Blogger Questions Answered: How to deal with rude comments

This question was submitted by Glenn Waldron.

Q.

How do you contend with negative bloggers (I’m talking about mean bloggers who post negative comments)?

A.

Hey Glenn, thanks for your submission, and sorry to hear that you took down your blog. Hopefully you find another edge in the CAD industry, and produce a successful blog for that viewpoint/take/niche. It can be done. Don’t give up!

I do want to note that there is a difference between negative comments and rude comments. Negative comments are not necessarily rude. Sometimes, it’s an opportunity to provide clarity or set the record straight. Rude comments, on the other hand, don’t add anything to the conversation and make people upset for no real reason.

Since there’s nothing you can really do to prevent negative or rude comments, here are some suggestions on how to contend with them in the future:

  1. Ignore rude, flagrant comments. There are certain cases where you really just should ignore the comment. If it raises no real issues, is incoherent, or contains personal attacks, hit the Delete button and don’t look back. On a different note, StumbleUpon is one of those places you might get some rude or flagrant comments (on a URL that you or someone has submitted). Ignore them, too. My own personal (this is purely personal) strategy is to ignore anyone who swears at me. If you can’t use a better word from the English lexicon, you don’t get my attention. Sorry.
  2. Set the record straight. Again, negative comments are not necessarily rude, even though our ego might get a little bruised. This is a good opportunity to say au contraire, or maybe, to look back at your post and address the issue if you were unclear. Give your readers the right to express negative reactions, so long as they are not rude. Saying, “I think you’re wrong,” is not rude. Saying, “I think you’re wrong you mindless twit,” on the other hand, is definitely rude.
  3. Don’t respond to Anonymous comments. First of all, have you noticed a new SPAM technique is to raise some obscure negative issue (e.g., “I like your site, but it’s pretty messed up. I can’t read anything.” or “This is interesting but I don’t agree with any of it.”)? Those are SPAM comments designed to get approved because they initiate conversation. Joke’s on you, sparky. Don’t engage. I’m not saying all comments in your SPAM folder are SPAM, but use some common sense. An obscure comment from a random set of keywords with an email address like akifndiagifanidna@ymail.com is almost certainly SPAM, and they are NOT going to answer you back, so don’t sweat it.
  4. Turn lemons into lemonade. Bloggers are always looking for new inspiration or something different to write about. Take the negative comment and turn it into a full-fledged response as a new post. Use an interesting title (tip: turn it into a how to or what to do question), and respond to the comment. The blogging world is one of clout – so, show that you have some. This isn’t your opportunity to be a jerk, but rather, it’s an opportunity to show that you understand the issues at hand and are serious about writing about them.

Lesson from Chris Brogan

Whether Chris’ reaction to negative feedback here was just knee-jerk, or whether it was carefully constructed, his post called Chris Brogan Has Jumped the Shark is an interesting way to deal with mounting negative feedback. It sometimes helps us to remember why we are doing what we’re doing, especially in the face of feedback that is wrong or really unhelpful.

Readers Weigh In

What did I miss? Does anyone have better or different suggestions for Glenn? I wouldn’t know about negative or rude comments since I just delete them on the spot (just kidding).

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