This weekend I didn’t take my own advice and I’ve been doing damage control ever since. I’m not going to go into all the details, but suffice it to say, it doesn’t pay to respond to negative feedback or feed the trolls.
Let me explain.
Not everyone is going to like what you write. The majority of them will tastefully rebut and you can carry on an intelligent discussion among the members of your community. If you go ahead and respond to the people who are looking for a fight, it will only hurt your reputation and spill over into your community. Don’t do it.
Here’s how to handle the trolls:
- Ignore them – Let them say what they want and then ignore them. Do not respond, no matter how many times they insult you. You can’t reason with them.
- Delete their comments – When it comes to comments you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you let nasty comments stand, it makes your community uncomfortable. If you delete them you’re accused of stifling free speech. The bottom line: It’s your blog and your community, cater to them, not the trolls.
- Moderate comments – If the trolls are bringing friends and they’re piling it on, moderate your comments. This doesn’t have to go on forever, just until the furor dies down.
Here’s the thing. The people who are really negative are doing so for a reason. They’re trying to provoke a response. The more you give into it, the more you respond, the more it will continue. No matter how much it kills you not to set matters straight, don’t give in. Even if you’re right, don’t give in.
Your community comes first
When your blog becomes a battle zone your regulars will leave for neutral territory. They’re not visiting your blog for the drama, (well, most of them aren’t). They’re visiting for the advice and the atmosphere. Do the right thing and think of them first.