Monday, May 9, 2011

ALsocme: How to Deal with Negative Commenters.

Alabama Social Media Association had their second meeting last week, and the topic was "How to Deal with Negative Commenters".

Social Media guru Mack Collier shared some awesome advice about the subject. Although a lot of his advice was aimed at company/product blogs, he also had some great tidbits for non-business-related bloggers.

One of the most important things he said is to not get caught up in the idea that it's wrong to delete a comment. Your blog is your platform - don't let someone else use it to attack you or your readers!

If you do feel guilty about deleting comments, then simply write a comment policy - clearly explain what type of comments are acceptable, what type of language is acceptable, and that you will delete any comments that are unacceptable.

I felt that this was great advice - for the first year or two of my blogging career, I had the notion that to be an "honest" blogger, I had to leave all comments. Since then, I've realized that this is ridiculous. Although I do try to leave as many as possible, I will not let someone else abuse my sites.

How do you feel about deleting comments?

** For further discussion on the subject, Wade Kwon wrote a post on Birmingham Blogging Academy, interviewing me and two other bloggers who had experience with negative commenting.


Wade Kwon said...

Rachel, thanks for your great writeup. I never realized that some people might feel guilty over removing comments, but it's understandable.

You've got some good advice posted here.

Mack Collier said...

Rachel! Thanks so much for the post and for attending last week, I had a blast!

Companies (and really individuals) shouldn't never feel like they should let a comment stand if it is attacking or using language that would offend the average person or reader. Now having said that, if a customer leaves a comment like 'I just bought your XL330 blender at Wal-Mart and I think it sucks!', then deleting THAT comment wouldn't be a good idea. In general, the rule of 'you can disagree without being disagreeable' applies.

As an example, on one of my posts several months ago a reader left several comments where it was obvious he was trying to start and inflame an argument. I didn't delete his comments or edit them, but he tried to leave a final comment that was basically saying 'you guys don't understand social media, if you REALLY want to learn about social media, then buy my book (and then he linked to his book).' I went and edited his comment to remove the link to his book, and explained in his comment that I had let him say his peace, but I wasn't going to let him be disagreeable, then try to promote himself on the way out the door.

If you have a clear comment policy available with reasonable rules, then you shouldn't feel bad about deleting comments that violate those rules.

If you haven't linked up and introduced yourself yet, be sure to go here to do so!