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Strange criticism and spammy comments

Constructive Criticism

Yesterday I received the following comment, only the second one (I can remember) saying negative things about an outfit/my appearance:

Sorry, but given your sizes, this looks like you’re wearing a pillow. Frankly, even 6 ft XS-size girl wouldn’t pull this off. This is just not good.

This was on this post, from February 2011. The picture is really quite terrible, so here it is just in mini format. I like the outfit though, I can see why I attempted to photograph it.

24.1.11: purple shirt and suede skirt

I’m not offended by the comment, I am perfectly aware that I am a little on the big and short side, and I actually have no problem with people telling me something is unflattering. I usually know already, it’s just that sometimes I don’t dress to flatter or to look slim, sometimes I have other aims. And even if I had no idea, I don’t really mind people telling me on here (now face to face, that would be a different matter). Maybe because I don’t get much criticism on the blog, it doesn’t really get to me.

But what gets me with this comment is the sheer randomness. How does a pencil skirt and a fitted shirt look like a pillowcase or indeed, an actual pillow? And if they’re just trolling for a reaction, why do so on a post from 14 months ago where no one will ever even notice? In the end I decided not to approve the comment, because with the bad English and the complete lack of relevance I thought it must be spam, even though no website was attached to the comment, spammy or otherwise. The email address looked wrong as well, it was kitteh(at)kitteh.com, which made me sad. As if kittehs would ever complain about slightly overweight people wearing clothes!

Anyone else had comments like that? Any ideas as to their purpose?

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constructive criticism illustration source

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Style Eyes 12 April 2012, 7:08 am

    Yes I had a really random one the other day saying how I should smile more. I decided not to post it as it sounded spammy. I realise I don’t smile much but it was random and sounded unsincere was also on an old post. I usually discount comments on anything over a week or two old unless they have something really relevant to say. I disagree with your spam commenter, it does not look like a pillowcase!
    Style Eyes recently posted..My Top Ten Ethical Dresses For Summer!My Profile

  • Rochelle 12 April 2012, 7:14 am

    I think I get a lot more spam type comments than people being mean. However, I rarely post photos of myself on my photography blog, so it makes it harder to post hurtful comments. I think you look great, and the important thing is how you view yourself, not how some random person on the internet thinks your skirt looks.
    Rochelle recently posted..Tsukubai on March 22, 2012My Profile

  • Miriana 12 April 2012, 7:59 am

    I think it’s actually a very nice outfit. And I really like the richness of the colours in the skirt and top. You look very pulled together (if that’s even a real expression).

  • Phoebe 12 April 2012, 12:03 pm

    I like your attitude – of course kittens don’t care about a bit of plumpness, and neither do people who have a healthy body image. Imagine the level of self-criticism this person given her/him self! I suggest you ignore this and just continue being awesome.

  • Misfit Sarah 12 April 2012, 12:53 pm

    I get lots of ‘hey if you follow me I’ll follow you’ spam, which I don’t bother to publish or respond to. I’ve had a couple of nasties and last week I received an email from a stranger telling me that I was clearly depressed and suicidal when I flippantly said that I had been ‘sucking at life’.

    For what it’s worth, I appreciate all diffferent shapes and sizes and it has never once occurred to me that you are anything other than perfectly proportioned, Franca. And as for looking like a pillow, well, what a ridiculous thing to say. I like to stick with the old ‘if you have nothing nice to say, then please consider shutting up’ maxim, even here in blogland. Life’s too short to be mean.

    Sarah xxx

  • Susan (rad) 12 April 2012, 1:29 pm

    I once had someone anon person tell me that I had a horrible look- bad hair, poor choice of clothes, needed more color, and desperate need of makeup. “You’re not 19 anymore.” The thing is that she was right, but I never dressed to look polished or 19 years old. I think I had messy hair in one photo. I did engage with her, telling her that I didn’t agree with her but appreciated her feedback. She argued with me more, and continued to harass my comments section by telling me to wear colors, makeup, get a haircut, etc. (I didn’t have approval). Finally, she just stopped coming by. I know now to engage someone who is just trying to be rude.

  • Danielle 12 April 2012, 1:48 pm

    How utterly ridiculous!! Maybe this person has had some really really good looking pillows in the past? That’s the only way that I can see a connection!
    Danielle recently posted..Small AdventureMy Profile

  • Carol 12 April 2012, 4:10 pm

    I love the painting in the top of the blog and the idea is so great! thanks for sharing this one.

  • GRIT & GLAMOUR 13 April 2012, 1:09 am

    Good for you for just deleting that stupid comment, and for not letting it get to you. I’m of the mind that if you can’t say something nice, then just shut the hell up! Comments, in my opinion, can be contrary only if they are constructive, and usually related to debate, controversy, or conversation, not someone’s outfit. If your intention isn’t good in a comment, you just come off as a bully.
    GRIT & GLAMOUR recently posted..Worker V: 2.7 BlueMy Profile

  • Terri 13 April 2012, 1:42 am

    Adrienne at The rich Life on a Budget had a strange comment like this earlier this week…and it does make one wonder what’s up.
    Terri recently posted..Visible Monday: Oudh EditionMy Profile

  • Anne @ The Frump Factor 13 April 2012, 2:50 am

    Negative spam comments may be a new thing. I recently received one — also for an old post, from an invalid email address, and quite irrelevant to my topic. (The criticism was sort of generic, not really addressing anything specific). It also came from a website that seemed to be marketing lots of sketchy products. I asked WordPress support what they thought, and they thought it was spam. (But here’s the spooky thing — no spelling or grammar errors. They’re adapting!) WordPress “spam control” is fairly aggressive, this one slipped through.

    I’ve decided to close comments on posts after a month. I might miss a few legit comments that way, but I think it might cut down on spammers.

  • Andi B. Goode 13 April 2012, 5:59 am

    I get a lot of spam but have only ever had one mean comment (though it was more along the lines of ‘you’re a lazy layabout who sponges off their parents and does nothing but complain about there being nothing on tv and being single which is good because if you had a man you’d just spend all his money anyway’ than ‘you shouldn’t wear that on your body type’)…I really don’t understand the point of comments like the one you got, though. I actually completely dislike anything even remotely critical of my outfits – I share them because I think they’re awesome and I don’t actually care if someone else thinks I should wear something different (I get men on flickr telling me I should wear certain things and I just block them. Ha) because I dress for me (like you also do). Maybe some people have nothing better to do with their time?
    -Andi x
    Andi B. Goode recently posted..You Spin Me Right Round #1My Profile

  • annie 13 April 2012, 9:33 pm

    (Preface: I’m a fan of your blog and style)

    I’ve never gotten enough traffic to attract trolls, but… it’s not a flattering photo, and maybe not a flattering skirt. The length and shape of the skirt (combined with the angle and background of the photo) conspire to make you look shorter than you probably are. There’s a crisp divide between your top (which blends in to the wood, especially on the left), and your skirt, so the skirt (flat and rectangular) draw the eye. Good colors, bad picture.

    I think constructively critical comments are good for a blog, as is a topic and format that inspires discussions. Otherwise the feedback is just an echo chamber, which I find somewhat boring.

    But that comment comes from a spammer or a troll, not someone interested in a discussion.

    • Franca 14 April 2012, 4:44 pm

      Oh yeah, I know it’s not the most flattering photo, and I know that length of skirt isn’t ideal for my height (I probably am as short as it looks!). I’m not offended at all to hear that. I have loads of vintage skirts that are that length, but I don’t always want to or can shorten then, which is why I was saying, flatteringness isn’t always by no1 concern! They’d look amazing on a 6ft skinny girl though 😉

  • Libby 15 April 2012, 10:15 am

    I totally love that outfit and do not ‘get’ the comment in the slightest.
    Libby recently posted..Thirty-Five.My Profile

  • SusanD1408 crochet addict 16 April 2012, 12:29 pm

    I think are more and more people that are just out to attack people to see if they get a reaction. I have had it on facebook when I linked to a free pattern on my site someone tried to attack me. When I didn’t bite they attacked me on my wall and then started saying things about people who had been on my site. I messaged them directly and politely and blocked them. it’s like a game for them.
    SusanD1408 crochet addict recently posted..Review Monday Week 4My Profile

  • Katie 16 April 2012, 2:31 pm

    Firstly can I say that I don’t think you are in the slightest bit big? You may be short but that is not a crime or a design fault in so far as I know (I can’t actually tell your height from photos). I think you look slim and elegant in the photo. The slim line pencil skirt is flattering on you. I totally disagree with annie’s comment and unless invited, criticism of points raised on a blog are valid, but personal remarks are not. I thought about the pillow case connection and the only thing I can think of is that the skirt is roughly rectangular. But it isn’t puffed out or pillowy so it’s a silly thing to say.

    I would just discount the comment as silly things that people say. I sometimes speak my mind on blogs. I.e. I might disagree but I never use personal or disagreeable language. Nevertheless people will accuse you of being a troll just because you have said something other than the poster and everyone will agree. I never disagree for effect as it’s never good, as is just embarrassing but I will still disagree if I feel the need. I do it because I think it important for everyone to know that just because a blogger has their space, I too have mine in the little comment box and should be able to voice difference of opinion over issues raised by bloggers. Some bloggers get very territorial and come over all ‘it’s MY blog and I can say what I want but YOU can’t’. I always think that is a little disingenuous as I have listened/read their opinion, so why wouldn’t they want to hear responses, even if different from their own? If they don’t, then why not disable the comments, or stop blogging if you can’t realise you are not centre of you own universe? (I am generalising here).

    Many a time I have listened to people who persuaded me by what they say, I like to hear other opinions. I don’t like the sheep aspect of blogging and I don’t see why the only comments welcome are those that completely agree with the poster. Bloggers make a deal of fuss about nothing at all sometimes, just because 1% do not go out of their way to endorse everything about them. I find that baffling, I mean who amongst us is so perfect that everyone loves us? (I don’t include personal remarks in this by the way). Then everyone joins in to ‘bully’ the so called troll. It can be bizarre! Some blogs are almost cult like in their numbers of followers and the status they give the blogger. Some handle it very well; others are frightening in that the blogger believes in their own ‘specialness’ while the followers have a terrifying herd mentality.

    I mention this all just to say that I doubt if the person who left your comment had any agenda at all. They were just a silly person because what they said made little sense. Although they have a right to an opinion it doesn’t mean though that they should be personal and offensive, if it is then it is best left unexpressed. That is always unpleasant and uncalled for. No mystery though, as many people are unpleasant and thoughtless.

    I find it a bit of a cop out to call everyone a troll when they are not. (A troll is not so much an unpleasant person but one who posts for effect or to derail a topic). In a conversation there is disagreement; and as long as it is reasonable and not vicious it is OK. Discussion is good. Disagreeing comments are often not trolling. A troll is a game player yes but not necessarily a bad person, although of course they can be both. An unpleasant comment can be written by either a nasty person or a dim one; I would try and move on from this particular person as they are not worth getting upset about.

  • e 17 April 2012, 7:10 am

    I have had a comment or two like that but that is it in 4.5 years! I am glad that my blog doesn’t draw too much attention, those girls with 100 comments a day have so much negativity being thrown at them. I never understood the purpose, the world needs positivity and negative comments have no place.
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  • Lorena 25 April 2012, 5:33 pm

    It happens.
    I recall only one negative comment where the reader said that I should stay away from capris – which I know I should 🙂
    BUT, she left her blog address which I thought was good – I actually visited her blog and left her a comment.
    I think that as long as you are not rude and there is a real good intention behind AND you identify yourself, its ok.
    Otherwise it’s just plain rude spam.
    Lorena recently posted..A scarf and pearlsMy Profile