Has A Comment Ever Changed Your Final Decision?

When you blog regularly, it’s common to ask readers for advice for everything from financial to purchases to travel decisions.  Is crowdsourcing the term? I’m too lazy to look it up.

The reason I’m asking is that I am tempted to ask for advice  from time to time.  I hesitate only because I wonder if I or anyone ever follows advice from their readers.  Oftentimes it seems like the person receives a lot of good advice but makes the opposite decision, or actually has their mind made up anyway.  I believe there’s science behind this, too, called “confirmation bias” (scholars, correct me if I’m wrong!). From my understanding, this means in general people simply pay more attention to views that confirm their own beliefs.  Example: If you think all Asians are good at math, you will notice if an Asian person wins a Nobel prize for mathematics.  If you have an Asian friend who is bad at math, you’ll assume that’s an exception to the rule.  I’m sure there are many more and better examples of this in the political arena, of which I stay far away from!

I still remember a debt-blogger who asked readers if she and her husband should join her family on a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to Europe.  They did not have ailing relatives. Everyone else in her family was financially stable but did not have enough to subsidize her tickets/travel expenses.  They would probably have to spend on higher-end hotels than if they had gone on their own. I would say that the answers were sort of split.  Many people said “go for it” which in my mind is very easy to do when it’s not your money! A lot of people also advised her not to do it until you’re out of debt.  I felt that those who were against it made better arguments.  After all she had racked up debt due to lifestyle choices, not education loans or medical debt.  To me, they had spent to enjoy their early 20s and should pay for it before going into debt for another fun adventure.   This is tough for me to say because I love traveling and I also believe travel is worth the money; however, paying off a trip for years didn’t make sense even to me.  Of course you could say that she followed the advice since most people said to “go”; however it was pretty clear that she had made up her mind before even asking the question.

As for me, my question would have been about whether moving to another rental house that is out of our real budget range but closer to my work is worth the trade-off (the classic time vs. money).  I haven’t written about the move yet because I’m tired and a bit embarrassed by my/our bad financial decision-making skills.    If I had asked, I’m sure I would have gotten good advice and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have listened either.   Maybe someone would have suggested a compromise that would save time and also reduce the hit on our budget.   However,  we made the decision based on “wants”.  We wanted to save time, but also wanted a larger house with a yard.  We didn’t want to share walls.   In other words, I didn’t think that the best arguments in the world probably would have swayed me.  Of course two years down the line I might regret this move!  Once I’m recovered from moving, I may write more about it.

Have you ever asked readers for advice and actually read a comment or comments that truly affected your final decision? I’m especially interested if you changed your mind on BIG decisions, like a job choice, moving, finance etc…

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14 responses to “Has A Comment Ever Changed Your Final Decision?

  1. No, I can’t say I have.

  2. I have, especially when someone gives a suggestion that I hadn’t thought of or I didn’t know existed (reamortization– something a reader suggested). I have also ignored everybody’s good advice and made the opposite decision anyway. Same with #2 on our blog. I think I don’t tend to ask for advice unless I haven’t made up my mind, but I am also not always swayed by folks’ arguments (sometimes their arguments put me the opposite direction of their advice!)

    On one person’s blog, a woman was asking which house out of 3, and everyone was telling her to stretch for her favorite. I suggested that she give a low-ball offer that wasn’t a stretch on her #1 choice, and she did and they accepted it! That made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

  3. I can’t think of a time when I straight up changed my mind based on a comment, but writing a post and reading other people’s comments on it has helped be sort out what I think/want many times. And back in my early days of parenting, reading the comments on AskMoxie’s posts, particularly about sleep, helped make me feel less incompetent. I really do think blogs, both writing mine and reading other people’s, have helped me grow into a better and more confident mother and they certainly helped me sort out how I wanted to combine mothering with the rest of my life.

    • I think I’m more like you..in that reading other’s blogs have helped me sort out feelings/thoughts. I don’t enjoy the work life/balance debates but it’s very helpful to read how other bloggers manage beyond a one-off article with no follow-up!

  4. A resounding YES – I’ve crowd-sourced many times on my blog; most recently about my child’s school choice decision. The great advice I got in the comments (from commenters right here now, thanks again!) are very helpful to me. Hopefully they’ll be pleased to know I am following their advice! Friendship: what to say, what not to say is another huge area in which my blog commenters have been a great help to me.

  5. I didn’t have my mind made up when I asked about life insurance, and asking the blog readers was SUPER eye opening for me. Now it’s not a huge decision like moving, but I don’t regret asking because it 1) gave me an idea what other people’s experiences were and 2) informed my decision. You can always ask advice, listen, but not follow it. The point is the asking gives you different view points, you don’t have to follow it at all. I like having something to think about before deciding, even if I make the “bad” decision after anyway.

  6. Yes, absolutely. To clarify though: perhaps no single comment may have “changed” my mind in the sense that I’ve made up my mind to do 1 thing and I went 180 degrees the other direction, comments have opened up new avenues for me. People have suggested things I didn’t know existed or hadn’t thought of. So when I specifically ask questions, I ask because I want to hear opinions, suggestions, thoughts and I am deliberately clearing my preconceptions to form a fresh decision.

    Even when I don’t ask for advice, I keep an open mind to comments because as a general rule, people are bringing different perspectives and experiences that I cannot possibly, alone, have. And in a lot of cases, I don’t stand on finality as a matter of pride so it doesn’t hurt my feelings to try a different thing to what I originally thought of doing.

    Reading and writing helps me figure out what I want to do, but comments can be a great part of that process too.

  7. I find comments and crowdsourcing very useful.

  8. Yes. But I only ask for advice when I have not made up my mind already.

  9. Good points above. Sometimes it just seems like a blogger is asking for advice but isn’t really opened to suggestions or even shoots down anyone who “opposes” his/her view. However, just hearing different viewpoints based on different experiences could definitely be useful!

  10. Pingback: Musings on PF blogging and attitudes

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