’t have the right to come into your home and eat lunch with you (or break dishes, etc.).

    I support you doing whatever you think you need to do, in order to enjoy blogging. If you moderate, keep in mind that you’ll still see people being rude, but then you have the choice of deleting them and moving on with your life, as opposed to feeling like you must respond. If that seems like a good compromise to you, go for it. It’s like screening at your door for lunch — you still have to answer the doorbell but it sure beats cleaning up broken dishes and thrown food later. ;-)

    Posted by Paul W. Frields | February 25, 2010, 11:53 am
    • I love this quote of Chris Grams he gives

      “The second principle is that when you feel the urge to criticize an idea (hey, we all do…), resist, and instead come up with a better idea and rally people around it. Keep the conversation positive, constructive, and stay focused on creating rather than judging.”

      Thanks Paul, John’s post really helped me :)

      Posted by mairin | February 25, 2010, 7:17 pm
  8. Don’t let them get to you. A lot of people go looking for arguments.

    You do have the right to turn off comments and can even point out the reason WHY you are turning them off.

    Can’t you also delete comments? I know it kinda goes against the “open communication” concept but do what you have to!

    I like reading your posts, and hope you continue.

    I’d help you coordinate a counter-attack against the people’s blog except they would probablly get too excited with all of the new traffic. ;)

    ~D

    Posted by Dragonbite | February 25, 2010, 11:54 am
  9. I personally (hello from mr lurker) really enjoy this blog and I suppose my satisfaction with the information and the amenable style keep me content enough to not want to comment needlessly. Since I see you’re having a hard time with comments I thought I’d let you know I regard this blog really highly from among all the bloggers from gnome planet

    Your diligence in responding comments goes above and beyond what anyone expects from posters. In fact I’ve seen how your calmness and togetherness while replying to trolls or whiny babies generally shuts them up and shames them into a reasonable civility (like in your gnome-shell usability testing post), which is a victory for sane people everywhere. Don’t be disheartened.

    Posted by augias | February 25, 2010, 11:56 am
  10. Hi Máirín,

    I’m sorry unhappy people are trying to make your life miserable.

    I think you are doing great work! Keep it up!

    I decided, after much internal debate, to censor comments that are clearly nothing but insults or are so far off topic that they are obviously just using my blog post as a chance to yell at me. I’ve been much happier since then and I think the quality of the blog comments have gone up as well.

    Stormy

    Posted by Stormy | February 25, 2010, 12:00 pm
  11. Just require people to use their google/facebook/openID/whatever login. That will do wonders, trust me. Just look at dot.kde.org before login requiremtn and after .. all the evil trolls shy away from loggin in.

    BTW: I love your blog.

    Posted by 4chan | February 25, 2010, 12:01 pm
  12. Please continue to blog and ignore stupid comments. I personally find your blog interesting and informative. I really like it.

    But just a personal thought regard the comments you linked to:

    It seems to me that this kind of anti-whatever attitude is corrupting the open source community more and more. I left identi.ca because it has just become a waste of time to see this kind of trolling. Unfortunately, I feel that the way the FSF is campaigning right now (e.g. the iPad Defective by Design campaign or Windows 7 Sins) is also in this direction which will ultimately only make people angry.

    That said: Please do not let the haters win.

    Posted by Ingolf Schaefer | February 25, 2010, 12:02 pm
  13. I’m just a silent reader, but I always enjoy your posts. You seem to go out of your way to do things in the open and help others. Don’t let negative comments get you down – moderate them or turn them off. You don’t owe anyone a forum to attack you in.

    Posted by Pablo Mejia | February 25, 2010, 12:18 pm
  14. Just remove nasty comments and ban the people who post them. They’ll find somewhere else to be nasty at no great disadvantage to themselves. It’s your blog and they aren’t worth your time. Move on and forget them.

    Posted by Murray Cumming | February 25, 2010, 12:22 pm
    • Totally agreed. You have to cultivate the kind of community you want, and with the internet’s anonymity, it takes a little work to maintain a civil space.

      I love your blog btw, Máirín :)

      Posted by Andy Wingo | February 25, 2010, 3:20 pm
  15. Yeah, troll.

    I’m for blogs with comments, because *sometimes* someone puts an interesting comment, and I like to comment to in other blogs (although the quality of my comments may vary :P).

    That said, I’m for moderation too. This is your house, your space: your rules. Put a big disclaimer and just erase not fair comments without thinking too much about it.

    Posted by Juanjo | February 25, 2010, 12:31 pm
  16. For the record: you do awesome work. Some people apparently fail to think before they post, or worse yet they *do* think and somehow miss the notion that they should avoid saying spiteful things. Please don’t let that make you feel uncomfortable about blogging.

    I appreciate that you allow comments; they provide a low-threshold way to respond to a post. If you need to moderate and/or delete to keep the discussion civil, by all means do so; you own the blog, and you by no means need to give rude people a platform for their venom and hate. That doesn’t conflict with a general aversion to censorship, because you haven’t prevented them from communicating, just from using *your* blog to do so; if they want to spew bile, they can do so on their own blog/website/etc, leaving people free to ignore them.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 25, 2010, 12:39 pm
    • Incidentally, moderation seems preferable to deletion, because deletion means you have to keep up with the idiots and trolls to prevent them from overwhelming your blog, while moderation means you can ignore them. Deleting a few comments brings in the “how dare you censor me” trolls; moderation means nobody will ever see their posts.

      Posted by Anonymous | February 25, 2010, 12:45 pm
  17. I don’t wanna blow sunshine, but I think your blog is probably one of the most interesting of all the Fedora blogs. It’s really cool to see someone so passionate about the design and aesthetics of our system. It’s been a long neglected piece of Fedora. The work your doing is fantastic. Don’t let a couple stick-in-the-muds ruin it for everyone.

    Posted by Scott Baker | February 25, 2010, 12:53 pm
  18. Dear Mairin, don’t get upset about the trolls. I regulary read your blog over rss and I like it. There are some posts not interesting to me, but everything else I read with joy. I am also one of the “quiet” readers and I never commented till now. However I did tweet one or two times on some particular post of yours (via my Twitter acc.). :)

    Regarding comments. I think they can be usable. There are people who are really worth reading. Maybe moderation is a good answer, but I think some comment shy people could be also affected by decision. Maybe you could try ignoring them at first.

    Posted by Bojan Popovic | February 25, 2010, 12:58 pm
  19. I am a simple Fedora/Gnome user and a very small contributor.

    I just want to let you know that I appreciate your work on Gnome and Fedora a lot.
    In particular I like the way your share your ideas and experience (for instance the inkscape class) on this blog and other places.

    I do not think that saying “I agree or I love this” as a comment to your posts will bring something to the blog subjects, but still : I will try to be more supportive from time to time to make you not forget that there are silent readers that like this blog a lot !

    Thank you very much for your time and work !
    Cheers,
    Charles-Henri

    Posted by Chicha | February 25, 2010, 12:59 pm
  20. Your blog is your own space, so deleting comments is not censorship, no matter what cranky commenters might say. They can always take their “free speech” elsewhere. :-)

    (I have really been enjoying your posts about the hackfest, unpackaged fonts and so on… I hope the nasty people don’t discourage you from blogging!)

    Posted by Jeff Waugh | February 25, 2010, 1:04 pm
  21. Hi mo,
    It is a privilege to get an insight straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak) and an opportunity to ask some questions. Moderate comments if it would help and take a breather if you must.

    Posted by sojourner | February 25, 2010, 1:16 pm
  22. My strategy is to just ignore the trolls. This is your space and you can do what you want with it, so moderate away if that’s what you want to do. Also remember that for every snarky jerk there’s a number more people who just silently enjoy what you’re doing.

    Don’t let the trolls get you down!

    Posted by qhartman | February 25, 2010, 1:26 pm
  23. Máirín, I’ve occasionally criticized something you’ve posted on your blog (for example, my concerns about privacy issues), but I want you to know that I have huge respect for your work and am grateful for all your contributions to free software.

    Thanks for all you do.

    Posted by Joe Buck | February 25, 2010, 2:20 pm
  24. moderating trolls will mean that you will have to make the decision, and the anger will still hit you.
    i suggest to turn off comments on entries where you don’t ask for opinions – most of the folks will read the entry without commenting anyway. put your email in the about section and you will get the most valuable of opinions – trust me, people will go the extra mile.
    suggestion to turn off comments does not apply when writing trolls though – but you don’t :)
    oh, and turning off anonymous comments indeed makes sense (comment 1), especially since you are on wordpress.com, not private platform, and most peeps will have a login anyway.

    as we are having “tell mo something nice” day, i most appreciate that you stay on topic, enjoy your font overviews and all in all love to skim through your entries.
    nice drawing btw! :)

    Posted by Toms | February 25, 2010, 2:24 pm
  25. Deleting/moderating is just hassle. Just require trolls to login with their openid credentials and they won’t comment or be a lot more civil.

    Anonymity does strange things to people.

    And yeah, welcome to the internets.

    Posted by Tim | February 25, 2010, 2:38 pm
    • In regards to the anonymity comment: I agree whole heartedly that the anonymity will indeed bring out the best or worst as the case may be in most people…point being that if someone is argumentative normally with any regular daily interaction then that tendency is going to increase in an environment where they’re anonymous.

      Posted by foxpro9 | March 5, 2010, 7:37 pm
  26. I hereby give you a certificate encouraging you to admonish, ban, or otherwise deal as you see fit with “ill-natured and vexatious persons.”

    Posted by Sumana Harihareswara | February 25, 2010, 2:47 pm
  27. Hey Máirín, I really enjoy reading your blog, and I suspect a whole lot of other people do too. By all means, moderate your comments. Some people don’t deserve the privilege.

    Posted by Luke | February 25, 2010, 3:29 pm
  28. Thanks everybody; you’ve gone above and beyond in your support. I certainly feel a lot less guilty for enabling moderation now (and I may try some of your suggestions after I’ve cooled down a bit – requiring log in may be a better solution.)

    Posted by mairin | February 25, 2010, 5:51 pm
    • Yeah, requiring log in is the best solution. The common evil troll is a shy and lazy creature and will avoid the light like RMS avoids the http protocol.

      Posted by Tim | February 25, 2010, 7:28 pm
  29. Is the person in your illustrations sitting in a bathtub?

    Posted by cgable | February 25, 2010, 5:56 pm
  30. It’s sad that many people don’t know how to act right on the internet.
    I just want to say that I really enjoy your blogposts and read almost all of them :D

    Posted by Kris Thomsen | February 25, 2010, 7:09 pm
  31. Though I don’t comment often I read the posts always and found them information Feel free to ban moderate or throw away stupid comments

    Posted by Rahul Sundaram | February 26, 2010, 12:23 am
  32. I noticed moderation when replying in a thread on some of your posts, remembered your dent the other day and figured you had enough… If I remember correctly, this flood of comments started with your post about GNOME Shell and continued with following design-related posts. The reason is they *care* about those topics… there are so many places one can troll on the internet but they cared enough to troll here. As opposed to silence, where nobody cares about the topic.

    Sure, is your blog and you make the rules, but I am frustrated by the blogs where I can’t add a comment or I am required to create a special account for commenting. For myself, I will stop calling my blog a “blog” the moment I will close the comments and moderating will be the last thing I will do before that.

    Right now I think the better policy is to *ignore* the trolls, not getting a reply will frustrate them more. So what they leave an insulting comment on by blog? The web is already full of insulting comments about me and if someone want to insult me further, he can do it on a lot of places where I don’t have control: his own blog, microblogging etc.

    Posted by Nicu | February 26, 2010, 4:17 am
    • Nicu, I’ve been ignoring trolls on my blog for some years now. It is the sheer volume that is driving me over the wall. I can’t just ignore them anymore. That strategy doesn’t work. I end up upset and frustrated and I feel like I’m being driven out of my own ‘home’.

      Posted by mairin | February 26, 2010, 5:17 am
  33. Hi there

    Just thought I’d add my 2c. I love reading about Fedora/ Gnome from a UX perspective. I follow it on the planets. Feel free to treat this as a thumbs up (like the 1st picture above)

    Posted by George | February 26, 2010, 9:46 am
  34. Hi, I have never commented here, but I think I’d share something; seeing useful OS applications (like gimp, inkscape, blender and so on – production software) running on ALL major operating systems is what made my life easier and my belief is that all software should be written that way, I can only guess how hard it can be to do so and I admire the developers putting effort on that; I dream of the day when production software can be same on all platforms so one does not have to pick operating system depending on the preferred software!
    So yes, I think that showing the free software running on OSX, on Windows and on Linux (maybe even more OSes !) is what really can help put people to rest in this infinite battle of words for the better operating system. The OS should not matter for artists and media users! The stability, the availability of the used production software is what matters. This IMO is why the web based applications are gaining such popularity and not the fact the data is available from anywhere, the data can still be available without the application being web based and this was used for decade at least (with sync for example), but the fact that you have the same application look and feel from anywhere is the key.
    So my gratitude goes to all who put effort to make the free applications available on all platforms! And the Apple “design fans” – well… I cannot afford to have an apple in all my places I live or work nor to constantly travel with a laptop, but I can carry around a flash drive and Internet server to sync my files. Guess what I think of the precious design of apple, but still I understand that for many people it works, for me – it does not. SO i work with alternative solution. That is something apple fans tend to oversee – the availability of alternative solutions, not necessarily perfect but working ones, in case apple does not work for you. So, no, those people are not envious of apples brilliance – they provide alternatives.

    Posted by Peter | February 26, 2010, 10:22 am
  35. D:

    I hope I’ve not contributed to the sad faces D: lol…

    Just a tiny bit of encouragement: so far yours is the only blog that is making sense to me (I’m a technical user, but technical blogs lose me lol) where it relates to the UI Hackfest. Keep it up =)

    P.S. I’ve still not installed/tested Fedora (work =/….)

    Posted by Roland Taylor | February 26, 2010, 10:23 pm
  36. You are making a great job with your blog! Keep it up :D

    Posted by Khudsa | February 27, 2010, 2:32 pm
  37. I just want to chime in–I love reading about the work you’re doing and I hope you’ll keep it up. Some people are doers and some aren’t, and you can’t let those that aren’t slow you down.

    Posted by Sagar | March 2, 2010, 4:32 am
  38. Hi Máirín,

    Keep up the good work! Unfortunately, there are too many silly people who say dumb things, especially when anonymous. Anyways, don’t let them get you down!

    Take care,

    Saad.

    Posted by Saad | March 8, 2010, 1:30 pm
  39. I’m sorry you feel unappreciated, it’s a condition common to people in Open Source, and has been for decades. Wish I wasn’t behind on your blog, I would have gone over to RPI just to meet you in person, and thank you for the various stuff I’ve found useful in your work and posts.

    Feel optimistic, spring is coming!

    Posted by Bill Davidsen | March 8, 2010, 5:20 pm
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