It’s time for Medium 201.
Remember, if you post regularly in a public forum, you will eventually cross paths with someone who either totally misunderstands and flies off the handle (by choice or ignorance) OR they just want to crap on your ideas. Here’s what works for me.
People Who Misunderstand My Posts Out of Ignorance
This was the case with someone I encountered on Medium just two days ago. They left a benign comment on one of my articles, and then went on a name calling spree in three subsequent comments. I went back and read their profile, a handful of their posts, who they follow, and who they’re following, basically it was a Medium version of due diligence, if you will. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I was the one in the bad mood or misinterpreting their message. (It’s happened before.)
As it turned out, the person had a troubled past, one that I could empathize with. This made it easy for me to decide how to proceed with the situation. I removed the name calling comments, but left a civil reply to their initial comment. I was certain I’d receive a sharp comment in return … but that was not the case. They left a totally benign comment.
Why would I do that?
It leaves the door open for future conversation. I don’t know which of my articles that guy’s read; but I can bet you he’s used to people responding to him the way he approached me. Well, I flipped the script. I ignored the offensive and responded to the positive (okay, it was benign; but it wasn’t an insult). Maybe he’ll swing by again and read something else, which might provide an opportunity to have a discussion, but at least the door’s still open. With a block, there’s no chance to have a positive impact on this person.
So I opted not to block.
People Who Choose to Misunderstand My Posts
I have no time for these people. And they tend to be the most insidious. They know what the intended message is and choose to use their distorted interpretation into a cudgel for my rebuke.
Again, I don’t have time for that.
I’m not going to argue anything with anyone. It’s not that I can’t. I choose not to spend my time on that type of endeavor. If they want to discuss the matter in a respectful and caring manner, great. Let’s talk. But to get into a verbal fist fight. Thank you, no. It lowers my position and elevates theirs. It takes up too much of my time. And it robs me of life force. There’s a saying that’s really applicable here—
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It’s a waste of time and it annoys the pig.
People Who Think They’re Going to Crap All Over My Ideas
This was the case with the second person I won’t even dignify with the label troll. They read one my articles and invested a fair amount time developing a poor knock-off of my post and finished it with what I took as an insult.
I don’t have time for that. I’m not here for that.
There was no need to perform due diligence as this person tipped their hand that the intentions behind them leaving their comment were of no benefit to me. They had no interest in conducting a reasonable exchange of ideas.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my modes operandi is this: when I encounter someone I’m sure is a troll, I stop, block, and roll. When people who are so insecure, so angry, so threatened choose to come at me like a rabid jack-in-the-box, I shut them down. I don’t write anything on Medium that I don’t wholly believe. I share about the lessons I’ve kinda learned and gifts God has given to me. I write to edify others. But I also believe in healthy boundaries (mine and those of others) and protecting said boundaries.
I can’t control how someone’s going to react to my post. I may not like it or agree with it, but that’s their right and they’re entitled to it. And I can either engage them or not. It’s that simple.
So … there’s no need for me to ever give someone a Medium beatdown on someone else’s behalf. We all have access to the same “Block” feature. If my friend wants to engage someone with a much narrower point of view than her own, good on her. But she at any time can do the “stop, block, and roll” all on her own.
Besides, it’s a better use of my time to tell my friend, H. Nemesis Nyx, thanks for sharing such a beautiful experience, how she broadened my own point of view, and made me a better person for having read her post.
Love one another.