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Weekend: Dealing With Negative Comments

weekend_10_31

Can we talk about negative comments?

This week, I received two negative comment regarding my writing style. The first one brought me down quite a bit, and I was pretty upset and hurt by what was written. Then the second negative comment was posted, which agreed with the opinion of the first.

My readers – I don’t even think I should call you that – my sewing friends, mean a lot to me. More than most people know. I read their comments at one in the morning when I should be sleeping, during work meetings when I shouldn’t be on my phone, in the middle of a conversation when I should be present in the moment. You inspire my projects and you keep me going when I don’t think I can go anymore. I spend too much money on patterns and fabric just like they do, and I travel to different cities just to see them. All my extracurricular time goes to them – mornings, nights and weekends.

Call me naïve, but I don’t understand the negativity. The sewing community is one of the most accepting, convivial, good-humored and definitely lively circle. Many of my real-world friends are shocked when they find out that I personally know “my readers.” My best friend is someone I met online through blogging. I don’t care if you’re just starting out in the game or have been at it for twenty years, you are a welcomed addition to us hamlet of stitchers.

I consider everyone’s blog their homes – a place where they can be whoever and create whatever, however they want. It’s your space! As long as you’re not affecting me and not stating incorrect facts, you can make a top with the ugliest, hot pink topstitching, wonkiest bias binding and most uneven hem. The seams could not match and the stripes could not be centered, but as long as you’re happy, I’m happy. It’s like a 2-year-old wearing a pretty pink princess outfit with lipstick smudged all over her face and her mother’s pearls wrapped around her neck. She thinks she’s beautiful and I think she’s pretty awesome because of that.

I’m all for constructive criticism – it makes me a better sewer, writer and person and it’s definitely welcome on this blog – but there’s a line between constructive and hostile.

A very wise woman – she will know that I’m referring to her – used an on-point metaphor to describe the situation. I won’t mention her name and I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for using her comparison. Actually, I’ll quote her. What makes a community go from happy to bitchy all of a sudden? Maybe it’s something similar to The Matrix. The machines have created a perfect environment for humans and found that humans wanted, actually needed, conflict and drama. That’s interesting…

I’m careful not to make Madalynne my diary, but today, I’m getting personal. Why? Because if there is one thing I have learned in the past year, it’s to stand up for myself and not feel ashamed. I slightly regret my reply – it was just as negative as the comment and two wrongs don’t make a right – but it’s not the first time someone has written harsh statements. People have had negative things to say about my looks, the way I pose in photos and more. I’m human and I have feelings.

My mom and I connected with words. When I got home from school, we would fill out the crossword puzzles from the local newspaper and laugh at the ridiculous verbiage Bill O’Reilly would say during his evening show. Even when she had no hair and was in a wheelchair, we still continued our tradition.

127 Comments

  1. Reply

    shannonanon

    You go girl! I personally think you’re awesome and an inspiration. I have been sewing for less than a year and recently have considered getting in to blogging because of people like you who inspire me. I see your beautiful handmade cloths and awesome personalities shine through on your blogs and I want to be a part of this community. Some people are just careless about other people’s feelings and that’s sad. Just remember there are people out there eagerly awaiting your next post and hoping one day to be able to do what you do!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Please do start a blog. You know I will be a reader!

      Thank you for your support : )

  2. Reply

    Tina

    I read the comments you are referring to, and I read your reply. Obviously your feelings were hurt by the comments. That’s understandable, who likes criticism? Also, it can be good to have a reminder that bloggers are humans with feelings. However, are you really saying in this post that you will not accept any criticism? Must your blog comments must always stroke your ego? The thing is, in writing this post about negative comments, you have increased the negativity in your blogspace, not decreased it. You could have responded with grace and good humor, like “Oops, I guess my comparison didn’t work for everyone!” or been big enough to consider that maybe that first sentence was a little clunky and awkward. I am not criticizing you for showing your insecurity, because vulnerability is what makes people connect with one another, but you are showing your insecurity by scolding your readership en masse. How is that supposed to feed the good community feelings you cherish?

    • Reply

      Stacey

      Well said Tina, I agree on all fronts. It seems very ungracious to alienate your readers In this way Maddie; discouraging them from providing feedback. And publicly shaming them if they do. I would go so far as to say it is almost bullying to bring this to up in such a public way,. Why do it? So that all your readers can then ridicule and judge these people for having an opinion? This seems to me that you are doing to them, exactly what you are (unfairly) accusing them of – this is not showing positive, encouraging and supportive behaviour at all! Pot calling the kettle black I say!

      • Reply

        jess

        I fully agree, in fact, I just unsubscribed from this blog over this post. I really thought she was better than this, and I can’t continue to support this behavior.

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        I’m not really seeing the connection between stating her feelings were hurt and discouraging posters from leaving feedback.

        Telling someone that their writing is incomprehensible and they need to go back to basics and relearn is just plain rude.

    • Reply

      Sam

      I dont think this kind of post is going to create a nice , happy sewing community rather it further highlights an issue that many feel is a problem in the sewing community – that criticism or any comment that doesnt agree with that of the blogger is unwelcome and not to be voiced. I went and looked at the comments you refer to and while i understand criticism isnt easy to take , i dont believe they were intended in a mean way. Your reponse to one of them was a little more snarky than they were. Anyway i just wanted to say that i feel this kind of post is in conflict with the happy enviroment you want to create, i for one feel uncomfortable seeing a commenter being called out for one pretty ,mild comment. Thanks sam

  3. Reply

    Marilla Walker

    Absolutely outrageous that someone can invade your personal creative space and make you feel bad about it! This is your platform to be yourself and if someone doesn’t agree with how you do things then they can simply move on. It’s simple isn’t it? I don’t know why people feel the need to pass on this negativity, but I’m sorry this has happened to you. Keep doing what you are doing! Xxxx

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you! I slightly regret my reply – it was just as negative as the comment and two wrongs don’t make a right – but it’s not the first time someone has written harsh statements. At some point I have to stand up for myself.

      • Reply

        Marilla Walker

        Sometimes it’s hard when it’s still raw, by don’t worry too much about it. It’s out there now, so no point in fretting. It’s not a bad thing to reveal your emotions from time to time! X

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          Very good point. The comment was definitely still raw when I wrote back. Thank you again.

    • Reply

      PAULA VINES

      Finally a smart intelligent comment, you go girl…

  4. Reply

    The Nerdy Seamstress

    Nothing saddens me more then reading posts where bloggers have to defend their decision and this. I joined this community because of its positive energy and support. No one should deal with negativity. People don’t have like what you write or make, but there is no need to be negatives. There is one a difference between constructive criticism and negativity. We can’t please everyone. As long as you’re true to yourself, that’s all that matters. It courage that we all are putting ourselves out there, and sadly there will be criticism that is uncalled for. This is your home people should act as if they’re in someone’s home. There are times that you need to vent and this should be your safe place to do that.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you, Kathy and I’m happy to see that you took Beverly Johnson’s bra making class. Sorry for the change of topics, but bras are always on my mind 🙂

      • Reply

        Velda

        I read the comment and the tone came accross very crappy wheater it was meant to be or not! It’s ok to voice your opinon, but constructively. Or as said many times, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it. Maddie was hurt by the comment and I probalby would have been too! She has a right to express that! You can’t please everyone!!

  5. Reply

    Ciara Long

    wow, I’m just after reading the comment in question and tbh I’m not surprised that you were hurt, I personally think that that comment went further than negativity and was just plain nasty. Maybe if the poster can’t understand what you are writing then they should go back to the basics of learning to read.

    I’m not saying this to be a lick arse, but just calling a spade a spade!

    Happy Halloween
    Ciara

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you Ciara and beautiful analogy!

      • Reply

        Ciara Long

        What can I say, I have an amazing way with words 😉

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          Yes you do. Don’t change that about yourself!

  6. Reply

    Caj

    I love your blog, the clothes you craft and and how you write. Your phraseology is a delight to me as I love to read properly constructed paragraphs that are as artistically formed as your garments. Keep doing what your doing Maddie I for one appreciate you efforts very much. Thank you for the hours of pleasant reading I get from your blog.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you!

  7. Reply

    Bec Stitches

    I really believe if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say nothing at all.
    If I don’t like an outfit/pattern I don’t comment, if I don’t like the style of the blog I unfollow them. There is no need for the nastiest 🙁

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Exactly! It’s a simple statement, but a valid one.

      • Reply

        Stacey

        So then by the same logic. Why have you written this post? It is not nice towards those who commented. So hypocritical!

        • Reply

          Ciara Long

          How is it not ‘nice’, she didn’t insult anyone in her post unlike the posters who commented. She was expressing her hurt that she felt upon reading the comments from her last post.

          They were after all fairly hurtful comments – “It’s like you try to sound super intelligent or insightful, but you come off as jumbled” – why should someone who writes words like this not be publicly taken to task? Why should it be ignored? why should she not fight back?

          If they wanted to offer insults (i would say constructive criticism but it was hardly constructive was it?) why not send an email, but instead choose to make it public and thus open to debate. People can not expect to make comments like those and expect them to go unchallenged – that would be naive.

          I would also view the original comments made as bullying, and think that to say that Maddie is the bully is completely ridiculous. sounds like deflection to me.

          At the end of the day if you don’t like it why would you hang around and read it, and then to make a nasty comment about it – why bother??

          • Maddie Flanigan

            Thank you Ciara 🙂

    • Reply

      PAULA VINES

      Your comment is the most adult one on here, whats wrong with people, most I guess do not have a life and have to trash someone that is working hard to provide exceptional information, if you don’t like something, move on, no one is forcing you to stay connected to this blog. GOOD JOB AND YEA FOR YOU SPEAKING UP Maddie, and great comment Bec

      • Reply

        Bec Stitches

        Thanks Paula 🙂

  8. Reply

    kriston lion

    I think people are snarkier on the internet than they are in real life. But, in either situation I just like to remind myself, “I am not going to let this crank ruin my day. I like who I am/what I’ve done.” I try to be compassionate in every situation because you never know what anyone else is going through. If you like to read you should check out the book “The Art of Happiness” coauthored by the Dalai Lama. You don’t have to read it all, but check out the titles of each section, I think there is a lot of really helpful and interesting advice in there. I also think I have strengthened my relationships in my personal life and also communications in my line of work. Not to mention I’m happier 🙂
    Also I can’t help but think of that new-ish Taylor Swift song (I wish I knew how to make emojis so I could have little music notes floating around.
    …and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate…
    sure enough they are! But they won’t waste any of my time!
    xoxoxo

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      So glad you mentioned Taylor Swift! I’ve been singing that to myself this week to bring my mood back up. The k you for your support and I’ll check out that book.

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        Hopefully now you’ll be singing that “other” song

  9. Reply

    Tibby

    Even not knowing what they said, thosecomments only speak if who they are, not of who you are. Negative comments only tell you the sayer is a negative person. And thou they can ruin our day it’ll pass & you’ll see you’re right & they aren’t.
    Sweet regards,
    Cristina

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you Tibby. It’s taken me a couple of days to digest everything, and I’ll definitely need some reflective sewing this weekend!

    • Reply

      PAULA VINES

      great comment tibby,

  10. Reply

    Hanna Paal

    I’m teaching a class on communication skills and we were just talking about conflicts this week, so I’m more than inclined to comment on this post. I feel that most of the time, we are too eager to avoid conflict because of the negative feelings it evokes. Then again, conflict can also be a force that helps us evolve and grow. It all depends on how we handle it. All in all, yes, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and we are welcome to share it as long as we have regard towards the other persons feelings when doing so. We all live in our own little egocentric world, and we see everything through our own tinted shades. Yours might be pink, and mine might be orange, but as long as we acknowledge that, and accept it, we can all get along. The point of my long statement is that it doesn’t help to seek out who did what wrong, rather, it would be so much more helpful to think about how to improve things. And same goes here. This post has just opened up a two-way street for us to discuss how we can make this blogging world a more supportive and understanding place. Ignoring does not solve anything, so I salute you, Maddie, for bringing this subject to the foreground and raising the discussion.

  11. Reply

    Emma

    Ack! I just tried to post a comment but it seems to have been eaten up by the interwebs.

    Anyway, my basic point was keep being awesome! I only found this blog very recently and I’m loving it. For every nasty comment you get, there are heaps of people out there loving what you do. When faced with negativity, I try to channel my inner Leslie Knope: “What I hear when I am being yelled at is people caring loudly at me”.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Great quote! Leslie Knope is a wise woman!

  12. Reply

    missceliespants

    Madalynne, I’ll be honest with you. There are blog writing styles that I find difficult to read and I stopped reading them. That’s the style of the blogger and it doesn’t work for me. But, writing — unlike personal style– has a ‘correct’ way of being done. So, I can see why someone might point out to you that your writing isn’t their cup of tea. That being said, I have no idea what the comments were so maybe I should shut it myself. You are a public blogger with a wide reaching audience. It would be impossible for everyone to like you all of the time — in life and on the internet.

    • Reply

      missceliespants

      Ok, I just went and found the comments. I think they speak to what I was saying. Your writing style isnt’ for everyone. What was that book that was made famous by Oprah but it turned out to be fiction? I couldn’t stand that book. I HATED the writing style. So, I put it down. Doesn’t make it a bad book. Just not one for me.

      • Reply

        Maddie Flanigan

        And that’s completely okay if my writing is not someone’s style; I can’t please everyone.

        • Reply

          PAULA VINES

          Don’t even try Maddie, you can not win with negative people, best to just move on and ignore there petty comments.

    • Reply

      PAULA VINES

      If her writing isn’t there cup of tea than leave go somewhere else, find your happy place and leave others alone that are doing a great job. personal opinion, JEALOUS of Maddie’s talnt

  13. Reply

    Carolyn

    Hi Maddie – While I enjoy your blog and have been following you for a while, I agree with other commenters that this post seems to imply that negative comments are not welcome, and perhaps not acceptable, on your blog. Of course no one enjoys receiving negative comments, but if you put yourself “out there” on the internet, you have to be open to all types of responses from all types of people. That’s just how the internet works. I’m sorry that the comments upset you because, as I said, I love your site! However, implying that only positive comments are welcome here is simply incompatible with having a commenting system open to any and all readers. You have to take the good with the bad, and welcome criticism along with praise. You don’t have to agree with it, but allowing open comments gives freedom of speech to your commenters.

    • Reply

      PAULA VINES

      yuk, I feel sorry for you.

    • Reply

      Natasha Estrada

      Maddy is one of the most masochistic person I know. She is constantly requesting feedback and criticism more so than I would ever do. I know she can take it she really can. So now I’m wondering what was so horrible to push it over the edge.

    • Reply

      Sip the Diva

      Hi @disqus_RdF0ZBFXAK:disqus! I agree with your comments here. Negative comments can be upsetting! But some people will be negative if Hello Kitty walked in the room 🙁

    • Reply

      bola michael

      Actually Carolyn, you may need to read what Maddy wrote again, she did not infer that negative comment are not welcome. She stated hostile comments are not.

  14. Reply

    Shelly Rhodes

    Congrats to you for standing up for yourself, Maddie! I come to your blog daily for inspiration, as what you do in your life amazes me. The energy you exert creating beautiful things, not to mention handling your daily life, is something I hope to emulate. You are bright, and shining. Do not let the negative words and thoughts of others dim that in any way. You have something special, both in your writing skills and in your sewn creations. The best and the brightest aren’t the best and the brightest because they appeal to everyone, do everything to the letter, or follow other’s rules. They are the best and the brightest because they persevere true to themselves even when people tell them they should not. Be you! You are right to fight for being you! Everyone should do the same. Have a great weekend, and a happy halloween.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you and I agree that it’s important to continuing doing me 🙂

  15. Reply

    Little-bit

    If you are happy with yourself and with what your are doing don’t let the negative get you down. You’ve opened yourself to the public, so they will make assumption and critique you, but who cares. You can’t please everybody all of the time. Just keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

  16. Reply

    Robin Denning

    I may be way off base here, but I am focusing on the hurt feelings you have described. It makes me think you could be HSP, a highly sensitive person and I know I am HSP, so it’s not like I think this is a bad thing. It is just a thing. When I was blogging regularly, I got 99.9% positive feedback – and the .1% stung like crazy. (furthermore, the .1% comments were mild, just as I think the comment about your writing was mild). So that is my context for what I am about to say. Sensitivity is an amazing gift and it is a huge part of your creativity. Use it. Don’t fear those hurt feelings, work with them. Let yourself analyze that comment so you can identify whether or not there was anything constructive in it. If there is, let it soak in. If there is not, ignore it and move on. That is your call – only you can decide these answers. Even if you got 1000 comments telling you that you are right and the 2 commenters were wrong, it fixes nothing. You fix whatever you decide needs fixing.
    I believe there is a lot to gain in using this as a learning opportunity. Those of us with talent and ambition AND thin skins will struggle with it as long as we are in the game (I am decades older than you and I am still thin skinned). I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are a lot of people who can easily let the negativity roll off, and there are lot of us who feel things more deeply. It’s all good. Carry on.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      That’s an interesting point! I hadn’t thought of whether I am thin or thick skinned and if it had to do with my feelings and response. I like to think I’m pretty tough, but when it comes to my personality, looks or traits, I admit that it affects me more than the average Joe or Sally. Thanks for the insightful comment 🙂

      • Reply

        duck

        Another important thing to remember, is that no one is perfect, or can expect to be. We all make grammatical errors. Even published novelists have proofreaders and editors and dictionaries.

        The negative comments in question revealed that two of your readers had trouble reading a specific paragraph of your writing. What of it? Sometimes you make mistakes. Take a look at that paragraph. See if you can improve it. Ask a writer you know to help you. In this way, you show humility and respect for your craft.

        You are a writer. That is not something another person can take from you by pointing out mistakes.

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          Another great point! Even on this blog, which is a “casual” writing forum (as opposed to hard news), I have other writers proof, edit and fact check because like you said, it makes me a better writer.

    • Reply

      lauraalyse

      Robin, I love your comment about HSP and it being a gift and overwhelming at times. I try to remember to embrace it and use it to help me grow and get what I can from it. But it is hard some days. If it does fit Maddie, I hope it serves you well.

  17. Reply

    dilladop

    Good grief, people…IT’S HER BLOG. Go somewhere else if her style offends you. Maybe I’m ignorant, but I have never thought it prudent or helpful to try and change someone or what they do from thousands of miles away. Just let her be, be nicer than you are in real life, or go away. Please. And, no, I don’t care if you don’t like me. You don’t even know me.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you!

    • Reply

      PAULA VINES

      8 thumbs up dilladop

  18. Reply

    grasshack

    I once had a boss that told me: “Often, if a customer gets poor service, they won’t say anything, they just won’t come back.” So, there’s that balance to consider. Is it worth developing a thicker skin to really listen to criticism and see if there’s anything worth changing? Just an idea…

    • Reply

      Silvia - Sewing Princess

      This is very well phrased. The issue of negative comments
      has been puzzling me for some time now. Though nobody likes negative comments,
      I have been finding sewing blogs comments often too edulcorated to the point
      that I feel we don’t give our opinion anymore…but simply click away. So as bloggers
      we should ask ourselves honestly: is praise what we want? Or are we ready to
      accept that not everybody will like what we do and some will voice that? Clearly
      there are different ways of voicing criticism and some to my eyes extreme such
      as all those I feel inadequate, I feel
      offended, I feel it is inappropriate comments when there’s nothing
      offensive and inappropriate except in the eyes of the commenter. So, I would
      advocate for freedom of speech for both the writer and the reader. And let’s not forget that different cultures see things differently ;o)

      • Reply

        grasshack

        that’s actually a great word ‘edulcorated’ – I had to Google it – never heard it before…

  19. Reply

    oonaballoona

    i’m all for honesty. but if i wouldn’t say it face to face on the street, i wouldn’t say it on the internet. the unfortunate reality is that social media/blogs/forums account for a large part of our “real life” connection now. shouldn’t that mean our typed words are as thoughtful as our spoken words?

    beautiful post, maddie.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Social media/blogs/forums are the worst and best invention. Your best friend and your worst enemy.

  20. Reply

    Mary

    Oh so it was a slightly clunky paragraph, big deal. Certainly nothing that calls for public correction. I read it just fine. If she had to read it 5 times, perhaps the problem does not lie with you, Madalynne!

  21. Reply

    Jennifer R

    I dunno. I see the first comment was hurtful but I think it was referring to your grammar not your style. It is possible to like your content, your voice, your style and still find your grammar difficult. I have to say I see the same. I know no one likes a scold but look at your second paragraph addressing the readers. You jump back and forth between you and they. Are you talking to us or talking about us? From your tone, I think you meant to use you in every case, consistency is important. I know it sounds petty but a mistake like this is a distraction and detracts from your writing. If you just try to read through one more time with the eyes of a reader I think you’ll catch these.

  22. Reply

    Laurén

    Madalynne – I’m completely inspired by your “home.” I have never met anyone else with the same interests in both writing & sewing. Not only that, you are clearly educated and spunky, creative and disciplined, and this is the only blog I genuinely follow. If I liked those other people, I’d be following them.
    But I’m not.
    Sincerely, Laurén

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you Lauren. I was pretty low this week, thinking “Maybe I’m not a good writer? Maybe my readers don’t like me?” But it is you and all the positive feedback I’ve received that has brought me back to normal.

  23. Reply

    PAULA VINES

    Maddie great job, its unfortunate that people just cant keep there ugly comments to themselves, you have every right to respond to the negative comments, this is a great forum, my question would be if they don’t llike it, get out, move on, go some where else and share your misery. Keep up the great work Maddie, and don’t let the petty people bother you, they have no life obviously, so tired of people that just cant get along, IF YOU HAVE NOTHING NICE TO SAY DONT SAY IT, JUST LEAVE

  24. Reply

    Sew Little Time

    any time any of us put ourselves out there, we want people to read/ respond/ react. and if they do so, they will have an opinion on what you have said. some of that will be positive and some negative and that’s OK. part of the reason why i blog is to improve – in my sewing, writing, photography – and i have had loads of helpful comments and feedback on what I could have done better or differently. if only the people with a positive view feel welcome to comment and those with a negative view don’t, it doesn’t change their view, it just means you lose an opportunity to learn and improve from it.

    i don’t think the commenter was nasty or mean – just saying something you didn’t want to hear.

  25. Reply

    Latrice Smith

    Huff Huff, It really annoys me that people have to be so nasty. I know I can be mean at times but it’s honestly never coming from a nasty place. It’s always a mix of honesty and silliness. I would not come into someone’s space and make them uncomfortable. I remember when I used to work at TFI, and some women was bent on having me pronounce “ask” correctly, I pronouce it as “ax”. I really wanted to curse her out, but I couldn’t. I still say ax and when I do say ask, you can tell I am struggling.
    I personally think the people with the nasty comments are just projecting. The funny thing is they think they are being helpful. Most of the them think they are giving constructive criticism but really it never sounds anything like the it.Sometimes people just need to shut their pie hole.
    Hugs hugs – Maddie, stay true to who you are and don’t let those miserable people get to you. 🙂

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you Latrice! When will you be in the area again? I promise that when you say “ax” I will know and LOVE what you are saying 🙂

    • Reply

      Shawn Parker

      Latrice, Are you from my hometown of NOLA?

      • Reply

        Latrice Smith

        No, I am from Philadelphia

  26. Reply

    Cari Homemaker

    You wouldn’t stand up in a restaurant and loudly announce that your friend’s slip is showing. Critical blog comments on someone else’s blog, to me, rather feel like the online equivalent of that. If someone feels compelled to offer “constructive criticism” the first rule for making it actually helpful is to try to avoid embarrassing the person getting the advice. To me that means offering it privately, as in send an e-mail, don’t put it in the comments. Not that I think patterns or products shouldn’t have honest feedback when warranted, but when a sewing blogger posts a finished product, it seems like a good time to chime in with cheers, not to try to bring them down a level. We all have different backgrounds, clothing styles, photo styles, and writing styles. That keeps things interesting. We all have different opinions too, so this comment is just my opinion, not meant to put down anyone else commenting here who feels differently.

    As far as the writing yesterday. I admit, I didn’t get the first part of your post. It had nothing to do with your writing style and nothing to do with my reading ability. I just have never seen the movie you were referencing. I once wrote a post that had as many quotes from Alice in Wonderland as I could fit in–anyone who didn’t read that book or realize that’s what I had done probably thought I’d gone a little crazy. Not having watched the movie you were quoting didn’t stop me from enjoying the pictures of your lovely skirt or the information about the story behind the project. It certainly didn’t mean I think you should completely take out all outside references and just post pictures (that’s what Pinterest is for).

  27. Reply

    Lety

    Hi Maddie! First time to your blog and I see this post. That’s a shame. This is not a grammar blog (although I do love grammar!) We readers should behave as though we are invited into your living room. The same manners apply, even if the anonymity of the internet makes it feel okay to be harsh. Good manners should be employed by all of us, even when making a critique.

    Haters gonna hate.

    I’m going to give the blog a poke around. So far, so good!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you Lety. I hope you stick around too 🙂

  28. Reply

    Heather

    I didn’t go back and read the negative comments but I will say that I’ve gotten them before and they do hurt. People tend to forget that a human with feelings is behind these blog posts, and they approach criticism as though the blog was a ‘company’ or corporation without human feelings. Just brush it off, and move on. Some bloggers choose to remove comments from their posts so that any feedback has to be given privately. I’m not sure that’s the answer but it’s an option. Hang in there.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Exactly. I’m a human and I have feelings too, however thick or thin my skin is, it affects me.

  29. Reply

    Amanda Wynn

    I don’t usually comment here, but for what it’s worth, I wanted to throw it out there that I’ve found your blog to be very inspiring. I think I found your blog looking up how to do pattern modification at a point when I was frustrated and not sure I wanted to stick with sewing. But I found your sewing work, your photography and your writing to be a great inspiration. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing. To me your blog feels like something helpful and personal that you’re sharing like a conversation with sewing friends, and I don’t understand the negativity that people feel entitled to throw into that.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Well, it’s great to see you comment and I hope I hear more of you in the future 🙂

      Thank you for the positive feedback. As much as I wrote it in the comments, you inspire me as well.

  30. Reply

    Francesca

    Hi Maddie–I think that all your posts look very classy, sweet and interesting . You look great. It’s all very inspiring. Just ignore the negativity. I, too, take my foray into the sewing world very seriously. So while I am still just a fledging student, I have been able to make my way into the fashion and art worlds via brief internship opportunities at: PAPER magazine, Teen Vogue, PS 1–Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Wine Spectator magazine. All that has been fantastic, however I must send a hearty thanks to you. Your blog has inspired me to sew much more than anything else!! Thank you SO very much. Kindest thoughts always, Francesca

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Francesca, thank you! You inspire me as much as I inspire you. Hope to hear more of you in the future (and I’m kind of jealous of your internships!)

  31. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    In this internet age people seem entitled to state their negative opinions whenever they feel like and expect people to unconditionally take it just because they happen to be on the internet.

    If some stranger just turned to you and insulted you because they felt like it would you be expected to take it? No.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Like another commenter said, if you wouldn’t say it in real life, don’t say it on the internet.

  32. Reply

    Amy Brice

    Well we all have opinions don’t we 🙂 And mine is this: The first comment came across as unsolicited advice. That type of comment/advice usually (in my experience) catches people off guard and makes us defensive. Being in a public arena like a blog, I Imagine this happens a lot. New parents can relate too. Wow I tell you, the unsolicited advice you get once you have a kid will really open you up to it. But I learned to take it as someone tryimg to be helpful, rather than intrusive and judgmental (which it easily can be). It helps to choose a friendly reaction. I am a huge advocate for freedom of speech. Censorship of any sort upsets me, and demeaning someone for saying something you didn’t like isn’t fair, particularly in a public arena where comments are encouraged. If you only want a certain type of dialogue in your comments that is your right, but include a preface to guide the commenters on your preferred responses.

  33. Reply

    Jane Bates

    I love your blog! You inspired me to make a pair of undies for my teenager! She totally loves them! I completely understand what you meant today with your post. As I understood it, you welcome constructive criticism but when people take it too far (not constructive-a personal attack) it becomes hostile and that is never a good thing. I’m not having my eyelids pried open and made to read ANY blog! If I find a blog is not to my taste I simply no longer follow it. I wish more people would do the same instead of being mean! Hang in there Maddie! You are loved!!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Another lingerie maker! So glad your teenager likes those undies you made her.

      Thank you for the positive feedback and encouragement 🙂

  34. Reply

    Tina Brown

    Perception is everything…it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. That’s my view…I did comment about the comments on yesterday’s post- I guess I see things through a different lens than most. Blessings to Madalyn, I think you do a great job and I love your enthusiasm.

  35. Reply

    soisewedthis.blogspot.com

    Just wanted to take the time to say that I don’t often comment and most often don’t read all the comments, but I Do enjoy reading all your blog posts. There will always be negative people and it sucks when their words hurt. I try to just let it roll off. Hope you can too. Don’t let it get to you. Keep doing your thing because your work is inspirational 🙂

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Well, I’m glad that you took the time to comment and I hope to hear more of you in the future 🙂 Thank you for your positive feedback. It is the individuals like you who have brought my mood back up this week.

  36. Reply

    mlkmailart

    Just keep sewing and posting, please!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Oh, you don’t have to worry about that! I will keep doing me.

  37. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    Why is it when someone is insulted they are always told to suck it up, turn the other cheek, or grow a thicker skin. We shouldn’t have to. People shouldn’t feel so entitled to share their opinions all the time. The post didn’t relate to an open invitation regarding style or grammar but to a skirt.

  38. Reply

    Melissa

    Well, you’re not the only one hurt by the comments. That negativity brings the whole sewing/ blogging community down. Thanks for saying “no” to that nonsense. I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I really appreciate its uniqueness. Your makes (and your writing style) have a refreshing originality that inspires me to experiment more with my own personal style. Thanks for being exactly who you are!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      That was my whole point! I wanted to take a stand, partly because it’s happened numerous time, and say that it’s not okay in my eyes.

  39. Reply

    mimi

    Maddielynn I think you are very fabuloso majistic. You say and sew very fine and not nobody can understand this everytime. You can just keep on keepin’ on and who understand will enjoy how ur art is!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Yes, I will keep doing me!

  40. Reply

    Mary

    It seems to me that if the initial poster would have taken some time to read closely and come to understand that Maddie was using metaphor in her opening paragraph, they might have had a better understanding of the post. Slow down. Read that post. It is really very poetic and worth reading again and again …. just like poetry.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you!

  41. Reply

    Diane A

    Hi Maddie,
    So sorry your feelings were hurt. The negative commenter on the previous post was a bit out of line. I really like your blog and style. I just wish the print was bigger. I’m old.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I will take that into consideration! Thank you for the positive CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.

  42. Reply

    sewingzoe

    Nobody reads your blog as a piece of English literature, but for the information it contains. People are free not to like your English, but they should be fair and stop reading your blog. Free to criticize, free to leave. If not, I do not see other intention than to show how perfect and superior they are. My English is certainly not my best performance, yet I think this is all about communication and having something to say, doing the best I can. By the way, I am not so sure I like the drafting pattern for sleeves on your blog, but this is another story and a subject for another reaction. Keep writing!

  43. Reply

    vanessa p

    Negative feedback sucks but it offers you a couple of choices. Take a minute to consider them, if they seem justified use it as an opportunity to make progress or just say a quiet ‘f— you, it’s fine by me’ and carry on doing what you do!

  44. Reply

    ab

    The tiny, difficult to read grey font bothers me more than anything else on this site. It makes reading so taxing that I rarely parse your writing. Even so, the tail end of your last paragraph lends some credence to naysayers. One uses verbiage rather than says it. A book I’ve found very helpful is William Zinsser’s _On Writing Well_.

    One actress, can’t remember her name, said (paraphrased) “I don’t believe my good reviews because I’d also have to believe my bad ones”. Over the top either way, there’s always a grain of truth no matter how unkind the criticism. That’s what I look for, the grain of truth and examine it carefully no matter how much it hurts.

  45. Reply

    Sip the Diva

    Madalynne I don’t know you well but I can say this from what I have read I would not change one thing. Why because this is your blog and you have the liberty to write whatever you like. However once its in cybespace those that comment also have the liberty to say whatever they like. While some are most inappropriate you handle it with grace — ignore (those unhappy people) or delete their comments. Lets face it many people are not happy for whatever reason and they will find someone to pick on. But be you in your sewing world with those who understand, care, and love to read what you post. Don’t change what make you happy because you are the most important person you have!

    http://www.curvygirlsarechic.com

  46. Reply

    Isabella

    I agree with the original commenters. Your writing is very often jumbled, and sometimes it’s borderline unintelligible. This is not meant to be an insult. I have not called you names or made any unfair criticisms. If you make your writing freely accessible, as many other commenters on this post have said, then you are inviting constructive criticism. You can repeatedly use your education and your current career as evidence that you are an accomplished writer and editor. That’s fine. But it is equally fine for your commenters to use the content of your blog posts as evidence that your writing contains grammatical errors and incorrectly used words. You discuss your writing ability as a skill, and this, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others, means that you should accept feedback on how to improve that skill. It’s great that you have professional credentials to back up your skill level. However, none of us here have access to your professional writing, so it’s only the writing on this blog that we can offer feedback on.

    I’m sure I’ll receive some harsh responses from the individual who is replying to everyone who leaves a slightly negative comment. Perhaps you’ll even delete this comment. That’s fine. I’m just hoping some of what I’m saying gets through to you, because it seems like you don’t understand the intent of the original two commenters. No one wanted to hurt you personally. No one was intending to insult you. This is all about self-awareness and improvement, and I don’t think you can make a convincing argument against the importance of either of those.

    • Reply

      Natasha Estrada

      Are you referring to me? People seem to forget that while this blog is available to the public it is a privately owned platform. If she wishes to delete comments she doesn’t like that is within her rights Just because you have not called her names doesn’t mean what your saying is not insulting.

      If life you are not entitled to say negative things to people just because you feel so inclined. This internet generation is full of rude little snits. And the kick someone while your down syndrome is in play here. It is unlikely that anyone you would be posting what your posting if you hadn’t read other people’s comments and felt emboldened. Maddie is really thick skins. I know this from CONSTRUCTIVE criticism that she asked for she has taken in stride.

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        Also it’s interesting to note how many of these negative comments are posted by anonymous or users with no profiles.

        • Reply

          Isabella

          I don’t have a blog, but I wouldn’t be ashamed of having it associated with my comment if I did. I’m a long time follower of a variety of sewing blogs, and I felt like weighing in here. I’ve since linked this account to my Facebook account, just to prove that I completely stand behind what I’m saying.

      • Reply

        Isabella

        I was actually referring to Paula Vines, who left that snide, useless comment in response to Carolyn’s comment above.
        I don’t think I’ve said anything humiliating. I don’t think the initial comments that started this were humiliating. They simply expressed opinions, and the wording wasn’t inflammatory in the slightest. If she wants to delete comments that she doesn’t like, that’s fine. But some of her readers will find it unappealing if she decides to filter comments, that’s all.

        • Reply

          Natasha Estrada

          Filtering blog comments is commonplace. Maddie doesn’t currently do it but she would be justified if she did. Most of the time you don’t realise whether comments have been filtered or not.

          • Isabella

            I really don’t understand why you think I wouldn’t know if she, or another blogger, filters comments. But, okay, sure.

          • Natasha Estrada

            Because they delete them before they are ever posted. Many bloggers myself included have all comments pending moderation before being posted. Granted you would know if it was your post but the average reader would have no idea.

      • Reply

        Jennifer R

        Natasha, I could speak to that. You’re correct, I probably wouldn’t have commented on Maddie’s writing if it hadn’t been for Maddie’s reaction to the previous comments. I agree the first was rude and unsolicited but I think well intentioned. But Maddie’s response was also rude and her post here, seems to welcome constructive criticism and yet fully ignore the content of the previous comments. I really don’t want to be hurtful but I do believe Maddie could keep her blog exactly the way she likes and yet clean up her grammar to improve communication and that’s what I tried to say in my comment. But I commented now because it was the topic of Maddie’s post, not because I wanted to pile on. And, yes, I did use my name and profile which I’ve had for years. And, yes, I would say the same in person even to someone I barely knew. Doesn’t everyone ask for clarification if they don’t understand? No, I don’t demand that people say things the way I would, that is rude. I’m all for civility but I’m opposed to niceness for the sake of niceness, that’s stifling. Finally, while Madalynne is a personable and welcoming blog, it is not Maddie’s home it is her business and there are simply different rules of behavior in that setting.

    • Reply

      bola michael

      Isabella….I would look inwardly if I were you, your punctuation surprises me. You call another person unintelligible which means meaningless in a nutshell, but you read her blog. I would hold your peace and remain an onlooker if I were you, period.

  47. Reply

    Nadine in NC

    Like Robin, I’m
    also a HSP (highly sensitive person) and criticisms of any form used to
    devastate me. I used to agonize over
    what I did or might have done wrong. I,
    too, learned to be more analytical about criticisms, but even though I learned
    to discern whether they were warranted or not, they still had the power to hurt
    even when I knew they weren’t warranted.
    What helped me the most in dealing with my own response to criticism was
    realizing that all criticisms are more of a reflection on the person giving them
    than on the person receiving them. Someone
    who is genuinely trying to help you will usually make the effort to word a
    comment or criticism in such a way that it doesn’t offend and makes you *want*
    to do better. (I know it is probably just me, but I found that first paragraph somewhat
    confusing. I thought you looked really
    great in that skirt, though.) Comments that devastate mean that either the
    speaker intended that reaction or else they didn’t give their words enough
    thought to consider the feelings of the recipient. Either way their words tell me a lot more about
    them than they do about me. Knowing
    this usually makes it much easier for me to deal with criticism now. Instead of being hurt or angry, now I usually
    just feel rather sorry for them. And I don’t mean that in a condescending way;
    I just mean that their lack of sensitivity probably makes them miss out on a
    lot in life and that makes me sad for them.
    Just keep being you. Comments don’t
    define you, and they only affect you to the extent to which you allow them.

    • Reply

      Nadine in NC

      Arggh. Obviously copying and pasting from word was a mistake. I apologize for the formatting issues but don’t know how to fix it.

  48. Reply

    Elizabeth Pearson

    I think many missed the point here. Bullies are not welcomed.

  49. Reply

    Carmen Ross

    If people enjoy your blog (which I do), they should be kind and support you. I’m sure it’s difficult to maintain a blog and dedicate so much time to something you’re passionate about. If people don’t like your blog, then they shouldn’t visit it. But to make petty comments about your writing style and so forth is just mean-spirited and you should ignore it.

  50. Reply

    Marie

    Hi Madalynne,

    I’ve been dipping in and out of your blog since seeing your Day in the Life post on the Coca Cola blog recently. While I like the photography and the clothes you make, I agree that your writing often doesn’t come across like you seem to be intending it to. I know it stings when you feel someone is criticising you, but in all fairness, the two comments that upset you were not criticising you, they were criticising a product – namely, the writing on your blog.

    I do a lot of writing in my own job and I know what my own faults are – there’s times when my writing is clunky, full of clichés or just plain unexciting. Examining each piece honestly and acknowledging what works and what doesn’t helps me improve, and part of that involves taking other people’s opinions on board. When you’re too close to your own work, it’s difficult to see it as a reader would.

  51. Reply

    Sarah

    Maddie,
    You get to write whatever you want, however you want.
    It’s your blog. Please don’t let the negative comments get you down.
    Sarah

  52. Reply

    Andrea Faulhaber

    Just wanted to say that I very much appreciate your blog. I love reading about your sewing projects, especially the changing things that you’ve tasked yourself to try. I find it inspiring. I appreciate the time you take and the sharing that you do in this space. Thank you.

  53. Reply

    Victoria Beppler

    Keep on, keeping on girl. I agree with your thoughts on this topic wholeheartedly.

    While I am also for constructive criticism, there are times when comments are better kept to one’s self or presented to a blogger in a more personal way. But, with the internet age comes the ability for people to hide behind computer screens. It’s much easier to type out a mean comment in a public forum rather than to do it in a private email.

  54. Reply

    Kate McIvor

    Hi Maddie,
    I’m FINALLY joining this discussion. I have been forced by travel to read blogs on mobile devices for the past week and a half, so I couldn’t really figure out what was going on. I do not think you were implying negative comments weren’t welcome. I think you are one of the best writers, sewers, and photographers on the blog-writing scene, but that is beside the point. As you point out, our blogs are places for informal prose and community-building. They are not edited magazine articles, or essays to be graded by picky professors. I disagree with the comment about your prose, and I really disagree with the writer’s desire to critique your writing publicly using strong words like “unintelligible”. I appreciate the flourishes you put in your writing and your sewing and your website. And, good job starting a big discussion!

  55. Reply

    Cheryl

    I have to say I received my own “opportunity to look within myself” when I came here today & read this very insightful discussion. Life is a continuous opportunity to grow, no matter how old we get, in my honest opinion. This is how I try to remain aware of anyway. I am using this discussion, for myself, as a gift. I have a tendency to run to the rescue of someone I feel has been attacked & jump in without taking everything into consideration. I do believe there is more than one way to give constructive criticism, & for me, I prefer to come from my heart & treat others the way I would want to be treated. I prefer the kind way, rather than the harsh hurtful way, while still getting the exact same message across.
    There are many very wise, insightful women here & I love that. I am grateful for the honesty & the opportunity to look at what I needed to look at within myself by you bringing this to the attention I feel it needed, Maddie. Thank you & I thank the rest of you who contributed with your frank open honesty. I love seeing the rainbow we all bring 🙂
    Cheryl

  56. Reply

    Amy

    Hi Maddie, I don’t normally chime in on these subjects (and I did not read the original post) but I just wanted to say… KEEP WRITING. Not just blogging (that too) but just writing. You have a gift of sight and a beautiful, developing voice. There are such a broad range of bloggers with different voices. Some have a very no-nonsense style in that they are trying to articulate the very practical, almost diaristic in tone. Others use more innuendo and poetic license and have more of a “writerly” style. I perceive you as the latter, someone who experiments with her voice and tone.

    My absolute favorite posts of yours are in your poetic explorations! About your mother, your mentor, your favorite shops in Philly. I am a creative writer by education and background and so I have a special place in my heart for those who leap over into uncertain and complex language… poetic language. Even if I don’t know the references or words or understand the train of thought or even the narrative I follow the tone. That’s why I read novels and poems! I know that most sewing blogs are down to earth and practical but I don’t think the writers need to leave their writerly self at the door.

    And every creative writer I know has suffered through some serious criticism and cried over rejection letters from publications. There is nothing like sitting in a workshop full of your peers and having someone trash the poem you labored over for a week. (Art school is like that, too…) and sometimes it’s just critical and mean. But other times it is necessary. The hard thing about blogging is that you have to do this in public but wherever the criticism comes… KEEP WRITING. That’s all!

  57. Reply

    rae

    i am really sorry that you have encountered negative criticism. I am a personal believer in criticism, because without it, we never fully grow as people. Some of my closest friends are my closest friends because they can look me in the eye and tell me the things that are not so easy to hear. I think that there is even space for constructive criticism in other arenas as well and sometimes we are so used to hearing positive feedback – even on our blogs – that negative feedback can really throw us for a loop. We all need to learn to be open to such criticism and then evaluate if we can actually learn something from it.

    That being said it really depends on how feedback is given and what the intent is. If the intent is just to maim/offend/hurt the feelings of its intended recipient, then there is really no place for it. No one should be insulting your looks for one thing – that is just extremely mean spirited. I did not see the comment so I can imagine there could be an appropriate way of giving advice on possibly how to write a post better, or pose, but then again, as I said it is all in the delivery.

    rae of love from berlin

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