I've been sharing my opinions online since I was 14. Something that has changed over the years is my relationship with the reactions I receive.

When you share something online, people will react. Most of the time, they try to one-up you, either by pointing out something you apparently missed or by flat-out telling you that you're wrong and they know better.

That's not surprising. It's how people operate.

In my early years of blogging, I viewed this behavior as a challenge. My whole personal brand was about "being combative." "Don't feed the trolls" was still a saying back then, and I completely ignored its inherent truth.

It's not just trolls, though. My recent post about filter icons resulted in quite a few reactions, most of them telling me things I already knew. I struggle with people implying I haven't thought about what they're now kindly offering me as new information. It's likely one of those ego things where I feel undervalued if people consider me uninformed.

My first reaction—and I've started and deleted quite a few responses like this over the last couple of days—is to react with some witty "You think you've accomplished something here, but let me show you that you're actually not that smart" remark. It's an asshole move and exactly the behavior I've trained myself to stop doing over the last few years. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Letting things go always feels better than trying to win something that isn't even a competition.

All of this influences my writing. I knew that these reactions would be the result of my short and not very in-depth argued post about filter icons. I could have written a 5,000-word piece on the ins and outs of why the status quo is the way it is, offered alternative icons, and talked about their pros and cons to anticipate those reactions as well. But that wouldn't have been fun. Everything requires a disclaimer.

I would lose my voice if I tried to optimize my writing around the expected reactions. I'd dumb everything down, argue in every direction, just to be safe. That's just not an option. Just like trying to outwit the people reacting to my writing isn't one.

Am I suggesting that you should ignore your readers? Perhaps!