If you haven't noticed by now (?) I have some strong opinions, and I'm generally not afraid to share them.
However, here's a nice little contradiction - one of the things I'm very keen on is good manners. I don't mean some of the sillier aspects of convention or etiquette, but good solid basic manners designed to prevent harm to others.
It goes without saying that sometimes offering one's opinion would involve a breach of manners.
An example of this is the common one where somebody displays a creation of theirs such as a piece of artwork or music, and asks you what you think. They put you on the spot.
Putting somebody on the spot is a breach of manners, but it would be quite wrong to retaliate. On the other hand they just ASKED for your opinion. And it's awful.
The truth can often hurt, so now this is a real conundrum. What DO you say?
I hate that situation. I hate it with a passion.
So, I turn it around. I think, what would I want them to say to me? Well, I'd like them to be honest, but gentle. Constructive criticism. You can be honest without being rude.
I might say simply "It's not my kind of thing." And that is probably as honest as it gets, because tastes are very personal. Just because something does not appeal to MY tastes, doesn't mean it's bad. My tastes are not mainstream, and chances are, what doesn't appeal to me could be huge with the right crowd. Don't forget Decca turned down the Beatles.
But there's one way we can almost avoid offence, and that's saying nothing.
It can't always be done, because in person, in real time, and even sometimes in telephone or text conversations, you are "put on the spot", and will be harrassed until you reply. Depending on the level of harrassment you may forget your manners, of course.
When it is possible, and online it often is, the way to answer is to not answer. This leaves an element of doubt. Did she not see my question? Did she read it and forget to answer? Did she have no answer? Or.....is that her answer?
There are times, pretty much daily, when any honest answer would be offensive. Especially if it's not a direct question. Is a statement in public a question or isn't it? There's almost a "what do you think?" implied, isn't there? In any case, saying nothing when it's not a direct question is ENTIRELY permitted. There is no responsibility by a casual reader to respond. Good manners requires that you respond to a text message, email, or other electronic communication, just as if it were a handwritten note. But a broadcast public statement? No.
So, you have an out there. In fact, it could be said that good manners requires you to NOT respond, if the only possible response has the potential to offend. See how this works? It's twisty turny, but it's not wrong.
You may not care. You may decide to say your bit anyway, and face the consequences. And we all have days like that. Plus, there are huge differences depending on who it is you are (not) responding to. If it's me? I probably won't notice if you loudly ignore me, plus you can be quite rude before I notice that. Others....well, let's say some are more thin-skinned than others, and some actively seek attention, so you can bear that in mind. Or not.