Thoughtful Thursday: Deal Breakers

July 2, 2009

Thoughtful ThursdayAlthough the weather around here doesn’t feel like July, it is indeed July. This means it’s time for another batch of Intelligentsia (people who have commented on every Thoughtful Thursday post for the month of June). Hooray for everyone!

Rounding out a full half-year membership is Wiseguy from Woman Anyone?. Wow.

Not only did Ernessa from Fierce and Nerdy join the Intelligentsia for a consecutive fifth time, but she gave birth this month and still managed to submit a comment in a timely manner. Special prize for Ernessa: honorary Intelligentsia membership for baby Betty.

Next we have four-timer Kristen from Dragondreamer’s Lair.

Three-peaters include Photogrl from Not the Path I Chose and Beautiful Mess from Life induces thoughts, mostly random.

Returning for a second time is Jill from All Aboard the Pity Boat.

Our new Intelligentia member, all the way from France, is Lost In Translation from We Say IVF, They Say FIV. She’s currently more than 41 weeks pregnant, and hopefully will go into labor any minute. Good luck!

Thoughtful ThursdayThis week’s Thoughtful Thursday theme is something that Wiseguy raised this week. It’s also a topic that Lollipop Goldstein and I discussed last week when we met in person, and which I’ve thought about many times in the past year.

Deal breakers.

Specifically, deal breakers when it comes to reading blogs.

Wiseguy talked about the frustration that can come from commenting regularly on someone’s blog yet never hearing back from them via comment or email. After a while, she gives up and stops reading, as do many others who are accustomed to the give-and-take that our community encourages. In most blog circles, someone who didn’t return a blog comment would be the norm, but in the ALI community, reciprocal communication is the default.

(Side note: It’s a default that I don’t always manage, for reasons that I describe in Wiseguy’s comment section. I’m a very good commenter in some ways, but not so good in others. So, sorry if I don’t comment on your blog as much as you wish I did. And, sorry if I comment on your blog more than you wish I did!)

Lollipop and I talked about… actually I won’t tell you, because I didn’t ask her if I could. She can comment if she likes.

I have my own (fairly long) list of deal breakers. Some apply when I read a blog for the first time, such as through ICLW, Lost and Found, or a link from another blog, and are enough to keep me from coming back. My tolerance for each of these waxes and wanes:

  • Poor writing. I have mentioned a few times what a stickler I am for precision in language. I am also a member of the grammar police… and the spelling police… and the coherence police… It requires mental effort for me to get past errors and glean the real message. My mental effort is in short supply these days. I also tend to make the (sometimes but not always untrue) assumption that the quality of the writing corresponds to the quality of the thoughts. You’re/your? It’s/its? Extraneous apostrophe in a plural noun? One instance I can tolerate, but repeated errors (especially in the blog name!) and I run screaming in the other direction.
  • Misinformation. Say something cockamamie (“Going on vacation cures infertility”), and I’m gone. This doesn’t happen that often in the ALI blogosphere.
  • Nothing but cycle updates. I actually have really appreciated such blogs when I’ve been dealing with my own cycle and am filling the sleepless nights trying to find out how early post-transfer people have gotten positive pregnancy tests, but when reading in real time, I prefer blogs that sometimes address bigger picture issues, even if they also include cycle updates. On that note…
  • Uninteresting content. I don’t think that anybody sticks around for boring content, but what’s interesting to one person isn’t interesting to another. We all have our preferences. At this point I happen to find the emotions around infertility quite fascinating, but details about breastfeeding quite boring. I’m sure that will change in a few months.
  • Different places in life. Related to the last point, some people are in a very different place than I am. That’s fine, but it makes me less likely to read their blog. In your mid-20s and starting to think you might be infertile? I was there once too, but that was 7 years ago, and the veterans tend to resonate more for me now. Raising twin teenagers? Not there yet, but I’ll be back to your archives in 15 years. Someone who’s in quite a different life space has to be a great writer for me to read their blog regularly. Conversely, those who are in a very similar life space are easy to revisit. I currently read just about every pregnant-with-twins blog I can find. I won’t seek that category out forever, but for now, those are my peeps.
  • Stuff that is hard to look at. This depends on where I’m at. Prior to my getting pregnant, belly shots, pregnancy tickers, and sometimes photos of kids were hard to look at. This is why I do not post belly shots or pregnancy tickers on this blog, even though people have asked. I don’t mind them now, and actually enjoy the progressive belly shots sometimes, but this blog is infertility-themed above all else.
  • Very different values systems. Some people espouse beliefs that I just can’t get behind, and which I don’t really want to read about. Nothing personal. I’m actually pretty non-judgmental, but certain things push my buttons. For example, a heavy focus on Christianity is one that tends to turn me off, even though I know it draws many other readers in. I don’t object to people’s religious beliefs or expressions, of course, but it’s not something that I happen to want to read about very often (so says the blogger with a dozen religion-themed posts in her archives).

Then there are the deal breakers that cause me to stop reading blogs that I’ve followed regularly. The bar is set much higher for these — once you’re on my Reader list, it’s pretty hard to get yourself off. Including my Clicker duties, I have over 100 blogs on my Reader. Aside from the Clicker blogs, my blogroll is a pretty static list.

  • Nonstop negativity. Some negativity is fine, but too much gets to be… too much. Unless it’s funny.
  • Statements or beliefs that go against everything I believe. Recently I stopped reading a blog that I’d followed for over a year — longer than I’ve been blogging myself. It bothered me a lot to do this, because I’ve developed an attachment to the blogger and her family, but I couldn’t bear to keep reading. After hundreds of posts (including some that I didn’t agree with, but for which I respected her beliefs), she came out with a deal breaker. It wasn’t even the main point of the post, and I doubt that she imagined that it would bother anyone. She said that she’s a fan of someone whose beliefs are so damaging, so counter to everything that I know in my heart and in my head, that I feared she might start to enact those teachings and do something horrible. It’s only a matter of time, really, if she truly follows what that person preaches. Sorry if I’m being obtuse — I can go into it in a different post if people are desperate to know. It happens to overlap with one of my professional areas of expertise, and I try to keep my work far away from my blog. I will say that if one of my real-life friends were a fan of that person, I would try hard to convince them in the other direction. If I were unsuccessful, I would probably stop being friends with them — it’s that much of a deal breaker. Satan worshipper? Drug dealer? Someone who kills animals for a living? Not deal breakers! In fact, I have a friend who does kill animals for a living, and another who used to be a drug dealer. As I said, I’m not that judgmental, except when it comes to certain beliefs. Or grammar.

What are your deal breakers? What keeps you from going back to a blog? What makes you abandon a blog you’ve been following?

37 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Deal Breakers”

  1. WiseGuy Says:

    …from commenting regularly on someone’s blog yet never hearing back from them via comment or email. After a while, she gives up and stops reading…

    Bless my sweet heart. Nopes, I haven’t stopped reading at all (my last stop on hers was yesterday), but yes, now I no longer leave comments(that’s my devil side).

    I kind of liked the whole list of deal breakers you have done, and I can’t help dip in and pick a few from your quoted list of them.

    I recently tweaked my blogroll. Some of the blogs I removed were those which were dormant for more than five months (I did not remove lemmondrops), but I also removed a few active blogs that were yawn-inspiring me. I found that even though I found certain blogs recently updated, I was not bothering to click and read what the new post was….BOREDOM! That is a deal-breaker.

    Secondly, I have no problems with a usual life + IF mixed blog. But if it is listed as an IF blog, and then you say that “Oh, I am not TTC now, and I have PCOS, so I may have issues later”…then the blogger has lost me. I did chance upon a blog of that kind in May ICLW.

    Religion – that is not a problem for me, but if every post begins by quoting so and so from so and so, it bores me. Secondly, if everything is subscribed to God’s graces, that makes me want to choke too.

    Brilliance in content will have me remain hooked even if the blogger is in a different life stage…I read a rainbow – parenting after IF, not pregnant, recently pregnant, RPL, TTC #2, #3 or any other number, unexplained, primary infertility and such…

    But too much frivolity will unnerve me, and out I would go again.

    Bad Language, Poor grammar….OMG, it hurts my eyes! And because I am so bombarded with it anyways in assignments, and class work and tests and so, I avoid it when I can!

    I am not allergic to pregnant bellies…

    And some blog that decides to say that only their way of thinking is alright and not any other way, is out of the door for me.

    A blog that only chronicles how funny the kids are every single day, is a no-no, because in all probability she is faking it. Kids poop, puke, throw food, spoil bedsheets, dirty the carpets, and generally clown out the house. They also fall sick, and have diaper fiascos, they have moods, and may refuse to socialize like a parent would expect…if the kid is reporting none of that and only the bestest, sweetest, funniest…then it is the fakest!

  2. Cindy Says:

    I second all of those…and add in that if every time I click over I am forced to listen to (gag) MUSIC….if I can read from the reader it’s fine, but if I am forced to click and 10 seconds later have music blaring from my computer speakers…I will likely not be back.

  3. loribeth Says:

    Interesting post. There aren’t many blogs that I’ve actually dropped from my reading list (yet), but there are some that I find more interesting than others. I agree with you on most points — and yeah, bad grammar & spelling drive me up the wall!! I also don’t like music players, particularly since (ahem) I do some of my blog reading at work, & sometimes forget to turn off the sound. The blogs I read regularly that have music players are in a separate folder in my reader, called “Turn off the sound!” to remind me, lol. I also have an “inactive blogs” folder & I move blogs over there if there hasn’t been a new post in 6 months+ — makes it easier to scroll through the blogs I read that are active.

    What keeps me going back: a compelling story and great writing. Something beyond the bare facts of how your day went — I want to know what you thought & how you felt. And I like reading about other parts of people’s life than just their follicle counts, or their kids (once they have them).

  4. M o Says:

    Good post. I saw WiseGuy’s on the same topic. Definitely thought-provoking. I agree with many of the items and also strain to see if i am guilty of any of them (not always the best commenter, sometimes negative–maybe too negative?). Anyway, thanks for making me think.


  5. Kymberli Says:

    Great list. On the not commenting or emailing back issue, I know that it’s now one that I have to work on. I am typically a fierce commenter, but in times of trial and tribulation within my own journey, I find that *my* blog space is like a cozy bed. I poke my head out from under the covers long enough to get my thoughts down and out (it’s my emotional outlet), and then I go back to hiding from the world. I read *everything* that comes through my 100+ reader (I’m also a Clicker and I have a lot of regulars that I follow), but when things are sketchy for me, my commenting tends to get sketchy. I comment where and when the support is most needed, but not as often as I should in your typical even-keel posts. I’m at a point now where I’m bouncing back out of the bad place and I’m trying to be a better support to those who’ve supported me. (Which, BTW – I WILL email you about my twins’ evolving sleeping arrangements. I had made a mental note to do so, then got sidetracked and it slipped my mind).

    Grammar poor writing: that’s a dealbreaker for me, but there is usually a lot that I can overlook if the organization and ideas still manage to flow coherently. I chalk that up to being an 8th grade English teacher. Most of what I see in the classroom is a whole lot worse than what I read in blogs, so even many of the grammatically poor blogs can often seem easy on the eyes for me. The funny thing about me being an English teacher is that I HATE to edit because it is so time-consuming and I do it so often. By the time it gets around to editing what I’ve written, I often do a piss-poor job of it (because I’m lazy and impatient to get the work posted). I usually don’t want to wait long enough to let my writing get cold so that I can do a better edit. After a piece has been posted, I often go back and edit then. I write in such a flurry so as not to lose the ideas that often fly rapidly, so I find that I’m good for skipping little semi-insignificant words like “on, the, or.” Heh. I guess not editing with a fine-toothed comb on my blog is like a bit of rebellion on my part. “I’ll edit if I want too, dang it, and if I don’t, you can’t make me.” <- said to no one in particular, but makes me feel like a bit of a bad ass just the same. When it comes to professional pieces of writing (research data, school improvement plan work, etc), I am KILLER with editing and everything has to be exactly perfect. I end up editing most of my school's documents because I am known for my sharp eye and writing. However on my blog – enh…it's kick back and relax as far as I'm concerned.

    Moving on…I agree with Cindy; music that automatically plays usually scares the bejeezus out of me when I click through, so I tend to avoid those blogs.

    I tend to lean away from bloggers who sound preachy in their tone about any given subject. The "I'm better than you" tone never bodes well with me.

    I do not read blogs that never have even an ounce of humor.

    I tend to stop reading when a blogger finally achieves pregnancy and the content becomes *only* pregnancy progress updates. I don't mind pregnancy progress and I enjoy it, but when the entire blog's content becomes one of those Babycenter newsletters, it's a big turn-off.

  6. Mel Says:

    I just love that you used the word “cockamamie.”

    The biggest deal breaker is non-stop self-created drama. Meaning, running around and saying the sky is falling and then the next post being a “wait, I actually have 50 follicles!” Bad things do happen and sad things do happen and that isn’t what I mean by drama.

    Also, questionable ethics. I read an earnest post on someone’s blog and then a comment from the writer on another blog mocking the commenters on her own earnest post. It made me stop reading her blog entirely because…it made me wonder the point. Especially when you’re mocking people so publicly by putting something out there that is technically googleable.

    I don’t have a type of post I won’t read. I’ve found follicle updates or lunch recounts fascinating and I’ve found meaty, emotional posts fascinating. Some people can just make any subject interesting.

  7. Interesting post! I agree with so many of these. Posts that are nothing but numbers bore me to tears (follie sizes, for example) – but add some substance, and I’ll read your cycle updates all day long. Also, I admit to being guilty of the its/ it’s. I’m just too lazy to think about it sometimes.

  8. Excessive religious talk. I don’t want to read that G_d has blessed you with x number of follicles or that Jesus told you to transfer x number of embryos, etc.

    Music. If I stumble across your blog and music begins to play, I bolt.

    Bloggers who comment only to receive a TON of comments on their blogs. Personally, I follow a great many blogs, but only comment when I truly feel I can add to the conversation or when I am moved to write something supportive/cordial, etc. I know that this won’t grant me a huge following, but if I comment only to receive one in return, then how authentic is that?

    Swearing. Not a fan. I think it reduces the written word to dirt.

    I agree with Mel in that I don’t have a set theme to my blogs. A writer may document her trip to the dentist and it can be just as enjoyable as a post written about the birth of a new baby. I think it’s about a connection that I feel with certain people. Half of the people I read don’t know I exist, yet I still feel a connection with them and will continue to read as long as I don’t click over and hear country music playing on their blog.

  9. Julie Says:

    Hmmm I still read a few I like regardless if they read / comment on mine, but that’s just a few. (Then again I don’t read “that” many blogs on a daily / new post basis)

    Grammar (or lack thereof) tends to irritate me, but I’m sure if I go back and look at my blog, there are times I cut the corners so to speak.

    Values / certain beliefs would be one.
    Death of an infant would be as well; I feel horribly for anyone who is dealing with that but just not what I need to think about right now.

    Content that is of no interest to me (now sure my blog is probably boring at times but it’s main purpose was to update family, but I try)

    Obviously anyone with newer twin blogs I stay around and read.

    Music isn’t an issue – I won’t listen to it but muting is simple enough.

    Lack of or incorrect information. That drives me crazy if I read a blog that has “researchable” facts wrong.

  10. jill Says:

    So detailed! 🙂 And I’m totally curious to know what person your last point was describing!

    I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about this… hmmm.

    I’ve been reading blogs for about a year now but it’s only been in the last 4-5 months that I discovered go.ogle re.ader. Wow, that made the amount of blogs I read increase exponentially! I have only ever removed 1 or 2 people from my list and I don’t even remember why I did it.

    I’m wide-open when it comes to what types of blogs I’ll read. I’ve got blogs detailing, IF, pregnancy, parenting, adoption, surrogacy, humor, and cooking on my list. If I read one post and I’m curious about “what will happen next”, then I add the blog to my list. There’s not much that would make me remove a blog from my list. If a particular post isn’t interesting to me, I’ll just skip it.

    The problem with this is that if I take a few days off from reading, I get completely overwhelmed and stop reading blogs with frequent posts for a while. Blog A (9) – yikes! skip; Blog B (1) – read. I do eventually catch up, but there can be a long catch-up period in which I’m not commenting on blogs I’d normally comment on. This has made me contemplate weeding out my reader. I think I’d start by removing blogs having posts I normally only skim because they just don’t interest me (could be for all sorts of different reasons) that much.

    I’m a bad blogger myself so I would never remove someone just because they don’t return comments. That said, I do smile when I see an email responding to a comment I left. It, of course, makes me happy to know what I wrote was read – whether a comment I left or a post I made on my own blog.

    I have to agree with you, though, I do cringe while reading posts of repeat grammar offenders – ugh. Excessive negativity (or even way too much bouncy-happiness) gets to me as well and makes me start skimming posts.

    Thanks for another great topic to ponder!

  11. MW Says:

    Ooh. I agree about the awful music that screams at you 3 seconds after opening a new blog. If you’re going to have music at least don’t make it loud and awful so I have to jump to turn off my speakers at work!

    Also I don’t like cursing, particularly the strong words. I’m offended by it and I think it’s unnecessary. If you feel like you have mastered the English language enough to blog then you should have mastered it well enough to blog without swearing. Unless it’s funny swearing. I’m down with that.

  12. […] but I’m a bad commenter. My lack of blogging and commenting has been on my mind lately, and Babysmiling’s Thoughtful Thursday post really hit the nail on the head. It’s an excellent post regarding […]

  13. Serendipity Says:

    I read a hell of a lot more than I comment and surprisingly I don’t have that many deal-breakers considering how intolerant I can be in other aspects of my life.

    I don’t mind bad spelling or grammar but I dislike use of text speak or posts that are all acronyms and numbers with no content to back them up.

    I dislike blogs that have a heavy religious bias, I’m not religious and I have no problems with you having faith, I just don’t want to read that god has a plan for the infertile, that Jesus will lead you to a baby or any variation on that theme.

    I won’t come back to blogs that contain views that I find objectionable, I’m all for open, healthy discussion and debate and I believe that differences make the world go ’round but there are some things I just can’t back.

    I always have my sound off so music in itself is not a deal-breaker but if you do have music (and the same goes for videos, large images etc) and it makes your blog slow to load, keeping in mind I open 20-30 at a time and read through them, if I’m done reading and your blog still hasn’t loaded, I’m unlikely to wait any longer.

  14. I haven’t abandoned a blog I’ve been following yet. However, there is a blog that I follow, but hardly comment on, because the blogger has such a huge following that I find myself a bit ‘lost in the crowd’ – I prefer following and commenting on blogs that have a smaller audience and therefore seem a bit more personal to me (and yes, the chance that I’ll get a comment back on my own blog is bigger as well, which is a nice side effect).

    Bad grammar and/or spelling definitely (how many people do not know how to write that word!) turn me off. I’m sometimes a bit self conscious with my blog posts and comments as English is not my mother tongue, so I almost always re-read my posts after I’ve published them to check for errors (or to change style or wording when I discover that I started my three most recent posts all in the same way), but it remains difficult being your own proofreader.

    Music is indeed very annoying, but if the writing is good and/or the content is interesting, I will still read the blog and try to remind myself to mute the loudspeakers before I open that particular site.

    A heavy focus on religion is a deal breaker for me. I always try to be pretty non-judgmental, but frankly, religious fanatics scare me quite a bit and there’s no way I could comment on posts from bloggers who say that everything that happens to them is God’s will, etc. and I don’t want such a person commenting on my blog either with similar remarks.

    Different places in life is not necessarily a no-go for me, sometimes I discover a blog through LFCA and am moved by the story, and I will start following it. It is at times harder for me to comment on such blogs though, because I have no experience with their situations. However, different places does become an issue when the content is not (or no longer) interesting and/or the writing is bad. Then I won’t be going back to that blog.

  15. Hmmm, intersting topic.

    Overwhelming in-your-face religion- I second/ third this point. I believe everyone has a right to their own beliefs but I like to be able to read a post without feeling like an idiot because I don’t believe the same thing.

    Commenting is not so much of an issue for me. Most days I have to work hard to comment on the blogs I follow regularily. Most of these people know I’m not snubbing them. I do make sure to stay caught up even if I can’t comment at the moment.

    As for content, I read pretty much anything, if it’s written well, has some variety and isn’t derogatory towards others. Being pregnant myself, I know how many people can be with reading bloggers who are pregnant. Frankly, I have been through too much to worry about those I’ve turned off with my belly shots. Considering my small readership actually asked for belly pics, I felt it perfectly alright to share. I need support, and so do others, no matter what stage of life they are in. I may not be able to relate but I can still be supportive.

    There is such a wide variety of human experiences among our Community. I’m a very open person and generally accepting of people as long as they are respectful. I’ll even accept the occasional typo because goodness knows I’m not perfect and my spell check doesn’t pick up everything. I’ve been known to go back and edit a post several times to fix typos but some days I just leave them. I’m only human.

  16. Nishkanu Says:

    I guess I don’t really think of it as “dealbreakers”. Sometimes I weed out my reader because I don’t want to occupy so much of my brain space with online content. So I guess then I use some of the same strategies as others to decide which will go. But I don’t think of it as a “deal” with someone else that “broke”, just whether the effort-reward ratio is what I am looking for at that moment.

  17. strongblonde Says:

    i’m with you on so many of these points. it’s really funny because grammar seem to irritate me, but i know i’m not good at it (and i never use caps in my comments…just makes things a little faster).

    i feel like i tend to comment less now that i’m pregnant. i feel like the type of support that i’m able to offer may not be appreciated by some. i’ve crossed the bridge, so to speak, and i really don’t want to do more harm to people who are struggling with issues. …but i still read. and when i think that i can comment and add to the support, i do. but i’m definitely commenting less than i was.

    i’m posting less, too. for many of your “deal breaker” reasons. i don’t want to just write about the pregnancy, but life seems so boring right now. i’m happy if i get a once a week post up. maybe something exciting will happen and i’ll have a ton to write about? 😉

    i’m also all about twin blogs right now. if i stumble upon them, i try them out, see how things go. (if you have any you’d recommend, let me know, pls) 🙂

  18. chelle Says:

    I completely agree with your points. I agree with Strongblode too in that, I feel like I am very cautious about posting/commenting anymore.

    Just the other day, in fact, I posted on a very sensitive subject and an anonymous commentor ripped me for it. I stand by my post, but that is just one example of how sensitive people can be about the posts they read. So in that respect, I try to really hard to just listen to a persons point of view and if I don’t agree, I just don’t comment, but it would have to really offend me for me to stop reading. There are a couple that have crossed that line, however.

    And the comments follow the same lead. I try to be as supportive as I can without sounding like “oh, I’ve been there and done that.” That is not what I feel like at all. Although I am pregnant, I still take a lot from other women’s experiences…

    What keeps me going back? Most the time its humor. No matter where they are in their life, or whether we have much in common, or whatever. Funny people draw me in!

  19. Cat Says:

    I second all your deal breakers, but have cut one blog some slack about using the word “although” instead of “though” because I like her sarcastic attitude so much. I also tend to stop reading if the blogger doesn’t write at least a couple times per week. If I keep visiting and still see your single entry from April, we’re done.

    I recently inadvertently dropped every single blog from my list of daily reading when DH and I both forgot to save my bookmarks before reinstalling the laptop. I had a list of over two dozen but only hunted down seven of them to reinstate. Partly because I can’t remember the names of them all but partly because it was just time.

  20. rosesdaughter Says:

    Hmmm,interesting topic.
    I agree with most of your dealbreakers, even though I sometimes make room for bad grammer.
    Dealbreakers for me: Unintersting, holier than thou attitudes, boring content and music that starts blaring the moment I log in.

    I don’t comment as much as I would like, but I usually comment when I think a topic is interesting and I have something to say about it. I read a LOT of blogs, and some days, I can’t comment on every last one. But of cource, I have my favorites 🙂

  21. S Says:

    This has been a really interesting read – not only your TT post but also the comments left by others.

    Bad grammar, a tendency towards overwhelming religion of any kind (but especially Christianity, merely because it seems to be ‘out there’ more than other religions – and I really don’t want to be bombarded with bible quotes and mutterings like “the lord giveth, he taken away” – fair enough you believe in it and blog about it, but its the last you’ll see of me), bad punctuation, a tendency towards rambling with no point (sometimes its ok, other times hard to read, I know I’m guilty of this myself), annoying mournful music (especially because I tend to get blogging late at night and it either scares the sh#t out of me, or wakes everyone in the neighbourhood up), and a failure to identify with at least “one” aspect of the blog I’m reading are big deal breakers for me.

    Also like wiseguy said, I’m getting kinda sick of being supportive on certain people’s blogs and not getting anything in return – not even a short message saying “are you ok/alive”. Maybe it makes me a selfish person, but I’ve spent my whole adult life with this half arsed one way street type communications with people I’ve wanted to get to know better, friends, family etc. Now I just can’t be bothered, especially because I don’t usually leave one line/word comments (unless the post calls for it) like ((hugs)) etc. I try to be supportive, when you don’t know someone (e.g. from LFCA), that’s hard so I try to draw from my experiences and try and leave a message that makes sense. I try to go back after the event (whatever it is, miscarriage, cancelled EPU etc) and try and see how the person is doing. But more often than not, I never get any sort of response. I’m not in it for the response, but after a while, it gets tiresome.

    Another deal breaker, and I know I’m possibly out of line here, is people (with exceptions on the odd occasion) who have 5-6 children, have one miscarriage, and suddenly they start a blog about how hard it is to be infertile and have a miscarriage. I’m sorry. I know miscarriages hurt. I’ve had one too many of them myself. But if you have live children and are trying for #7 and its taken a few months, you’re NOT infertile. I’m gone, never to be back again.

    Interesting comment/s about negativity. I think I’m always a pessimist in my blogging, simply because the blogging is the venting I can’t do IRL. So it’s a place where I let the dirt out. I don’t know if I’d care to change the tone to something more positive so that readers don’t go away feeling like their moods have died, because although I try my best to support as many people I can – I started blogging to vent and chronicle, and that really hasn’t changed much. It probably makes me selfish (again) but I don’t want to have a blog if I have to censor how I’m feeling to cater to blog readers.

    Speaking of which… swearing, I must admit I’m used to it, I don’t swear what I consider to be on a ‘more than average’ level IRL but my IRL thoughts are often censored.

    And lastly… different journeys – I need to be able to identify with at least a small aspect of the person’s blog, whether its previous IF, current IF, miscarriage, whatever. If the entire blog has nothing to offer me, I read and move on.

  22. Lavender Luz Says:

    How thought-provoking! Your points would be my points as well. I also enjoyed reading the comments here.

    For me, the main way to get off my Reader or never on it is to be uninteresting to me.

    Also, I update my reader a couple of times a year to reflect changing conditions, which includes both how bloggers I follow have changed and how *I* have changed.

  23. Lavender Luz Says:

    I should also say that I value conciseness.

  24. This is really relevant to me right now. As part of me moving to a new blog I had a google reader, twitter and facebook purge. It wasn’t easy but it was looong over due.

    On Facebook I defriended all of those who I really wouldn’t have a conversation with in real life, mostly school friends and bloggers who I only ever talk to via blogs.

    Twitter is more complicated because while I wish I could follow all 168 people who follow me, I really can’t keep up. Instead I cut the people I follow from 52 to just 30. I’m sure I hurt some people’s feelings but if you look at the people I follow, they are mainly people I ‘talk’ to regularly and/or who post interesting relevant articles, etc about adoption, infertility or living childfree that I would have otherwise missed. I still reply to people who @ me, but following less people means that I get to build better relationships with those who are left.

    And the same goes from Google Reader which was where the biggest toughest cull took place. I went from almost 300 blogs to following 73 including my clicker blogs. Again, it means that I have more time to comment and really follow those who are left.

    I took people off it for heaps of reasons. Some I’d been following for 4 years and we’re just in completely different places now. Some I frequently comment on and have been for ages but have never had a single response which can be not a big deal but can be pretty disrespectful on occasion. I’ve stopped following people who constantly state how God is responsible for everything in their life, it’s just not how I see things. Also gone are those who are constantly negative, or constantly ridiculously positive, I find both incredibly irritating. And I deleted all the blogs who have moved on, but I was still hanging on to – people I had a relationship with at one point, which really doesn’t exist anymore.

    The people I wanted to keep are those who I learn from and who make me think. The blogs I look forward to reading. Those who I have a relationship with or would like to build one now I have the time to comment properly and not just click through my google reader.

    Saying that, I totally understand that many people would stop following me for the reasons above, and to me that’s totally fine. I understand that and respect it. I blog for me to have a record of my life, to share my thoughts and feelings and to connect with others. I have been incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to connect and build relationships with many amazing people, it’s the best side effect of blogging I can think of.

  25. Ana Says:

    A little late on this, but its been great reading all the comments.

    I forgive a lot of grammatical sins for interesting, humorous, or relevant writing. Not all the blogs I follow are in the same “life stage” as me, but that keeps it interesting. Right now, though, I do tend to gravitate towards pregnancy after IF blogs, since I can relate to those thoughts & ramblings.
    As others have said, a major deal-breaker is un-interesting writing (a la follie counts, med dosages, or “my fetus is know the size of a _insert fruit_” updates) without any actual thoughts or remarks ABOUT the situation. Another annoyance is inactivity. If the blog is not updated regularly, I eventually remove it from my list. Its frustrating clicking by to see what’s up and seeing last months post. I ABHOR the music, because its often sappy and could wake the dead during my early morning & late night browsing. I’ve noticed that the blogs with the sappy music tend to not be the blogs that interest me—connection???

    I don’t have a blog, so I can’t weight in on the “interactive commenting” issue but I will say that there are some blogs I follow that I don’t comment on simply because I will not comment to just say “Yeah” “boo” “”, etc… If someone’s comments are full of nothing but these type of one-liners, I also stop reading the comments (this is applicable mostly to the non-IF blogs I frequent…the IF blogs tend to be more emotional and thought-provoking & lead to more insightful commenting). Try reading comments on a food blog—150 comments saying “wow, great meal, you rock”.

    This has actually made me look through my blog list & think about where I really want to spend my morning coffee-tea/blog time.

  26. Heather Says:

    I have to agree with the negativity and not being in the same place in life. I also have issues with Christian bloggers that mention God too much. I hold a lot of faith in God in our path in life, I just don’t discuss it much. The bad writing, it depends. Grammatical errors don’t bother me too much, as I know sometimes when I post, I’m too tired to proofread, but I want to write anyway to get it all down on paper, like I would if it was a personal journal I was writing on paper.

  27. MLO Says:

    Autoplay anything and I am gone, gone, gone. It is just plain rude. Sorry, it was rude back in 1995 when the WWW started having autoplay sound and it is still rude.

    Grammar doesn’t bother me because, well, I’m lazy. I actually write for a living and those docs have to be perfect, my blog? Not so much. That is my personal space. I admit, sometimes I cringe when I read older posts that I know I should fix, but, that would take quite a bit of time I just don’t seem to have.

    Religion doesn’t bother me. I have blogged about my brand of Christianity from time to time – as a measure against the anti-science Christian Fundies out there – and their many blasphemies (to mainline Christianity, anyway).

    I will be the first to admit that much of my current blogging is not something anyone is going to want to read about. It is depressing. No two ways about it. And a lot of people want to find hope when they are reading blogs.

  28. Blur Says:

    I believe this is the first time i’ve commented here but I always enjoy reading the responses, you always have awesome questions!

    I agree with all of those points. But another one that REALLY bothered me and so I stopped following her blog and on twitter, was that she was always complaining about not having money to pursue her dream of a child(IUI or IVF) but then would update her twitter, blog and pictures about all the fast food she would eat (literally, breakfast,lunch and dinner)and the resturaunts they go to, it bothered me so much everytime that if she would stop eating out that maybe they could afford to pursue their dream of a child a lot sooner, instead of just complaining that she is infertile.

    So I guess what im saying is that if someone is complaining but not doing anything to help themselves I will most likely unfollow them.

  29. Kristin Says:

    I honestly have very few deal breakers but I do have a few of them in common with you. Grammar, grammar, grammar is my number one pet peeve and the constant abuse of it can drive me away (heh, I am currently reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves). Extreme preachiness also drives me insane and will make me run for the hills. I don’t have a problem with someone having strong religious beliefs but don’t shove it down my throat. If someone espouses a belief I truly see as dangerous, I wouldn’t want to read their blog. And, lack of response or interaction might stop me from commenting but it wouldn’t stop me from reading if I found the writing to be engaging enough.

  30. Staciet Says:

    Yet another great topic! Great list of deal breakers, too.

    I tend to be pretty loyal. Once I have added a blog to my reader list, it is pretty much there to stay. I may not be the best commentor, but I follow and cheer for them as they walk through life.

    The only thing that made me no longer follow someone was when the person became overtly religious almost over night. Her faith wasn’t what turned me off, but rather her insistance that anyone who didn’t follow her faith was going to hell. So, I packed up my hand basket and left. 🙂

  31. Dora Says:

    Hmmm, I pretty much agree with your list. (I’m dying to know which blog you’re referring to at the end of your post. Tell me via email? 🙂 )

    Incorrect grammar/usage annoys me, but is not necessarily a deal breaker. I do sort of twitch when I read certain mistakes over and over. My biggest usage pet peeve is the incorrect use of the words lose and loose. FYI, and example of correct usage for both: If I lose weight, my jeans will be loose.

    A little religion is okay. Constant religious talk, not so much.

    Music players! ACK!!! Stop the insanity!

    Profanity–frankly, I’m a fan of the well placed expletive. I haven’t run across any blogs that I feel overuse them. I believe they are a valid part of language, and the use of them does not have anything to do with lack of intelligence. One of the smartest bloggers I know, Geohde, had a recent post using many expletives. It was a great post. Sometimes the things we go through just demand a well placed F-word.

  32. Dora Says:

    Oops! Typos don’t count as bad grammar. That should have been “an example,” not “and example.”

  33. Phoebe Says:

    Very interesting post.

    For me, one current deal breaker is pregnancy blogs. Since I have not attained baby, I’m selective about which pregnancy blogs I follow. If you title your post with the weeks and days of your pregnancy, I’m gone. I know you are stoked about being pregnant, and I would be too, but right now, these are just like bombshells to me. So are ultrasound pics and belly shots at the top of the post, or post titles of “Belly Shots”. I really appreciate pregnant bloggers who are sensitive to those of us who are not pg and give us forewarning of these photos, putting them at the bottom of their post, or better yet, put a link to a separate page with the photos! Those pregnant gals get gold stars from me!!

    Uber-popular bloggers: I don’t comment much on posts that get 40 plus comments because of what someone commented on above, the getting lost in the crowd effect. I’d like to comment on another blog that doesn’t get as many comments, kinda like rooting for the underdog. Plus, if I never get a comment back from uber-popular blogger after leaving lots of comments, I usually stop commenting though I may not stop reading. I know this blogger is busy, but a comment once in awhile wouldn’t kill yaa, would it?

  34. I’ve never dropped a blog from my reading list, but I will admit that I either have to know the blogger or feel like I know the blogger in order to read a personal blog regularly. I only read 7 blogs by people I don’t know in IRL, and in all cases, I have a lot in common with the writers (infertility issues, shared college, black mom of bi-racial kid, etc)

    However, if someone ever espoused a belief that I really didn’t agree with (racist, sexist, homophobic), I would drop their blog immediately — though luckily that hasn’t happened yet.

    As for comments, I’m consistently shocked when I check our stats at the end of the day. Some of our biggest days are comments low and vice versa. But the truth is that the majority of people read without comment. In fact I used to be one of those people until I started a blog and realized just how much people appreciate feedback. Since my radio writing career is based in ratings, I’d always been more concerned with numbers than comments, but now I really appreciate both.

  35. summer b Says:

    Hello. I just came across your blog while reading — Conceive This. Thank you for this blog post. I am a TTC’er/Infertile with a loss of fetus and tube. I am in the pre-IVF stages — Day 6 of Lupron to be exact. That was clearly an abbreviated version of my journey.

    I know I am not the best writer, but I try to make sure I keep things interesting and use spellcheck. 😉 I have stopped following a few infertility blogs because I never received a comment back. Not one. Nothing. I showed support and concern and just said hello. I have two separate blogs. One is personal and filled with things that interest me and the other is my TTC Baby Brown…Again blog. Maybe folks did not see I was a serious TTC’er from B is for Brown. Who the heck knows.

    I am babbling. My point is to thank you for this and thank you for every post you have written. I find you very inspirational and you “get” it. I do not know you, but I am thrilled for you and your babies. I appreciate how sensitive you are to the others that are still waiting for their own joy.

    I have made many infertile friends and gotten particularly close with some that are now newly pregnant and well, it is all they post about. I try to think about how I will handle it. I feel like I would be a little more sensitive to my other infertile friends, like you. When reading their blogs now, I feel hurt and left out. I am thrilled for them but well, you know the feelings. Again, thank you and apologies for being all over the place. I am now a big fan and follower.

    Summer B.

  36. […] I was reading a post from IF blogger Baby Smiling about blog deal breakers, and more than one reader commented that nothing makes them leave a blog […]

  37. calliope Says:

    I had to come look at your list!! I will now confess that I am THE WORST with paying attention to correct grammar, etc. And often notice random spelling mistakes on my own posts days later and feel like such an idiot. So when I read how cringe-worthy such ooop’s are for others I feel so, so badly! (case in point, I have a horrible problem of beginning sentences with the word “and”)
    But an even bigger question- how is it that I don’t have you on my reader??!!

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