[LET’S CHAT] Is It Okay To Avoid Talking About Controversial Topics?

Will it be controversial talking about controversial discussion topics? Oh, the irony!

But, for real, I did want to talk about this, mainly because I feel like it’s been something that’s been talked about a lot in general, since the world is messy right now, and I think that it’s best if we just talk it out. So, let’s talk it out!

Recently, when it comes to posts that I’ve published about blogging tips and getting people to read your blog, I usually mention something about discussion posts since it’s universally acknowledged by all book bloggers that discussions are a hot spot. I’ve noticed, though, that I’ll get one or two comments about how bloggers are scared they’ll post a discussion and get backlash, and I’ve realized that this has become a common fear: bookworms or bloggers feeling like they can’t express their opinions in fear of people hating them for it. Clearly, that’s a bad thing, and, sometimes, it feels like we’re just spiraling into something not-so-good.

I thought it was best to talk about it, so we could maybe finally clear the air about controversy and such. I think it’s always best to talk things out instead of avoiding them, which it feels like we’re doing.

I think we can all agree that the world is a dumpster fire right now.

In general, it feels like everybody’s on edge. Arguments break out frequently, insults are thrown out, terrible things are said, and people are feeling attacked and actually being attacked. And even though I love the bookish community, it seems like those same feelings are bleeding into it as well. Have those feelings always been there? Definitely. But does it seem like it’s gotten more aggressive and people feel as if it’s becoming toxic on both sides? For sure.

I’ve seen several people say they avoid writing discussion posts because they don’t want to be attacked for their opinions. And I can’t exactly blame them.

In a way, this relates to a discussion topic I wrote a couple months ago where I asked if bloggers recycling the same discussion topics was a good or bad thing. I think fellow bloggers write discussion posts titled “A Tale As Old As Time: Hardcover vs. Paperback vs. Ebooks” and “Is YA or Adult Fiction Superior?” because they’re “safe” discussion topics. Every bookworm out there has an opinion on these classic topics, and there’s nothing controversial about any of those topics that would cause outrage in the comments section (unless people are, like, REALLY passionate about hardcovers being the best way of reading and will fight anyone else who thinks otherwise).
I feel like even when bloggers write polarizing discussion topics, there’s still a lot of tiptoeing. I know even in some of my more controversial discussion topics, I’ll avoid saying something that I feel like someone could misconstrue or express a really unpopular opinion. And, personally, I think if there’s any environment where people feel uncomfortable to express their opinions or think they’ll be attacked for doing so, that, in itself, is a toxic environment. I mean, people say they want different opinions, but do they actually want to hear them?

I know I’ve had my fair share of personal experiences when it comes to controversial discussion topics.

Are Book Bloggers Too Nice? Should Diverse Books Get Special Treatment? Are We Too Quick To Call Books Problematic? Are Problematic Books In The Eye of the Reader? These are all topics I’ve written thorough outlines for and planned to write, but thinking of any potential backlash I might have received had my social anxiety acting up.
I’ve always been a person whose terrified that I’ll get backlash for posting an opinion on the Internet, and I’ve always admired those who are able to with such fearlessness. Even with my first discussion post – Is It Really Too Much? – which asked if authors adding more books to their series was truly a bad thing, it really made me nervous. I had to get up the courage to click on the notifications, and I was relieved to find that no one was rude. Obviously, it was silly to think that with only fifty or so followers at the time that anyone would care, but now that I’m almost about to reach 1,000 blog followers, it feels like all eyes are on me. I like to think I’ve grown from that, but as I’ve said before, there are still topics I avoid because I’m terrified of what could happen.
I think I’ve written three truly controversial discussion topics – Is The Book Blogging Community Too Clique-y?, Are Bookworms Too Materialistic?, and The Dilemma of Reading Diverse Books as a Diverse Reader. Funnily enough, these are three discussion posts that I’m the proudest of and are actually some of my most successful when it comes to comments. Not to say that I didn’t have passive-aggressive comments or people continually misinterpreting what I was saying – my “Are Bookworms Too Materialistic?” discussion was featured on Books Amino, and I had someone say I was a mean person because I said that merchandise was pointless…even though I said it was perfectly fine if you liked it, and it was my opinion (not to mention this person blocked me…even though they started the argument in my comments section). But, in general, people were pretty nice to me, and the discussion was well-received!

Do you think it’s okay to avoid controversial discussion topics? Do you write controversial discussion topics? What are your opinions on this in general?

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67 thoughts on “[LET’S CHAT] Is It Okay To Avoid Talking About Controversial Topics?

  1. Can you please write a post about ‘Are we to quick to judge problematic books?’ Look some books are ‘problematic’ but you know what? FOR A CERTAIN BOOK, i read it! And people were calling it out FOR THINGS THAT WEREN’T THERE. I’ve seen so much hate for said book and SO MANY PEOPLE SAYING ‘I’m not going to read this book’ without actually knowing if it’s problematic or not. *SIGH*

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think I know which book you’re talking about (Carve The Mark, right), and, yes, I’ve seen that misinformation has passed around in regards to that! I actually wrote an outline for a post called “Is A Problematic Book In The Eye Of The Reader?” where I basically talk about this attitude of everyone having to think a book is problematic when I don’t necessarily agree with that issue. I might write it and post it in November, because I had A LOT OF THOUGHTS! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I relate to this one on many levels. And it’s difficult to say the right thing. I first had a bad sensation of fear when I entered the Twitter book community. I felt that they were all really harsh to each other but during time I noticed that for some things they were right to be angry. But for others I still have doubts. I really don’t like when some people take screenshot of another tweet or post, or subtweet, and then direct message in private everyone who wants to know the identity of the post’s writer. I think that is… low? If you don’t like something you engage a conversation, especially because we are all bookworms and we know eachother potential and ability to change in better. I could write essay over it since the situation is complex.

    In the past I was deadly afraid of speaking up, but now I’m less. But I still have some social issue around people online, mostly because I get really anxious. Yet, if I do or write something offensive I want people to let me know, so I can check it, work on it and change it. But I still think there is a way to approach people. Some are openly ignorant, so I get why someone might be angry. It’s tiresome to see people never trying to educate themself. But others aren’t the devil incarnate, so approcahing them with the attitude of “I’m going to destroy you”… it might really destroy them.
    And I’m quite sick of: reading problematic book = pure evil. People aren’t monodimensional.

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    • Yes, I think there are things to be justifiably angry about, but other times, I just don’t see it? Which means I might not share their experiences, but at the same time, I feel like I have a couple of issues with what they’re saying, or I think it’s hypocritical (which I feel like I’ve seen A LOT). 😬 And, yes, I agree! I find it cowardly to just yell about someone to like-minded individuals. If you have an issue with them, talk about it? I’ve seen far too many people who don’t know they’re being bashed on Twitter, and I find that gross.

      Yep! I think there are people who need to be educated, but they don’t mean to be ignorant, which needs to come into account. Because some people assume that because their five friends know something, that the entire world does, which isn’t how it works?

      And a yes to that, too! I have a lot of thoughts on that, but maybe for another discussion post!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes I saw people asking questions, quite simple questions to be fair, and other answer kindly while other got angry. I suppose it change on how much you’re touchy about the topic. And yes, sometimes I feel some hypocrisy too!

        Oh, with “ignorant” I was meaning people who are but don’t even try to open up or think they’re right without having done little research. Not someone who isn’t on purpose.

        I can’t wait to read that ❀️ You always manage to write great discussions

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  3. I wrote a somewhat controversial post and had some not so positive comments about it. It had to do with fake ratings and my opinions on them. Controversial topics need to be discussed, it’s how we grow as humans. I’m thinking about my next discussion post about things that I’ve seen in the community in relation to the Library Bill of Rights. I always love reading your discussion posts, they’re always well thought out and thought-provoking.

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  4. I think we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about controversial topics, but at the same time, I sometimes have second thoughts about talking about certain things because I feel like it isn’t my place to say. Recently, I’d mentioned in a post about To Kill a Mockingbird being banned in schools for using racial slurs and I felt a little nervous mentioning it because I’m not black and it’s not my place to say whether it was appropriate or not.

    But I think that if we always made the same discussion posts about the same topics there wouldn’t really be any discussions going on because we’d all think the same thing. We kind of need controversial discussions or else nobody would be talking about them and there wouldn’t be any conversations going on about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that makes sense! I’m black, and I know the topic about using the n-word is a complex one among the black community, which isn’t talked about often? Like, I personally feel like NO ONE should use it because I hate it, but some black people think it’s okay for ONLY black people to say it, and some black people don’t mind white people saying it, etc. Like, minorities often don’t think the same way, and that usually isn’t talked about often! πŸ˜„

      So true! We do need controversial discussions, because then we’re not really talking about anything, if that makes sense? πŸ˜„

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  5. Often discussion posts raise awareness. There is so much on social media that no one can be expected to know about it all. That said I don’t mind free expression but people hide behind their technology and when they are rude and hurtful too many get away with this disrespectful behaviour.

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  6. For me, I think its not to avoid but to protect oneself from virtual violent attacks ahahaha. I for one avoid writing controversial topics like “Monetizing your book blog” but im really thinking about it, I just dont write about it. Hahah. Whats your virw about it, Mikaela? I actually wanna know since youre good at arguments and bookish discussions!

    I am an Infp and very sensitive to comments thats why I try to avoid writing about it but I guess I just have to stop being such a baby and do what is needed if something needs to be addressed. Idk. Hahah.

    Lovely post! As always. πŸ˜™

    Liked by 1 person

    • For what it’s worth, I’ve written about monetizing book blogs once, and I’ve read a few posts on other blogs about it, and while there are definitely comments on the posts to the effect of “I don’t think I would read a blog with paid reviews because I couldn’t trust they were honest,” the conversations (that I’ve seen) have been pretty civil.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That makes sense! I think you should go for it! I know book blogging is really hard to earn money from, and most people do want to be paid via book blogging, so it’d probably be helpful! πŸ˜„

      Yeah, I also hate rude comments or confrontation, which is nine times it if ten why I avoid these things. 😝 But sometimes, something just needs to be addressed!

      Thank you! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice post! I don’t write any discussion post but I think, if someone is writing controversial posts they should see that they not being rude to anyone or making it general. As long as this is taken care of, I think it’s fine to write anything anyone want. It’s free world and there’s something like freedom of speech in this world. And people should understand that person who is writing post is expressing their opinion, they should not take it personally. ☺

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  8. I love this post!! I think it’s totally important to express your thoughtsand opinions if you want to, and not get attacked for it. But obviously not getting attacked is not happening any time soon, so it makes sense that we fear others’ reactions to possibly controversial posts. It’s sad that we let this fear stop ourselves from talking about things they want to, because everyone should have the ability to say something without getting attacked. But while it makes sense, I feel like we SHOULD talk about the controversial topics?? If you feel like talking about it, you should. If you lose some followers in the process, it’s all for the better because they obviously don’t respect your opinion. BUT, if you don’t want to post about a controversial topic, you don’t have to. It’s all up to you! At least that’s my opinion. 😊

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    • Thank you so much! ❀️ That’s true; I think it sucks that some people avoid saying something in fear of backlash, because I really don’t think it helps bring anyone together! But it’s true; I do want to discuss controversial topics, and I think we should, because not talking about it is clearly not helping. πŸ˜… People definitely shouldn’t do it it if they don’t want to!

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  9. Write what you want. Have some nuance, though. Don’t write for controversy’s sake. Present both sides and choose yours. Be open to criticism. If one cannot do the last point, maybe it’s best to avoid that given topic.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think that’s a good point about being open to criticism (though I will say, sometimes it’s less “criticism” and more “let me share this thing I don’t agree with to everyone else and drag them and not tell them”…which literally helps no one). 😬

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  10. This is a really great post, and I think the articles you drafted sound like they could be really interesting and great! As long as people write respectfully, honestly and self aware-ly there is NO reason why you or anyone should be afraid to address controversial topics. There are definitely areas where the book blogging community can go too far, jumping on a bandwagon that starts well intentioned and just ends up in pointless internet dragging. We as a community need to be better at calling ourselves out and we can only do that by talking and learning from eachother 😊

    I think sadly certain things will always get backlash, BUT if you wrote a nuanced article and are receptive to respectful disagreement, then at least you can rest in the knowledge that you did an honest thing by raising discussion. It’s sad if noone talks, because then how can anyone develop informed opinions, and learn to think critically?

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s true; I assume that if people write respectfully and honestly, people don’t mind, but then again, I’ve seen perfectly fine articles that people make out to be bad just because they don’t agree with them, which I think sucks. 😝 And, that’s true! I think there’s a lot of hypocrisy when it comes to the book blogging community that really needs to be fixed!

      That’s true! I admire people who talk about things and get attacked for it, because I know they did their job well, especially if I agree with what they say! πŸ˜„

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  11. Great topic, and I have to say that while we still have the freedom… we should take advantage and say what we want to say. Life is way too short to worry about offending the always-offended people. Look forward to reading more of your blog! Rock on!

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  12. I second the idea that you should write what you want. I think there’s an expectation today that people who have “platforms” of any kind need to use them “for good causes.” But, you know, if my focus for my book blog is writing reviews of YA books, then I think it’s fine to do mainly that. I don’t think it’s “bad” if I don’t use it as platform to tell my audience about, I don’t know, the dangers of cigarettes because “I have a responsibility to use my popularity for good” or something like that.

    Mostly, of course, these discussions come up in regards to politics, and I’ve seen authors get some criticism for not making political statements on Twitter. I’m fine with that. Presumably they feel their expertise is in writing books (in many cases, books that have nothing to do with politics) and that their goal for their Twitter platform is to talk about writing. I have no way of judging if they are politically active in other ways in their lives, which could be simply what they prefer. And, honestly, I have no reason to trust someone’s opinion on, say, US tax reform, if their claim to fame is writing picture books about frogs anyway. Not everyone needs to tweet about every discussion.

    As for book blogging, I wish people would be less afraid. On the other hand, I’ve gotten the strongest pushback for random discussions on my blogs, and not ones I would have “expected” to be controversial. Like, some people were really angry when I wrote a post saying I personally don’t like looking for symbols in literature. I…didn’t know people had strong feelings about that. πŸ˜›

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    • I think that’s a good point! I feel like there’s definitely been a rise in people who now dedicate their entire platform to reading diverse books and calling out problematic ones, which is great – but this idea that if someone doesn’t that that makes them a bad person, I definitely don’t agree with!

      I certainly don’t mind if authors make political statements or not. I’ve seen some authors that seem to be buddy/Buddy with the same people with the “diverse books” agenda, and those authors have always rubbed me the wrong way. Sometimes, it just ruins the book for me, tbh. πŸ˜…

      Haha, that’s interesting! I wouldn’t think that’s a topic to get riled up on, but you never know! πŸ˜‚

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      • I think people are wary of authors who use their platform for political agendas because it can be difficult to know how sincere they are. For instance, when you see a green company, are they green because they really care, because they know they’ll get more money for positioning themselves as caring, or both? Some readers seem to be wondering the same thing about some writers. However, it’s hard to ascertain the motives of someone you only know through their carefully-crafted public persona. So I don’t like to speculate myself. Because that’s all it is–speculation.

        I don’t mind myself if some authors want to use their platforms to raise awareness for things they think are important. However, I also don’t mind when they don’t. After all, if someone is an author, exactly why does their opinion count more than others? I mean… their area of expertise probably isn’t actually politics. That’s why I don’t get why people are mad at Taylor Swift for not announcing her vote. Are we really going to decide the fate of our nation based on Swift’s opinion? Exactly what type of study or reading has qualified her to sway the votes of her fans in one direction or another? I know she’s intelligent–look at how she handles the media and crafts her public persona–but it doesn’t follow that she has a firm grasp on the economy or institutional racism or religious freedom or anything else people are talking about during election season.

        Also, I think there is validity to people using literature to escape. I know some people think that we ought not to be able to escape, but isn’t that why a great many of us read? If I am reading a fantasy book, for a brief moment, I might need, for my own mental health, to forget about how awful things are happening in my own world. Having an hour away doesn’t mean I don’t care. It means that I will come back to my own world being more prepared to care than if I had never taken a step back to refresh and refocus.

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  13. This is a great post! As someone who is also a little nervous of posting thoughts out there on the vast expanse of the web and instead of getting into a conversation, getting blown up at (not a goal to happen to me or to a reader), I think this post is a helpful anchor for dialogue around topics covered through books.

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  14. Thank you for broaching this topic. I do not (yet) have anywhere near 1000 followers but I am mindful to write in a manner that won’t be perceived as negative. For instance, I am quick to post about things I love – including books – but try not to write about things I do not like. I figure there is enough negativity out there, and I don’t want to contribute to it if I can help it. Just my personal philosophy…always happy to have constructive conversations where differences are valued but such a thing seems to be about as realistic as seeing a unicorn at the grocery store.

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  15. Sure, it’s okay to avoid controversial topics but it’s the controversial topics that tend to be the most interesting ones and they’re a risk worth taking. I’ve heard it said that you cannot write well and be safe at the same time. I saw a writing prompt that said “write about the thing you’re most afraid to write about” and it explained that that kind of writing tends to be the best kind. So I went ahead and wrote about the topic I was afraid to write about. I’m glad I did. So far the responses have been positive and supportive. I may get negative responses eventually but I’m okay with that.

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  16. Thanks for writing this! I think it’s so important to be able to say anything you believe in. I really hate how so many people right now (probably always, really, but they’re really loud right now) are shouting that people shouldn’t be afraid to be heard, when it’s those people who are usually the ones attacking everyone else.
    The way I look at it, someone will always disagree with you. It’s our right as human beings. It’s also our right to say whatever we want. Hopefully common sense and manners guide us, but having the internet to act like a screen tends to to remove all filters.
    I just started blogging myself, and I haven’t written any discussion posts yet, so I don’t have any personal experience with this. However, I do have several unpopular opinions about pretty hot things. One thing I have been wondering about: are they really unpopular, or are people just too afraid to agree?

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    • Yes, I very much agree with this! I’ve always found the loudest to be the most hypocritical in the bookish community, which is probably why I’m not a part of it. 😬

      That’s so true! We all clash a lot, and sometimes, our disagreements can turn into huge things and sometimes not. The idea of the Internet and being able to give info out quick and fast really has changed all of us, for better and worse, of course!

      That last sentence is an excellent point! I see people express unpopular opinions, and a large majority of the time, a lot of people agree with them, but needed someone to say it first to speak up, which carries volumes, I think!

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  17. I think it’s okay to avoid because it’s ultimately the blogger’s choice bur it IS unsettling that if you write something you might get backlash. Considering how much drama goes on around twitter and the book community nowadays, I feel bad. This is not who we’re supposed to be! Want to praise? Okay. Want to disagree? Okay. But going on Twitter and rallying followers to go AGAINST that person for an opinion? That’s scary.

    Personally, I don’t talk on controversial topics. But then I don’t only blog about books, so I’ve got enough content and discussion posts. But I do wish that there wasn’t this fear embedded into bloggers, especially new ones, about the reply they would get and hence stopping them from saying what they want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it really does suck! Lots of people like to say that the blogging community has always had its problems, and that’s true, but to act like it doesn’t feel like it’s been a bit rougher than usual seems like it’s ignoring the issue? I mean, Republicans and Democrats have always disagreed, but to say that it hasn’t gotten worse in the last couple years is missing the point.

      That’s true! I don’t want to be in a blogging community where people are scared to speak their minds or one that’s slowly falling apart. 😩

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  18. OMG yes! I have honestly tiptoed around some of my own discussion topics – which weren’t even groundbreaking??! – because in this day and age EVERYONE is offended by something and things can be quickly twisted around on the internet that it is pretty nerve-wracking to post an opinion anywhere online…

    I mean as long as you’re not being outright racist or hurtful, I don’t see why you shouldn’t say what you think! Discussions are healthy and broaden the mind.

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    • Haha, there are some days where I get worked up over a discussion topic that I don’t think is even controversial, but after posting it, I get anxious for no reason. πŸ˜‚ Yeah, things can be twisted around quickly, and I’ve seen it happen to people, and it’s terrible. 😩 That’s true! Discussions do exist so we can discuss, so we need to talk about the important things, right?

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  19. I know I stay away from controversial topics. It’s just not my nature to engage in such things, but I appreciate people who can go there, and do it in a respectful way (which I always think you do). And it’s a slippery slope, because what offends us is personal to us. I feel like everybody is a little too prickly about things these days. I also like to keep it positive for myself.

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  20. Being afraid to post or write controversial posts i think is a legitimate fear especially because of the nature of the internet. The cases of creators being harassed or worse is pretty much a characteristic of the online world right now. I personally don’t like to write controversial content because of the same fear. But they do have to be written otherwise how the heck are they going to be discussed. I think in that case it is going to be a case of properly presenting all sides and coming to your own conclusions. Very interesting discussion! πŸ˜„

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  21. This is interesting. I think if you’re asking “is it okay to avoid talking about important things?”, I would say it’s okay, you can do what you want, but it’s kind of a bit cowardly. Like you said, so much is going on in the world right now, and looking away is basically helping the oppressor. So I think reading and promoting diverse books is important; but going back to what I commented under your ‘diverse reader’ discussion, you don’t need to read books that represent yourself, promoting diverse books is about raising other people’s voices!
    However, while I think promoting marginalized and oppressed voices is important, I don’t think you have to be controversial. If you dislike a popular book, you can say that in your review, because that’s a valid opinion. But discussion posts such as ‘do diverse books deserve special treatment?’ feel very click-batey to me, and I think they raise unnecessary drama. If you WANT to discuss it and you want to, let’s say, bring up that you can dislike a book even if it’s diverse (perfectly true), you can of course post it, but if you’re avoiding backlash I don’t see the point in posting discussions that sound, already from the title, like an attack.

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    • I personally think that when it comes to books, I don’t think that important things HAVE to be controversial. I think there’s a difference between bookish things and the real world – like abortion and gun control are important conversations in the real world, and I honestly don’t think things in the bookish community are as serious or impactful or should be as controversial, just like I don’t think that if someone doesn’t talk about “important things” that they’re a coward.

      Mm, I could say that about a lot of my titles. People could start drama/assume things/think it’s click-bait by my “Is The Book Blogging Community Clique-y?” post if all they want to do is read the title and say, “Wow, did she imply there are rude bloggers who ignore smaller bloggers? How dare she!” Or asking if bookworms are too materialistic. Or if we’re tired of hearing the same books being mentioned in the blogosphere. But the idea that someone could just read a title and have the whole post figured out really addresses the whole problem, to be honest. Going into a discussion post thinking it’s stirring up drama is really not the point of discussions.

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  22. Hello! First, I happened upon your blog through DISCOVER and I’m glad I did.
    On this topic, I think CraftyScribbles has the right idea. I have written about what I consider controversial topics. Things that make me nervous that I’ll hit “publish” and bad things will happen. One post I wrote profiling a friend of mine, Joi, and her experiences made me especially jumpy. I wanted to honor her and her life with as accurate a picture my words could conjure. I decided the only way to do that was to call out my own confusion and missteps with some of the things she had encountered. Yet, the post wasn’t about me–it was about her courage, her gifts, her learning. In the end, the only audience that truly mattered was Joi. When she read what I had written about her, did she see herself reflected accurately? When she said, “Of course, I like it. It’s my truth.” I knew I’d handled a tough topic well–or as well as I could. In the end, there were no negative comments. But, like CraftyScribbles said, I’d have been open to the feedback if there had been any. Feedback is a way to learn, if only to learn that that particular voice isn’t one worth listening to. Openness, and an authentic desire to engage in discussion without holding our own ideas as precious, special, or unchangeable, brings about deeper understanding. And that, as you say in your post, is what can prevent future dumpster fires.
    Thanks for the post! Judging from all the comments I read through, you’ve done an excellent job of keeping the discussion going!

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    • Ah, thank you so much! So many people have found me through Discover; I’m still in awe of all the followers I’ve gained! πŸ˜…

      So true! If I feel good about what I’ve written and know I’ve done the topic justice, I know I can be proud of what I’ve written! I think one should be open to other people’s opinions and ideas and feedback, or else, it’s not really a discussion, you know? Thank you so much for the kind words! πŸ˜„

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  23. I haven’t written on any controversial topics, but I don’t want to avoid writing about a topic that is of interest to me just because it may cause controversy. I am not afraid of heated discussion and discourse, but I am not cool with personal attacks. Plus, there is always the option of deleting trolling comments that try to derail the conversation or attack me personally because of my opinion on a topic.

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  24. That’s good! G’on brush those haters off! πŸ™‚ It’s so crazy how rude people on the internet can be. You know they would never say those inappropriate and obnoxious words to your face.

    I’ve heard talk that the atmosphere is becoming more toxic in the book blogging community, especially for the YA lovers. I haven’t seen anything myself, but I also stay on the periphery.

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  25. I think that personally if you want to write about something, then go ahead. That’s not to say you should go out of your way to offend others on purpose, but certainly giving your opinion on a controversial topic should make you feel it was worth the discussion.

    Quick Example: Not that I have been blogging for very long, but this is almost the exact reason I blog about my experiences ad an Autistic female, and why, whenever I am able to, I have links to other Autistic-written resources whenever I mention Autism Speaks to be considered a hate-group on my blog. I want people to know that I am not the only one who thinks this and that I am simply trying to give others the information.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I’ve been blogging for over six years now and I’ve noticed the tone of book blogging has changed dramatically. There are fewer discussion posts and more people talking about how afraid they are to post certain things or discuss certain things. I’m not immune to the fear myself. There are books I don’t want to review because I blog as a hobby. It’s supposed to be something I enjoy doing, talking with other literature lovers. I don’t want to deal with being attacked. I have been a couple times (for the most random, things incidentally) and the emotional toll was terrible. I fully understand why bloggers don’t put themselves through that (or at least do their best to avoid it).

    At the same time, I worry that, by allowing ourselves to be cowed and silenced, we are destroying the essence of what we do. We don’t discuss books anymore. We…allow certain people to control the narrative, even when what they are saying is flatly contradicted by textual evidence in the books. Frankly, many books that are being criticized as “racist” or “sexist” or what have you, are actually by authors challenging racist and sexist attitudes, except readers aren’t able to distinguish the difference. Having a character who says a sexist thing is enough for people to call for book banning–even if the character is depicted as wrong and the author is obviously not condoning this behavior! If we give up all books that show unsavory things, however, we lose so much thought-provoking literature. There would be no To Kill a Mockingbird, for instance. We would be losing a book that has made generations of American school children question institutional racism. Banning books like this is counter-productive to what we want to achieve.

    I don’t know what happened to make discussion taboo. I look fondly back on the days when you could have a real conversation about, for instance, whether “Cinderella” is feminist or not, both sides looking at the textual evidence to argue, “No, because she marries a man to solve her problems,” or “Yes, because she chooses to end a cycle of abuse.” Conversations don’t happen anymore because no one wants to have a mob come for them if they happen to have the “wrong” opinion. And when there is no conversation, the point of literature and of blogging seems to be gone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I agree; I’ve definitely seen an uptick of people saying they’re scared to say their opinions, which I hate. 😝 I agree; I hate confrontation, and don’t have time for it, not to mention that I’m a sensitive person, so it’s probably bother me more than it should!

      Yep, I think that’s a really important point to make! I feel like recently, call-outs have become more and more inaccurate. Like, after the book is released and the controversy is over, it becomes clear that incorrect info was spread around or the context wasn’t clear enough, etc. Makes me think of the ACOWAR drama, which still makes me roll my eyes to this day, where people tried to say that SJM was equating being asexual to being evil, even though that was a complete misinterpretation of the words. And even after the explanation, people still said it had some sort of hidden meaning! I get the idea of people tired of a narrative where bigots realize their bigotry, but we’re STILL living in a world with that type of bigotry, so those stories need to be told!

      That makes sense! The point of books is to make us think and stretch our comfort zones, and the exact opposite is sort of happening! πŸ™ƒ

      Liked by 1 person

  27. What a great post! I *definitely* feel like there are subjects that book bloggers tiptoe around, especially with the whole diversity discussion and since Trump has been elected and Americans’ are *very, very, very* on edge about human rights and social justice. As an intersectionally marginalized person, I find myself in quite a conundrum, because I generally am one to see fair points in *both* sides of an argument, but people are often screaming at me that if I don’t choose *their* side, I *must* be an inherently bad person. Sometimes I just want to enjoy a book without needing it to advance the cause of my people and does that really make me an awful person? It makes me nervous to discuss things and even to review certain books like Carve The Mark because I *know* I’ll be villainized for it. I think it’s hard to have rational, calm discussions at this point in time, *especially* when you’re talking to teens, who already have heightened emotions. But I also think that now is the most important time for us to have these discussions whether or not we want to. I think, though, that if we *ever* want to succeed in pushing for diversity and good representation that it is *absolutely paramount* that we learn to see things from each others eyes, incorporate many worldviews, and have calm discussions. That’s why I try *not* to stifle my opinion, but also to present it in a calm and elegant way. I strive to further discussion, to challenge people and learn from them in turn. Because we all have lessons to teach each other. We just need to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, it definitely makes sense! I know we’re all on edge (not even the bookish community, just the world IN GENERAL), and it can sometimes bleed into things we just want to enjoy! I agree; I’ve always been one to read books just because I like reading books. I think it’s awesome if people want to make a change by reading diverse books or doing call-outs, but at the same time, I don’t like this idea that if you don’t join in or say something, then you’re part of the problem. Like, as a black teenager with enough problems and stress already, I just don’t need that in my life!

      So true! I think the only way we’re going to get further is by having discussions and sharing our opinions, like right now! I think that’s what helps stop the rift, rather than insulting each other or assuming the worst in others!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I feel this so much! I have pretty bad anxiety so speaking up? NOPE. I’m more terrified of speaking my mind on Twitter than on my blog though. It’s easier to clarify what you mean in a blog post with unlimited (? I actually don’t know if there’s a limit?) characters than in a 140 characters tweet. It’s SO much easier to be misunderstood and then attacked. Also I feel like Twitter is a lot more hostile than blogs themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same! I have social anxiety and I hate confrontation and stuff like that can bother me all day, so I just don’t. Twitter is definitely more hostile and things can be easily misinterpreted there, which is probably why I just stick to who I follow and don’t follow other circles (because I honestly feel like most discourse/arguments is in a certain sect of Book Twitter).

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I love doing discussion posts, and most of the time I’m unconcerned, but there are a few I’ve got completely typed up and ready… but I’m still worried about posting them. So they’ve been sitting there. And yeah, I kind of hate that I’m worried about posting them. And whenever I do post about something that could be controversial at all, I also tiptoe. I don’t know what the answer is though. Because in some cases, a topic really is just your opinion, and you’re totally allowed to feel how you want (e.g. your discussion of whether book bloggers are materialistic), but in other cases, what you say might actually offend someone or be wrong, or maybe it’s not wrong but people misconstrue it or something, and that’s what I worry about the most. But ok now that I’m thinking about it, I guess I’m also afraid to say the things that are pure opinion too lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. It’s funny that I just got to your post today because my last discussion was titled “My Unpopular Opinion About Banned Books Week,” which I totally had to convince myself to actually post. This is one of those cases where I KNOW I’m more conservative than a lot of my readers, and it’s hard to step out and say something that might get a lot of negative response, even if it’s just that people will avoid reading it. It can be hard to take a breath and put that unpopular opinion out there—but we need to keep discussion going so we can all understand each other’s perspectives!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true! I think we do need to keep discussion going to keep the point of discussions alive – or else, it’s super boring! I also think the blogging community is generally kind, so even when it comes to unpopular opinions, I don’t see people being rude about it!

      Like

  31. […] You’d never believe it from her blog but Mikaela is just 16! Her writing is brilliant and she is unapologetically honest (I feel). I’ve been keeping tabs on her blog for some time now and never continues to surprise me with the great content that she puts out. My favourite feature of hers is her Let’s Chat feature. You can check out one of my favourite posts here. […]

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  32. It’s harder to discuss stuff when so many people are following you. Bigger crowds do tend to get out of hand quickly, just because they’re so big and there is a diversity in opinion.

    I tend to stick to more lighthearted or funny topics, but that’s just cause I enjoy writing funny posts and that’s kind of what my blog is about – the funny + the serious and important, and how that works together (does that make sense? xD what I mean is that I’ll post some funny discussion, but I’ll also post an interview with the author of The Radium Girls, which is a very sad and painful story.)

    But I guess I just post those kinds of discussions because that’s the questions I have. It’s not to avoid topics that are controversial, it’s just that I don’t think about them, I guess. But actually, I’m thinking of doing a weekly discussion now, so I will be posting a lot more of those – I wonder how soon I’ll run out of fun topics and if maybe some of them will have to be tougher πŸ™‚

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