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?