How To Deal With Negative Comments

From: D. Keith Robinson

Commenting and discussion, to me anyway, are the “killer feature” of most blogs. They”re what make the medium special and different. Blogging is best when it’s a two way discussion.

Most bloggers who allow commenting, at one time or another, will have to deal with negative feedback. Sometimes this comes in the form of comments. It’s inevitable and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

I’ve gotten my share of disparaging comments and I know how bad it can make you feel. I remember a time I worked my ass off for what I thought was a great, very well thought-out post with a positive message. I thought for sure I’d have a great discussion and that my readers would really jive with my message. I was wrong and I was inundated with negative comments. It really upset me, but in the end it turned out to be a positive, educational experience.

Over the years I’ve thought quite a bit about how to handle negative comments and I think I’ve got some great tips that might be of help to y’all.

  • Read and understand. Make sure you really understand what is being said. It’s easy to read something negative and jump in with a response that might not be as informed as it should be. That just causes more trouble.
  • Learn from it. Sometimes you’ll get a negative post because you were wrong. Take it as an educational experience.
  • Don’t get defensive. This just makes matters worse. Take a step back and try to be objective. Thing long and hard before you respond to negative feedback.
  • Ignore trolls. Do not engage in a discussion with someone who is just looking for a fight. Ignore the comment, or delete it if you feel comfortable with doing that.
  • Post your comment policy. Let people know if there is are types of comments you don’t want to see. For example, if you don’t want off-topic comments, let your readers know.
  • Respond with kindness and a willingness to understand. I don’t know how many times I';ve turned a bad comment into a good one by simply trying to understand the point of view being offered and taking a positive attitude.
  • Admit when you are wrong. Your readers will actually respect you more if you acknowledge your mistakes. We all make them, don’t beat yourself up over it.
  • Don’t take it personally. Sometimes it may seem like a negative comment is a personal attack, but this is often not the case.
  • Take it offline. I’ve found that engaging in an e-mail conversation with someone who I’m butting heads with is very helpful in resolving the situation.
  • Use self-deprecating humor. Let’s face it. If you have a blog that you post to with any frequency there are going to be times when you screw up. Sometimes this can actually be pretty darn funny if you can take a step back and look at it through another’s eyes. Take teasing from your readers with a grain of salt and if you can’t beat ‘em–join ‘em.
  • Realize before you hit “post” that it’s a big world out there and you’re not going to please everyone every-time.

Related articles:
Leaving a Guy a Place to Stand
Great Find: Commenting on CTBizBlogs
Blog Basics 1: Comments and Comment Policies

Comments

  1. says

    I wrote a little “how-to” article on my site a couple years back (back before it was really a “blog” and kind of forgot about it. One day somebody actually made a comment on it but it was severely harsh. I actually contemplating deleting it. Instead, I left it. When writing a blog, you have to leave yourself open like that. And in the end, I’m glad I did as every comment after that has been very positive.

  2. says

    I generally find that negative comments are more telling and helpful than positive comments. Comments like ‘very nice blog” or “cool pics” are great to see but don’t give you any constructive criticism. I work in a field where feedback, positive and negative, is necessary in terms of maximal output. I think this applies as much to the web as to the real world. You should not hold back from writing a blog just because you are afraid of negative comments.It is much better to regret something you have done than something that was never ventured. Even the best bloggers have to deal with negative comments.

  3. says

    Hi Bruski89!
    Welcome!
    I guess it would all depend on how one defines “negative comments.” People who disagree are often helpful in opening up new thoughts and ideas . . . that seems to be what you are talking about. I’m with you on that. “Cool pix” and “great post” don’t add much to the conversation, though often they are meant to let the writer know that the reader has some appreciation of the work, which shouldn’t be brushed off either.

    Negative comments that are meant only to stir the pot or cause argument I just don’t have time for.

  4. says

    Hi, Google something on “negative comments” and up came your site. My site is currently being plagued with many negative comments and even comments that do not make sense at all. Like to let you know, this post really helps me to take things easily and look on the bright side. Also good to see that many are posting good comments on your blog! You are a good role model to learn from!

  5. says

    I wrote a poem entitled ‘Teenagers’ a few days ago. It was the first poem I had ever written. I was completely unprepared for some of the negative comments I received.

    I am not against negative comments but abusive negative comments can feel really painful.

    After getting over my initial shock I realised that these comments were actually doing me a favour…they created a heated debate between those who loved my poem and those who didn’t…this led to much more traffic to my article than I would have got if all the comments were positive.

    In short, I know I must develop a thick skin to protect me from the abusive comments but I must also see all comments as much needed PUBLICITY for my work.

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