Get to Know 5 of Man Repeller’s Top Commenters
08.02.17

Since beginning at Man Repeller as an Editorial Intern in June, I’ve become increasingly intrigued by the comment community that lives at the bottom of the page. I read MR for two years before making my first comment. I rewrote it at least 10 times, changed the formatting, played with the punctuation, even ran it by my little sister before gingerly pressing “Post.” I remember feeling a nervous rush as I watched my comment slide in among the others, wondering if anyone would read it or respond. It was the first time I’d contributed to an online forum; it felt equal parts terrifying and thrilling.

Perhaps it took me so long because online comment sections have become, at least in reputation, digital battlefields: dark places where vitriol flies freely and anonymously. After building the courage to make my first foray, however, I’ve discovered not all comment sections are like that. In some, discussions and a diversity of opinions thrive. I wanted to find out more about the voices that color the MR community in particular. Who exactly are these people who extend each story beyond its final period?

Below, some of MR’s most prolific and long-time commenters — from Iowa to South Africa to Germany — on why and how they do it.


Aydan Sarikaya

Aydan is a 27-year-old client strategist for luxury brands living in New York City.

What drove you to make your first comment on MR?
I actually had to look back in the archives for this one. It was three years ago. It was on a story called, “Does Pizza Make Your Skin Break Out?” I’m assuming this was just after my vicious cycle of adult acne. Three years later, my skin is glowing and (minus some slight scarring) acne-free! Thanks for sticking with me through that, MR.

How long have you been reading Man Repeller? How did you stumble across it?
Since the middle of pursuing my college degree, which was right around when Leandra launched it. I was a west coast girl navigating the cobblestoned streets of Boston, attempting to understand where I fit into this new world I was experiencing. Not sure how I stumbled across it, but I do know it was right around the time when I started reading blogs in general. I was definitely glued to the fashion set.

What other websites do you comment on? Why do you comment in general?
I comment on Into the Gloss and Atelier Doré. The comment section on MR is unlike any other, though. I truly believe it’s this funky creature made up of a diverse array of people who share at least some common interests, and who are all down to support, banter and challenge (in a good way!) one another. It keeps the “creature” constantly enriched.

Comment culture on the internet gets a bad rap. Do you have thoughts on that?
Comment culture does get a bad rap! In fact, I didn’t even tell ANY of my friends that I was a frequent commenter until a little over six months ago, shortly after my move to New York. I think I was scared about being classified as a geek or dork, which seems odd to say now, because those are actually some of the ways I would proudly describe myself. I think the stigma was more about leading an online life that wasn’t aligned with offline; that was the initial fear. But I’ve realized commenting online is another way to connect with people and the content I consume. As a social person, this just turned out to be another social outlet that is constructive to my growth as an individual.

What’s something you’ve been thinking about a lot lately?
I’ve been thinking about personality, and how we project ourselves to others. Over the course of my twenties, I believe I’ve grown into a strong, intelligent, eager-for-knowledge, well-rounded woman — but what happens when others don’t see us in the way we see ourselves? Can we do anything to shape that further? Why do we care? I’ve been thinking about figuring out the answers to these questions.


Modupe Oloruntoba

Modupe is a 24-year-old freelance feature writer and content producer from Cape Town, South Africa.

What drove you to make your first comment on MR?
It’s been so long! I just remember loving that there were real conversations happening, not just people throwing loud, narcissistic opinions at each other. Now, I’m so used to scrolling past the end of the story and continuing into the comments section — it’s not really over until we’ve all chimed in.

How long have you been reading Man Repeller? How did you stumble across it?
Years. Maybe since my last year of high school or first year of design school – around 2011? I came across an interview with Leandra just before MR coined the term “arm party.” I thought the name Man Repeller was fantastic (I understood it immediately!), so I clicked on a link and I don’t think I’ve ever left. I realized I’d been here a long time when MR launched the second redesign because I remember reacting to the first one!

What other websites do you comment on? Why do you comment in general?
Fashionista, Refinery29 and Career Contessa of late. I do most of my pop culture and fashion chirping on Twitter. I comment because there’s usually a conversation going on that I can relate to and contribute to, even if I’m just sharing a silly story or observation that might make someone smile. Constructive dialogue does nothing but good.

What’s something you’ve been thinking about a lot lately?
I’ve been thinking a lot about getting into vlogging. I think I could find and foster the kind of online community I enjoy being a part of there, and I know what content I want to make. I need to just get up off my butt and do it! I’ve also been thinking about making a T-shirt to wear in my first video that would read like a zoo sign: “Welcome to YouTube! Please do not feed the trolls.”


Josie Fillat

Josie is a 25-year-old recent Fine Art graduate from Baltimore, Maryland.

What drove you to make your first comment on MR?
I think it was a story about Amelia’s “junk food” hair. I did a little bragging about my hair because I had been using Apple Cider Vinegar and I was DYING to talk about it.

What other websites do you comment on? Why do you comment in general?
Man Repeller is pretty much it. Sometimes I comment on Instagram; I like to show support for the people I follow. As soon as I dipped my toe into the MR community pool I was ready to dive in. I love the discussions that happen in the comments section and I read the comments on just about every article that goes up.

Comment culture on the internet gets a bad rap. Do you have any thoughts on why this is?
So many thoughts! I LOVE YouTube comments. I used to have a collection of crazy comments I screenshot. I wrote a mini play out of them and had my class recite it. Comments can get pretty ugly but I think it’s interesting what people say when their identity is hidden. Luckily, I haven’t had any real negative experiences myself. Knock on wood!

Have you ever connected with another commenter outside the comments section?
Only through the MR Community Slack group, but I identify heavily with the #prairiecore movement and hope that one day my path will cross with the infamous Emma Hager IRL.

What’s something you’ve been thinking about a lot lately?
I just graduated college and I’m moving to New York City soon. I don’t have a job yet so I’m pretty consumed with that. But I’ve also been thinking a lot about content: what it is I want to make, in what medium and where it might live. I started a blog this year but I didn’t stick with it, so I’ve been thinking about that a lot.


Alcessa

Alcessa is a 36-year-old freelance translator from the Black Forest Area, Germany.

What drove you to make your first comment on MR?
I don’t remember anymore. By the time I found MR, I had spent quite some time envying and adoring these new people called bloggers for their wit, stories, photos, talents… My first encounter with this strange, exciting, clever new world was in 2006 and it has really changed my life for the better. I was also quite overwhelmed by the wealth of good ideas and interesting people out there and their willingness to engage with total foreigners commenting in bad English (me).

How long have you been reading Man Repeller? How did you stumble across it?
Some time in 2010 or 2011, the German weekly Der Spiegel ran a story about Leandra. I remember the way Leandra and MR were presented in that article really excited me. Something about the idea of intelligent, sartorial Man Repelling appealed to me, so I simply had to find out more about it.

What other websites do you comment on? Why do you comment in general?
I used to comment on many other blogs and engage in thrilling conversations on my own blog, but haven’t done much of that since all those lovely bloggers swapped to Instagram and Twitter. Some of my favorite blogs still exist, but the energy is not the same as it used to be. I usually read the posts and leave silently, MR being my only exception, because of the unbelievable community.

Have you ever connected with another commenter outside the comments section?
Once or twice on my blog and in a Disqus group, just to chatter a bit.


Abby Wolner

Abby is a 27-year-old financial literacy educator from Des Moines, Iowa.

How long have you been reading Man Repeller? How did you stumble across it?
I started reading in 2012 and was very jazzed about the maximal style. I got into the layering tutorials in a bad way, always running back into my room to add another top before leaving the house. I don’t think that was the point!

What other websites do you comment on? Why do you comment in general?
I comment on local news stories (help!) and interior design blogs. Pandora Sykes and Leslie Mac always have good topics to noodle on, too. I started commenting because online communities began to feel more and more valid. Where else can you engage in such specific dialogues with global participation?

Comment culture on the internet gets a bad rap. Do you have thoughts on that?
Internet commenting is definitely an exercise in civility and ego control, neither of which I’m perfect at. When communicating in person, we rely on things like tone of voice and facial expressions to help get a point across, yet that can’t be achieved online. I think sometimes we don’t take that into account when we comment, and that’s when things start to get misinterpreted and heated.

Have you ever connected with another commenter outside the comments section?
No, but I’d love to. Hello, middle America. Care to share some Flamin’ Hots?

What’s something you’ve been thinking about a lot lately?
If you must know: How to support race and class-diverse communities at the municipal level. How to turn around in a pool. How to dress like a real-ass lady.


Have your own answers to these questions? Put them — wait for it — in the comments section below.

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