Why the Hide and Mute options are becoming a favorite
A while back I made a comment on a story that sparked a lot of counter-comment and discussion. Although it also received nearly 500 claps, this brief statement of mine responding to someone else’s story was repeatedly attacked by people who either hadn’t actually read what I’d said, or who were so emotionally triggered by it that they reacted to that trigger, rather than what I’d actually written.
I know this happens often on social media (and in other places in life). A lot of people are essentially run by their unintegrated feelings and when someone touches on one of their hot-button issues, they can’t even think straight, much less be reasonable. Instead of responding to what the speaker said, they lash out at what they thought/assumed she meant based on their own emotional baggage and wounds. It’s tiresome.
In places where I have been a bit defensive with someone and they’ve further explained themselves, we’ve often acknowledge a misunderstanding or a deeper grasp of where the other person is coming from and moved on. It’s great when that takes place. But some people don’t want to discuss like adults. They just want to lash out. That gets old in a hurry, particularly when multiple people keep insisting on misconstruing what’s been said.
In response, I went back and underlined certain salient points. I even edited my original comment to make things clearer:
Edit: Before you leave an offbase or offended comment about how I’m defending women and letting them off the hook, all the while blaming men, stop and actually re-read what I’ve said, which is nothing of the sort.
The society that we have is based in a dominance hierarchy. That’s what patriarchal society means: something that I’ve made quite clear above. If that’s a new concept to you, I understand. But instead of going on a tirade or making a snarky remark, stop for a moment, take a breath, and try to take in something that is probably a bit different than you just assume it is.
Reread the highlighted segments again, at a minimum before you leave your comment.
None-the-less, despite one or two supportive comments, the off-base ones keep coming in. Today I got a couple more, even though my original comment was made in September 2020. I understand that stories circulate for months or even years after they’ve been published on Medium and although in general, I’m grateful for that, what I’m not grateful for is somebody saying the same tired, off-based things that I’ve already responded to more than once in other comments.
I suppose I could have said that to this person, but I’m cold and tired (the heat hasn’t been working right here for the past several days) and frankly, today, I just didn’t have the patience for even that level of engagement. Instead, I opted for the “Hide this response” option in the pull-down menu. I didn’t want to deal with this person, who is highly attached to misunderstanding things that I’ve already clarified multiple times already. I don’t even want his stupid, pointless, belligerent comment hanging out there unanswered. I just wanted it all to go away.
And so with the touch of the track pad, I made him (or at least his comment) go “poof”! And it felt really good too.
Is this the most mature, most fair, most honorable way to engage with someone else? You know what, today I don’t even care whether it is or not. If you’re going to be petty and condescending, and try to “put me in my place” I don’t really owe you a fair chance to do that. I’ve put up with so much of that in my time on Medium and in my life in general, and some days I just don’t have the patience for dealing with it.
More and more often, I am muting these types of people or hiding their comments, without another word. The Constitutional right to free speech refers to the fact that the government can’t censor you (except for all the different ways that it does have the legal right to do that). It doesn’t mean that you get to say whatever you want to with no consequences or push back.
Some days, I’m more than happy to craft a reply that further explains what I was trying to convey, or to counter something the other person has said, and some days I just can’t be bothered or have had enough of thoughtless comments for the time being. That’s when the Hide and Mute buttons come in handy, and I’ve found myself using them more and more often. I only wish I’d started using them sooner.
Allowing users to remove responses is a counterintuitive move for a platform that is geared towards inspiring discussion. But the Web can be a nasty place, and those sharing on any platform need to know they have recourse when they get attacked for their views.
Several social platforms that have failed to implement these kinds of safeguards have been bombarded with complaints and worse — user abandonment. Since Medium has become a place where people share personal stories, it makes sense the platform would want to offer writers a way to stem offensive retorts.
© Copyright Elle Beau 2021
Elle Beau writes on Medium about sex, life, relationships, society, anthropology, spirituality, and love. If this story is appearing anywhere other than Medium.com, it appears without my consent and has been stolen.
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