Monday, September 10, 2012
Negative Comments on MELROSEandFAIRFAX
A new piece from Bandit, calling out M&F as the 'shit talking' celebration of street art in Los Angeles. A friend asked us if the piece bothered us, and we told them no, it doesn't bother us because it calls attention to a valid point, that there is a lot of anonymous shit talking left in the comments on the blog. Hell, we don't like it either.
M&F's official stance is that M&F is, was, and always has been a celebration of street art in Los Angeles. If we really like something, we say we dig it. We can't say 'dig it!' on every post, so even if we like something, sometimes we don't say anything at all. Likewise, if we don't like something, we don't say anything at all. And if we really don't like something, it just won't get posted on the blog. M&F does not post in the comment section, and our only interaction with what is said is a loose moderation of the comments that are posted.
In the old days of graffiti, shit talking was handled on the streets, and could often turn violent. Now, in the internet age, the jousting has moved online. A lot of graffiti websites are full of nothing but shit talking comments, and most street art sites don't present the story behind the art in a way that captures the dramatic action behind the pieces to make people want to comment. M&F likes to try and walk the line between the two. It is the nature of the beast, that if you are going to tell a dramatic story, you are going to have drama, but we try and not fall over the deep end with ridiculous and negative comments.
If people think that the comments that get posted can be negative, you have no idea the kind of vitriol and nasty comments that we have to wade through. We try to keep off comments that attack the person not the art, all comments that snitch on identities, comments that needlessly talk shit on an unrelated artist on another artist's feature, and comments that amount to nothing more than pure dickishness.
At its worst, negative comments can make it feel like somethings is being unfairly criticized. Much of the time when someone leaves a negative comment, someone else will stand up for the insulted person and leave a positive comment in return, helping balance things out. If the comment offers a rational for the criticism, we usually will post that comments, even if they are negative. Graffiti artists often use the term 'toy' to talk down to others in a way that makes them want to step up their art game. At best, the negative comments serve as feedback on what you are doing, and possibly, how to improve and do something better. M&F has tried to listen to the comments on the blog, and grow from the feedback--even the negative feedback, that we get. Like this.
We have had suggestions to do things like make people log into a social network account to leave a comment. That is a good suggestion, but we feel that Facebook already has its own comment section. There are a couple of artists who have requested that we don't publish any negative comments, and we try to respect that. If you are an artist and feel this way, just send us an email and let us know. Most artists just appreciate the good comments and shrug off the bad.
Bandit's piece takes aim at the Hipsters, sitting on their 'Hipster Thrones' writing anonymous comments online. But street art is a jealous genre, and from our experience, the most negative comments happen between artists shit talking to each other. . .
Anonymous online shit talking is not just on street art blogs, it is the nature of the internet. Its the 'crowds' that bring the negativity and shit talking. There are a lot of people who consistently leave positive comments, and we really appreciate those folks for supporting the scene. If you don't like the negativity, try leaving a positive comment once in awhile.