One thing that you said, "when I used to be a writer" struck me. Aren't you still a writer? I think (or believe) that it is not like a job where you can quit and move on to something else. As far as I can tell you are still writing (I guess it depends on how you define it...)
Like I said, if I see a post (a poem or a story) that is really difficult for me to read, I just don't. I used to try and slog through them all but it gets exhausting, never mind the time it takes. And if writers or painters or craftspeople do it for anything other than the love of doing it (like Van Gogh) and just for the comments they get then it becomes something else IMO.
[Of course, those that are trying to make a living with their art may have to create something that the public demands and not so much what they really would rather do...been there done that and it feels a bit like prostituting my art but hey, I've done it for the filthy lucre to feed the family... ]
I was responding basically to your original post. I don't always respond to comments because I don't feel the necessity to always do so. I post poems, my journal and stuff like that on social media and if I get a like or a comment...great... but not a necessity for me. I have many folks (in a face to face) tell me they always read what I write but they don't comment. And it took me a long time to get to this point because I was so insecure but not anymore... (One of the beauties of age. )Doreen Peri wrote: Honestly, after spending so many years on the internet and watching how this works, I made a promise to myself. I stop reading all writers who don't take the time to comment on other people's works. I find it selfish so I refuse to read their work. I DO give them a chance. I reply to them a couple of times and if I don't get a reply back to my comment to even thank me for reading their work, I simply stop reading it.
Some sites make it a rule to reply to three pieces before posting a piece. We suggest that here, but it's not a hard and fast rule, because frankly, I don't have time to enforce it.
Common sense is important in communities. If people want to post their own works without participating in the community, they should have a blog, not post on sites like this.
I have a "blog" and will continue to journal as long as these fingers work. I like to post here on occasion because I like the beauty of this site so I think I can do both?
You keep your promise that you made to yourself (I break mine all the time. Hah!) and ignore those that you see as "selfish". Me, I am selfish... admittedly...taking care of me first now. You have an amazing place here and should be justly proud. Me, I am a rule breaker and have always been. Hopefully, we can remain as we are... and have been for many years...friends with a love of creating beauty in an ugly world.