Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback?

by Paris B on · 32 comments

in Discussions,Musings,Simple Blogging Tips (for beauty bloggers),Tips

The dreaded negative comment.

It’s bound to happen to us at one point or another. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. Sometimes, when it slips in amongst the happy, positive vibes it can really jar. Like biting into a sweet juicy apple and finding half a worm. All you can see is that one black dot on a white canvas; that dead pixel in the middle of your LCD screen. It rubs at you like a blister.

And if you’re not careful, like a blister, it can fester and hurt.

negative comments Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback?

I half-kiddingly chalk these negative comments up to a mark of success. I don’t understand why success is equated with having to deal with negativity, but it seems to go hand in hand so let’s learn to take things in our stride.

So, how do you deal with these negative comments? Do you explode in a tirade of your own? Do you marshall up your supporters and get them to tear the aggressor apart for you and boost your own self esteem? Do you ignore and pretend it never happened? Do you delete the comment?

Well, there’s no right or wrong way to deal with a negative comment. It is really how YOU deal with problems. I’d like to hear of how you would deal with a negative comment or negative feedback. This is something where we can learn from each other icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback? As for me, I have some guidelines I follow.

Analyze the comment – Is it a negative comment or just poorly worded criticism?

It’s easy to treat anyone who doesn’t agree with you as a “hater” but it isn’t always the case. Some comments are left by haters but sometimes, it could just be a question of poor communication. Sometimes, people just don’t get the message across in a tactful manner which can come across as abrasive when it may not be the intention. Some people claim to be “straight talking” which is just another way of saying “I call a spade a spade, so tough” which is also another way of saying “I sound rude, so?” So, taking a moment to analyze the comment to see if it’s a hater comment e.g. “You’re so ugly, you shouldn’t let your face be seen online” or one that is just harsh criticism “Your eyeshadow lines are harsh. You should have blended it better” helps you handle things better.

Don’t reply immediately – Sleep on it

Replying immediately, while in the heat of the moment may lead you to say/write something you may regret later. This is especially so if you may have misunderstood the comment or its nuance. So, I prefer to take a few hours or a day or two before I come back and reply it, if it justifies a response. By then, I’d have a clear head and hopefully be more coherent. Everything is better after a good night’s sleep icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback?

Kill haters with kindness – Stay classy

Easier said than done, but sometimes, what a hater wants is to make you react and quite often, it can show up your character as well. So, be polite, kill them with kindness. Not literally of course. But be polite. No one could ever be called out for being polite. I say “Thank you for your comment. I’ll take note of that for the future”. Stay classy icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback?

Not every comment deserves or justifies a response

It’s a question of how you look at it, but if I were to receive a comment that says ”You’re so ugly, you shouldn’t let your face be seen online” I’d just ignore it and not justify its existence with a comment. Quite often, it may never even be published because it goes against my comment policy and justifies removal as it isn’t constructive criticism. However, a comment like  ”You should have blended your eyeshadow better” is one I will reply to. While it isn’t said in the most tactful manner, it could well be true once you stop seeing red. Accept the criticism, say thank you and move on.

Talk to a friend

Are you over-reacting? Quite often, we may be, so it is useful to check with a third party to see if they too think the comment is a poorly worded one or just a troll. A good enough friend will be able to tell you if you are justified to be pissed, or if you are just over-reacting. Keep a few of these friends around you. They’ll help keep you sane icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback?

Don’t feed the trolls

There’s no need to go overboard with comments, replies or even dedicating a whole post to someone who leaves a negative comment. If you feed them, they will grow. If you marshal the forces of your readers to show up how silly the comment was, what does it say about you? Unless justified, I think it is akin to bullying, even if they started it first, and sure, you feel good that so many people agree with you. But what about the ones who stay silent? Quite often, they either don’t care or they are judging you. So, if it makes you happier, delete the comment. If you feel a reply is justified, reply and then forget it. It’s your blog after all. Why let other people take over how you feel about it? icon smile Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback?

If you blog, how do you deal with negative comments or negative feedback on your blog? As a reader, do you have thoughts on seeing negative comments on a blog? Do you feel you have to respond or do you just ignore them?

I count myself lucky in that negative comments or feedback I’ve received are the exception rather than the norm *hastily touching wood*. I’m sure many people don’t agree with what I say, but they probably choose to remain silent. Of the ones I’ve received, most are harsh criticism which, once I have properly analyzed them, I accept. I may not agree, but I accept it. Nuances of language and tone of voice is lost in text. Or maybe I’m deluding myself icon wink Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback? But if it really pisses me off and is deliberately provocative, I delete it and forget about it. It’s what I have a comment policy for! icon wink Simple Blogging Tips: How do you handle negative comments or feedback?

Paris B

Simple Blogging Tips are some simple tips I have for fellow bloggers, based on my own experiences. I’m no ‘guru’ but I hope they will help you. You may read up on previous Simple Blogging Tips here or please feel free to ask your question in the comment box or in email.

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[ 32 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Cecilia Wong August 23, 2013 at 8:43 am

I think negative comments come with the territory. You cannot possibly please everybody, or make everyone like you. I would say ignore the really rude ones. They’re probably baiting you. Constructive criticisms must be replied to. Like you said, stay classy and rise above negativity.

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Wise words, Cecilia! Everyone should bear this in mind because so often, as bloggers, it is only natural to want to please your audience without realising that you can never please everyone. Someone out there will hate what you do, or you can just rub people the wrong way. Life goes on.

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Kate Flint August 23, 2013 at 9:13 am

Great article! I recently received a negative comment on a YouTube video which was not criticism, not constructive, just hurtful. Something along the lines of “u ugly” or something. -_- I don’t understand people who get off on that. On the other hand, their profile picture was “I <3 Skrillex".

I think I will be referring to this article again in the future, thanks so much!

Kate Xx

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Hi Kate, I’m glad you enjoyed this and found it helpful. Also, I’m so sorry to hear you got a horrible comment like that. I’m terrified of Youtube because so many stories of nasty people come out of there and it’s mind boggling why they would bother to leave a comment if they aren’t going to say something constructive right? Hopefully you deleted it and that you won’t get anymore like that :)

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Lily August 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

I’ve been receiving emails from one particular person, who replies to the posts she subscribed through email. Those emails only have a few words and they all contain profanity. I just mark that email spam and laugh about it for a while. I’m surprised to get emails like that, and I’m even more surprised I found it amusing rather than hurtful. Some people have all the time in the world to do these things. It baffles me. LOL!

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Gosh, that is just weird! You’d think they have better things to do with their life than to send you profanities LOL!

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Jenn August 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

I agree that it’s important to stay classy when dealing with negative feedback. No point lowering yourself to a troll’s level – don’t feed them and they will probably go away :P

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm

It’s true. Quite often what the troll wants is drama. Giving them the drama means they get what they want but yet, I can understand why/how people will react because it’s so hurtful and at that moment, you just want to shred them into bits :P So violent :P

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kahani August 23, 2013 at 10:44 am

The pic illustrating this article totally made my day. =D

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Glad to make you smile :D I thought it was perfect

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Victoria August 23, 2013 at 10:59 am

This is a good post for fellow bloggers. I have rarely seen any negative comments on your blog and although I did see one on a recent post, I really admired the way you tackled the comment. It certainly showed class :-)

I was going to leave a negative comment on a blog that I read regularly but decided against it because after reflecting on it, I did not see any good that will come out of the situation both for myself and the blogger especially after I read how this blogger told off one of her readers for the same comment I wanted to give.

Lets just say that although I still read her blog, I do not have the same respect as I had for this blogger after the discovery due to the product she was consuming and also how she fend off criticism when a particular ingredient of the product was highlighted to her. I just found her hypocritical especially since her blog was founded on a particular theme or lifestyle which she promotes extensively on her blog.

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Haha you spotted that one ;) I do get them just not very often, thank goodness! If I got them more often I might just close shop :P You know, you brought up a good point. Seeing how a blogger reacts to another negative comment can change how I respond/deal with them too. Sometimes, when the gloves come off, it can be ugly and I don’t think anyone really comes out of it smelling of roses. That said you have me most intrigued by your comment and the blog in question LOL!

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Ting August 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

People get more nasty online, saying irresponsible things because they know they don’t have to face the person they are throwing the negative comments on. It disturbs me to see one that popped up. But, I am not the owner of the blog so no power to remove it. Responding to it will only fall into the “commenter” trap: he/she wants attention in whichever way possible.

In real life, I appreciate a truthful comment from friends I know I can trust. Just yesterday such comment “your top makes you look fat”. =_=’ I know then I shall donate it to someone else who will look better. haha

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Yes! In real life, everyone’s all kissy face and then when they get behind a computer, they go stabbing people in the back. What fun do they get out of it?! But yeah, if I see a negative comment on another blog, I don’t respond to it either. I’d rather let the blog owner deal with it and see what happens. Sometimes, it just goes away. Sometimes, it blows up and turns into a soap opera :P Oh and honest comments in real life are really really appreciated! Better to have someone tell you the pants make you look like you have no butt than to have them say it looks ok and then you buy it to regret later.

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Swati August 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

till date, i have two comments. one was on a giveaway and one was just yesterday. so, the one on the giveaway was my first so i did write a post on it but i also justified the reason why it could not be according to the reader. it was a comment on the giveaway policy. i do accept that i could have done away without writing a post as well. but, i did try to be as polite as possible. unfortunately, the thing did not die down as gracefully as i wanted. and, second was brutally offensive. i did do a post on the crux of the matter though because it was about melanin production and fairness issue but i did not dwell on the comment neither publish it. so, yup just ignored it.

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Good idea to ignore nasty comments Swati. Sometimes, all they want is to get a reaction and publishing it and then talking about it gives them all the reaction and attention they want and need! Best to just ignore :)

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S. Drama&Makeup August 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I’ve never received really negative comments, luckily. I don’t know how I’ll handle it when/if it happens. I’d probably just ignore it but I know I’d be hurt!

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm

You’re lucky S :) I think sometimes, the higher profile you are, the more you attract the nasties and the crazies but then also, sometimes it’s the content you deliver too. It most definitely hurts – that can’t be denied nor helped, but tossing the comment in trash helps you forget and move on :)

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Tine @ Beautyholics Anonymous August 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

The very first nasty comment I received was on my personal blog many years ago. It was apparently written by a well-known blogger in Malaysia. At that time, it was a good thing I knew of that blogger and it really didn’t seem like her to have written such hateful comments (not criticism; it’s those sort of comments that includes your mother). I emailed her and she was shocked that someone had used her name to leave troll-like comments. That was when I first learned what Internet trolls were about.

Thankfully, I haven’t received a lot of hateful comments since then. Most of the negative comments I do receive have relevance and even though they weren’t nice, the people who left them were entitled to their opinions so I just left them be. Replied them like you said; I killed with kindness.

I think speaking to a friend or a fellow blogger about it helps a great deal because you don’t only get to sleep on it, you get an outsider’s point of view about that negative comment as well. It could jolly well be a valid point the person has made. With their help, you can construct a polite reply to that comment rather than go “oh no you didn’t!” and then launch a tirade on that comment. As difficult as it seems, sometimes it’s best to just let it go.

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 6:02 pm

A troll pretending to be a famous blogger, leaving comments on other blogs?! Gosh, that’s sinking to a new low that is! Someone must have really hated her :( Like you, most of the “negative comments” I receive are mostly brusque or sharply worded criticism. I get their point of view, but really, it could have been said better. Doesn’t stop the sting though, but I also found that someone who left a not so pleasant comment as their first comment has later become a regular commentator with mostly positive or at least have a friendly tone of voice. Makes you wonder sometimes how it rolls :P

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Ana Marta August 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Hi Paris,

This is another great post about blogging. I have to say I really like this series. My blog is too small, so I haven’t received any negative feedback yet, not sure how I would deal with it but I’ll give my opinion as a reader since I do read a lot of blogs and pay a lot of attention to how bloggers reply.

I think there is clear distinction between a poorly-worded valid criticism and a comment aimed to offend. Any criticism should be replied politely, and if you don’t agree with it then just say something like “thank you for your comment”. Try to see the meaning behind the words, some people may not be able to express themselves correctly because the language may not be their mother tongue, cultural experiences, etc. As much as it hurts, try to empathise with what your reader is trying to tell you.

On the other hand there are the offensive comments. This may be controversial but I really believe that anything that is purely aimed to offend should be deleted. I don’t think this is about freedom of speech, and no-one should think a blogger is biased if s/he doesn’t want to post comments like ‘you’re ugly, get off the internet’. There is no reply to these comments that can keep the discussion in a positive level, and it actually may lead other commenters to try to defend the blogger and start a stupid discussion (which is obviously what the troll is intending, they crave attention). And this reflects badly on everyone.

Which leads me to my pet-peeve. I really dislike when bloggers in one way or another try to get their regular readers to defend them. This can be done as subtly as by posting an offensive comment and the regular readers feel the need to support the blogger, or by themselves replying offensively. I’ve seen many great bloggers doing that and it makes me lose respect for them. And usually it develops to a point that anytime a criticism is posted there’s a legion of fans that tear that person apart. Of course, one can say that it wasn’t the blogger doing it, but by giving your fans platform to act that way, the blogger is complicit. And I dislike that.

Anyway, my two cents (or twenty-five, long comment I know!). Coming from someone that has never received negative feedback (in fact hardly any feedback) so I can’t promise if it happened to me I wouldn’t be hurt. But I’d like to imagine I’d reply politely :-)

All the best, keep up the good work!

A fan, Ana xx

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Hi Ana, I’m glad you enjoyed this post and the sporadic blogging posts I have. I never know just how helpful it is because it doesn’t apply to everyone reading right? :) No need to apologise for your comment – I loved reading it because you hit the nail on the head! I agree with you that because we are online, we are open to people from different backgrounds and cultures reading and responding and not all of them have the grasp of the English language so quite often, I think it’s a misunderstanding. However, if it’s one of those “You’re ugly” comments then they should just be binned. Some people screen their comments (I do so my blog isn’t taken over by spam and nasty people) but I know some bigger blogs don’t. Whether it is because they want their blog comments to look healthy and full or whether they just don’t bother reading through them, I don’t know, but I do think it important for a blogger to actually take the time and trouble to go through their comments. Ultimately, we owe our existence to our readers and if they took the time to leave a comment, the least we can do is acknowledge it right? :)

As for posting about a nasty comment, you know, I find it very disappointing when a blogger I respect does it. I understand that they have many fans who are willing to defend them, but really, is it necessary to boost a blog through these methods? I’d much rather a nasty comment be buried, never to see the light of day, than to have people slagging each other off in the comment box, trying to “defend” someone. It just isn’t worth the drama! Keep up the good work on your blog – I don’t think you’d have to wrestle with this dilemma any time soon :)

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Ika Roseworn August 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Gosh! Do I know a thing or two about negative comments! EVERYBODY wants to be Simon Cowell, but the fact is, there can only be ONE Simon Cowell!! It is true what you said – they write to get a reaction from you, and they get a kick when you do give them a reaction. The internet gives a veil of anonymity which enables some people to be as nasty and rude as they can. Truth is, they wouldn’t even have the b@ll$ to say it to your face! You can receive 1,000 great comments, but that one rude comment can ruin your day. It does hurt, but it’s not going to kill you! Your still doing the great things your doing, and they’re doing the sad things they’re doing. At the end of the day, after all is said and done, I believe the haters wished they were you!!

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 6:22 pm

HAHAHA I love the Simon Cowell analogy, but you are spot on. Everyone tries but not even Piers Morgan gets it does he? ;) Nasty comments can really bring everything down and make you doubt yourself, but that is why it is so important to just delete it and get it out of your head. I think haters hate for a reason – as you said, they, deep down want to be like the person they are trying to bring down, but they just don’t have the guts, drive or intent to go through with it. They are also probably very sad people LOL

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PositivelyNice August 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm

I find it hard to believe you receive negative comments.

I think a lot of it also depends on how well you know your audience. If a commenter is a regular, and normally leaves positive and nice comments, but one day has something more neutral tending on negative, then perhaps it’s all constructive, and so there is no need to feel lousy about receiving it. At least, you’d know that the commenter really meant well, and take note of it. I guess, these are the types still worth replying.

I don’t receive anything on that negative or hate line because I really don’t have much comments to begin with. haha. Not sure if this is a bad or good thing! But if I had one, as a rule of thumb, I would delete and really, just ignore. LOL, call me deluded. =P

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Haha well, it does happen. Just rarely for which I am very thankful. You have a point about knowing your audience. Quite often I think people may forget that the internet is global and not everyone that is responding speaks the same language and sometimes that comes across harsh when it isn’t intended. So, knowing the audience is very important before taking umbrage at comments and just lashing out. But deleting hate comments is the best way to go about it – out of sight, out of mind! ;)

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Nicole August 24, 2013 at 12:10 am

Wonderful article here. I previously received a hurtful comment from an unknown:
‘you’re pretty fat… would not buy cus i cant take fat people seriously’

I didn’t reply to him/her because it doesn’t related to my review at all! There’s no correlation between being fat and reviewing a BB cream. I found it amusing, seriously!
I was mad, not because of accusing me fat… It’s just that why would somebody gave a nonsense comment?

I also talked about it with my friends in order to ‘let the steam out’ Hehehehe…
it was a funny experience tho :D

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

What?! That is so random and just so wrong! As you have said, what’s makeup got to do with weight, seriously! That’s always been the best thing about playing with makeup. You don’t have to be any size to wear the same brand/product as anyone else, and that’s what makes makeup more fun than fashion :D At least, that’s why I got into wearing makeup – it offered me an outlet that fashion never could :D Glad you got over the comment. Best to toss it in the bin where it belongs!

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Vera Soo August 24, 2013 at 2:30 am

LOL the pic. – They Said What! – tht’s epic.
Such wise words & well written instruction.
Another webpage to keep in my “Bible to Survive Social Media 101″ ;)

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Hope you never have to consult it, Vera :)

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Michelle Beh August 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Throughout our life, we will receive negative comments occasionally. I love reading your point of view. Sometime whenever you received negative comments, it will take some time for you to digest and understand. And as what you said, not necessary to respond to all the negative comments as sometimes it’s the people intention to hurt you. So deal it smartly and nothing will get along your way. Cheers!

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Paris B August 24, 2013 at 6:34 pm

You’re right, Michelle. Whether we’re bloggers or just in everyday life, there are always people waiting to take us down. Best thing to do is not to succumb! :D

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