When it comes to writing a personal blog, and voluntarily putting your life on the internet, you’re pretty much opening yourself up to a a can of worms. Anyone who has access to your blog, can read what you say, save what you say, copy what you say, print what you say, share what you say, and voice their opinion on what you say. If you allow comments on your blog, you are bound to receive the occasional rude or hateful comment, and unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the beast. But, how do you deal with it? Do you respond to it? Do you block it? Do you ignore it? Do you report it? It just depends on the comment itself, the source, and how personal you take it.
Here are a few ways to handle ugly comments.
The comment that shares an opinion different than my own.
This is inevitable. Not every person who reads your blog will agree with you. Such is life. If you offer up a question, prepare to receive every possible type of answer. Even if you don’t end your post with a question, you should be prepared to receive comments that may not jive with the opinion you shared. And that’s ok! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and if you choose to respond to it, you should respond with class, and thank them for their opinion. After all, they took the time to share theirs, after reading yours. Of course, if they choose to include hate, inappropriateness, and vulgarity, you have the right to delete it. Which leads me to…
The comment I refuse to publish on my blog.
I have made the decision to approve every comment that comes through my blog. I didn’t used to do this, but I didn’t like the idea of not being able to control that aspect of my blog. After receiving a few nasty comments (i.e. downright disgusting), I didn’t want my normal, everyday readers exposed to that. I put my blog on my resume, and I’d prefer it if highly inappropriate comments weren’t public. The blog is your intellectual property, and the user is commenting at their own discretion. If you don’t like what they say, don’t approve it. Simple as that. Does this mean I don’t approve comments I don’t like simply because they don’t agree with what I said? No, but if I wanted to, I could. Which comments you approve, and why, is your own prerogative. But taking the step to safeguard your comments will save you some embarrassment later down the line. If you’re worried about it. No matter how many plugins you install, you will still receive spammy comments from internet trolls.
The comment that hurts my feelings.
This is kind of a grey area because on one hand it’s inevitable and you should take it with a grain of salt, and on another, it’s hard to swallow and really makes you question your love of blogging. In WordPress, you can respond to a comment without approving it. So, if you’re really bothered by it, you can respond to the commenter privately, and leave it at that. If you choose to publish it, be aware that other people can also respond to it. This can sometimes start a pretty interesting conversation in your comment thread. It’s always a good idea, if you’re making your response public, to again, be kind, and try not to respond in a way you wouldn’t want a future employer to see. Your feelings are bound to get hurt eventually, but you should also remember that you are taking that risk by blogging in the first place. There are plenty of mean people out there hiding behind the anonymity of their computers, but be the better person and don’t start a war in your comments.
The comment that feels like cyber-bullying.
If you receive a comment that seriously feels like cyber-bullying, there are several places online where you can report it. Check out this resource for more info.
The comment that is so inappropriate it scares me.
I have received comments in the past that you would not even believe. Sexual, vulgar, disgusting comments – aimed at my daughter. In this case, it’s a no brainer. Report the comment. Report the IP address. Log into your host, or tell your host, to block the IP address. Screenshot the comment in case you ever needed proof of it. Delete the comment. If a comment gives you the heebie-jeebies, raises your internal red flag, or freaks you out, it’s probably for good reason. Your gut instinct is always right, and if you think a commenter could cause harm to you or your family, it’s time to mention it to someone. There are sexual predators out there. There are stalkers out there who probably know way more about you than you realize. Putting your information on the internet can be dangerous, so always take worrisome comments seriously.
The spammy comment that is only asking for a link back to their own blog.
I’m not talking about comments from other bloggers. In the blogging community, one of the easiest ways to grow your readership is to comment on other blogs within your niche. It’s how you grow your “tribe.” But comments that say things like, “hey this is cool, I’d appreciate you to see my highly related content, here’s my website do read it,” are oh so annoying. These comments are obviously not readers, but typically either people trolling around looking for something to comment on so they can earn an easy link back to their site or you guessed it, spam. You can always tell it’s spam or a troll because the grammar is usually just a little bit off. It’s juuuust good enough to get through your spam catcher or catcha, which is why you end up seeing it.
The comment that makes me feel dumb.
Well, can’t really help you there. This is bound to happen too. Either suck it up and laugh it off, or try to learn from it. You could ways add an addendum to your blog post, and re-clarify where you need to. If you really feel dumb, I guess you could just delete your blog post or un-publish it, ha!
Basically it boils down to this: know what you’re getting yourself into when you allow comments on your blog. They can be a GREAT thing, and I LOVE receiving and reading comments, but don’t let the bad ones take the joy out of blogging, or ruin all of the GOOD ones you receive.