Anonymous asked realsocialskills:On Tumblr, a lot of people seem to communicate happiness by exaggerated displeasure. Like, if a fic has made them sad or someone’s art is just *that good*, they’ll comment “SCREW YOU I DIDN’T NEED MY HEART ANYWAY” or something like that. But I’m always afraid to send things like that because I’m afraid it’ll be mistaken for genuine hate. What is a good way to make it clear that I actually really like what they do while keeping that sort of mock rage? Or should I just not bother?realsocialskills said:I don’t know, and actually I often have a lot of trouble telling whether someone is intending to complain about something or praise it when they’re talking that way.Do any of y’all know how to tell the difference, and how to be clear about which one you mean?
You can never be 100% sure that your hyperbole will be understood. It’s half comical exaggeration and half context, so - if the person sounds much angrier/sadder than is usual (“and your little dog too”) or uses humorously extreme metaphoric language (“LITERALLY SHOOTING MYSELF INTO THE SUN RIGHT NOW”) AND the situation does not appear to call for anger/sadness (somebody has Done A Cute Fanart), it’s probably mock rage. Both of those things are extremely subjective - there might be someone out there for whom that situation does create anger, even if it’s just for personal association reasons. When you use hyperbole like this, you’re basically just making an educated guess that you’ve gone far enough and the situation is unambiguous enough that the odds are in your favour - it helps if you know your audience, as well, but I’d think the odds of anyone at all taking e.g. a threat to shoot anything into the sun seriously were fairly negligible.
But, basically, if a very small chance that you will be misunderstood is unacceptable, just don’t do the thing. Plenty of people communicate in more straightforward ways, even on tumblr, and you don’t need to participate in a trend if it’s going to stress you out. Honestly, I believe that worrying about being misunderstood is going to do more harm than the potential misunderstanding, but that in and of itself is a reasonable cause to avoid it in my opinion.