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She Says, She Says: When Blog Commenting Gets Ugly

By Nov 16, 2011 January 30th, 2015 86 Comments

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Today’s She Says, She Says discussion is around a topic that all of us are likely familiar with. Supportive and encouraging blogger comments can make our day, right? (Heck, that’s what SITS is all about!) But then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum:

The {dreaded} ugly blog comment.

{We trust that no SITStah has been the doler-out of an ugly comment, by the way!}

Bloggers who write regularly about controversial topics are no strangers to ugly, hateful blog comments. But surprisingly, even a seemingly innocuous blog topic can cause someone to come out of the woodwork and spew venom. It can take even the most seasoned blogger by surprise. Sometimes the comment is fueled by anger, extreme opposition to the blog author’s perspective, or it’s just plain mean – for no reason.

The question is: once you’ve gotten a little nastygram, how do you deal with it?

 

Delete, Delete, Delete.

Some bloggers take this stance: It’s my blog, my little corner of the Internet, and I don’t have to tolerate this. And they delete the comment, sometimes before it ever gets seen by another person. But does this approach smack of a bit of censorship? What is the blog author afraid of?

Ignorance is Bliss.

Other bloggers approve the comment, but ignore it. They don’t respond at all. Why acknowledge unproductive behavior? Sometimes, the other readers of that blog will step in to call the nasty commenter out. Sometimes, the comment just sits there, with no one paying it a mind. But does this approach let the mean-spirited person prevail?

Are You Talkin’ To ME?

Finally, other bloggers fight back. They engage in open dialogue with the author within a thread. Perhaps the blogger is an “I must have the last word!” kind of person. Maybe they like the controversy and feel it’s good for their traffic. Or maybe they believe that blogging is all about community – and community means you openly take the good with the bad. Maybe they believe that the author of the ugly comment can be persuaded to change their opinion. Whatever the motivation, these bloggers stand up and disagree. But does this approach merely serve to fuel a fire that might die out on its own if left alone?

I’m of the opinion that there is no right or wrong way to handle the nasty comment. Different situations call for different approaches. But one thing is clear: each approach has its positive and negative consequences. Just as you need to face the reality of receiving a nasty comment, you need to face the consequences of how you respond to it as well – for better or worse.

Now You Talk To Us!

We want to hear from you: Have you gotten an angry, hurtful or ugly comment on your blog? How did you choose to deal with it? If you could do it over, would you handle it differently?

About Alina Thomas

Alina is a Northern Virginia wedding photographer based out of Leesburg, VA. She has a passion for arts and design, and strives to express it through her work. She is creative at heart and loves nothing more than sharing her knowledge in photography with other Virginia wedding photographers on her blog each week. Alina loves being a new mom to her first-born and spending time with her husband who helps her run her businesses. Please feel free to follow her on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+.

86 Comments

  • I delete them right away. My blog is my happy escape from the stress of the world and I try to create a positive place for my readers as well. If it’s a commenter with an identity, I may let it be, depending on the comment but no name jerks get the delete button immediately.

  • Really, it’s not worth the stress to even respond to a very nasty person. Just send them some of your happy vibes. That serves both of you (karma)! : – >

  • I just wrote a post about a similar issue. I use to be a fighter. Well who am I kidding I still am. But I have really learned it’s just such negative energy and never made me feel good. I heard a famous blogger say nothing gives him more pleasure than when someone leaves a long insulting comment he says ” wow you must have spent a really long time on that” then he pushes delete 🙂 I’m with him.

  • Alexandra says:

    They hurt.

    But I figured out that the ugly commenter is lonely and just wants some company.

    They hope they piss you off enough that you’ll go pay them a visit…and VOILA! their mission accomplished: they have a visitor!

  • GFS says:

    Ironically, the only negative comment I’ve received on my blog was from MY MOTHER! Can you believe that!?!?

    And she tried to do it anonymously..but I knew her lingo and called within 10 seconds of leaving the comment! She was still at the computer…busted!

    LOL!

  • Cheryl says:

    Yes, I have… Maybe we can’t just avoid it… There are some that really do it for just nothing. If that has nothing to do with my blog then I just erase or ignore it! I don’t mind it, it’s their freedom of expression.

  • I’ve been fortunate with comments so far. I’m not sure what I would do. Though when I’ve seen mean comments on someone I follow, I always support my friend.

  • abegail says:

    I believe that commenting on questions that have NOT been awarded is considered the same as answering them. Therefore, it is very important to answer as many questions as we can, and to answer them well.

    I don’t believe that giving multiple answers on one question helps, unless you are just trying to provide more assistance and clarification to the person who asked the question. Then, you are quite likely to be awarded the answer, and that does increase your quality score.

    Finally, I do not believe there is a benefit to commenting on a question that has already been awarded. However, I do sometimes take a moment to thank the person who awards me an answer … especially when I know there were a lot of good answers and it was a difficult decision.

  • Dani says:

    thank you for this post. i recently got an e-mail comment from a reader who said she didn’t appreciate something that i said and then went on to insult me for two paragraphs. what i said was honest and i won’t apologize for honesty. but i will say i am sensitive and i think about it every day, as it just happened less than a week ago. i wish i could be that person who lets things roll off but unfortunately, i can’t.

  • If the comment contains profanity or distasteful wording….I delete it. If it the comment is something I don’t agree with….I just “let it go” and forget about it. Life is too short!

  • Kavuli says:

    At this point in my life, I don’t respond to negativity. I leave negative comments as they are because I don’t believe in censorship. You’ll find that the loyal and loving followers of your blog almost always put said ‘snotty pants’ in their place. I let the universe handle ugly people and their ugly comments.

  • Anne Galivan says:

    I recently had a situation where I actually asked what I thought was a like-minded blogger (based on his own blog posts) to read a post and comment if he felt so led. He read it. And then left an insulting comment. To say I was blind-sided is to put it mildly. I told my daughter I learned my lesson!

    I responded back politely that I felt his comment was rather “strong.” My reply was only a few sentences and I left it at that.

    I do respond to every comment generally so when I get comments that disagree with a stance I’ve taken (and my niche and the topics I approach are at times very controversial) I do respond. My children have told me many times I could have been a lawyer so as Robin Williams said in the movie “Hook” – you don’t want to mess with me! I always respond very politely but I am also very logical and if I took the time to write a post you can bet I’ve thought about the subject thoroughly.

    I believe if someone is profane or simply rude without making any kind of point, then sure delete the comment. Otherwise, I prefer to respond. Partly because maybe I am one of those “last word” kind of people 🙂 but also because I want to expose my readers to my thought processes. It might just clarify something for them in the process.

  • She'sWrite says:

    I haven’t had any negative comments on my personal blog, but I’m also a blogger for Huffington Post and my first piece 400 people commented on it. And a LOT of those were negative, personal attacks. After talking on Twitter with a woman I know gets a lot of “e-hate” as I call it, she recommended I ignore it. So that’s what I do now. I write something, it gets people talking and I let them have the conversation. I’m just setting the table.

  • Alexandria says:

    I’ve never really got an ugly or hateful comment on my actual blog before. I’ve had IRL friends/family say stuff & that hurts but I am of the opinion that if you are a blogger that chooses to blog about a controversial topic you MUST be open to people who are going to come back to you. Last week with the whole Duggar issue I commented on two blogs that I felt had very controversial opinions about them & I responded candidly but I didn’t call anyone names & wasn’t hateful, my comment was just as matter of fact as the post BUT people attacked ME for having such a strong opinion. I felt like they were being very cowardly.

  • Luciana says:

    Of course nobody wants a negative comment, but we need to face it . Sometimes they can change our point of view, but if not, just delete it, but from our mind !!!

  • On the two occasions that I have had snarky comments in my three and a half years blogging, they have BOTH been from anonymous.
    BOTH caught me off balance and really HURT.
    I was so tempted to respond angrily. in fact the first time i DID, in a comment below the anonymous one, justifying myself – since this was a blogger commenting system, the comment didn’t get sent anywhere, it just sat there for six minutes until I realised that my response made ME look defensive and insecure.
    So i deleted my own comment and left a new one underneath it as my response…
    “Oh Anonymous, how surprising that you always but an opinion but never a name…”
    That is now my stock standard answer to snarkiness.
    Whihc in my {limited} experience always comes from dear old Anonymous.

    ON A SIDE NOTE:
    Why do i allow anonymous comments? Because stupid Blogger doesn’t allow comments with just a name/URL without allowing Anonymous too.
    Thankfully we now have auto spam detection so spam is not a prob.
    {I did try the disqus system and found that my comments dropped off rapidly for some reason}

  • I’ve only received one comment that have me pause.
    I agonized over how to handle it. I even lost a little sleep.
    I decided to answer back lightly and humorously.
    Good decision, since it was a buddy teasing me.
    She’s so lucky I appreciate her humor.

  • Anna says:

    Here’s my post where I addressed the meanest comment I’ve ever received:

    http://www.mylifeandkids.com/2011/11/thankful-thursday-im-thankful-for-this.html

  • Lisa @ MMT says:

    Thank goodness, I have yet to receive an ugly comment! I don’t know how I would exactly respond until I am in the situation, but I think it would depend on what the comment says. If it was an opinion post and someone stated an opinion opposite of mine, I would probably leave the comment up. People are titled to their own opinion (even on MY blog) and they have a right to disagree. Now, If it was a fashion post and someone told me something ugly (ie. your outfit sucks!) I would probably delete it. No need for nasty mean comments.

  • If someone is just being snarky and ugly, I delete the comment. They don’t have to read me. If it just a difference of opinion, I let it stand. I am sometimes confused by people’s comments because I write about LOVE – how can anyone disagree with that?? But they do. You can’t please everyone.

  • SweetMemoirs says:

    thank goodness i haven’t! delete and block that commentor if there’s a way to do so.

  • I’m not sure how I would react to a negative comment on our blog. I might actually be thrilled someone took the time to give their opinion, even it wasn’t said in the nicest way. For me, it’s been really hard to stay excited about blogging because I don’t hardly get any comments. It makes me feel like maybe I don’t have anything interesting to say. What is the saying- negative attention is better than no attention at all!
    Hopefully things will get better after attending the bloggy boot camp in Vegas – but that is many months away.

  • Ronni says:

    My blog used to be pretty popular among the girlie blog scene from 2000-2003 or so. And sometimes I’d get really mean comments. I used to engage them, but that was before I knew better. Or I’d gather all my friends to comment against the offender. Then I started disallowing anon comments. (Most of the bad ones came from a proxy IP or were anon, or used the same name so as to throw me off.)

    Now, I’m not nearly popular enough anymore to get nasty comments and I am OK with that. But if I were to get them, I’d just delete them. Or maybe I’d just leave them and let my other readers handle it. I don’t know. I just hope I never have to deal with it again.

  • Kathleen says:

    That’s a tough one. I’ve had that happen on facebook. My personal motto is KINDNESS has no boundaries. I suppose I would kindly ask why the negative comment but that probably depends on the topic as well. If it is filled with obscene language I would probably delete it.

    Sure gives one a lot to think about. Have a great tomorrow!

  • Carri says:

    I’ve done a little of everything. The first negative comment I got took me by surprise but thankfully, other commenters jumped to my defense.
    I exploited the last negative comment I received. It was from a Stumbler and he said I wasn’t funny, among other things. I left a snarky response and went to Twitter. Tweeting “Look at the comment this idiot left me!” with a link to your post is good for traffic. 🙂

  • I received a couple of nasty comments in my blogging career. What’s funny is that neither had anything to do with blogging or photography. My boyfriend and I adopted two puppies, our Dynamic Duo – Sydney and Rodrigo.

    I wrote a tongue in cheek post about the puppies behaving badly and I was blasted for 24 hours by a dog trainer on Facebook.

    She said our dogs would be euthanized. People like us shouldn’t own dogs. She even resorted to using the N word. I was stunned and in tears, but kept the conversation going, because I needed her to see how out of control she was being.

    I eventually got an apology and it was tempting to copy all of her statements and publish them for everyone to see, but how would that have reflected on me? Today, I’m glad that I accepted her apology with grace and moved on.

    That was over a year ago. The dogs are great.

    • Julie says:

      I cannot BELIEVE that someone would resort to such hateful language, you sure took the high road in that situation! Props to you!!!

  • Amy says:

    I haven’t had this happen on my blog, but certainly have seen my share of Nasty on Facebook. There was one time when I felt the need to delete something that a “friend” posted on my wall. I’m generally ok with differing view points, but if you’re going to get mean you’re going to get deleted.

  • Katie says:

    My problem may be unique, but I doubt it… My negative blog comments are personal. I am a teacher, and while I keep my blog separate from my job, inevitably students have found out about it. And apparently, one student vehemently disagrees with me having one, posting on blogs that I am fat and ugly and so on. I am frustrated because I know as a blogger I open myself to criticism (which I can handle), but the fact that I can trace these comments to the school just eats me up. I don’t care if some random person in Alaska says I’m fat and ugly, but to know that it may be someone in my classroom… it’s just not fun. It makes me want to just quit!

    hemsforher.blogspot.com

    • She'sWrite says:

      Yikes! Sorry to hear about the attacks on your blog. I’m sure it does make you want to quit. I don’t envy teachers, they do good hard work, but if you can, try to keep reminding yourself of the reason why you got into teaching. It is a noble profession and you make a difference in kids’ lives every day. Even though it probably doesn’t feel like it and most assuredly no one tells you that. So I’m saying it here. 🙂

  • I did, at one point, have someone leave a comment that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with.

    At that point in my blogging, I didn’t have a comment system installed where I could engage in personal replies.

    I let it stand, and I believe I tried to validate the parts that I could of what the person had to say that I COULD agree with.

    It’s a tough call, for sure, and there are no easy answers.

    “It depends” is probably as close as I can get to an answer I can live with.