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It will be interesting to see the comments on my entry about comments

It was interesting to observe the reaction to two of my entries last week. First, I announced that I was sending my cat Officer Krupke to live with my mother because he could not get along with the new and more lovable kitten, Java Bean. Most everyone was supportive of the decision and related similar experiences. Then the next day I announced that I’d changed my mind and couldn’t bare to part with the furry curmudgeon. Most everyone was supportive of the decision and related similar experiences.

What the hell is wrong with you people?

It appears that people were much more willing to comment on a post when they agreed with the situation. Otherwise, they tended to keep their mouths shut. This only seems polite since the post was about a personal matter. If we were discussing politics or the economy or something where a person and a cat’s feelings weren’t involved, I think people would be more likely to voice a dissenting opinion. You all certainly had a lot to say about natural sweeteners last month. In real life, I am only kindly critical of people I know very well and whom I know will take any advice as coming from a place of true concern. I know when I read personal blogs, I’m unlikely to criticize a personal decision of the blogger because I don’t want to get on their bad side and I find it unlikely a stranger on the Internet will sway their opinion.

I do sometimes worry if blogging encourages an echo chamber, if blogs are only welcoming of people who agree with and support a blogger and make the environment uncomfortable for people who disagree. I don’t want to only hear from people who are like me and think like me. Some of the most interesting discussions on this blog have come when people disagree with what I’ve said and start an intelligent and polite conversation about it. As long as people aren’t nasty or rude, I’m usually ok with dissent. That’s why my commenting policy says “lively discussion is encouraged.” It’s also why I say I’ll delete you if you start talking smack. But, there are also some topics where I am not interested in hearing what other people think. The decisions in my personal life are not up for a vote.

The blogger certainly sets the tone for the conversations that will appear on their blog. I’m not sure how I would have reacted to kind comments encouraging me to keep Krupke when I was intent on giving him away. I’m not sure how I would have reacted to polite comments urging me to send him to Gramma’s when I’d decided to keep him. But it’s interesting that no one seemed to do either. I also have to wonder if I wanted people to agree with me when I was ditching my cat, and similarly wanted people to agree with me when I decided to keep him. When other people say my decision is right, it makes me feel better. It makes me feel more likely that what I am doing is right. But if people only feel comfortable commenting when they agree, I’m just fooling myself, picking out the comments I want to hear to reinforce the idea I already have.

When I first started getting comments on my blog, it was an awesome high. Hearing people say they liked my writing made me literally smile. I’d bounce around in my seat. It made me feel like I might actually be good at this writing thing. When people said, “Hell, yeah!” or said what I’d written really resonated with them, it was better than what I imagine heroin must be like. When someone said something cruel, it hurt me more than I would ever admit and stayed in my thoughts longer than I liked.

But lately I find myself not caring as much what other people think, good or bad. Sometimes I write an entry and wonder if it’s really necessary for me to read the comments. Sometimes I write something because it makes me feel good all on its own, because it helps me think things through, and I don’t feel the need for anyone else to agree or back me up or tell me that yes I am right and yes that was good. I feel more secure and strong in myself. I know who I am, for the most part.

Sometimes I write an entry just for me, not my audience, and I think about turning the comments off. Sometimes I’d like to blog about my headache and not have someone ask if I’ve tried eliminating artificial sweeteners from my diet. But I know if I turn off comments it would only draw attention to the fact that I’ve done it and cause people to email me asking why I did it. I know some of the old-school bloggers didn’t even have comments on their blogs, which they called “online journals.” But I also know blogging is a conversation, and that’s part of the appeal of the medium, that we can talk back and forth and share ideas. Shutting down the conversation is an aggressive and noticeable move. However, even when comments are on, I’m acting as the moderator and can sway the conversation one way or the other by commenting in the thread. I cannot control the conversation, but I can usually steer it where I want it to go.

I have no grand conclusions here. All I know is that a blog is made by us all, though I have more power over my own domain than anyone else. This is my turf and I get to win here. Period. But I hope people aren’t just writing things they know will please me. I like to examine the uncomfortable truths of life, and I can’t always do that myself. All I ask is that you be polite and kindly and speak your own truth.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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97 Comments

BrightAngel • December 8, 2008 at 9:26 am

“But lately I find myself not caring as much what other people think, good or bad. Sometimes I write an entry and wonder if it’s really necessary for me to read the comments. Sometimes I write something because it makes me feel good all on its own, because it helps me think things through, and I don’t feel the need for anyone else to agree or back me up or tell me that yes I am right and yes that was good. I feel more secure and strong in myself. I know who I am, for the most part.”

That sounds like a good place to be.

I, personally, don’t do a Blog, but I keep a file of my current thoughts/debates/plans in Microsoft Word for myself, which is similiar to a Blog or a Journal.

There are also Blogs that I frequently read,

and Forums I frequently participate in.

Sometimes I read another’s comment, and

say to myself. “Well, that’s interesting”, but I really have nothing to say…OR another person’s comment has already voiced my thoughts.

Sometimes something “strikes my core” like your situation with your cats,

and I feel a need to respond,

a need to voice my support or my opinion.

I find it helpful to watch others,

and interesting to see how a mature woman in her 20s lives and thinks, especially one who is dealing with life problems similiar to those in my life.

I bought and read your book.

I’ve read all your Blogs for over a year.

I’d miss you very much if you didn’t Blog frequently,

but our relationship is pretty much a one-way-street.

There is very little I have to offer that you can’t or don’t already receive from others.

But, in my way, I care very much about you as a person, and I am interested in your thoughts.

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Patrice • December 8, 2008 at 9:28 am

Great insights on the communicative process in the blogosphere.

It seems like a positive reaction that you no longer feel overly attached to people’s comments (to borrow from Sally Fields, ‘you like me, you really like me’–or not).

People are drawn to particular blogs and seem to align themselves with writers who share some commonality. That could lead to the aptly named ‘echo chamber,’ yet what are the odds that we agree with everything the person says? Unlikely.

Some will swallow their dissent, others will voice it. Inevitably, there will be some sucking up, but mainly it seems like your blog draws a supportive, encouraging group of well intentioned, ‘you go girl’ people. A nice reflection of you!

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Charity • December 8, 2008 at 9:29 am

Well, here’s my take. Did I post a supportive comment re your decision to move Krupke to your mom’s? Yes, because I knew you felt terrible about it and it was a hard thing to do. I also knew you had given it a lot of thought, and you weren’t just blithely giving him away because he didn’t match your sofa or something equally stupid.

But I was happy to read that Krupke and Bean are coming to a detente, because cats should be happy in their home! If Krupke can be happy with you and Bean, obviously that’s the ideal situation.

Does that clear it up?

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Nina • December 8, 2008 at 9:44 am

I’ve got myself one asshole cat, and the one time I brought him to stay with my parents, he nearly mauled their cat. He’s a boy, she’s a girl, I figured, hey! Maybe they’ll fall in kitty love?? They’re both fixed, it’s okay, right?? No, they hated eachother. I don’t get it. Maybe my mom’s cat had something against the Irish (he’s a big red-head). Either way, I wouldn’t let those two live together. I don’t know about your cats, but if I saw my cats fighting so bad that they actually clawed eachother, I’d find a way to separate them. Either by giving one away to a relative or keeping them in seperate rooms.

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janis • December 8, 2008 at 9:54 am

Let’s just agree to disagree on that, mmmkay? ; )

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Ali • December 8, 2008 at 10:08 am

I do have some things to say about this:

First of all – people read blogs (mainly) for three reasons:

1. They can identify themselves with the blogger and it makes them feel better to know that there are people like themselves out there.

2. They want to keep informed on certain topics. This could be anything from jogging to celebrities to C++ developing.

3. They want to have heated discussions about certain topics – most commonly that’s going to be Politics and the Economy.

Your blog clearly falls into the first two categories.

The things you write about are not offending anybody except maybe some very extreme size acceptance bloggers.

Also you are stating the following:

“The decisions in my personal life are not up for a vote.”

So your cats are not your personal life? We are aloud to scrutinize you for that?

Also – you delete posts you don’t like. How do you want to get a discussion going if stuff that you don’t like is going to be deleted?

You are blogging about your personal life, so how can we possibly post anything and not comment on your personal life?

Coming back to the topic of your cats – both decisions were acceptable decisions. I think I would have kept both cats too but giving one to your mom is not an evil thing to do. Giving him to a shelter where they would have maybe killed him if he wasn’t adopted – that would be a mean thing to do and that would have caused a very heated discussion on your blog.

Most importantly – the people who read your blog LIKE you, some even admire you and I am sure some people love you like you are their family. They want to be respectful to you and not doubt everything you do. I don’t think anybody on here regularly reads your blog to find something to not agree on so they can tell you off.

You just don’t write that kind of blog.

If you want more heated discussion, tell us who you voted for at the presidential elections and tell us why.

Tell us one sport you tried and you really hated and be opinionated about it.

Tell us what you really think about dog owners with small apartments.

Describe to us why it’s better to live up North than in the South.

Diet Pepsi or Coke Zero?

If you want to have a lively discussion you must give people the choice to comment on something that will not personally offend you if they don’t agree with you. If you want people to be opinionated – YOU have to be opinionated.

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Jen • December 8, 2008 at 10:10 am

Personally, I would have thought you were cruel if you were sending Krupke to the animal shelter or dump him in the woods because you’d found a cuter kitten, but taking him to your mom’s house seemed like a reasonable solution and I assumed your mom is a cat lover and was going to take good care of him. I didn’t think she was going to cook him or use him for home medical experiments. That’s why I didn’t understand some of the snotty comments you got.

Keeping him seemed reasonable too, as cats generally won’t hurt each other in fights — our two cats have had a cold war for years and occasionally even seem to forget they don’t like each other and play together.

I think it’s a good sign that you’re starting to see the comments less as a referendum on your life and more as an entertaining curiosity. I’m trying to do the same in real life and learn that I’m the one whose opinion matters most.

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dietgirl • December 8, 2008 at 10:18 am

love love love this entry :)

I remember rejoicing when comments were invented for blogs because I could write a “is it just me?” post about some lard-related neurosis and someone would comment, “you are not alone!” and that was just the bee’s knees. but as I became more secure and confident in my own beliefs i didn’t really mind if people agreed or disagreed or thought i was a loon.

most days i love the comments and the wackiness that sometimes ensues there, but some days i get so self-conscious anticipating the comments an entry might spark that i end up writing nothing at all. hmm.

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s • December 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

i am programmed to comment on any blog post about cats.

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chidame • December 8, 2008 at 10:28 am

I disagree with your implication that the purpose of your comments section is for discussion. You have a blog, not a message board or list.serv or set of forums.

Do you think that if you shut comments off, no one would read along anymore?

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Amy • December 8, 2008 at 10:33 am

Totally agree that blogs tend to become an echo chamber. The few times I’ve tried to leave a dissenting opinion (on other blogs) I often got a cranky message back from the author of the blog. I think I’m being neutral/instructive when I comment, but it still gets taken badly. So I try to limit my constructive criticism or whatever you want to call it.

Honestly, there is very little more important to me than how animals are treated, our commitments to them, and providing them homes for life. I chose to stay out of your posts on the cats because you had said before that personal matters (i.e. headache) weren’t up for advice/dissent, so I lumped this in that group. I probably couldn’t have kept my mouth shut if a shelter or free-to-good-home post came up, but in this case, I decided to be quiet. If you wanted ppl to agree, you’d probably get it, and I didn’t feel my dissent (as it were) in this case would do much good.

Anyway, perhaps your readers are confused about when it’s ok to advise/disagree? For me, I try not to drive a wedge when the person is someone I’ve met and consider a friend. If I really thought you were screwing up I would have sent a private email, not told the world I thought you were mean. :)

In any case, I hope the cats get along great and it all works out. :)

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s • December 8, 2008 at 10:34 am

also, i’m insulted by the tone of some your posts and how you sometimes what seems like randomly go off on your commenters. but i guess i keep reading anyway.

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Liz Turtle • December 8, 2008 at 10:44 am

I respect your weight-loss success and struggles and have learned a *lot* from your posts on these issues, and for that I am extremely grateful to you.

As for your cats? I really don’t care what you do with them either way. I have no opinion. I read this blog because you usually write about a topic I care about (weight loss, weight maintenance, etc).

I’d be cranky too if I had a headache for as long as you have. Turn off the comments if you want. I’d still read. The main thing I’ve enjoyed about the comments is being able to click on the links of others who are on similar health/fitness/weight loss journeys.

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jbo • December 8, 2008 at 10:45 am

Here is another factor to consider. Sometimes other commenters can be protective, or overprotective of a blogger and if one were to post, no matter how constructively, a criticism of what that blogger has written, one might find oneself the victim of a pile on. I’ve seen it a million times. It can be discouraging to the dissenting voice.

In other words, they aren’t afraid of you, they are afraid of the torch wielding, PQ worshipping crowd.

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Nina • December 8, 2008 at 10:52 am

It seems to me that if all the comments you get are along the “you go girl” lines, you might as well write in a journal and forget the blog. Well, not entirely, but it seems to me that part of the value of an audience is to have someone say, hey, have you thought about this in some other way? What about this thing that you might have missed?

Some of the time that’s valuable, and some of the time it’s not (as with your headache), but it’s still (usually) worth hearing.

A usenet group in which I used to participate had this constant argument about the meaning of support… some saying that anything negative, anything critical, any disagreement was never supportive. I’ve never agreed with that. We get stuck in our own perspectives and a lot of the time, the best thing in the world is to hear someone else’s take on the situation, agreement or not.

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anon. • December 8, 2008 at 11:06 am

You asked for honesty, so here goes…

I’ve felt a lot of disdain for your readers coming from you recently. This entry kinda clinches it.

Your weightloss journey was astounding, your writing is strong, and you don’t take any crap anymore. I like you. You seem like someone I’d want to be around in “real” life. That’s why I read your blog and sometimes comment.

But recently, you’ve seemed more annoyed by readers than pleased.

I know you don’t owe your voluntary readers anything, but it would be nice to see some sort of return to the days when you were more appreciative/happy. If you don’t see that happening, and that’s not how you feel presently, why are you continuing to blog?

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JEM • December 8, 2008 at 11:06 am

A blog is just like real life. Some people in your life are people pleasers. You know they will always do and say what they think will make you feel good. Some people don’t care and will speak their mind. Some will do a little of both. I see this will my friends, co-workers, and on my blog. I try to take everything with a grain of salt.

One thing I have learned is, *most* people are trying to help even if what they are saying doesn’t help at all or is something I do not agree with.

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Shawna • December 8, 2008 at 11:15 am

I commented on your original post about giving Officer Krupke up because I had sent one of my dogs to live with my best friend. I could relate. I don’t really have an opinion on what is best in the question of keep the cat or rehome him. Having been in your situation, I see the shades of gray. I think a lot of people comment because they have a sense of familiarity with the bloggers on their favorite blogs. It’s almost like we know you without actually knowing you, lol. And most of us are like me, we just wanted to make you feel better about your decision because that’s what you do (or at least what I do) with the people who I know in my real life. Had you offered up an unacceptable solution like dumping your cat or feeding him to the local coyote, you would probably have received a lot of negative feedback. Both of your solutions were reasonable and had your best interests and the cats’ best interests in mind. Who can fault you for that?

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Jen Stevens • December 8, 2008 at 11:15 am

A couple of thoughts here:

a) Giving up or keeping a cat is such a personal decision that I think I and many other readers would be supportive of either decision. Who I am I to tell you what the best thing to do is? On the other hand, gosh, that sounds like a rough situation, and one that I can imagine going through, so I think again that many of us would be inclined to be supportive regardless.

b) You might get more pro or con comments if you ask ask questions (i.e. Should I or shouldn’t I keep poor Officer Krupke?)

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EG • December 8, 2008 at 11:25 am

Please see your comment disclaimer about the “facist regime” below if you’re wondering why you only get agreers. I think you posted a while back, too, about not wanting to read comments from detractors and wanting only positivity.

I don’t blame you, and I have no beef with how you manage comments on your blog, but don’t be surprised when you get only head nods in the comments section.

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Susan • December 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

I haven’t been able to post any comments to your blog so far but just wanted to say I finished your book and loved it! You are one intelligent, witty, and resourceful woman, endowed with so much determination. But I would not offer you advice or criticism; I don’t know you.

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Susan • December 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

I haven’t been able to post any comments to your blog so far but just wanted to say I finished your book and loved it! You are one intelligent, witty, and resourceful woman, endowed with so much determination. But I would not offer you advice or criticism; I don’t know you.

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Yvonne • December 8, 2008 at 11:38 am

Wow, this is the first time I’ve been motivated to write and it will probably be my last. Are you sure you want to keep the blog going? Why don’t you just write in a notebook so you don’t have to deal with comments anymore? I actually do have some negative things to say about your writing but didn’t bother because of your “fascist regime” comment and the generally positive vibe of your blog. Get over yourself.

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Dinah Soar • December 8, 2008 at 11:50 am

You’ve made an excellent point.

I believe open discourse is important. But it must be civil. And open to the ideas and thinking of others.

Without the freedom to express an opposing point of view or giving consideration to it, then there’s really little point in discourse.

Those who hold the power to allow or disallow expression of beliefs and thoughts must be very careful. They have in their hands the power to censor and limit freedom of speech. They rob themselves and others of knowledge and wisdom.

Sometimes people we don’t agree with or don’t like make very good points–and a wise person will consider them and forget that the source is disagreeable.

I purposefully didn’t comment about the candidates in our presidential election on any blogs because most people assumed if you weren’t for Obama you were racist.

And granted we have a lot of racists in this country. But I’m not a racist. And while I didn’t vote for Obama I fully support him as our President-elect, and am praying for him and his family.

And if people are honest–just saying what they think you want to hear–what’s the point? It’s just air passing the vocal cords.

Personally I don’t comment on blogs where I observe hateful vindictive attitudes from the blogger and followers. I’d be afraid to disagree–who wants to be attacked and ravaged like prey? And I don’t want to be identified with such a group. Some of the most hateful people I’ve observed are those who oppose hate speech!

The danger of being a blogger is that you can get a following and if it goes to your head you can lose yourself. You have gleaned that bit of wisdom it appears and are realizing that while it’s good to give consideration to what others think/say–it’s most important to make what you think and believe steer your life. You must live with yourself and the consequences of your beliefs and actions.

I think you have very good balance. And should you choose to turn off the comments there is nothing wrong with that. This is your blog–for you–by you. That makes you chief potentate.

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Rebecca Hoover • December 8, 2008 at 11:53 am

Wow, you really lit a fire, what’s with Yvonne and “get over yourself”? Chill people, we all read your blog because we feel a kinship, in one way or another. And I personally don’t post negative comments because I didn’t really think you would want to hear them (to be honest, I haven’t actually had anything to say to you that would be negative but I’m considering other blogs that I read). I feel like I kind of know you, but of course you don’t know me at all, and really, I only “know” the parts of you that you choose to share. So I try to respect your blog, but now that I know that you welcome opposing opinions, I’ll be less likely to censor my comments. With respect, of course. And thank you, I enjoy your blog.

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JDM • December 8, 2008 at 12:15 pm

I respectfully point out that you’ve been pretty vocal about which comments you will and won’t read, which comments annoy you, etc. You can’t really have “open discussion” in a fascist regime, however benevolent. If you say, “Don’t even bother telling me that you don’t agree with me” about one thing, you can hardly be surprised when readers extrapolate that policy to apply to other topics as well. How are we to know which topics are and aren’t up for open discussion, and which comments will prompt a negative reaction from you?

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Heather • December 8, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Hi,

Just joining in on your blog. I found it through searches about your book. I haven’t had the time to read the archives, but I will. I also have my own weight loss story. Kudos to you for your success.

People, including myself, like to echo what we read. Maybe there is an element of fear in posting an opposing opinion. The internet has become much less anonymous than it used to be.

If I had joined in when you last posted this is what I would have said. Animals that can’t get along is a recipe for disaster. You should keep the older cat at your house and the kitten should go to your mother’s. What you are did is like getting rid of the animal when one has a baby. But now the kitten is in a dangerous situation at your house because of the older cat. If he shows signs of stress take action. And keep trying, animals have a way of working it our. Keep them separated when you are not around. I had to introduce my resident dog to a new cat. I gave them separate spaces. I was lucky, both are quite mellow and get along fine.

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lila • December 8, 2008 at 12:16 pm

So how’s your cold?

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Loup • December 8, 2008 at 12:16 pm

One of the reasons I visit your blog is that you have such a common-sensical approach to a topic which I check up a lot on(weight loss).

Along the way, your style of writing about life made me think at times about what I would have done in the same situation.

My two cents about comments (positive/negative) is this.. theres never going to be a personal stake involved for the commenter. I would feel happy about your TV appearances, sad about your cats, be worried about your job or your headache, but it might not affect my life directly as much as it impacts you.

Pop psychology – In Ally McBeal, there’s a scene where Ally says – what me think my problems are more important than yours? they’re MINE. :-)

Peace.

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We Tigers • December 8, 2008 at 12:21 pm

@jbo – I second this. Not that I personally have seen this on your blog, but on others for sure.

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Shelley • December 8, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Two things. I have two cats and a dog. Cats were here first. Dog is the love of my life (after husband and kids, of course). Dog constantly harasses cats. It’s chaotic and no fun for the cats, I’m sure. Would I like to give the cats away? Yes. Will I? No. I made a commitment to them when I adopted them from the shelter. So while I disagreed with your first decision, I totally understood, and yes, envied, it.

Which leads me to my second point. Oftentimes, my first thought while reading blogs is negative. What can I say…I have a very strong inner bitch who would love to get out, especially when you can comment anonymously. But, I remember what I say to my kids…”how would you feel if someone said that to you?” and I refrain.

So, that is why I try to leave only positive comments.

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debbie • December 8, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I have a comment for you – your blog is so very negative that I am now going to unsubscribe. I’ve followed you for a long time, even got up to watch you on the Sunday morning Today show.

I have cringed as I’ve read your snarky comments to your readers, almost telling us to go to hell if we respond in kind to a headache or cat sympathy. I’m sometimes embarrased for you, and I’m no mamby pamby so don’t think I can’t take your tough talk. There’s just nothing here to read anymore, everything is negative, you want reader worship but you constantly complain about readers, I think you got a little to big for your britches (pun intended).

Your charm is gone; I hope you can find your voice once again…or if this is your “new” voice, then enjoy it, I’m outta here.

debbie

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Meg • December 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Cheers to that! ^_~

-Meg

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Kyle • December 8, 2008 at 12:43 pm

@debbie – You need to CALM DOWN!

It’s a blog for pete’s sake. If you don’t like it, don’t read it, it’s really as simple as that. No need to be mean and make judgments about a person that you don’t know.

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Kyle • December 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I think with your posts about Officer Krupke you already seemed like your mind was made up, and more importantly that you were happy with your decision. I give advice to bloggers online if they don’t seem to know what to do (and if I feel like I “know” them well enough online to share an opinion).

I also don’t hold back on posting a conflicting opinion on a blog entry if I think the person is blogging about something erroneously that affects other people. However, your headache, your cat, etc. don’t affect me or anybody else negatively, so I figure if you are good with what you’re doing than so am I.

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asithi • December 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I rarely get negative comments on my blog as well. I think most readers of weightloss and health blogs are converts. When you are preaching to the choir, it is hard to get anything other than a head nod. And when I do disagree, I am afraid to voice my comments because I do not want to discussion to go back to my blog with mean comments. I seen it happen to other blogs and I want nothing to do with it.

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Zoey • December 8, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Funny you should blog about this, I had recently noted to myself that your blog gets a lot of positive feedback. It has a pretty active blog responce crew, too! LOL. Maybe you just do a better job of deleting those that are negative…LOL. I think part of it is the origin of the blog itself, having to do with a pretty personal issue of weight loss and self esteem. I see other blogs where there are people not hesitant to disagree, argue, etc. I think that since the blog itself came from a more personal place, it attracts others who are sensitive and who can relate to self esteem issues. Does this even make sense? I think you attract more people who are likely to be kind, or at least sensitive. Not a bad thing!

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Karen • December 8, 2008 at 1:20 pm

@anon. – I have never commented before, but feel this warrants the pattering of computer keys.

I have to agree with this.comment. I am glad to see lots of self confidence in your writing, but sad to see the disdain and annoyance your readers seem to create for you at times. You are a different person than you were when you began this journey, that is true. But perhaps you are becoming a bit jaded and tired of feeling like everyone has something to say about every facet of your life that you choose to present on your blog. That’s your problem and you must deal with it in the way you think best. However (here comes another annoying opinion), I don’t think turning off comments is a good idea. I think it’s like walking out on someone when they’re trying to answer a question you posed. Very rude, very one-sided. No longer a conversation, but a lecture. All in all, you must magically remove emotional ties — annoyance, hurt, even elation — from the comments and just let people say what they want to say.

Let me be clear: I have gotten so much inspiration from your blog and had several good laughs due to your humorous observations, and I’ve even lost a ton of weight. BUT it is hurtful to see you get irritated with your readers. We may not have the right answers for your headache, we may even echo each other’s suggestions, but it’s only because we care about you, having been with you through this journey. Is that feeling reciprocated anymore? I don’t know.

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Karen • December 8, 2008 at 1:22 pm

@Kyle – she’s not being mean. She is making observations — ya know, her point of view. Kinda like a blog…

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peg • December 8, 2008 at 1:26 pm

I just finished reading your book and thought it would be interesting to visit your blog.

I felt bad that you had chronic headaches–I went through the same thing myself–and sent you two solutions that worked for my headaches…..from one headache sufferer to another.

Then I read one of your entries that stated that anyone who sent you ideas for how to get rid of your headaches was on your shit list.

Very nice.

I then went back and read some of your other entries. You have a slightly nasty, critical edge to your writing/personality.

While I wish you all the best–and fully realizing that this is your blog and you can write whatever you want–I won’t be back.

Note: having headaches is no reason to be nasty….and I bet all of your co-workers are sick and tired of hearing about them. If you don’t want people to offer suggestions, stop talking about your headaches.

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Kyle • December 8, 2008 at 2:13 pm

@Karen –

“you want reader worship.”

“snarky.”

“too big for your britches.”

To me, those are mean comments. There are other ways of stating a point and making a personal observation without being rude.

And that, Karen, is my observation.

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Pubsgal • December 8, 2008 at 2:24 pm

For me, it really depends on the type of blog or forum. In the personal health and wellness blogs, I tend to follow those I like. So yes, I tend to be more “you go girl” and positive, and I keep my fingers still if I disagree. If I find myself feeling annoyed often enough, I stop following the blog. One blogger mentioned that her blog was like her “home,” and that she wants people to use good manners when visiting her “home.” I think a lot of personal bloggers feel that way. So I do my best to respect the rules of the “home” I’m visiting–both explicit and implied.

Other places (major media sites or social networking communities of various types, for example) foster more critical discussion, and I feel more free to disagree, although I generally aim for politeness even then. (But sometimes I get snarky in those discussions…I’m human. ;-)

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JDM • December 8, 2008 at 2:43 pm

(Sorry to respond to my own post, but it seemed better than posting another new comment.)

It occurs to me that maybe you’re making the transition from blogger to writer. You’re moving away from the social world of the blog and toward the lonelier but more permanent world of the writer. In fact, this may no longer be a blog. It may be the place where you self-publish your writing. I think there’s a difference.

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Karen • December 8, 2008 at 3:13 pm

@Kyle – Good for you. And now that we’re all being rude and snarky, don’t we all feel so much better?

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April • December 8, 2008 at 3:15 pm

My blog commenting follows one rule: if I wouldn’t say it to your face, I won’t say it here. The internet seems to bring out the mean in people, they say things sometimes, whether genuine or not, just to be mean and it always makes me wonder if they’re really like that or if they are just little pissants hiding behind internet anonymity. I don’t always agree with what’s written and will say that but always do so politely.

Some of the previous commenters have remarked about your edgy/snarky/bitchy whatever you wanna call it voice and to them I would only say that if you’ve been paying attention PQ has always had a bit of a bite to her writing. I find that entertaining, some don’t and that’s your prerogative, but are the nasty comments directed at her really necessary?

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Karen • December 8, 2008 at 3:16 pm

@Kyle – P.S. If PQ can make “mean” observations, than why should she expect any less from her readers? All I’m saying it let’s not but PQ on a pedestal. If she can be frank, why can’t her readers. All’s fair…

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Lilbet • December 8, 2008 at 3:44 pm

I’ve been there. I get it.

You are feeling very misunderstood right now. Chronic pain can do that.

If you ever want to chat, email me privately. I went through all of this when I was first diagnosed with my neuro disease.

Deep down, I don’t think it’s the yes men that are bugging you.

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Mary • December 8, 2008 at 3:57 pm

PQ, I have wanted to respond to this entry since I read it this morning and refrained because I was afraid I’d over-reacted. I’d like to share with you what I’ve felt since reading it.

When I first read, “What the hell is wrong with you people? ” My initial reaction was, Why is PQ shooting herself in the foot?

I then, thought, well maybe she’s trying to be funny.

Regardless, it’s your blog. it has guided you and assisted you in reaching your goals that many of your readers who turn to you for inspiration will never meet because they lack the determination or spark that ignited within you to reach this journey. With your blog comes readers. Readers who have encouraged you and supported you along the way. Without readers, you wouldn’t have a book, your new fancy looking website, nor the tons of emails inviting you to far away places to talk about your blog. How about those little weekends away you’ve recenlty had that were all expenses paid? Just recently, you turned to your blog and wrote about how you feared job loss and directed your readers to your ads because at least that would be some type of income blah blah blah. And how did that pan out for you? I’m sure you saw an increase. Most of your readers don’t know you but people do step up –

Had you lost your job this week I highly suspect this post would have never made its way to your readers’ eyes. So while you’re brutally honest in a catch-22 type of way – I still think you’ve shot yourself in the foot.

Please remember that your readers:

1. Helped get you to where you are today.

2. Promoted your book to friends and relatives without any compensation or even being asked… but just on their own accord.

3. Promoted your tv viewing with friends and not just because it’s cool to see someone you read online be on t.v.

4. Supported you when you were going through this journey.

5. Continued to read when you switched gears and went from it beling a weight loss blog to an all-around blog.

6. Continue to link to your blog, reference your posts, etc.

I think you missed Thanksgiving or slipped on a wet noodle on this one. I miss the old you.

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Cheryl • December 8, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Yes, I agree with We tigers. A year or so ago, I commented about the new album on a local band site. I was basically shamed out of ever making a critical comment again. All I said was that the new disc seemed “uninspired”. I had a shit-storm of negative comments hurled at me, and one woman told me if I listened to the new album on repeat play for a couple of days, I “would grow to understand that the band is maturing musically.” I wrote back, apologized to everyone on the forum for rocking their little world, and never signed in again.

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K • December 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I have no idea where all the commenters above are finding the negativity and disdain they sense.

I’ve never read anything into your “no more headache remedies please” policy other than an acknowledgement that you have, by now, heard EVERYTHING. And probably tried it too. Nor did I read anything more into this entry than a sort of sociological discussion of readers’ commenting habits in general. I certainly didn’t read “You stupid commenters, why don’t you make better comments?” into “What the hell is wrong with you people?”

I don’t know if “Yes, Minister” ever ran in the US, but I am forcibly reminded of the episode in which Sir Humphrey demonstrates how to get the same people to agree that military conscription is both bad and good by giving them different survey questions. Describe one situation, and one lot of people will comment with their experiences; when the situation changes, another lot come out of the woodwork.

After maybe three years of reading your blog I still like it. When I don’t comment, it’s probably because there are already 30 comments and the chances of my saying anything that hasn’t been said are limited.

I’m glad to hear you don’t worry too much what we (or anyone else) thinks. From the lofty viewpoint of someone two years older than you, I think it’s all part of growing up and becoming your own person.

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Allison • December 8, 2008 at 5:40 pm

@April – You said it. You conveyed exactly what I was just about to write.

Jennette, I check in and catch up once every two weeks or so. I have always enjoyed your posts and appreciate your thoughtfulness in your writing. I was a bit shocked to see some of what I consider to be left field reactions (sorry, left fielders). Maybe this is a compliment to how much they have relied on you and the bar they think you have set your yourself in their lives? I don’t know…I don’t read any other blogs and may not get it, but I commend you if you can handle what some of these devoted readers have said without getting super upset/insecure. It would tear me up a bit…but then again I am a right fielder. :) Heads up to the lefties, I will not engage in a comment war.

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Allison • December 8, 2008 at 5:41 pm

@April – You said it. You conveyed exactly what I was just about to write.

Jennette, I check in and catch up once every two weeks or so. I have always enjoyed your posts and appreciate your thoughtfulness in your writing. I was a bit shocked to see some of what I consider to be left field reactions (sorry, left fielders). Maybe this is a compliment to how much they have relied on you and the bar they think you have set your yourself in their lives? I don’t know…I don’t read any other blogs and may not get it, but I commend you if you can handle what some of these devoted readers have said without getting super upset/insecure. It would tear me up a bit…but then again I am a right fielder. :) Heads up to the lefties, I will not engage in a comment war.

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Anna • December 8, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Your blog has changed since you have opened it up from just posting about weight loss to now posting about everything. Not that that’s a bad thing. I like your style. I get your humor and find your cynical sarcasm charming. Maybe there is something wrong with me! If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t check back every few days to read it. As for being negative I have a few theories, 1) dealing with chronic pain is bound to make a person cranky and 2) maintaining weight loss is harder than losing weight. One suggestion, I think you should welcome comments about the headache. Yes, you’ll have to weed through hundreds of artificial sweetener comments but you never know when one perosn’s experience may lead you to a cure. I thought the story about somebody seeing a cardiologist was interesting.

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R • December 8, 2008 at 6:29 pm

@EG – I agree, I think that could be the source of the “mostly positive” comments too. Even though I see the disclaimer about the Macaroni Military and the Fascist Regime as intended sarcasm, others may not.

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Ashley • December 8, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Ok, when I first read this, I wasn’t sure what I thought about it. I got a definite negative vibe, and my first instinct was, if you’re putting your thoughts and comments out there on the internet for everyone to see, why are you now complaining about the responses you’re getting? It almost seems a bit ungrateful…here you have a large circle of supporters who like to give you positive feedback, especially since you seem to be going through a tough time right now. But you don’t want the echo effect…but you also don’t want people criticizing you on your “personal” decisions… I’m afraid I’m at a loss to discover what it is you do want, besides for your headache to go away. If you don’t want the comments people put up to be there for the sole purpose of pleasing you, then you had better get less picky about what people write. I notice a lot of people giving there honest opinion to this blog, but then cushioning it with compliments on what a great and funny writer you are…clearly your readers are afraid of pissing you off…perhaps if they weren’t afraid, you’d get more interesting feedback? You can either allow people to be honest, or you can like everything you read…I doubt you can have it both ways.

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Emily • December 8, 2008 at 7:02 pm

My first thought is good for you for not needing external validation.

Secondly, just because you have heard it all before, doesn’t mean everyone else has. Someone else with chronic headaches might read this and find advice.

The comments take on a life of their own, and like it or not, sometimes the comments have nothing to do with you.

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Melissa • December 8, 2008 at 7:23 pm

Wow that was quite some feedback you got there!! Nothing to add, except to note that.

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Nancy • December 8, 2008 at 7:37 pm

What I found fascinating was that only ONE response was submitted to the “Elsewhere” blog prior to this. You have been an inspiration to many of us, and we truly appreciate that. In return, we bought your book. And many of us have supported your every move on this blog, much as a friend would support a friend. But, I venture to guess that many of us have just about had it with the brag element and the lack of reciprocal support. This blog cooked it for me. I wish you well, but I won’t be back.

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Kat • December 8, 2008 at 7:37 pm

I’ve read your blog for a long time and I’ve never commented because you often blog about the kinds of comments you don’t want or that you openly say you will ignore. It’s not just the headache, there have been others. So when you write a post about how boring your comments are because people always agree with you, I just had to point out that this is why I never comment, whether I agree with you or not. Why put in the time if it is just going to be ignored?

The whole tone of your blog has changed a lot over the past little bit but that is what happens with blogs as life changes. I am not sure if it was the book or the headache or what but its just so different that it has taken a very unappealing turn. I kept thinking that maybe it was just a phase but I am starting to think it is not so I think it is time I unsubscribe.

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debby • December 8, 2008 at 8:02 pm

Goodness gracious. I am really surprised by the bluntness(?) of so many of the comments.

I really agree with this statement of yours: “I do sometimes worry if blogging encourages an echo chamber.” I am pretty opinionated, and also think I am good at solving problems-ha!- and sometimes when my weight loss blogging buddies blog about having the same problem over and over and over, I get frustrated, and will try to offer some advice or solution or some such thing. And one time I was really nailed for that, by another commenter who said straight out that basically you were only supposed to encourage the blogger, period. So I was a little gun-shy after that.

I love your last paragraph, too, and agree with you. And really, PQ, I LOVE your disclaimer about being a fascist regime, etc. It is such a clever bit of writing, and never fails to make me laugh. Don’t most people get that?

I love your writing style. I loved your blogs about weight and losing weight, etc. But I was glad when you decided to branch out and write about more of your life. Thank you.

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anji • December 8, 2008 at 8:23 pm

@peg – As a chronic pain sufferer for almost 6 years, when you have something that hurts like a son-of-a-bitch 24/7, sometimes it’s hard NOT to complain about it. Sometimes you can deal with it, sometimes you don’t.

BTW, i doubt PQ goes around all day, whining about her headache and doing the oh-woe-is-me thing. Unless you live with something so dibilatating, you have no clue. And you say you have headaches but – I really don’t think you *get it*.

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Lyn • December 8, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I dunno, I’ve been reading on and off for maybe 15 months and have always enjoyed the blog. I still like it. And I just want to add that I got to spend a bit of time with PQ in Chicago and found her to be very nice, pleasant, and enjoyable EVEN with a headache :)

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Deb • December 8, 2008 at 9:13 pm

@K – You didn’t read anything into “What the hell is wrong with you people?” I think any sentence that contains the words “you people” automatically has a condescending and derogatory tone to it, intended or not. That’s just me. You may not take it that way. But it’s PQ’s blog and she can be condescending if she wants to. And we can choose to read, or not. I choose to read. This wasn’t my favorite post in the world but, hey, it’s not my blog.

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cindy • December 8, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Hi PQ,

By now you’ve probably stopped reading. If you have, I don’t blame you. If you haven’t, know that there are intelligent beings out here in the blogosphere who admire your wit and find your writing refreshingly honest. I don’t always agree—or disagree, for that matter. Sometimes I just mull the ideas around. I think that sometimes it is hard for people to watch someone grow… and it has certainly been my experience that weight loss and the changes that come with it are often harder for those around us than for US to deal with. We’re not cute a cuddly anymore. We don’t apologize for existing. We are imperfect and proud of it. We’ve joined the human race with all its foibles ~ and that can be hard for some to accept. Maybe that is what is happening for some of your readers. I like it that you say what you think, whether it is “popular” or not. In that way, you continue to be a role model for me (and I am much, much older than you!). Keep your thoughts flying… don’t use a filter. It is your blog, after all. Readers will come a go. Let them.

And for the record… I always disagree with you when I feel it, even if I don’t always bother to comment. And I did tell you what I think of you crazy pet people when you wrote about your cats…

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TMcGee • December 8, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Well, while it seems you have may lost readers/subscribers today due to this post, you probably gained a few too. :-)

I’ve been reading your blog off and on for a few weeks now but today’s post intrigued me enough to subscribe and I’ll keep on reading if you keep on posting.

I have no advice on headaches except that they are horrible things to deal with and I can only imagine a screen full of words makes it worse. It sort of reminds me of a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy though (Episode 3 of season 5 “Here Comes the Flood).

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Maureen • December 8, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Wow-can of worms-wide open!

I have been reading your blog for quite a while, and I have to say-I am pretty surprised by lots of these comments. It seemed like you never discouraged dissenting comments, just wanted people to remain polite and sensible.

I have never felt like you were disparaging to your readers, in fact I just bought your book from Amazon-just because I am lazy and just got around to it.

I don’t expect warm fuzzies from the journals I read. What I like is when they actually UPDATE, which you do frequently.

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KateG • December 8, 2008 at 10:23 pm

I like this post – I don’t find it judgmental of your readers at all. I think you make some excellent observations about blogging and commenting. And as you said, you came to no “grand conclusions”. To me, saying you sometimes consider turning off comments is very different from actually doing it, or dissing your readers as some people have implied here.

I don’t always agree with you, and I don’t always get your sense of humor (although I do think the benevolent fist disclaimer is funny). I keep reading because I admire your accomplishments, and because your posts are thought provoking. I like that, even when the thoughts they provoke are along the lines of, boy I disagree with her on that one!

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Lorrie • December 8, 2008 at 10:30 pm

this post pinpoints in some way why I’ve stopped reading on a regular basis in the past year.

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Kate • December 8, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Just going to weigh-in on this because I did make it down to the bottom of the list.

First, I see the difference between positive/negative comments and nice/bitchy comments. You can voice your opinion without being a bitch about it.

Second, the headache thing… I’ve had a headache since the 4th of July. It gets a little old sometimes with just my close family and friends telling me how if I just did this, this and this I’d be magically cured… Some times I just want to say “Hey, I’m feeling shitty today, sorry, cut me some slack!”

Third (and last), Those bazillion comments before me that said “blah, blah, blah you can’t write anymore, blah, blah, blah, I won’t be back, blah, blah, blah, I am unsubscribing… WHO CARES! You don’t need to tell anyone that. Actions speak louder than words or types! Get over yourself and Peace out!

I will be back!

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Kris • December 8, 2008 at 11:21 pm

@JDM –

“It occurs to me that maybe you’re making the transition from blogger to writer. You’re moving away from the social world of the blog and toward the lonelier but more permanent world of the writer.”

PQ, I think JDM is absolutely right on this point.

You’re a born essayist. “Unique among all the kinds of writing, [the essay] splices the argument and the anecdote, thoughts and feelings, ideas and abstractions …” says Adam Gopnik, a writer at The New Yorker who served as the 2008 guest editor of The Best American Essays.

Your blog began as mostly anecdote; you’re now grappling with bigger ideas. I think once you find your new writing self, you will develop a new relationship to your blog. Probably a less personal, less intense, but more nuanced and thoughtful relationship. One that’s about what you’re turning around in your mind rather than what’s happening in your life.

That a transition is in process is clear. And it must be somewhat alarming. But I have faith in your writing, and in your search for self. Hang in there. You’ll find your footing again.

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Monica • December 9, 2008 at 12:06 am

Well, I didn’t feel like commenting, because it’ll be long, but then I figured I don’t really comment much these days, so I can spend the time.

If you remember, I’m the one bitch who disagreed with you on the first Krupke post. Maybe I should give you some background. I started reading your blog at the end of 2005, when I’ve started reading many other blogs, mainly weight/food related. At first I loved it, I went through the archives, and before I discovered Google reader I used to come every day to see if you had posted something. Then a couple of months ago I removed it from my Reader, because I had been getting annoyed with reading it for about a year or so. I figured I didn’t need to keep up with every single post, I can just check the page once in a while. Mainly because I’m curious about how things are going to turn out in general, not because I enjoy reading your posts anymore.

There are a few reasons for this, but I’m not even sure if you care to know. I’ll tell you anyway. You have changed into a more arrogant person, and while it’s great that you have a great deal of confidence, it doesn’t mean that you have to be condescending. It also seems that you’ve lost your original sense of humour, which I could relate to. For a while now, I’ve been feeling like you’ve branded yourself as “funny” and you’re trying too hard. It’s in the description of your book, in the “you’ll laugh your ass off” part of the blog, and in general pretty much every description of yourself. In this case I think less would be more.

I also find that a lot of times you force a joke where there isn’t one, and it feels awkward and unnatural. I remember a time when the jokes actually made me laugh. Now, not so much.

…. whew… And there’s more.

Regarding the ass-kissing.

You posted a few times about wanting and not-wanting to hear certain things. You’ve mentioned not finishing reading a negative comment when you decided to stop losing weight at 180 instead of 160. You said that you didn’t want to know what it said. You’ve mentioned before how certain things were not up for discussion. Which is fine. It’s your blog, and I’ve never had to put my whole life up for scrutiny, so I don’t know how I’d deal with it. I understand you trying to protect yourself from everyone on this earth having an opinion on how you live your life. That’s why I don’t have a blog about my life.

Now, you might say that your reaction to my Krupke post was because I was being rude and had I phrased my post more politely, it would have gone over better. Probably true. But you also said in your post that you had made up your mind about it, and you were going to do it, so me offering advice on not doing it would have been against the “no advice” policy. So I figured what the hell.

Also, I’m pretty sure that you would not have reacted the same way had I criticized your decision on buying a new computer. But because it was a personal matter that you felt conflicted about, and I was taking the side of that part of your brain that felt uncomfortable with your decision when all you wanted was reassurance from the comments that what you were doing was ok, you got pissed.

And then, inevitably, someone posted a lengthy defence of your decision, praising your benevolence in accepting my “rude” comment. This is what happens when someone says something negative, and not properly sugar-coated, on a tame blog like yours. Did anyone agree with me? No. Did anyone else try to say the same thing but in a more polite way? Not until the next post. Did a whole bunch of people agree later on that it was a good idea to keep him? Of course.

The thing is, I think people are scared of you, in a way. Basically scared of not pissing you and your readers off, so they don’t criticize.

I’m not a “stir up shit on teh interwebz!!” kinda person, so that’s why, after my first reply, I didn’t comment back, or comment on the next post either. But I am a relatively confrontational person in real life, so that’s why maybe I don’t have the proper kind of grooming for this kind of blog.

The reality is that you’ve groomed your readers to be in a certain way and now you can’t expect them to be anything else. I read many other blogs (not weight related), where there is a lot more real dialogue going on, but that only happens when it’s encouraged.

I hadn’t been keeping up with the comments since I’d had your blog in the reader, so I don’t know what the atmosphere was lately, but the fact that my reply was considered “so rude”, and that you were praised to be so benevolent in not deleting my comment made me realize that this is not a place where I want to be.

And I’m not a pussy either, but for a while I’ve had the impression that because you’re now more confident and strong-minded, you also think that your readers are beneath you somehow. I remember you initially tried to sell autographed copies of your book at a higher price, to make it worth your effort. Really? Not even real writers do that. You know, the ones who write for a living.

I look at Shauna (dietgirl), who has had a very similar path, with the same kind of success, and I see the same funny, humble, modest, respectful person that she always was. I feel like she has not changed much, and I still love reading both of her blogs. I look at you and I see someone who has an over-inflated perception of herself and the world surrounding herself, who spends too much time bragging and who has evolved into someone I don’t much enjoy being around.

I’m not sure if you wanted or care to know all this, but that is my very long winded comment on the situation.

… see, I told you it was long. But that’s it for me, unless I need to reply on this same thread again.

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p. potter • December 9, 2008 at 12:09 am

Hi PQ,

When I started coming to your blog almost a year ago (where has the time gone?) I really loved reading about your weight loss journey. I myself lost about 70lbs three years ago, and have been struggling with the 10 I’ve gained back in the past year. I like to hear that I’m not the only one–that other people are struggling, too.

The thing that always made your blog different than other health/fitness blogs was that you don’t sugarcoat it. You don’t act like you’ve found the hidden secret and all of a sudden you LOVE exercising, eating right, and being conscious of everything you do. You acknowledge it’s a struggle…and that’s the damn truth! It is. Losing the weight only fixes half of the problem; living with a new body is an entirely different undertaking. And sometimes it sucks, as you said a few posts back, because you’ve seen a more perfect version of yourself that you feel obligated to maintain. Forever.

That said, I prefer your weight loss related posts more so than the others. But that’s a preference. You seem to rule the blog with iron fist…but so what.

I didn’t comment on your cat post, although it did upset me a little bit. I volunteer at the Humane Society and am constantly amazed by how irresponsible people can be with their pets. Sending O.K. to live with your mom certainly wasn’t what I’d call irresponsible, (it’s actually the best choice if it’s the only choice), it was the blatant favoritism that made me cringe. To me animals are like people, and we’d judge any mother harshly who opted to keep her “cute/lovable” new baby over her older, more finicky kid. While we all might have hold a true favorite in our hearts, it’s one of those things I’d never say out loud. Then again I’m very sensitive to animals in general, so take this as you will.

Anyway, long story short–do what you gotta do. But whatever that ends up being, don’t turn into the kind of celebrity I hate: the one who bitches about how intrusive the paparazzi are, and wishing they had more privacy, but who “forgets” to wear panties and lunches at The Ivy five days a week. In other words, be careful not to bite that hand that feeds.

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s • December 9, 2008 at 1:04 am

i think i comment too much on here, but i was just rereading the comments and i think they’re actually pretty interesting…

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PurpleGirl • December 9, 2008 at 1:46 am

I told understand how frustrating it is when people only agree with you!

I mean …. shut up and be glad people aren’t constantly bitching you out!

Seriously though, how dare you request people not comment on certain things? What sort of selfish bitch doesn’t want to hear every last stranger’s suggestion on how to get rid of her headache, regardless of how many times she’s heard it/trued it before. Jeez! Get over yourself. ;)

Don’t let the nasty people above get to you, especially the utter witch who made the britches comment. Some people just can’t understand the difference between offering respectful dissension and being a fucking dickshoes.

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DonnaLynn • December 9, 2008 at 4:13 am

As a blogger myself, I can say that I have times, sometimes extended times, when my mood is off, and I blog about it. My mood comes through in those blog entries. I also have times, sometimes extended times, when my mood is very positive, and my mood comes through in THOSE blog entries. People are human. They have a range of emotions for a reason, and I find that range to be quite interesting. That’s what makes us interesting people.

As far as who posts and why, some people are “yes people” because they aren’t really commenting on your blog at all, they are merely making a post because if they do it will leave a link to THEIR blog. I’ve actually had people email me at my previous blog and TELL me that upfront.

There have been a few times when you’ve said specifically what comments you aren’t interested in. The headaches, for example. You can be very interested in finding a cure for it, but after so many comments, the topic just gets overwhelming and you want it to stop. Comments about a topic you’re sick of are about as pleasant as having tomatoes thrown at you in a food fight. You’ve been very specific. In a post where you don’t want comments, or comments of a certain type, you’ve specifically stated that, and in others, you’ve asked questions and wanted comments. I think that’s more than fair. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with saying, “I”m done with this topic right now. Please. No more.”

I’ve covered topics in one of my older blogs where the comments were overwhelming on one topic or another, and I”ve asked the same, “Please, no comments on this topic.” This is YOUR blog. To write whatever the hell you’d like to write. Do it! And if you don’t want comments, or a certain type of comment because you’re just sick of the topic for a while, feel free to say so.

I haven’t found you to be snarky. I have found you to be a human being with ups and downs, and you’ve been very open about both. We all have moods. It’s asinine for people to expect you to always be UP, or always be SWEET, or always be anything. No one is “always” anything. We’re each a combination of many things, and to expect those many things to not come through in your writing is just crazy.

Enjoy yourself. Those of us reading your blog will take what we need (or in some cases what we want) from it, and sometimes that includes us reading into your moods or writing something that isn’t really there. There’s only so much you can convey with words, without the adjoining faciel expressions and voice inflections, and I think you do a great job.

-DonnaLynn

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DonnaLynn • December 9, 2008 at 5:15 am

I found more to say, which isn’t shocking.

People think that just because something is on the internet it isn’t real life. But this blog IS someone’s real life. And in real life, there are times for talking and times for listening. If you need to just talk and not listen at any given point, turn off comments. If you want to listen, turn them on. I”m in a listening mode myself at the moment, which means that I’m reading other blogs rather than writing in my own because I have a post I need to make but can’t due to legal restraints in place until a name is released to the public. So I’m in listening mode. But once it’s released, I’ll definately be in talking mode and not sure if I’ll want comments on that post or not.

And finally, I think I have a way for you to more easily deal with the headache-related comments. You could always go to yahoo and open up a throw away email address where people can send their comments or advice about the topic. That way you wouldn’t be faced with it every day in your email inbox, and you wouldn’t have to deal with it on your blog, but your readers who care about you could still feel like they’re being helpful to youl If you felt like it, you could go to that throw away email address and read if you’re in the mood… or not, however the mood strikes you. One of them may eventually have an answer, or they may not, and this way you could deal with the topic, or not.

-DonnaLynn

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earthmamma • December 9, 2008 at 5:54 am

whoa…people…you are taking this WAAAAAY too seriously. for goodness sakes…the world is bigger than your screen. i love that pastaqueen has a bit of bite about her these days…im just grateful she is still able to get to her computer with this ridiculous headache harrassing her.

jeanette…i think you are great. i hope you are strong enough to let these comments slide off….

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hoosiermeeshee • December 9, 2008 at 6:46 am

Somehow I totally missed the you’re keeping Officer Krupke post. I hope it works out for you. I recognize how hard it would be to give up a kitteh… Good Luck! If you reach a peace agreement with them, please share.

:)

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Eileen • December 9, 2008 at 7:32 am

PQ, I thought you were wrong to give up your older cat in favor of your new cuter kitty and was going to post what would have been for me a very infrequent comment to say “How could you do?” And then you came down harshly on the one person who said the same thing. I didn’t post not wanting to get into a catfight, so to speak. I have noted that the people commenting on your blog are your cheering squad who say “Yay, PQ” whatever you do.

I think you are an admirable person who made an incredible weightloss journey and wrote an interesting informative diary, although you sometimes tried too hard to be amusing. I’m now finding that, outside of your weightloss battle, you don’t lead a particularly interesting life, and I’m ready to leave your blog behind.

I wish you well with your headaches.

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Karen • December 9, 2008 at 10:48 am

I comment occasionally, though I read your blog more or less everyday. In general, I tend not to comment on blog entries unless I either really agree with what’s written/can strongly relate, etc. or utterly and completely disagree.

Otherwise, I tend to just read and not comment. There might be others out there who follow this similar pattern, so you mostly get blog comments that agree with what you wrote, bc unless people agree strongly or can relate, they might not feel strongly enough to actually comment.

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Linda • December 9, 2008 at 11:13 am

Damn!

Met you in Chicago. I thinks you is okay no matter what comes out of the end of yer fingers.

People sure are interesting.

Linda up in Wisconsin

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Elizabeth • December 9, 2008 at 11:55 am

Good god.

I just read all this right now. All I can say is that you’re a great writer, and I totally understand wanting to write about your life and also not wanting a bunch of opinions from strangers on things you’re having a hard time with.

I think maybe not everyone gets your sarcasm? I mean, the only thing I read in this post was that you generally had positive comments and that you thought that was kind of cool. Regardless, I am often that sarcastic girl other people don’t get, and it’s nice to find a kindred sarcastic spirit.

Rock on, girlfriend.

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runnin4fun • December 9, 2008 at 11:58 am

Well I guess you got the conflict you wanted.You have your blog readers attacking one another. I read blogs as a form of relaxation. I get enough conflict in the real world. I read this post after you referred to it in the next one. Seems your happy you’ve weeded some readers out. Consider me one of them.

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jane • December 9, 2008 at 12:02 pm

@Eileen – Eileen said it better than I could.

I disagree with you a lot in my head, but almost never on your site for the reasons others have mentioned above (you have said you don’t want to hear it, other readers will pile-on, and my belief in if-you-don’t-have-anything-nice-to-say).

Headache talk which you don’t want to read:

I do not have much sympathy for your headache and your feeling that people have improper reactions to it. I think you haven’t done what it takes to try to get rid of it. You keep talking about stuff being too difficult and expensive. These are your choices – 1) do the difficult work and pay the money and stick with it for a couple months and see if that helps or 2) do nothing or 3) try one or two random things a few times each and cross your fingers. Guess what? The last two have little chance of actually doing anything.

I don’t know the details of everything you’ve tried, but I do know that you thought giving up gum, soda, and sweetened yogurt to be too hard. That, to me, said the headache must not be that bad because surely if someone was in chronic pain, giving up gum, soda, and sweetened yogurt would be pretty logical.

If I had a chronic headache, I would do an elimination diet for several weeks (rice, select vegetables, select lean meat, water). It’s hard (I’ve done it)! But so is living with chronic pain.

You seem to be so certain that nothing you do will work that you don’t really TRY anything. I mean, REALLY try.

This is exactly what you don’t want to hear, but I’m saying it anyway.

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Rachael • December 9, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Wow, people sure had a lot to say about this post! Crazy!

J – it’s your blog. Write whatever you want and who cares what people think of it. No one is forcing them to read it if they disagree or have their feelings hurt (which is just silly).

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Johanna • December 9, 2008 at 5:31 pm

@Karen – if you’re completely honest with yourself, have you really witnessed PQ saying anything to her readers that comes even remotely close to the amount of negativity demonstrated here by some of her readers? I suspect that in many cases the negativity was there already, completely regardless of what PQ says!

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Anonymous • December 10, 2008 at 12:25 am

@p. potter – When it all comes down to it… cats are NOT people… animals are not afforded the same rights as humans and are pets, not kids. She was doing the responsible thing by giving the cat to her mother and not dumping him in the country…

I am a cat lover, but fighting about this BS is just stupid… you all act like she wrote about giving up a child… give it up… if you don’t like reading the blog THEN QUIT!!!

If she had come in and said I have a cat, they are not getting along so I am going to open the door and let the old one run away tonight, then you can take issue. That is being irresponsible. What J did was NOT

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Kate • December 10, 2008 at 12:34 am

@jane – You’ve obviously never had a chronic headache… and I’m guessing you don’t have an MD either. The “if you just did remedies” get really old really fast. Doctors also like to tell you that the other doctors that are treating you don’t know what they are taking about. If I am not to trust a doctor, tell me Jane, why am I going to trust anonymous you??

PS… I am really not a PQ follower who would agree with her just for the sake of agreeing, just someone who has had a headache since July 4th and gets a little bitchy sometimes too.

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Anon • December 10, 2008 at 1:21 am

You should be able to turn comments off for specific posts. You might want to check your admin panel. You might find that to be a satisfactory solution for those posts where you don’t welcome comments.

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Jen • December 10, 2008 at 10:10 am

Well, you said a few months ago how you only wanted to hear positive things and would delete all negative comments so of course people are going to say positive things. I personally felt that you should have considered moving out the new cat since Krupke has seniority. I see that a lot on Craigslist, I got a new puppy or kitten and my original pet hates them so I need to get rid of my original pet.

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lilybb • December 10, 2008 at 11:51 am

It is a statistical fact that populations follow a bell-shaped curve of distribution. Commenters are no exception. There will be intelligent people who leave comments, but they will occur with less frequency than your average not-so-smart readers.

So let us now consider your average commenters. Most of them have accomplised very little in their lives. They are the sideline, the mob mentality, the ones who throw garbage and/or praise upon the “doers” of this world without rhyme or reason. Praise one day, damnation the next, dependent upon their hormonal balances or the stressors of the day. Most of them love to snip anonymously from their misery, craving a little bit of the spotlight, throwing their little “hissy-fit” posts out to see if they get any attention.

The rest of us just read on and consider the source. Your Blog is an entertaining and amusing glimpse of another’s growth and evolution. Don’t let the crap thrown by the less self-aware slow you down.

Oh yeah, “bless their hearts”.

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jane • December 10, 2008 at 12:15 pm

@Kate – But if someone can’t even give up gum for two weeks, then really, why should I feel sorry for them? “It’s too hard!” about GUM? Really? I can see daily acupuncture appointments or something, but gum, soda, sweetened yogurt?

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jane • December 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm

@lilybb – haha – keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better. Yes, those who disagree are all just a little slow.

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K • December 10, 2008 at 12:49 pm

@Yvonne – I have not always sent “yes, ma’am” responses to Jennette.

I view her note about a fascist regime to be satirical (as are many of her posts and why we read her).

It is my understanding that she wields her power when people are being ugly or troll-like or flaming – not for simple disagreement.

Geez louise – can we give the girl a break.

A headache for months? Really? I’m cranky just thinking about it.

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Sarah • December 10, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I read this post the other day, and the cat posts too (even forwarded the first one to a friend who recently went through a similar situation). I didn’t comment on any of them, because I didn’t have time. I’ve been in both situations – ready to give my cat away (cronic peeing) and ready to maul the first person who offered to take him. As a blogger, I’ve also thought about what you are saying here. My blog is not about weight loss, instead, I feature crafts that I have made. They are not all great, but all of the comments are glowing. And the comments glow on bloggers who shouldn’t even be blogging their crafts as well. It drives me crazy, but I find myself leaving the same comments as everyone else on those blogs, just to be nice. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

I’ve read through some of the comments you’ve gotten here, and I guess I didn’t get as worked up as some of these people did. I like you. You think like me. And you talk like me, which means you probably offend people from time to time without even trying. Such is life.

Blog on, my friend.

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Brandi • December 11, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Wow! This may actually be my first comment here but I’m not sure. Nonetheless, it’s at least the first in a very long time, and as I’m reading these comments, I’m reminded of why I don’t usually bother. As I read the post I was amused as usual but reading the comments I couldn’t help wishing I had your phone number so that I could call and see if you’re all right after being so battered here. I always read the posts to get your opinion and your updates since that’s what I come here for, and I love simply everything about this blog and the personality that shines through, but normally I skip the entire comments section! And other than the verbal face-punching that goes on, here’s why:

The “yes-men” you mentioned annoy me too, PQ. I know they are trying to be supportive of you and that they, like me have begun to feel that they know you in some way because you’ve put yourself out there so much on this blog. Then again, there are the positive and supportive comments that are in no way “yes-men” type comments. Just ones that say hey I’ve been there and you’re not alone. Hang on, it’ll be okay again someday. I find those inspiring, and have even been so inspired by comments like those as to post about them on my own blog, especially when they tell you about some personal experience that makes them so relate to you.

But the negatives? No wonder you don’t return comments here as often as you seemed to in the beginning of this blog. People blog to lift a weight from their shoulders, to clear their minds, and to generally find a way to know themselves better. It’s uplifting to know yourself and be able to look back knowing that you are someone you can be proud of, and writing out your thoughts like this is a great way to get there. But comments? While I don’t think you should disable them (as some readers do find them useful), I don’t blame you at all if you don’t read them sometimes. Who wants to post about some big issue that’s been troubling them and then read comments that pretty much say, well you’re a big egotistical loser and I’m never reading this blog again? It seems you aren’t the only one around here with an iron fist, and I wouldn’t want to read that either all the time. I would think that the “I’m outta here” people would just quietly stop reading as I have on many other blogs instead of feeling the need to get in that one last jab. And for all the people who criticized you for deleting negative and hurtful comments? They need to remember that you still had to receive and read those comments in order to determine that they should be deleted. That means they hurt even if we don’t get to see them.

Now getting to the big cat debate. I was somewhat in favor of you giving Krupke to your mother in favor of the kitten whose personality better matches your own. And I don’t like the idea of people saying that that has any comparison with getting rid of the grouchy older child in favor of the cute cuddly baby. I’m a pregnant parent, and while my daughter is somewhat grouchy and I’m sure my new baby will be cute and cuddly when it comes, it would be idiotic for me to give up my daughter and all her good qualities in favor of the baby. Any parent knows that the baby will eventually grow up into a somewhat grouchy child at least for a little while, and if they didn’t know that after the first child, birth control should have been more prominent, LOL.

But seriously, there’s no comparison between cats and human children, sorry but there isn’t. I can relate to the comflict you had with trying to decide what to do with Krupke, and I wouldn’t have liked the idea of sending him to a shelter either. But I also don’t like the idea of letting it go until you come home from work one day to find a clear winner and a dead loser in the cat battle. And if it means getting rid of someone, why get rid of the kitten who is cute and cuddly and affectionate as you want him to be in favor of a cat that is old and grumbly? For all we readers know, Krupke might be happier with your mother than the kitten would be since obviously she is somewhat older as well and might not get along as well with a playful kitten as she would with a soft cat who’s content to eat and sleep and sun himself. At least you love him enough to find him a home and not just throw him out because he can’t be nice to the new guy. But pets have personalities too, and sometimes a person and a particular animal are simply not compatible, especially if the person has recently become more active and “playful” themselves, while the animal most likely has not.

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Tori • January 10, 2009 at 1:15 am

I’ve read the comments and I’ve read this blog for the past few months; even going so far as to read the archives from the beginning.

I feel like for a majority of your life you were the fat, funny girl. I’ve been the fat funny girl for most of my life too. I use my words and sense of humor as a shield to protect myself from the assholes in this world. Most fat people do; I learned this from my Dad who was overweight his entire life and held the quickest wit I’ve ever seen.

It’s been awhile since you’ve been large. You lost half yourself and I think while you were running off over 170 lbs you learned that you don’t always have to crack jokes. I’m not saying that you lost your sense of humor because I’m still laughing just as hard as your recent posts as I was at the posts you wrote way back when. I’m saying that you’re learning more about yourself as a skinnier person. It’s been a long journey and while you were reinventing yourself on the outside you didn’t realize that you had reinvented the inside. I don’t really think that you know who you are. I don’t think a lot of us know exactly who we are.

Would 372 lb Jennette ever think that she’d have people rallying around her and agreeing with her? Would she do half the things that you do now? With the latter I’m not referring to skiing or running I’m talking about the way you treat people both IRL and on the internet.

Your weight loss brought out a more outgoing person. A person that doesn’t have a problem speaking her mind and putting her readers in their place. I think with your weight loss you became more cocky. Not all the changes were great. When you make these posts you piss people off. Instead of inspiring a “lively discussion” people attack; isn’t that what you were trying to avoid in the first place? It’s kind of a catch-22. Either way the people that comment are kinda screwed. This post in particular has made people leave, why I’m not sure. Perhaps this is the post that broke the camels back.

Just because you own the domain name doesn’t mean that you always get to win here. Deleting someone’s comment because you don’t agree doesn’t mean that you win, it just means your ignoring it. That isn’t how the world works. At some point you’ll have to get used to the fact that there is always going to be someone that doesn’t like what you have to say.

Take some time to reflect about what the old you would do in this situation. Maybe it’s time to get back what you lost. The things that made people flock to this blog in the first place. People originally came here because they could relate to your struggle and they still can because you’re still struggling. You’re just making it harder because it seems like you might be walling yourself off while still trying to blog about your life.

I don’t plan on leaving and it’s not often that I comment but I felt like this one warranted it.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

Man looking into telescope

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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