For those who disagree with other points of view but are incapable of presenting their arguments free of insults, my suggestion is to improve your vernacular, because it’s completely and utterly lacking of any value.
That’s an insulting statement, isn’t it?
Of course the introductory statement to this post is insulting, and it’s also woefully ineffective because any statement that includes insults is not worth consideration.
Criticism is great, it can help us become better writers. But allow me to clarify, criticism that is constructive and intended to be helpful is what is beneficial.
Insults are never constructive and certainly not helpful. (Tweet)
I appreciate when someone disagrees with me and provides quality feedback about something I’ve written, either in the comments or via email. But what I find unworthy are comments from those who lower themselves from would-be pundits to useless hecklers.
Hecklers do not deserve my attention (or yours). I delete their comments and emails without a second thought. I also block their email and in some cases, IP addresses so they cannot post comments in the future.
More and more bloggers and even major websites are taking this stand against belligerent comments in order to create safer communities.
The best way to deal with hecklers online is to take away their ability to post insults, or, if you’re a reader, consider ignoring them. Engaging with them only gives them more opportunities to behave senselessly.
It’s a Sign of Incompetence
If your goal is to present a counter suggestion, idea or even to debate, then lacing comments with insults nullifies any useful input you may have. You effectively ruin an opportunity to give thoughtful feedback.
Sorry to say it, but that’s just stupid.
Once someone includes an insult, subtly or blatantly, the focus shifts from the opinion to the insult and people naturally tune out any points you may have had.
Worse, insulters are not considered competent enough to provide any meaningful input, because using insults make them look foolish.
I sincerely believe some people become insulting because they’re unable to compose a convincing argument and so they end up embarrassing themselves by becoming belligerent.
It’s little wonder why such comments are usually posted online anonymously.
I’d also hazard a guess that nine out of ten times, people become insulting because of…
Frustration and Anger
We all have succumbed at times to frustration and anger when we passionately disagree with something, and that’s normal.
It’s best to allow anger and frustration to dissipate before saying anything.
I take a few extra moments to collect my thoughts, make notes, and when I’m ready, I do my best to provide my side in a respectful manner. That is, if I want my opinion to be considered.
Frankly, I like for my comments to be taken into consideration and not disregarded because I was thoughtlessly blowing off steam.
How to Write Quality Comments
I’ve found that people tend to listen more when they realize their opinion is appreciated and understood.
It’s a good idea to make it obvious you recognize the sincerity of the person you are addressing, clearly articulating you appreciate his or her side, and if there are points you agree with let those be known sooner rather than later.
Finding common ground is a great place to start any conversation and it gives the other person the impression you’re serious and considerate.
Once you’ve established yourself, gracefully explain the points you disagree with and why. If you remain thoughtful, civil and articulate, without presenting any belittling remarks or using a condescending tone, the odds are you will be heard.
If you disagree you should voice your opinion, but do it in a way that matters.
This doesn’t mean you are sugarcoating your feedback. It means you are mindful and you want your argument to be considered.
If you were courteous and your side was not taken into consideration, that’s okay, at least you presented an argument in a way that was worth listening to.
Besides, you never know, the other person might come to realize you provided valuable information and may even adjust his or her opinion down the line. Either way, using insults won’t help.
Think about it, if you’re not confident enough in what you have to say without verbally assaulting someone, then why would anyone become convinced based on your rant, especially since, quite obviously, you’re not convinced.
Using insults ruins one’s ability to present a good argument worthy of consideration.
Take A Stand
Let’s take a stand, fellow bloggers and website owners, and provide safe communities where people can engage, agree and even disagree free of belligerence.
The truth is, if all some people want to do is be insulting, we are better off without them. They deserve to be ignored.
On the other hand, those who have something to say and present it thoughtfully, those are people worth listening to.
Now more than ever we need contributions from people who have something to say that matters.
How do you feel about being insulted while being asked to consider an opposing point of view? Has that happened to you?
I’d like to hear from you, share in the comments.