How To Deal with Negative Blog Comments

Submitted by Think Tank | Category: Blogs | Published on May 04, 2011
If the comments are really nasty, just delete them When people first become active on the internet they are often idealistic about the wonders of free, totally unfettered speech.

Many of those people change their minds when they find out how much stupid, nasty, and  juvenile stuff goes on online.  While, at first, some bloggers may have decided they would never delete any comments - believing that the antidote to bad speech is always simply more speech - they may come to realize that there is no point in leaving hate-filled, often drunken, comments sitting on their blogs.

Blog Comment Spam A good rule of thumb is that if a comment is a personal attack or contains racist, sexist, or other highly-charged insults, then fee free to toss it in the trash.

Don't turn disagreement into a fight

Disagreement is not necessarily a personal attack.  Distinguish between someone saying "You are stupid," and saying "Your idea is stupid."  The first is a personal attack, but the second, while hardly charming, is disagreement.  An attack on your ideas is not a direct attack on you.

If you respond to disagreement as a personal attack - if you interpret the comment "Your idea is stupid" to mean that *you* are stupid - then the atmosphere will become highly charged and can easily escalate into a big, emotional fight.

You can avoid that, though, by seeing the comment for what it most likely is - disagreement with what you *wrote,* not with who you *are."

If you were upset when you read the original comment, then don't respond right away.  Wait until you are feeling calm.  Then you'll be in a much better position to keep the situation from getting out of hand.

Consider restricting who can post comments

If you are extremely bothered by negative comments, even those that may not be direct personal attacks, you might want to try to avoid the problem by restricting who is allowed to post comments on your blog.  You can require commenters to register, and you can only approve those people who you know and trust.

Restricting comments in this way will cut down on the amount of comments you get, and may filter out some good comments that would otherwise be left by people who you don't know.  For some bloggers, that trade-off will be worth it.  If it's more important to you to keep the conversations in your comments sections pleasant than it is to meet new people who randomly land on your blog, then consider going this route.

Badge of honor

Some people say they consider it a badge of honor to get negative comments or email.  Some may just be trying to put a good spin on a bad situation, but some actually do enjoy getting negative attention.  Some bloggers will even publish their nastiest emails on their blogs for their readers to laugh at.  This solution is obviously not for everyone - but if you are writing partisan political material, or other highly-controversial material, hate mail will come with the territory, so if all else fails, you might as well just laugh.

While nasty comments are an unfortunate fact-of-life for many bloggers, just remember that you are in the driver's seat of your blog and can choose how you want to deal with them, and you have the right to do whatever makes you the most comfortable.


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