Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Comment About Comments

As my blog has evolved over time, so have the comments I receive here and the way I handle publishing them. For years, it was an open commenting free-for-all, but when I was getting dozens of comments per post, sometimes there would be inflammatory stuff published before I had a chance to see it: personal attacks on me or on another commenter, seriously offensive profanity, links to inappropriate websites, etc. So at that time, I started to moderate comments. I wrote my "comment policy" and did not allow comments that were attacking or used profanity. Pretty much everything else got published.

A couple years ago, I started getting a lot of personal attack type comments, but they were usually anonymous. It became tiring so after awhile I disabled anonymous comments; most of the nastiness then stopped. But some readers contacted me by email and let me know they were either unable or unwilling to comment without the anonymous option, so this year I brought it back.

I don't get nearly the number of comments I did years ago. I think blogging in general is kind of on the way out from what I have seen, and people move on, and my struggles over the past couple of years have not been inspiring to everyone. That's okay, I get it. I've gone from blogging every day (and sometimes twice a day) to posting only 8 times last month. I have posted less times in this entire year than I did in 3 months in 2010. It's the evolution of the blog, and of my story. But I do still get a few comments here and there, and most of them are supportive, kind, and well-meaning. I appreciate every one of them.

However, there are some comments I don't publish. They come in waves and usually from the same few people, often posting anonymously, using profanity and calling me names. I delete them, let it go, it's their issue. But when people say bad things regarding my children, I take that very personally and seriously. It's not okay. I won't tolerate it and I certainly won't publish it. I am not sure what drives people to be cruel or want to hurt people they don't even know.

The other day I posted that I have been sad. That I have been struggling with feelings of depression... Seasonal Affective Disorder. I mentioned how hard it has been for me this year without my best friend who passed away one year ago this month. I shared that I am in emotional pain. And in response I got several comments, all from the same person, stating false, derogatory, hateful things about my best friend and our relationship.

I am sorry but that is over the line. That is downright abusive. I am in counseling to deal with my grief and my sadness and I have shared that here. If you know someone is vulnerable and hurting and saying "this hurts, I am sad" and you say things to hurt them *more*, there is something truly wrong. Not with me. With you.

I am considering shutting down the comments on this blog completely, and I want you to know why I am doing it if that happens. Another option is to only allow comments on certain posts. I'm not sure what I am doing yet. But you know what? I am hurting and I am tired.

I thank those who still find it in their hearts to be supportive and kind even when my journey is not as inspiring, fast, or perfect as it could be. I am doing my best. That's all I can do. Thank you for coming along on this long, winding journey of mine and thank you for caring.


Karen said...

Do what you need to do. I don't allow comments anonymously. Drawing good boundaries is key. My counselor taught me, I use that skill every day.Put yourself first. Always.

Wendy said...

I am so sorry you are hurting. I hope that you are able to break free from the depression soon. I know ots hard to let the hateful comments roll off your back. But, usually those comments are people you know, who are jealous of what you have. And, they have to make themselves feel better by attempting to belittle others. Its really a sad life for them. Try not to allow them to steal your sunshine even though its hard.

Lori said...

It has always seemed to me that the comments on this blog are harsher than most bogs I read. I have always wondered why. It does not make sense to me.

I think you have handled the nay-sayers well. You have been gracious and understand the comments are more about their issues than yours.

I know that does not make it better or change a thing to know that I noticed. I am sorry that you are having to deal with this.

Anonymous said...

people are mean to feel better about themselves.
im glad you have enabled comments again. i've emailed you a few times, am pulling for you and feel your story is the story of many of us.
i appreciate your blogging, to know there is someone out there going through the same thing makes me feel less alone and desperate.
thanks for what you do, and being real.

Jennifer said...

First time posting here, I wanted to say that it takes a lot of guts to poor your heart out at any time, Your blog and your writing should be a place of refuge and when people invade that by leaving nasty comments it says more about them than you. Please continue your blogging and your fight against obesity. Keep on keeping on!

timothy said...

BIG sigh, people are dumb and cruel oftentimes and that's just sad. you do what you need to do for you and those who care will still be here for you in spirit even if we can only send positive vibes and not words of encouragement.

Anonymous said...

Hateful words and personal attacks are never okay, and I'm sorry you have to deal with the bullies and trolls. As for the "harsh" comments, I think what happens is that many people have been following your story and its ups and downs for so long that they feel connected to you, and invested in your story, and with that comes strong opinions on the actions that you take on any given day. So when you do something that some of your readers might disagree with, they want to tell you or warn you almost like we want to tell the main character in our favorite scary movie not to run upstairs because the killer is hiding under the bed! The thing is, you're not a character in a movie, you're a real person, and your readers don't really know you, so some of their comments may be harsh or hurtful to you, even if the commenter's original intent is to try to dispense some "helpful" advice. You're a brave person to share your story and open yourself up to people's opinions, good and bad, and you have impacted more people than you know! Do what's best for you, and we'll keep rooting for you!

Sarah said...

Dear Lynn,
I have kept reading your blog for years and years, and you are inspiring BECAUSE of the fact that you have not given up even in really tough circumstances. I love reading what you write because it is personal and insightful and strikes a cord with me. My struggle with weight has been up and down and honestly, you give me hope that someday I can have the guts to do what you do. I have prayed for you when you wrote things were tough, and been so glad when you started posting again. I am so sorry that some comments have made the hard things you perservere through harder. Please know that there are so many of us out here who respect, admire and are encouraged by you. If you need to turn off comments, or even stop blogging, that is ok. I don't think I could handle the negative stuff either.

Becca said...

I just had to comment and tell you how impressed I am with what you share and your ability to open up about all that you are feeling. I don't even remember how I came across your blog, but I enjoy reading it very much.
I saw the post you shared (and then deleted) to the person who has harassed you lately. I thought it was very well written and sent the message it needed to.
Just know that there are people out there like me who support you and find strength in what you share even though we don't comment.

Michelle Himes said...

I never understood why people feel the need to make hurtful comments. I've followed your struggle for a while now, and I admire you for blogging the good, the bad and the ugly of your journey. I'm in a good place with my weight loss now, but it's still so fresh that I feel for anyone else going through it. It's hard enough without having to read nasty comments from readers. Just know that there are lots of people in your corner too, pulling for you.

Karen said...

Have you considered making your blog private and hand selecting who you allow around you?

Have you considered joining well moderated private weight loss support groups that have good moderators?

Both options have built in boundaries of different sorts.

Elizabeth said...

Your blog has been a source of inspiration for me over the past few years. I want you to know that it is not just success that creates inspiration. For me it has been just as much about the honesty, humility, and determination you display when you are struggling. It makes me feel so much less alone as I live through my own struggles.

Anyone who has lived through the kind of non-stop cycle of weight loss, weight gain, and personal growth that we have knows that the struggle is where we live a lot of the time. Those moments of success are thrilling and joyful but I learn more about myself in facing the challenges and making the climb up the mountain once again.

Above all you deserve to be safe, cared for, and protected from harm. Life gives us all the rough spots we could ever handle. No one needs anyone around them to make the pain of what we go through worse. Please surround yourself with what you need, and block out what you don't, for your own peace.

If you disable the comments just know that the kind words of those who understand will still be coming your way in the form of hope and prayers, however they may be offered.

Blods said...

Close the comments to protect yourself but please don't let them make you close down your blog. Take heart from the fact that you know you have many more readers who appreciate your hard work and comment in a positive way than the minority who go out of their way to be hateful. Thank you for writing the blog, it does make a difference Lyn and you should be very proud of yourself for having kept going for so long xx

Betsey C. said...

Ugh, Lyn. People who leave abusive comments are just weak, sick people. You have to pity someone like that.

You have many cyberfriends who love you, and I am one of them.

If the abuse comes from anonymous posters (and of course it would), you should disallow anonymous comments.

Sending you love and good cheer today.

CARLA said...

yep. you know know know I get it, too.

kareninvermont said...

Lyn, I have never commented before but I read every one of your posts. I am recovering from a serious food addiction and have found great comfort in your blog. You ARE an inspiration. So much of what you right about is SO important and reaches far beyond dieting advice. Please do not stop sharing your journey and thank you for all your help.

45+ and Aspiring said...


I haven't read your blog in several years because I've gotten away from blogging.

Your photos are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Now I want to look back and see how you kept on keeping on.

I have been bullied a lot in life. Sometimes in overt ways and sometimes more evilly covert. It is hard for me to grasp how unloving, self-sighted, and truly evil people are. I still crumble from bullies and I hate it. Down with bullies!

It is heart breaking what you are going through because it sounds like--if someone is attacking your kids--that they may actually know you. And that is the worst. Or maybe not, now I am perhaps remembering some posts about you exercising around your kids?

I think you have to cultivate support where you can get it and you have to surround yourself with positive people. We'd like to keep them from having power over us, but face it, they do.

I think putting myself out there in a blog and having to shut off comments would feel very lonely. You may as well just keep a journal...

Have you considered perhaps having a closed Facebook group where you have to invite people to join? I don't know of a way to set up user self-monitoring where if a few people mark a post as unhelpful that it automatically gets nuked.

Can you imagine gaining pleasure from bullying people being the best entertainment of your life? Pathetic.

Take care of you. It is inspiring to see your pics.

I wish you all the best!

Lyn said...

I knew there were still good people out there. Every time I am about to just toss the blog and give up, people like you all restore my faith.

I am really sad. I want to let you know your support and friendship means a lot to me right now. I am coming off two years of chronic pain and loss of mobility and that took a huge toll on my mood. Losing my best friend was crushing. I cannot even explain how devastating it has been. I try to be positive, I try to share things I think are helpful to myself and other people who read here. I have to work at being thankful that now my pain IS gone and I CAN get out there and do more... when the depression tells me I don't want to do anything.

I was hesitant to post any of this, for obvious reasons. I feel very vulnerable and am seeking support in my life. This blog has been a part of my life for 7 years and I care about many of you and I don't want to make big decisions (like shutting down the blog, or other things) when I am feeling this way.

I am getting help, and I hope if I sometimes sound down or ungrateful or unhappy you can forgive that and understand, and if you are the praying type please do pray for us, and if you're not then good thoughts are so welcome.

Claire said...

Hi Lyn,
I understand the feelings. A few years ago several women who I was friends with in a totally separate group online somehow found my weight loss blog and left very hurtful comments. I had never told that group of friends that I even had a blog. It hurt but it also kind of freaked me out that someone who I thought was my friend put in that much effort and found things about me totally unknown to them. I left that group and set my blog to private. It felt like a complete invasion of privacy. It would not have bothered me at all if they would have said hey, we saw your blog, didn't know you had one, but to make rude comments to me there and act like my friend in the group was eye opening to say the least.
Do what's best for you, but if you did shutdown your blog I would miss it. You are encouraging because we all struggle and it helps to know we are not alone

Cindy said...

Wow! I have been lurking at your site for a long time not commenting much. I just want to say I am sorry you are having a hard time. Call me naive but, I just don't understand people that want to hurt other people through comments. Take care of yourself first is my advice!

David Dane said...

I screen my comments too... Many don't even see the tip of my finger hit the delete button..
I won't put up with attacks. You shouldn't either.
One character just kept sending me stuff... wow... but eventually even he stopped.
You've been through a lot. It takes a toll on one's emotions and motivations.

Susan R said...

I too have enjoyed your blog Lyn.
I have never had a weight problem but my life has certainly not been without struggles. I have always admired your courage and determination not to give up.
As has been said,the negative comments are a reflection on an unhappy person and not you. Even with that knowledge I am sure they are still hurtful.
Hugs to you Lyn and just keep up the good fight!

Anonymous said...

I never comment, but regularly read your blog. Do what you need to do to do. It's your blog, you don't need to let the meanies in.

Good luck with SAD. I get it too.

Thinking of you, Lyn. xx

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog and often think "That is exactly how I feel" as I read your well written accounts of your for every negative comment, know you have many of us anonymous readers who keep coming back. I look forward to checking in with you, find your blog comforting and hope you continue!

Anonymous said...

It is very brave of you to open up the way you do here. I've noticed on other posts here some comments that were, shall we say, less than kind. I don't get it, and COMPLETELY support you not allowing those. This is YOUR space; this is NOT a space where you should have to be subjected to pain.

People on teh internets can suck sometimes. Do anything and everything to cordone off those mean people. Let's keep this space safe and supportive.

Noxie said...

positive thoughts and healing hugs being sent your way Lyn. We have a lot of the same struggles.

Connie C. said...

I've been reading your blog for a long time. Part of what inspires me is that you DO struggle, just like I do.

There is no reason people should attack you. If they don't like your blog or what you say, all they have to do is stop reading.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn, I'm a long time reader of your blog. First time I've ever commented :)

Unfortunately there are a lot of jerks in this world that have a false sense of who they are because they are hidden behind a computer. Please don't let these jerks change who you are, or how you blog....but do protect yourself from their spite.



Anonymous said...

I can barely stand to read any public comment section these days. People are vile. Even on the comment sections (I'm thinking news stories here) where people must log in with their real name via Facebook to take away anonymity. It still somehow turns into name calling and very petty insults. That's one thing.

What you are experiencing is a whole 'nother level and it IS abuse and it IS bullying and it IS legal harassment. If you have the wherewithal you should take this to the legal system.

If I were you, I would be nervous and scared at the level of pathology it takes for a person to stalk you and make an anti-blog blog. Ya know? That's messed up.

On the other hand, the internet is an open place and when we open up ourselves on the internet, we are open to the humans that spew this vitriol.

I don't have any advice for you. I'm so sorry that you are experiencing bullying and harassment. You come here and you open your heart and mind, pour your struggles into the page, and share with those of us that are out there struggling with the same thing. You don't talk about others, or anything controversial, you simply talk about your journey; and for the life of my I have no idea what kind of person can take time out of her day to harass you. I JUST. DON'T. GET. IT!

I hope you find a solution that works for you and your family.

Any lawyers out there reading this? Would love to know where the line is for online harassment. Because Lyn? - this person has crossed it.

Anonymous said...

I get it to, Lyn. Some people just think they have a right to bully because its online. I'm on MFP and let me tell you, people are rediculous at times. They pick, bully and degrade so many on that site.
You have to be strong and move forward, just like your doing. I would hate to see your comments close. I read your blog every time you write. I just don't comment. But I read those, too because I like to see what others have to say. I'm always thirsty for knowledge on our change of liftestyle and sometimes your commenters say some insightful things!

Good luck, Lyn!

Josie said...

I hope you've contacted Blogger. That's the first step.

Anonymous said...

Internet trolls are typically folks with a sociopathic nature. They get their jollies by putting others down, stirring things up and creating drama and havoc. You can try to block or discourage them, but there will always be more coming out of the woodwork. They compose a certain sad and pathetic percent of the population, and are unfortunately here to stay. If they think they've hit a nerve, it only encourages them -- so..., I guess just ignore them as best you can, and carry on.

Anonymous said...

"Fun" reading about internet trolling:

Lyn said...

Thanks to everyone, except

Kara... stay off my blog, don't bother commenting here anymore. Take it elsewhere. I don't bother you at your Kara Cooks blog nor at your photography business, so don't bother me on mine. Enough already, surely you have something better to do with your life than obsess over me.

Anonymous said...

Don't lose faith in humanity. Most of us are compassionate, decent people not filled with criticism and hate. God is Love. I will be praying for you Lyn.

Anonymous said...

First, I found your blog earlier this year as it is recommended as one of the Top Most Inspirational Weight Loss Blogs on the net - and I have to say I totally agree. It's a fantastic and fascinating read and I love coming here.

Secondly, I haven't commented before, but reading this post made me angry and sad and determined to write you a positive post just to say how rocking you are and to ignore the trolls who have nothing better to do than abuse people who are living their life according to their own pattern and plan.

Stay strong and keep blogging! Mari x

Schmoodle said...

Lynn, I am sorry you are hurting. I started following you long ago, when we both were regulars on 3fc. I have been sporadic, but I seem to check in and see how you are doing once every few months. I know you've struggled. I lost 75 lbs 5 years ago and gained every bit of it back. I still struggle every day with this. I want you to know how I appreciate your honesty. We see the success stories, but those of us fighting this battle know how difficult it is. When people start to backslide, they stop posting or blogging, and you're not sure how things turned out for them. You are very brave to share so much of your story and the triumphs and the battles you've lost. Nevertheless, you are a great example of never giving up. And that is a truer inspiration that the "I lost 100 lbs and kept it off forever!" blog. Thank you for what you've taught us. I don't understand people's negative reactions, but know that there are many of us that (mostly) silently appreciate what you do and are pulling for you.

Lyn said...

Schmoodle! I remember you! Thank you for your comment and for checking in. So nice to hear from you (although I am sorry you've been struggling with weight too). Thanks for bringing a smile to my face today. I love hearing from other "oldies."