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Dealing With Those Rowdy Commenters

Sierra Koch's Photo

So, I will be the first to admit that I can garner a temper when someone mindlessly bashes something I write. I could let it all slide, and let things be said about me and my writing, but, then again, I should have the right to defend myself when someone criticizes what I write. Well, it is a complex thing, and one must compose himself or herself in a correct manner to avoid ending up in a bad situation.

I tend to take everything head-on. Some of the stuff I have taken the time to write in the comments sections of some of my blog posts could be developed into full-fledged articles, but it is a thin line between defending myself and entertaining the haters. I will not hold back on anything I write about, and if someone or something is downright ridiculous, I will put my reputation on the line to state the facts. It is who I am, but I know that I have been in situations that I could have handled better.

Knowing that my fairly straightforward approach to taking on those who have less brain cells is generally uncalled for, I offer some of you advice that I only wish I could follow myself at the times when it is most needed. I’m sure that many of you are better than me in that regard.

A Few Tips for Dealing with Unruly Commenters

Come back later: Do you know that feeling you get when you say something you really regret, and you know that if you had just taken a few moments, things would have been better than they turned out? Well, I’ve had that experience countless times before. If you come to a situation that is going to have repercussions, step away from the computer screen. Come back later. You’ll be able to approach conflicts in an entirely different manner.

Ignore it: Having tough skin is a quality that many people desire. Most people take criticism in a negative way, but some can harness that into positive and encouraging material. I’m actually extremely happy to take on constructive criticism, but there is the destructive criticism that just does nobody any good. Ignore it if possible, but if you must react to something like this, make the other person look like a fool, instead of making yourself looking like one.

Admit when you’re wrong: Sometimes the contents of an article are going to be wrong. It is going to happen, and it happens much more often when considering that many bloggers don’t feel as obligated to get the facts right. (Journalists are far from perfect as well.) If you wrote something that was incorrect, tell your users that you were wrong either within the article, within the comments, or both. Avoid trying to justify being wrong, because it will just fuel the fire. Take your punishment and make it up with better content later on.

Moderation: Many times you will get those comments who will flock in from a social networking site, glance the article, and give you one of those typical “this article sucks” responses. I have absolutely no problem with removing these types of comments. They add nothing to the discussion, and the person probably is not going to bother responding anyways. Chances are high that these comments originate from young teens who don’t know any better. Unfortunately, the computer screen can make anyone feel invincible.

Reputation

Above all else, understand that you are part of the blogosphere. The blogosphere is a place of conversation, information, and, sometimes, confrontation. Reputations can be shattered after one wrong move, and this is even more important as you and your blog grows in popularity.

There will be a time when you will have to stand up and defend yourself. Conflict and controversy is always brewing. Just realize that people are going to take sides (it is how the world works), and how you present comments and responses might be far more important than the actual meaning. It’s a weird world that we live in.

In the meantime, fellow bloggers—share the love!

How do you deal with people who leave nasty, derogatory comments on your blog? I’d love to know about it. Leave a comment or two. (Hopefully not bad comments!)

[Image Credit: “Must love computers…“—Sierra Koch]

Author: jamesm

5 thoughts on “Dealing With Those Rowdy Commenters

  1. I have a clear comment policy at FWJ. Personal attacks, vulgarity, profanity and general disrespect towards anyone will all be deleted. Commentators are welcome to disagree, but they must be respectful. My only rule is to be respectful.

    My blog is set up so a visitor’s first comment is moderated. After that they can comment unmoderated but if they are abusive or disrespectful they go into the moderation filter forever to avoid future attacks.

    You can have a flourishing community and even some heated debate but all comments should be respectful. “This article sucks” isn’t respectful and adds nothing to the conversation. I’d remove it. Now if someone said “This article sucks and here’s why” – and provided a well thought out and respectful representation as to why he thought my piece sucked, I can live with that.

  2. sometimes, if you’ve got a loyal and big enoguh readership, you can ask your readers to flame the commenter… fight comments with comments! Sit back and relax. Where’s the popcorn?

  3. I agree with the stuff u said. There are some annoying kids on the internet. You should try browsing YouTube!!!

  4. The easiest solution to this problem is to just delete the comment. However, I don’t want the comments looking like they are all positive and I don’t want that reputation of only allowing positive comments. So, I only delete those that as you said, do not add anything to the conversation. I think the best advice you have in this article is to take in the criticism and then walk away. Come back later and you’ll be able to take the high road which is always the better way to handle those situations.

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