Sometimes you get jerky comments on your blog. Not just people disagreeing with you, but people who are being out and out A-holes. These are the people who leave snide, snarky, and mean-spirited comments on your blog, often cowering behind an anonymous handle.
How do you deal with those, especially if you’re a new blogger or have a corporate blog, and you’re just not used to seeing this kind of stuff?
1) Take it personally.
Yes, I know we’re not SUPPOSED to take it personally, and everyone who tells you this has either never had it happen to them, has grown immune to it, or is lying to you about sobbing uncontrollably in the bathroom after someone pointed out a grammatical error in their post last week.
You will feel bad. You will get your feelings hurt. I completely understand it, so give yourself time to feel that. Afterward, remind yourself you’re better than they are, and the other person is just envious of your life, because hanging out in their mom’s basement in their Star Trek uniform doesn’t seem as glamorous as it did 10 years ago when they first started working at Burger King.
2) See if you can you learn anything from it.
Sometimes a mean or abrupt comment may have something to teach you. Maybe they said you can’t spell. Maybe they said you were being short-sighted about your ideas. Maybe they said your work was derivative and sounded an awful lot like someone else’s work. It may hurt, but it may also be a small hint that maybe you should work more on your spelling, think out your ideas better, or develop your own style or voice.
If you can learn something, great. Keep going through these steps. If there’s nothing useful in it whatsoever — and that includes printing it out and using it to soak up where your dog just puked on the rug — then, keep going through these steps.
3) Don’t respond.
There are trolls on the Internet. They get their jollies from saying mean and spiteful things to people because their lives are so pitiful and joyless that this is the only way they feel better about themselves. They’re still just bitter that they didn’t get that promotion to assistant night manager after 10 hard years, and they want to bring people down to their own level.
They figure if they can get you to respond, they’re somehow accomplishing something, and they feel better about themselves in a way that only trolls can. So don’t respond, don’t give them the satisfaction, and keep telling yourself you’re better than that.
4) Delete the comment.
There is no rule that says you have to leave a comment up on the blog, especially if the other person is being an A-hole. This is your blog to do with what you want. There are no blog comment rules other than your own, and no expectations that you leave up something you don’t want to. It’s not censorship to delete negative comments — it’s only censorship if the government deletes it — it’s you keeping your house looking the way you want to. You wouldn’t let an obnoxious jerk come to your house and sully up your living room. So you don’t need to let them come in and stink up your blog either.
If people want to be A-holes, let them continue to clog the comments section of their local newspaper. You only want people who can be supportive, or at least constructively critical. Delete away and don’t feel bad about it at all. If necessary, block the users from leaving comments.
5) Read all your good comments.
Sometimes, after you’ve been hammered, you need a pick me up. (Just please don’t go to Facebook or Twitter and ask for prayers and hugs.) Go look at your past comments where people have said some great stuff about you. You should be able to access your comments page from your blog’s admin dashboard. When you get slimed by an A-troll, after you delete their muck, go read all the awesome stuff people have said about you to cheer yourself up. Or go read your LinkedIn recommendations. Or, if you don’t have many of those yet, go to Facebook and Twitter and ask for prayers and hugs.
Yes, there are people who like being jerks and trolls. They do it on purpose, just so they can be hurtful to someone else. They want to be mean, and don’t have anything better to do, so they leave nasty comments on other people’s blogs. But occasionally, you’ll get a comment from someone with poor tact, but who actually means well. Learn to separate the people with communication issues from the actual trolls, and deal with them as you see fit.
It’s your blog, and you’re free to keep whatever content and comments on there you would like. Save yourself the headache and the heartache, and delete anything from anyone who pisses you off.