For most of the nearly 4 years I have been on YouTube I did not reply to any comments and I had the comments on my blog closed. I also ignored most of the emails I received from viewers. The reason I did not reply to emails was because it kept happening that one email reply to a fan would turn into an email tsunami in which they would keep writing me long, personal emails and then they would get upset and angry with me for not replying to them again. This overwhelmed me and I didn’t know how to prevent it therefore I just stopped replying to everyone, both the ‘good’ fans and the ‘bad’.
The decision to not reply to comments on YouTube was my way of dealing the pain of being misunderstood by so many of the people who watch me :'( . It upsets me when someone watches one of my videos and reads into it an emotion, sentiment or intention that I did not knowingly embody the video with. One example of this (which doesn’t actually upset me because it is lame) is when I am called racist for making a joke about how Americans say the names of herbs. Something that actually touches a nerve is when someone says thank you for the ‘lesson’ or calls me a teacher in a comment when they have been reading or watching something wholly unrelated to learning English. For example, I make a video about depression and share my own insights and experience and then someone in the comments says ‘thanks that was a great lesson teacher Jade.’ When that happens I feel frustrated that people watch the video and misunderstand it (me?) by interpreting it as an English lesson when the subject has nothing to do with learning English. I even despair for these people and feel real pain inside me when it happens. Sometimes I even feel hopeless about the world and the current state of humanity because it shows me that so many people have a narrow, life-limiting understanding of what ‘education’ is and what ‘lessons’ are. Such people would not watch a video about depression, I imagine, just to learn something about themselves or their emotional life, they watch it only because they interpret it as an English lesson and their objective is to learn English. I really despair at that because it seems to me that the education or socialisation such people have received has completely ruined them for a life of growth and possibility. (In my ideal world, all people would learn from all things all the time and there would not be these narrow, restrictive categories of what is ‘teacher’ and what is ‘lesson’).
I later made the decision to reply to comments on YouTube because I realised it was ungrateful of me not to have any dialogue with fans. So far I have been doing quite well with this and have not regretted the decision to be in dialogue with fans on YouTube. This later fed into my decision to activate comments on this blog, which I did for about 2 months before overwhelm stuck (at the beginning of the week) and I turned the comments off again in a strop. The reason overwhelm stuck was due to my old friend: ‘the pain of being misunderstood.’ There had been a couple of days in a row where commentators had been talking about English lessons in blog posts about unrelated topics about psychology. I was also struggling with comment moderation: when exactly is a comment too crazy or passive aggressive to allow? All of that is fine on YouTube, but I don’t want that kind of litter making my personal website dirty. Out of the overwhelm and dejection, I turned comments off again.
However, today I changed my mind again. Comments are open on the blog again. Perhaps comments aren’t so bad afterall if establish a moderation policy of what kind of comments I will or will not publish. Since I am not yet over the pain of being misunderstood, my new approach to comment moderation will involve stricter moderation. For the time being I’m just not going to publish any comments that trigger in me the pain of being misunderstood. From now on such comments are going to go in the spam box.
JADE’S COMMENT MODERATION RULES:
- Comments that are irrelevant to the post will not be published.
- Comments that mention religion will not be published (unless the post is about religion)
- Comments written in very poor English will not be published.
- Comments that don’t make sense will not be published.
- Long essay-length comments will not be published.
- Comments with links will only be allowed if the link directly relates to the subject of the post
- Passive aggressive comments will not be published.
JADE’S COMMENT MODERATION STRATEGY:
- All comments need to be manually approved
- Reply to comments with relevant information if requested and known
- Say thanks to people who comment