Process Post 11
The concept of a comment section on the Internet is generally a scary and overwhelming place and for good reason. The more that we have been allowed free rein of anonymity on the Internet, the more and more people start to feel free to express some of the more controversial and hateful opinions that they harbour with little empathy for others, as is seen particularly with articles and content created by women. Aubrey Hirsch in particular writes about her experiences in receiving online vitriol for content that she has created, and the ferocity that was in some of those comments was quite honestly horrifying. I knew in my brain that those types of things were being said on the internet, but to see the real screenshots of what people have to say when they are given the appropriate environment was jarring at best.
When I was designing Considering Cardamom, the template I picked out for my site had comments automatically built into the post formats. Initially, that was something of a turn-off for me. The last thing that I wanted was to have to potentially deal with disrespectful comments or people criticizing my content. Furthermore, reading more and more about the backlash that women experience when writing articles was overwhelming even just to think about. I’m not a professional journalist, I am not writing this blog intending to reach the masses and educate them about my opinion. The posts I write are for personal reasons, whether those are for internal reflection or just to have a record of some of the recipes that I’ve learned from my family.
Ultimately, I did decide to leave the comment sections open. Logically, it makes little sense that there would be a large amount of political debate or harassment within my comment sections given the content of my blog. I highly doubt that people are going to be sending me death threats or sexual harassment over my chai recipe. The context of a site is so important to consider, and it put my worries at ease to realize I wasn’t going to be linking my real full name to any highly controversial content. Additionally, while checking out other recipe blogs that I have used in the past, one thing I noted was that most of them had open comment sections. Most of them that had significant activity allowed users who made the recipes to offer suggestions and personal anecdotes that could facilitate new users’ experiences while cooking. I wanted to provide that possibility for a community and figured that I would handle any unrelated comments as they arose.
Becky Gardiner, Mahana Mansfield, Ian Anderson, Josh Holder, Daan Louter and Monica Ulmanu. 2016. “The dark side of Guardian comments“
Hirsch, Aubrey. 2022. “That’s How it Works When You’re a Woman on the Internet“