How To Deal With Negative Comments On Your Blog

Blog Traffic Tips Weekly Newsletter

by Yaro Starak – The Blog Traffic King

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This edition of the newsletter I want to cover a topic that is very delicate, but worth studying because you can use it to turn what may appear to be a bad situation into a positive one for you and your blog.

WHAT IS A COWBOY?

I don’t know who originally came up with the term, but I recently came across it again when a very successful Internet business mentor of mine, Mike Filsaime, talked about “cowboys”. Mike used the term for people in online forums who just want to bring you down.

Cowboys usually have loud mouths and are very negative. For whatever reason one day you may become the focus of a cowboy who decides they don’t like something you have done, something you have said or just take offense at you in general. They make it a personal mission of theirs to attack you in public places like forums and blogs, throwing accusations at you left, right and center.

The anonymity of the Internet gives cowboys freedom because they don’t feel the social restrictions or expectations they might impose on their communication in the real world. In other words – because they can be anonymous online or feel safe behind a computer, they are comfortable to attack people in ways they would never do so in the real world.

Most cowboys use strong language which is overtly negative and very accusatory. They often lack maturity which compounds your frustrations because you can’t respond to them with maturity, they will just throw more accusations at you without acknowledging your point of view. You can’t compete with them by arguing because that’s what they specialize in. That’s how flame wars begin and as we know, in war, there are no winners.

HOW TO DEAL WITH COWBOYS

In most cases it’s best to just not respond unless of course you have done something wrong and you need to apologize. Your are better off letting your friends and supporters back you up and just ignore the cowboy altogether. The negativity the cowboy is generating will (unfortunately) come back at them and they will suffer more as a result, probably leading them to attacking more people, creating a cycle of negativity. You want to avoid getting caught up in it.

NEGATIVE BLOG COMMENTS

As your blog becomes more popular you will receive more comments. As you have already heard from me, comments are great traffic building tools, so it’s worth encouraging them.

A problem I can guarantee you will eventually experience is some people will be negative, argumentative or not agree with what you have written in your blog and will tell you this by leaving a comment.

Some people will be just plain rude and leave a comment that adds nothing to the conversation and will go along the lines of “this article sucks and so do you”. They may use many more – sometimes colorful – words to put you down and explain how your article is wrong, or redundant, or boring or useless. They will probably have some harsh things to say about you personally too.

The more mature people may leave a “negative” comment but have a sound argument and may perhaps make you rethink what you originally wrote. This form of criticism is more constructive. Ultimately you may not agree but the argument is at least valid and worth respecting, even if you don’t share the view.

As good as the web is for enhancing communication, it’s an imperfect medium. People read things in your articles that you had no intention of saying. They “see” your message in a different way to how you see it.

This is of course a good thing, because you can help others have insights by sharing your point of view and experiences, but on the flip side you can be unpleasantly surprised when someone responds in a negative manner.

Your reader’s personality, mood and outlook on life can completely twist your intended message and it will happen whether you like it or not. Text is not emotional, but humans are, so you need to be prepared for any kind of response after pushing that publish button.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

The issue we face as publishers of blogs is how to respond to comments that are negative.

  • You could delete them
  • You could censor them (delete parts)
  • You could respond in anger
  • You could respond in kind

In my experience I’ve sometimes let comments get to me. I can get really angry, especially when the comment is clearly something aimed purely as a put-down for the sake of saying something negative.

I’ve gone as far as writing an equally angry response, full of defensive and argumentative commentary, however I don’t actually publish the response since I know it won’t do me any good – I just want to get the anger out in the moment.

IF YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING NICE DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL

You should know that phrase – it’s one of those our mothers teach us when young. It’s perfect for situations like this, apply it to yourself when dealing with cowboys.

TURN NEGATIVITY INTO A POSITIVE

The traffic technique to deal with negative comments is to use them to show how mature you are and demonstrate your credibility. If you respond to negative comments without anger, with no negative emotion and with a calm “your side of the story” response, you will gain the respect of your readers. Acknowledge the cowboy’s point – it’s a good communication technique to say you heard and understand someone else’s point of view – and you will do wonders for your public perception.

In most cases the cowboy will end up making themselves look a lot worse than you simply because of how they express themselves. When you compare a person who is rational, not overly emotional and calm against someone who is attacking with highly charged emotional accusations, it’s pretty clear who comes out looking the best.

Most readers of your blog are good people, they may remain anonymous for fear of being the next target of the cowboy, but you can be confident if you stick to your true self and remain calm, you will come out on top in their eyes. Better still, you will enhance your reputation and credibility even further, despite the best efforts of the cowboy to bring you down, which I think is a lovely piece of irony – the person who attacks you ends up boosting your public standing because they give you an opportunity to show what kind of person you really are.

Yaro Starak
Blog Traffic King

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