Dealing with Negative Comments

by Gary on June 8, 2008 · 5 comments

in Blogging,SEO,Social Media

In Dave Eave’s post on Building a Social Media Storm he outlined some ways of dealing with negative comments. According to him talking/reasoning with the negative commenters wouldn’t always work so that what you can do would be to:

  • Have all of your friends down vote the negative comments heavily
  • Ridicule or belittle the negative commenter(s) or their comments
  • If they have a good point, you might want to think about possibly changing your content

Now, while I do agree that the first and last suggestions are pretty good I must say that I can not agree to the 2nd suggestion. Belittling someone just isn’t right. Even if the negative commenter sounds like a jerk or leaves a stupid comment I do not agree to the “ridicule method”, after all if his negative comment really is ridiculous then others will see it for what it is and probably vote him down along with you and your friends. The best solution for such cases would be to ignore it and resort to suggestion # 1. Don’t get sucked into a name calling fest!

As for suggestion # 3 it is always good to keep an open mind. Remember there’s always room for improvement and all our opinions need not be final. Yes. You can learn from negative comments. Negative comments can yield positive results! Note though if you’re going to change the content of a single article/post because of a negative comment it would be good practice to let people know that the post has been updated by leaving a note on the footer or something similar.

Instead of changing your content what you can also do is write a new entry in reply to the negative (and the positive) comments. If the existing post has generated enough interest a follow up post would be a good move. In the follow up post you can debunk the opinions/ideas of the negative commenters in a logical manner and discuss your reasons in greater depth. You can also of course give a nod to the negative comments if it does indeed make sense. Instead of bashing each other on the comments section a follow up post could lead to a more meaningful dialogue.

Other ways to deal with negative comments would be to erase them. However, this can only be done in your own blog and not on social media sites. Erasing negative comments though is not something I would really do unless it is clearly meant to spam you or has gone beyond negative to abusive.

So how bout you? How do you deal or not deal with these negative comments?

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  • Ben Bland

    Option 2 is a dangerous road to tread, of course, but I think there is increasing room in social media for a little combative banter. The language style on the web tends to be more colloquial, liberal and discursive than in other media as it is.

    Sadly, many of the negative comments on blogs are just childish, whereby there’s little point in lowering oneself to the tone by having a go back. In this case, stay out or refer to Option 1. The trick is in not taking comments personally if they are really about the topic in question rather than the author. We advice bloggers to “Argue with the post, not the poster”.

    • Hannah

      “Argue with the post, not the poster”.

      Amen!

  • Amaan Goyal

    Social Media is an important to get the word around but it does not give one the liberty to stoop to levels to settle personal scroes. As pointed already it is important to “Argue with the post, not the poster”. as it is post which is open for debate rather than the poster.

  • paulette

    For me its alright to have negative comments. One have to take it constructively for one’s growth. Not all bad is not helpful. Sometimes it helps us to be rational and improve next time around.

  • Kent

    For my own opinion, it is good to have negative comment as long as it is for the betterment of the site. Stay open to every negative comment that is posted and challenge this by creating a far more better articles/sites the next time around.