The Peril of Leaving Comments
I recently decided to try and comment more on websites and blogs, mainly in a shameless attempt to raise my own writing profile. I live in hope that people will be enamoured with my “puckish epigrams” and follow the breadcrumb trail back here. However, leaving comments takes time because I cannot just post a few succinct words. I always end up typing several paragraphs because brevity often leads to a point being misconstrued. We do after all live in an age where people actively look for offense regardless of whether it’s there or not. However, I digress. What I enjoy about leaving comments on blog posts and website articles, is the chance to exchange ideas and to riff off other people. I also find that by marshalling my thoughts and leaving a comment elsewhere, it can lead to me subsequently expanding on those ideas and developing them into a blog post for Contains Moderate Peril. So overall, I advocate leaving comments and feedback.
And of course, as you’ve probably guessed, the previous statement comes with a caveat. Actually, it’s probably not so much of a caveat but more of an element of risk. That being that you have absolutely no control over what happens next. Allow me to give you an example. Earlier in the week, there was a post over at Massively Overpowered regarding how Disney forced EA to temporarily disable the lootboxes in Star Wars Battlefront II. I left a comment to the effect that it was a positive result and that at least we as gamers knew what to do in the future. IE Complain to the licence holder and not just the developer. Use a company’s PR vanity against them. I then ended the comment with a throw away remark about how we needed to figure out exactly what we all wanted. Because there isn’t a “universal dream”. Gamers are a bit like the Judean People’s Front versus the People’s Front of Judea.
What followed next in a way proved my point. Another gamer directly replied with a few ideas regarding the “universal dream”. “Not to be exploited by corrupt and greedy corporations; Not to be physiologically programmed into degenerate gamblers; not to have communist/SJW re-education and propaganda corrupting our games and media. I am sure you can add a few things to this dream list but it’s a start”. Well yes, I do indeed have a few things to add and more importantly, a lot to remove. Like 90% of what they said. The only thing I broadly agree with is there first point, although I wouldn’t couch it in such hyperbolic language. I think EA’s lootbox system is crass and the fact they had the gall to try it, is mildly insulting. However, the rest of the views stated are simply ill conceived and reek of tabloid journalism and the associated mindset. I could have replied but suspected it would lead to on of those circular conversations that achieves nothing other than the raising of blood pressure and an unnecessary expenditure of energy.
This minor event reminded me of a similar situation I had a few years ago while I was waiting for a bus. A random stranger joined me at the bus stop and a brief exchange of words was had regarding the approximate time of the next bus. Then suddenly, out of know where, the guy blurted out a few derogatory comments about a specific ethnic group. It wasn’t a crazy tirade. Just a few sentences, said in a calm and measured way but still overtly racist. I remember at the time thinking, where the hell did that come from and then getting really angry because there was this inherent assumption in his confidence to make such comments, that I too was a bigot. Furthermore, when considering both these anecdotes about random left field statements, I worry that there’s a risk that you can get inadvertently tarred with the “crazy” brush in such situations. Stupidity splash damage is one way to describe it.
Once again, an old adage has proven true. No good deed goes unpunished. Except I’m not sure if I can really define me leaving a comment on a website as a good deed but hey, most analogies don’t stand up to close scrutiny. Guess this is similar to the recent discussion a few of us bloggers had on twitter about how the articles you feel are your best don’t garner the traffic you’d like and that disposable posts can sometimes break big. Similarly, a comment you feel strongly about may only get a reply from some random crazy person and a glib remark can be perceived as being more than the sum of its parts and deeply insightful. I guess both of these first world, social media “dilemmas” are a direct result of daring to interact with other sentient, carbon based life forms. It’s an activity that always comes with an element of risk.