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Your comments count! Tuesday July 15, 2014

If you're anything like me, you avoid the comments page at the end of online articles, especially that of online newspapers, feeling that it can be full of time-wasting, back-biting, negative sniping.

Indeed, until I started to write to write for Moodscope, it never really occurred to me to check out the blogspot page at the bottom. What's really very impressive about the comments page here though is the ongoing wisdom and support of the offerings. Here is a response to Mary's post, 'Don't do something, just sit there!'

"My psychologist told me to move forwards towards the mountains of desire (and figure out what they actually are) and I said some days I cant even walk or stand up and I'm in so much pain! And he said, 'well then shuffle your bum towards them and shuffle your bum every day towards your goals 'cause if you give up and just sit there nothing will change.' Yes I could have slapped him. But I shuffle my bum every day towards the things I want and my depression is slowly lifting. I had to lower my expectations from walking tall towards those mountains to a pathetic bum shuffle but I'm glad he annoyed me into doing it. Chronic fatigue is such a mental battle I hear you!! Shuffle your bum Mary! I'm cheering you on!! :)" - Jules

I thought that was fantastic! I've since used this in cards for those going through physical illness too: it's a 'keep on keeping on', 'keep looking up', 'keep setting small milestones' message and it carries energy.

These comments are like an addendum or post script that reflect many folk dealing with different shades of the same colour.

I've even been grateful for 'negative' comments, from the The Grammar Police, for example. (I hope I'm reforming from my heinous crime of 'redundant apostrophes' Anonymous! A cringeful moment, I can't lie, but helpful too. I'm reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves for you!)

Life is busy. Not everything can be read and digested. Impossible to try. But if you go down to the blogspot page sometimes, you might find a nice surprise. I certainly do. Thank you Jules!

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 7:39am

Thanks Jules - you're right, sometimes the comments are insightful and helpful. On the other hand, there seems to be a small group of people who know each other beyond the blogspot. Their comments are sometimes cosy and can be exclusive. It may be helpful if these communications were made privately, rather than creating the impression of a two-tier blogspot? Otherewise, agree with you entirely!

Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 7:41am

Apologies Suzy, for calling you Jules! Tis rather early and I've just logged in!

jules Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 7:44am

Suzy! What a lovely blog and a wonderful surprise for me this morning. I was reading it having woken up in a foul mood as well. The encouragement and support I find on this blog is amazing. Wishing you a lovely day :) :) :)
Keep shuffling everyone! ;)

Julia Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 7:54am

This is an interesting comment Anon about the cosy second tier of Moodscopers. I think I am probably one of them and it has been on my mind that others might feel not exactly excluded but irritated. It's a good point you make and maybe I won't refer to others in my blogs and comments, I am not sure. But the thing is, the references which seem exclusive are always to named individuals and it's so much easier to strike up some sort of connection with bloggers who regularly use the same name and so are identifiable. However I know some don't like to use their own names and prefer Anonymous.Thinking about it a bit more, quite often something an Anonymous writes will be referred to kindly by a named blogger but as there is no name to the comment, the cosy feeling doesn't come across. Thank you for raising this though. I am sure others will have a point of view and thank you Suzy for your nice blog as usual (but am I being too personal here?!) I think the use of a name has much to do with this perception that others are excluded.One of the ways to over come this is for us all to be Anon

Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 8:43am

love these blogs but I have felt that everyone knew each other and I feel less like an outsider. I agree with anon that it feels like a 2 ttier thing ??? and how brave of you to mention it here. maybe this can't be helped because friendships have developed. !??? maybe I don't know anything and shouldn't post this ??? maybe? ? maybe? ? maybe???

Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 8:44am

meant more like an outsider !!!

Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 9:12am

"I've even been grateful for 'negative' comments, from the The Grammar Police, for example. (I hope I'm reforming from my heinous crime of 'redundant apostrophes' Anonymous! A cringeful moment, I can't lie, but helpful too. I'm reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves for you!)"
So if it's helpful, it's not 'negative' is it. Why the sarcasm, directed at people who are helping you do what you do better? In my experience, a well-directed critical comment is always valuable. It's nice when people say "Yes dear that's lovely" but I learn nothing from it.
Anyone who puts their writing in the public domain has a duty to their readers (e.g. to get facts right), but also to present it competently. Many of us are put off by sloppy and careless writing, however worthy the sentiments.
I hope you enjoy Eats Shoots... and good luck with your writing!
PS I often post comments saying how much I appreciate people's contributions :)

Mary Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 9:23am

Hello Anonymous - Yes - I am an offender, sending messages to other regular commentators. Apologies for this, and you are absolutely right in your suggestion - but, actually, no - until very recently, I didn't know these people beyond this spot and we had created a relationship through this comments section. We didn't have access to each others' private addresses. I'd hate to be cliquey and am so sorry to have given that impression. While I'd love to involve everyone in a virtual group hug, I'm aware that for many people that idea is both terrifying and nauseating. So - I'll try to keep it professional, while wearing a sign saying "Virtual group hugs available if desired!"

Mary Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 9:37am

Hello Anonymous: No - no I can't cope with that: Please may I call you 3QM (short for Three Question Marks)??? Totally love your style. Yes, this is a forum which absolutely anybody is welcome to join (although if you regularly post negative comments we may have a bit of an issue with you). Because many of us visit this forum every day and post comments (and you'll find it's the writers especially who do that - because we're all such insecure souls we know we all need encouraging) inevitably there will be a core of the "faithful". What we need to do is to ensure that everyone feels welcome and that their comments are valued. the only downside is that the moment you comment you may be invited to write a blog yourself! It's OK, nobody's offended if you say no - or politely ignore the invitation. So - 3QM, fancy writing a blog for us? On feeling like an outsider maybe??? Send it to Caroline and we'll see if we can recognise your style from the first paragraph! Do you feel less like an outsider now?

Mary Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 10:21am

How brilliant is it when the comment section takes on a life of its own? I frequently find inspiration for future blogs when reading the comments. Oh, and please, Ms anonymous Grammar Police, feel free! Lynne Truss and Fowler's Use of Modern English are my guiding lights; but for those of us educated in the 1970s when it was felt that children should not be taught grammar but learn it through osmosis, our grasp on the basic building blocks of writing sometimes seems as secure as holding onto a slippery pole at the funfair!

g. Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 11:46am

Reading the comments today made me aware that posting as Anon I may be taken to be this person today, or any day, or any number of people, as the Anon comments today seem like coming from a few ,not just one , person , and there does not seem to be an indication of gender , and somebody assumes it is a she ,and then all this sarcasm and irony follows - so i saw the light and decided never to post as anon again as i do not want to be THIS person , even though i have nothing against him/her ( by the way the mistakes are intentional and i do not consider them to be mistakes but my way of expressing myself ) so, i definitely do not want to be perceived as any anon but i have not matured to revealing my whole name yet . from now on it will be just g.

Julia Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 12:18pm

I think you have hit the nail on the head g, that we don't know who the Anons are and may tar them all with the same brush (which is a very English saying and probably makes no sense to some people, sorry). I think comments are comments whoever makes them and can be looked at anonymously because of the help they give to us all, named or not.Each comment is of value whomever it's from. I also think using anonymous helps some people, comment and it would be a terrible shame if Moodscopers felt guilty for not revealing their names and therefore don't comment or blog. All comments from Anons are welcome and anyway we are all anonymous really. My name happens to be Julia but I could use another name from time to time(I don't) and no-one will ever know! So it's good you will comment as g from now on but if one day you want to be anon, we will still read your comment and value it.It's odd isn't it how we assume a gender, not having the faintest clue whether the writer is a he or she?

Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 12:47pm

Oh dear, they get everywhere! Trouble is with depression and dysfuncion that some feel stronger by criticising speech, spelling and anything else they want. It does not help when you need support and amongst many supportive comments they are the ones that stand out of course and remain with you. These sites are not about spelling or grammar (which varies from one culture to another anyway, Trinidad English is very different to American English for instance) they are about expression. Take what you like, and leave the rest! It is interesting that you were told identify the mountain and then try and get there. Those words alone are often not thought about when said, they are meant well but give us a scenario that most would not choose when feeling fine! Sounds like CBT would have been better choice for you at the moment for if you can't move and don't want to the question might be do you need to this minute and if so how can this be achieved. Physhologist/psychiatrists don't have a remit to follow that route. people who have chemo and suffer the same symptons possibly deal with things better in that they do what they can and then are forced to stop, and do just that. They are told this will happen so are possibly more accepting. Not always so with problems associated with mental health. However it is the same as physical health - if you can't walk let alone run you can set a tiny goal and see if you reach it within your time-frame. The next day you might not reach it but that is not a reason to think berate yourself for the next day you might exceed your goal. Such is life.

I select anon because I have not set up a blog site as yet, and I dislike google as it is so invasive and wants to attach me to the world and everyone it thinks I might know, but I too am not 'anon' I am Pene, and I sometimes remember to put that!

Richard Harrison Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 12:50pm

Keep on shufflin', sister.
Love, Rich x

Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 12:51pm

Quite right Mary, but the pole has sharp barbs aimed at those of us who do not always follow their rules! Trouble is they totally believe what they are saying of course and will not check on the facts or possibilites. Either way comments on blogs about grammar etc., are not relevant. It is like making a negative comment about a review someone has written that does not relate to the review itself.

Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 1:30pm

When people are writing from the heart, who gives a toss about grammar, spelling, and punctuation? (Oxford comma there, you'll notice! ;-) ) These things are important for formal writing applications but are not necessary for blogs that are all about feelings, not intellectualisation. Write from the heart folks and ignore the "shoulds and oughts" brigade. (Anon.7.39am)

Anonymous Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 5:05pm

I like to remain anon aswell just as Pene mentioned- the internet likes to tie me in and it will eventually know more about me than I would like it to. In fact I think it already does. If there is some special commenting going on I would rejoice in the fact you have sought friendship and found solace in some place. We have gathered and we share. What we share can come forth from a name or an anon but we share what we have.

Julia Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 5:28pm

Excellent! My husband would agree with you and is always warning me about the internet. We are all here to share and help each other whatever we like or choose to call ourselves.

Elizabeth Tue, Jul 15th 2014 @ 10:49pm

thanks to everyone, who has written to me on sundays blog, when I was fighting anxiety. I did reasonably well and I passed the exam too :)

Anonymous Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 12:11am

Rock the Casbah! The exam is passed! Very well done :-D

Just for the record, I know nobody here. Not one bit. Perhaps there is a perception of knowing each other...I do use names but i can't say i won't because even in my days that hurt the most, I am still the type of person to chat to the old lady at the bus stop. I'm an 'old' moodscope member but extremely new to commenting. I watched from the sidelines for a long while, have always loved the daily emails from Jon then the army of new writers, never felt excluded, and merely hopped in when I felt I wanted to and confident enough to thrust myself into the light. My lack of comment was never because i felt excluded. I need my new friends. I trust my new friends. I know when my worst days come, they will understand me as no other does. I'm anonymous because I don't know how not to be but I like everyone to know its 'me'. My grammar sucks, I swear a reasonable amount, my toes are a weird shape, and I frequently say things bluntly with people I know well. I like to think of the blogspot as a tree. We hang our messages up, anyone can hang their message alongside or stand alone, anyone can read. Someone messages go unanswered and that is ok because...we're each here just trying to get through.

Goodnight all, peaceful sleep, and love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 12:23am

Sometimes not someone's ^

Anonymous Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 12:28am

Suzy, I echo this. :-D ratg

Silvia A Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 5:19am

Thumbs up!

Silvia A Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 5:21am

Thumbs up!

Julia Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 8:24am

Oh wonderful news Elizabeth. Clever clever girl and a strong one too. And a big THANK YOU for letting us know. If ever we can help again (although it was your strength of character which got you through)....

Julia Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 8:27am

Rock the Casbah ratg. I must remember that,a new one on me!

Anonymous Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 9:23am

Yes, well done Elizabeth! It is always lovely when people update us. And I just love the image of the Moodscope BlogSpot as a tree, room above the garage (still loving the name!). I think the key thing is that no-one feels guilty when choosing to post or not to post, to name or not to name themselves otherwise it becomes counter-productive. For me this BlogSpot has been a huge support and comfort; I choose to post with a nickname which is unique to this site and I value any comments I receive when I do post. I also value the short "conversations" which can happen - and I sincerely apologise if this has led to people feeling excluded. Please just join in whenever you want! In my experience this is an incredibly welcoming and accepting site, wherein lies its strength and value. Frankie

Julia Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 9:25am

Thumbs up Frankie x

Mary Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 8:22pm

Yay!! - you passed! Well done you. Fantastic stuff. I was too late to offer advice when you posted on my chaffinch blog (Caroline posted it when I was away), but I was so pleased to see the response you got - and now the celebration! Any time, Sunshine, Any time!

Mary Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 8:26pm

Oh, and bless you, RATG: you have single-handedly stopped me feeling guilty for being cliquey and cosy! Love you! And So love the tree imagery. I am visualising it now.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 11:26pm

Just cribbing from The Clash! Ratg :-)

Caroline Ashcroft Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 11:39pm

Hi Anonymous, I'd just like to add a comment and sorry that I didn't yesterday, but I was travelling.

It's interesting that you see it this way and I'm so sorry if that's the way it comes across - I don't actually think that we can do anything about it, because it is growing in to a community rather than just a blog and people are getting to know one other if they regularly read the blog and comment. All the 'regular' people that comment have got to know each other only through this blogspot. Although it seems they comment more than others, I know, being the administrator, that we have many 'Anonymous' contributors that blog just as much as the named ones.

I just want you to know that I was quite surprised to read that it felt that way to you. I'm pleased you made your point though as it's made us more aware that we need to make sure we don't make any members feel excluded in any way. Welcome aboard :-)

Caroline Ashcroft Wed, Jul 16th 2014 @ 11:49pm

Hi Anonymous, please see my reply to Anonymous 7.39am. Please don't ever feel like an outsider because you're not.

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