Got An Opinion? Think Twice Before Publishing!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post regarding my opinions. I don’t think any of my dear readers can recall the last time I wrote a really ‘serious’ blog post.

There is a very simple reason for this. And I think those of you who are new to blogging should pay attention.

The reason I am hesitant to state my stand on the different issues (be it politics, current events or religious subjects) is I am fearful of the comments that I may receive.

Too many times in the past I have received comments that really made me wish I had never started blogging in the first place. Debating and arguments are not my forte, so to have someone disagree or misunderstand my intentions, and not being able to defend my opinion properly makes me feel terrible.

I really admire how legally trained bloggers like Pablo, Josh and Haris Ibrahim write and respond to comments.

I have to admit that I have made mistakes in the past, and each of these unpleasant encounters with angry readers have taught me valuable blogging lessons.

It hurts too.

Some of the lessons I learned from personal experience and from other bloggers are:

  1. Write based on facts.
  2. Re-read your sentences and paragraphs to see if they leave room for wrong interpretation or assumptions.
  3. Be careful of personal bias or prejudice. What you, your family or your friends believe in may not be fair to others.
  4. There will always be someone smarter than you. Don’t force them to make you look dumb.
  5. Don’t spend too much effort arguing with people who disagree with you. Just state your stand, and accept that they have a right to their view point.
  6. If you blog under your own name, be careful about revealing personal details like the place you live or work.
  7. Admit when you are wrong.
  8. Don’t publish when you’re angry. Cool down and review your post.
  9. Don’t write statements that could get you in trouble with the law. Be familiar with terms such as slander or sedition.
  10. Get both sides of the story. It is easy to lean too far to the left or too far to the right on any issue if we only read from one source or sources who think the same way.

Well, I’d like to believe that I’m turning into a responsible blogger. I feel sorry for some of the things I’ve written in anger. The bad thing is I find that I am trying to stay clear from taking risks and playing it safe.

How I wish I could just say what is on my mind. I suppose I could do that if I started an anonymous blog (which I have tried, but no time to maintain so many blogs).

The fact is that bloggers are answerable to their readers and to the authorities of their country.

Perhaps I will write an ‘opinion’ post tomorrow.

What about you readers? Have you had any bad experiences? What did you do? Did it deter you from writing this type of posts? Got any advice to share?

Photo: Colin Adamson

12 thoughts on “Got An Opinion? Think Twice Before Publishing!”

  1. No offense though, but you’ve just drown my mood to blog.

    Blogging to me was for fun. An online space where I can store my personal thoughts and rant my personal feelings.

    Adino: Oh no! *throw Galvin a life jacket*

    Blogging can be fun, and no one should stop you from writing about thoughts and your feelings. I just feel that sometimes we take risks when we decide to publish certain opinions. Personally I am not one of those who want to take those risks.

  2. I wrote about this a long, long time ago. Actually, I wrote a lot about this even long before blogs in Malaysia started to lean on the more opinionated political side. The latest one I think was this satirical post on avoiding jail time from your blog.

    Either way, the simplest thing to do is just stick to common sense rather than what most Malaysians do and start speculating with emotions set on killmode. It never does anyone good and despite what we may think about our anonymity, there is enough trail around to be found out if we do enough digging…plus most bloggers seem to be attention whores anyway.

    So that’s why I have a disclaimer and a comment policy. It’s why I stay off subjects I know better than to touch and I only say things that I know what I’m talking about. After almost 6 years of blogging, there is nothing greater to have by your side than the simplest of common sense.

    Adino: You are certainly a veteran, and I might say one of the under-rated Malaysian bloggers. I think your posts are rather ‘deep’ and the way you think seem to be levels above mine.

    Perhaps sticking to common sense would be a good way to summarize my entire post!

  3. I think you have the right blend of your personal opinion and stating true facts. Sometimes it’s hard not to let it all out, but sometimes we have to keep some things unsaid.

    Adino: It’s those times when we are emotional (or intoxicated) that it’s difficult to restrain from hitting that Publish button too soon!

    Anyway I think that there’s an art to saying what you want to say without actually saying it.

  4. Need some classes? Bwhahaahah!

    But seriously, write with Jesus in mind. I am sure you would know what I mean. Allow the Holy Spirit to flow through you as you blog because as a Christian, we have to be responsible with how and what we express of ourselves. Let not fear consume you over blogging. Rather, let your conscience guide you so that through blogging, you would be able to be an effective witness.

    Adino: I won’t be able to afford it hehe… thanks for the reminder that there is another dimension to writing.

  5. Bro, sighs I’ve been feeling the same. The weight of blogging is getting worse as expectations get sky high. I mean, what if my boss reads my blog what would he think?

    Sighs, I’ve been so stressed plus the fact that I am so afraid to share my thoughts hence the missing posts nowadays. Sighs.

    Help me.

    On the other hand. I think if I do no wrong, I have nothing to fear. The constant tension is crazy. I have now so many secret readers that I didn’t know were reading. I hear hints of my blog info in conversations. Its scary to think they know more about me than I do of them…Haha oh well I’m too long winded. good advice anyway thanks

    Adino: That is one of the reasons why I don’t publicize my blog to my office colleagues. I think a personal blog can reveal too much personal information about ourselves, that may damage our credibility.

    I guess every blogger has their share of secret readers, who are people who love to read about you but they are too shy to comment. That’s perfectly fine.

    For your blog I think you just need to be careful how you say things, because your personality by nature is to have very strong views. Perhaps that could invite a lot of debate especially when people can post anonymously.

    Pneoxian‘s reply below is correct too, receiving comments good or bad is a sign that there are readers, which is the objective right?

  6. Everybody has their own opinions, be it appropriate or not. Whenever anything is let out for everybody to see, surely their individual opinions will appear. As much as you have the availability to express yourselves, so do they. However it is up to you to leave as little room for faults, to prevent from unnecessary flames.

    Receiving comments is a good sign that your blog is read by people. They may not agree with you, but at least they have spent their time in reading your pieces of mind. That is the objective of your blog after all. People who wish to provoke and cause conflict are doing so in the eyes of everybody. At the end of the day it is up to you to choose to let words get to you. For those who respond aggressively, they certainly have let the words get to them. Knowing it did, all the more better as it encourages interactivity. It is through differences in opinion that we are able to better see things for they are, rather than continue leaving in a surreal environment where everything agrees with us.

    A life without chaos, is not life at all.

    Adino: Hi, first of all thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!

    I do agree that everyone has their right of opinion, and bloggers need to be careful not to leave room for flames! As for a life of chaos, I think my personality does not really crave for that! I prefer peace and quiet

    πŸ™‚

  7. pneoxian: Yep, people always have their own opinions, and the only thing a blog author can do is to remove/moderate comments that the author deems inappropriate.

    Since it is your blog, you have every right to remove comments that may be of threat. But my *personal* (just me) view is that comments should not be removed even when it is criticism, as long as it is of appropriate language and isn’t ad hominem.

    Adino: Thanks for your comment Freddie! Sorry I haven’t been commenting on your blog the past few weeks… the subjects have been quite beyond me (it’s really advanced physics and math!).

    I do have a comments policy for my blog (up there on the header). I don’t delete comments unless they violate those policies.

  8. Hi , ko-ko Adino, thanks for sharing this post, I’m quite new to blogging, and I won’t say I am a perfect blogger, there were times where I wished I didn’t say certain things in my post,but recently I have been wondering how far is too far, when we write about our feelings or frustrations, and due to some bad experience with other bloggers,( as in they lash out at specific ppl on their blogs ) I really didn’t know how to blog a d ( Its like I was afraid what I’d say would offend or hurt people ). Thanks for your post, its one that I agree with, and its very timely, I really needed it. Thanks again !

    Adino: Hi! Perhaps you can still keep some things private when you write. Just trust your instincts and remember that anything you write on your blog is permanent record.

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