July 13, 2005
Liz published this at 11:10 pm
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.