How to Deal with Negative Comments on Your Blog: Five Different Solutions
One fear that some bloggers have, especially when they’re in the early days of their blog, is what to do if they receive negative comments.
In fact, some bloggers are put off starting altogether (or start a blog with comments switched off) because they’re so anxious about this.
While I completely recognise how daunting it can be to start putting your words out there to be commented on by others, the vast majority of comments are likely to be positive.
It’s a great shame to miss out on the interaction and feedback provided by comments just because of the possibility of getting some bad ones.
It’s important to remember that you are in control, and that if someone leaves a nasty, angry, or unkind comment, you have a range of ways to deal with it.
#1: Simply Ignore Them
This isn’t a great response, but it’s certainly a possible one: simply ignore any negative comments on your blog. Allow them to stay in place, but don’t respond to them. You’ll sometimes see this happening on large blogs where the blogger is very busy and tends not to reply to any comments at all.
The drawback here is that it can be off-putting to other people commenting and to visitors who simply read the comments. If you have a lot of negative (and potentially spammy) comments, it can also make your blog look a little neglected.
#2: Delete Them
The simplest way to address a negative comment is to delete it (or “trash” it in WordPress’s terms). Despite what some people might say, this in no way attacks the commenter’s freedom of speech.
Deleting a comment like this is a good response to trolls – people who are simply commenting to get a reaction – or to people whose comment is basically spam.
#3: Delete Them and Email the Commenter
A step up from #2, this might be the most appropriate course of action if you felt that the comment wasn’t trolling but simply someone having a very bad day, or perhaps misunderstanding something you wrote.
I’d be wary of engaging in lengthy email conversations with a nasty commenter – it’s definitely not good for the blood pressure! – but a short, professional email to briefly explain why you deleted their comment might be enough to prevent them writing something similar in future.
#4: Respond to Them
Sometimes, you might decide to let a negative comment stay on your blog – in which case it’s a good idea to respond (for the sake of your other readers as much as for the commenter).
If you do this, it’s definitely a good idea to take a few deep breaths first: don’t respond angrily. By writing a friendly, professional reply, you’ll impress your other readers with your patience. You may even find that the angry commenter responds to apologise or to ask you to remove their comment.
#5: Switch Comments Off Altogether
I mentioned at the start of the post that some bloggers switch off comments from day one. If you’ve had comments on and you’re getting a huge number of negative ones, then you might decide to turn comments off for a while (the trolls may go elsewhere, bored).
Personally, I’d see this as a last resort, and only use it if other methods have failed. If you don’t want to go as far as this, you might introduce more stringent moderation, so you can moderate comments before they go live.
If you want to ban certain people or establish a comment policy, see Jason Lancaster’s post How To Deal with Trolls and Rude Comments.
Ultimately, it’s your blog, and the people leaving comments are your guests. You have every right to delete a comment, so don’t be afraid to do so.
Have you ever received a nasty or critical comment on your blog? How did you deal with it? Share your experiences in the comments.
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16 Responses to “How to Deal with Negative Comments on Your Blog: Five Different Solutions”
It depends upon the comment. For a comment carrying irrelevant, inappropriate, and personal attacking message I often choose method #2. And if the commenter is trying to deliver a message that was missed in my post, I will choose method #4.
Ignore and move on.
I write about dogs (raising dogs) and attract the passionate reader who feels the need to tell me that I’m a moron while disagreeing with my point.
After months of dealing with negative comments, I created guidelines for myself…
If someone is disagreeing with me and being impolite, I respond respectfully, I don’t address the insult and I move on. If they reply again, and continue to insult me, then I block/ban them.
If someone is just being a jerk and not contributing to the conversation, I block/ban them and I don’t bother responding.
Doing this has really changed the tone of my engagement.
Hannah @A Mother in Israel
When I started blogging I wouldn’t just delete a comment because of a negative comment, I would delete the whole post! Now I welcome them. I take a deep breath and let other readers chime in one way or the other. As long as it’s not a personal attack, negative comments help you sharpen your arguments. You might even change your mind.
I agree, there are many things you can do with a negative comment. I’ve had a few negative comments that were blatant stabs at me which I deleted. Had the comment had any sort of worthwhile commentary along with the blatant stab, I would have gone with #4 and responded to the worthwhile part.
It’s a fact that most new blog owners are frightened with negative comments. It can really be daunting to keep going.
For spamming comments, I don’t have an option other than sending them to trash and blacklist the IP if they recure from that same IP.
For negative comments, I personally see them as a way of interraction. Sometimes, they make the discussion flow and most often, responses are provided by the commenters. This depends on the trend the comments take.
It’s a wise decision (I think) to delay posting such negative comment if it comes ealier before other commenter to see how engaging they’ll eventually be.
As for abusive comment, outright deletion is the way.
Ali, Thanks for sharing
I think there’s a consensus here that some negative comments are just trolling and should be ignored or deleted, but that others can actually be useful, valid feedback.
@Gary — I agree with you that personal attacks should not be tolerated, and that it’s particularly important to prevent commenters from attacking other commenters.
#1 is the biggie for me for sure! Just ignore and move on. People are sad and try to bring others down. Can’t let that happen!
I strongly agree with number #4. Sometimes we need consider their opinions about our writing, web design, or maybe blog speed.
Giving your thoughts may be the best way.
Personally, I think it’s great to respond to ALL comments received – everyone is different and expresses themselves differently as a result, but you should definitely ALWAYS take a deep breath or three before replying as you say.
I would never advise turning off comments – communities are a great thing when nurtured properly over time.
I approve negative feedback if it has written decently. If the used words are appropriate I follow #2.
Some negative comments are actually valid – for example, I’ve had comments complaining about performance and missing pages etc. My approach has always been to keep the comment private (delete it!), get back to the commenter thanking them for pointing out the issue and then taking the necessary action. As far as plain simple abusive comments go, I have little time for these and just delete them straight away. As online entrepreneurs, our time is way too valuable to waste worrying about trolls 🙂
It depends what kind of negative comment it is, I guess. Specifically, it is a personal comment towards you or another reader, and has nothing to do with your content, blog, or opinions, just delete it. Personal attacks should definitely not be tolerated. However, a disagreement over opinion and perspective – I think that’s a good thing to allow other readers to see you are willing to allow discussion and that you can take it. Even the most loved people had detractors and haters – bloggers just need to develop a thick skin.
I usually use the #4 and respond to the commenter with a strong message.
Initially when i used to get only spam comments what i used to do is edit the comments and make it a legitimate ones and approve the posts – that was the biggest mistake i did because that approved their future comments too!
I recommend form my experience strictly moderate your comments on your blog and only allow legitimate good ones. Also i used to approve the ones with gravatar as they looked serious commenters. The latest strategy i use is to remove website url from comment form.
IMO, deleting negative comments is the best thing to do. It also takes the thoughts or any tension off your mind that someone posted a negative comment and everyone must be reading it. And, once deleted, it’s easier to forget it and get back to work, than rambling inside, which some people do.
If you approve negative comments, such people may get into a habit of posting more of them.
Talking about banning, I recently banned some IPs in my Better WP Security. This guy was sending similar spam comments (about 10 daily), on exactly the same post on my blog. Now, I receive just a few spam comments each week. You can do the same if some trolls do like this.
I haven’t yet received a negative comment so far. Still waiting to have that experience. 🙂
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