When People Don’t Like Your Work

I belong to a center-right website called Ricochet. I’m a fairly new member, and I’ve been cross-posting some of my posts from here to there. I posted my article from yesterday about the Met Gala, and I was pretty proud of it. I was expecting to get enough likes to get my post promoted to the main feed, which makes the content accessible to non-members. Instead, I got three likes and a boatload of comments.

At first, I thought that meant my article was a failure. I didn’t really mind, since I am an amateur in every sense of the word. I was a little surprised, since I was proud of the piece, but I wasn’t hurt. Still, I was disappointed that the article hadn’t been the hit I was expecting.

I thought some more, and realized that it did fail at getting me likes, but it succeeded in generating productive discussion. There were some insightful comments made about my article and issues related to it, and that is likely more valuable than me getting something promoted to a more public venue. To those of you who are skeptical that a comment section could ever produce anything productive, I must inform you that you have to be a paying member of Ricochet in order to comment, and so our user quality is generally much higher than your average forum.

I now understand better the reasons people write ridiculous articles, or say things like what Kevin Williamson said about abortion (to be clear, I don’t think I’m anywhere near as talented as Williamson, but I do understand him more). The point isn’t always to spread your work far and wide, or to win accolades. The point might be to generate discussion by saying something disagreeable or even radical. I used to think that kind of thing was silly, but seeing the effect my seemingly innocuous article had on discussion has me thinking otherwise.


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