Netiquette: How to Deal With Unkind Blog Comments

by Dagmar Bleasdale on January 4, 2011

netiquette, how to deal with unkind blog comments, DagmarBleasdale.com

I received what I consider an unkind blog comment regarding my blog post about Facebook Deleting the Leaky Boob Support Group for Breastfeeding Moms.

Now, there are five ways I could have responded:

  • delete it — because it’s just unkind, in my opinion and because I can — this is MY blog
  • approve it and don’t address it and have other readers comment on it if they want
  • approve it and reply to the commenter publicly
  • approve or delete it and e-mail her privately
  • or blog about commenting etiquette

I have chosen to approve the comment and to reply.

I wasn’t just going to have her words out there without a response, because I felt they were unfair accusations.

And I’m going to take this opportunity to blog about netiquette.

Netiquette: How to Deal With Unkind Blog Comments

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I was amazed how many of my Twitter friends chimed in when I asked how they deal with unkind comments — clearly this is a hot-button issue.

No one likes hurtful or attacking comments we inevitably get, once in a while or a lot, depending on what we blog about.

One of my Twitter friends, Brittany from Mommy Words, just wrote a wonderful post about commenting etiquette: Comment with Class.

I could not have said it any better, and I guess it was meant to be that she just wrote about netiquette.

My favorite part in her post:

“If an article is published that you disagree with it is perfectly acceptable to register your disagreement and state your own view.  Your view is your truth, in this case.  If you have stated your view and then bash the author or another commenter, I would say that falls into the “not needful” and “not kind” categories. … So if you are commenting and it is unkind, reword it.  If you can’t be anything but nasty, exercise some control and move on.”

Brilliant. Enough said.

Actually, I take that back. The always eloquent The Feminist Breeder, who I adore so much for all she does for breastfeeding moms and empowering women and all her achievements, puts her commenting netiquette like only she can:

“Commenting Etiquette

This is MY house, and I’ve invited you over for a dinner party. I encourage thoughtful interaction and respectful debate. I love alternative opinions and spirited discussions. However, if you don’t like what I’m serving here, you are welcome to politely disagree, or simply leave the party. Conduct yourself in my space as you would in my home. If you become abusive, hostile, or otherwise embarrass yourself, then you will be shown to the door. If you refuse to leave, I will lock the door behind you. This is a personal blog, which means I am under no obligation to allow all comments on this page. If you don’t like that, get your own blog.

Keep in mind, I own this space. Once your comment is published here, I own it and reserve the right to use it in any way I see fit, including quoting for future posts.”

This is how I address commenting etiquette on my disclaimer page:

“Commenting at Dagmar’s Home (http://DagmarBleasdale.com) is your right and always welcome and encouraged. I want to hear what you have to say, but I moderate comments and will not be held responsible for what others say in comments. Please take caution in leaving comments and realizing that they are public.”

After reading Gina’s commenting guidelines, I think it wouldn’t hurt to beef up my rules on commenting.

A few weeks ago I received a nice response to a comment I left on McKMama’s blog. She wrote:

“…since I didn’t breastfeed either of my children; by my choice -I don’t agree with your stance on breastfeeding. HOWEVER, I do respect it so much. I have never, ever seen you leave a comment here or on your own blog that EVER came across anything other than you wanting to share your experience with anyone who might be interested or might find it helpful. I respect you so much for that. And I do admire you for still night nursing your son -if my kids were not sleeping through the night by age 4 -I KNOW I would have lost my mind. Wow! Persistence must be one of your gifts:)”

Now that’s classy.

You don’t have to agree with what I’m writing. Just be classy, kind, and respectful when you comment. There is such a thing as netiquette.

How do you deal with unkind comments?

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa Vera June 22, 2015 at 11:00 PM

I respond than if they become really nasty I ban them LOL. Thanks for linking up at #HomeMattersParty this week hope you will come back next week to link up again.

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Maria@SewTravelInspired June 21, 2015 at 10:45 AM

Thank you for the post. This is the topic of discussion in my mastermind group right now on Facebook. I posted it to the group.

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Dagmar Bleasdale June 24, 2015 at 12:42 AM

Thanks for sharing my post, Maria!

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Kristine Hart June 18, 2015 at 2:38 PM

It is so great that I came across you at #YTTS. Ironically I had to delete someones comment off my g+ . She called another woman stupid but in different words. Rude and unnecessary. Your post shows the best way to deal with those comments.

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Dagmar Bleasdale June 24, 2015 at 12:46 AM

Thank you for your nice comment, Kristine!

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Nicole June 18, 2015 at 10:26 AM

Wow, these are great thoughts on a topic I thankfully haven’t had to deal with yet. I call it “internet road rage” because I think it’s the same concept. On the highway, people treat each other very differently than they would face to face because of the perceived anonymity of being behind the windshield and moving so quickly. They forget that they are dealing with human beings because they are looking at giant pieces of steel on wheels – or in this case – words on a screen. I’ve seen nasty comments on FOOD blogs for goodness sake! Not necessary, but also a part of human nature, unfortunately. I found you on the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Thursday linky party. Thanks for sharing a compelling post todat!

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Dagmar Bleasdale June 24, 2015 at 12:48 AM

Thank you for your nice comment, Nicole!

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Gadis Ps June 17, 2015 at 5:51 PM

I’m so lucky I never received bad comments, but this tips are maybe useful one day

bjorkiagadzotica.blogspot.com

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Dagmar Bleasdale June 24, 2015 at 12:50 AM

Thank you for your nice comment, Gadis!

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MsCrookedHalo June 17, 2015 at 12:29 PM

I have been blessed enough not to have received any nasty comments as yet. That all may change as I have a few ideas for blog posts that definitely slant more towards the crooked and less towards the halo side of my mind. However, I will probably apply option 3 and approve and address the comment. Maybe even make it a follow-up blog post if warranted.

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Steph June 17, 2015 at 10:10 AM

Thanks for sharing your tips. This isn’t something I’ve had to deal with, but there always comes the time, and I’m glad to have some tools ready beforehand!

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Cathy June 16, 2015 at 9:40 PM

Very well written! :-)
Cathy

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Melinda June 15, 2015 at 10:25 PM

Here from Inspire Me Monday.
Fortunately, I haven’t had any nasty comments yet on mine. But since I have to approve them, they would go into a black hole.

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Janice March 28, 2011 at 3:58 AM

I have a “rules” page on my blog. And wanted to be sure I addressed comment guidelines as well as other topics. I love that it provides a frame of reference that I can go back to as well as readers can look at. I wrote it in a conversational way, because I truly love comments and want to be able to seek out different experiences and viewpoints. The guideline I use is:

Comment Guidelines – I love it when I can write something that provides a reason to leave a comment — I hope the people who read the things I post have ideas they want to share as well. For me, blogs are, at the core, a way to express individual experiences and opinions. Feel free to disagree or agree — I enjoy debate. That said, moderating comments can be a necessary evil at times. The guidelines I use in deciding what to post are 1) is the language appropriate & respectful? 2) does the comment relate to the topic(s) discussed? If my mom would think there is a personal attack in your comment, doubt you’ll see it posted. If my niece shouldn’t read the kind of words you use, again, it will probably go into a holding cell. Oh and at a certain point, understanding people may disagree, I may limit the comments when time or number become overwhelming.

I’ve only had to put it into use a couple of times and was able to simply provide a link to it on my blog. Like the person you had commenting who disagreed with your choice but recognized your ability to choose, I have had lots of comments that led me to think about things and people differently. A true benefit of blogging!

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Dagmar March 28, 2011 at 4:52 AM

great “rules” :)

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Hannah February 28, 2011 at 5:05 PM

@TheFeministBreeder Said it perfectly, eloquently with a hint of kiss my @$$ I just have to respect :)

ALWAYS respect the house you’re visiting, it’s just good manners and what momma taught!

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Hockey Wife January 17, 2011 at 5:04 AM

I love uberwoman’s statement. Perfectly said.

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Karyn Climans January 10, 2011 at 2:15 AM

Nicely put! Now I’m dying to know what was written on your blog that inspired this post.

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Megan (Best of Fates) January 7, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Wow, it’s awesome that McMama was so classy. And this is such good advice, now if only trolls would take it!

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Marni January 5, 2011 at 3:58 AM

Nicely put! I’ve been coming across the questions of how I will deal with that too. I’ve not had anyone too rude, but I am sensing it is coming with my growth and I am preparing myself. Not sure how I will handle it, but I really like Uberwoman’s quotes on the matters.

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jessica January 5, 2011 at 3:55 AM

Food for thought: This was a comment you left on my NYC Mom’s blog post in Dec 09.
“Dagmar Bleasdale said…
I think it is amazing how some people think they can judge people they don’t even KNOW! It is their business and no one elses — it’s their life. How would you feel if people assumed the worse about you?

This post just makes me sad. So much judgment, so many assumptions. There already is enough negativity in the world, don’t you think?”

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Fiona January 5, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Wurd! I love dialogue and a good conversation but if a comment is unkind or gets personal it just makes the commenter look like a schmuck. Just my opinion.

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not2sweet_angel January 4, 2011 at 7:04 PM

BRAVO!!

Way to go, Dagmar! I L.O.V.E this! Very insightful! Kinda goes along w/what mother taught me; if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all! This doesn’t mean don’t comment, don’t be true to yourself nor does it mean that I don’t value your opinion. What it does mean is be kind w/your words. If what you are saying comes across hurtful or mean spirited in the end your message is lost and the only things left behind are the feelings you conveyed. If I comment, it’s because I value you as a person and would always want to treat you as I want to be treated. Thanks again, for a great post!

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Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud January 4, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Well done, Dagmar! You handled that comment in a very classy way while making your point extremely clear. Unkind comments are never okay. There’s a very constructive and respectful way to disagree with others and I wish everyone knew how to do that.

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TheFeministBreeder January 4, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Big Ditto!

I wish I didn’t need a comment policy, but the number of trolls who hang around my site is ridiculous. And the comment policy does NOT stop them from acting like a-holes… but it’s the best I can do.

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MamaBennie January 4, 2011 at 4:50 PM

I think your comment policy is classy. Trolls just have nothing better to do than be nasty to others from behind a computer screen. I am actually kind of thankful that I don’t really get many comments on my blog.

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Maria January 4, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Just found your blog on BlogFrog, and I totally agree with the idea of your blog being your home. For the most part I haven’t had to deal with nasty commenters, so I’m not sure how I would deal with it personally, but I’m definitely taking some cues from you :)

xoxo Maria

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Christine January 4, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Great post! I write a very uncontroversial crafting blog. I do post on the blog frog and I do get a little (lot!) more controversial there. So, I know how much it stings when someone vehemently disagrees (she wasn’t even rude but it still got me antsy because of the subject matter). From the outside looking in I think that rude comments can be beneficial to your blog if you are looking to increase traffic. I can imagine that a hot debate could take your post viral, reaching a much wider audience! In fact, curiosity about your rude comment is what brought me here :-)

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Dagmar January 5, 2011 at 12:13 AM

I also didn’t think she was necessarily “rude,” that was her own word. I just thought she could have been kinder.

I hadn’t even thought about mean comments leading to more blog traffic. I’d rather not get unkind comments, I think :) It would be sad if people were rude just to cause a stir in order to get blog traffic. I would hope people wouldn’t reward that kind of behavior and stopped visiting that blog after that.

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Heather January 4, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Well said!!

About 4 months ago I wrote a controvserial blog post about how Woman have shaped the “women’s revolution” in a bad way and pointed out how other countries are so much more supportive of women and mother’s then the good Ol USofA and this came across for some reason really bad. I woke up to 24 comments on my blog bashing me and my viewpoints. I did not understand it, I am American and I simply pointed out that if we weren’t so quick to enter the work force in many cases breastfeeding in America might be the norm instead of the abnorm, since I was a pro-breastfeeding advocate. Anyway my views were not seen kindly, and I have yet to cross that line again while blogging for fear that it would create more controversy. Anyway, like you said, your blog is your home and you invite readers into your thoughts and when those thoughts are put down, it hurts and makes you fearful to speak or write what is on your mind…which we should be able to do on our own blogs.

I’m glad you are addressing the issue of netiquette!

Heather From and Mommy Only Has Two Hands! and Lynhea Designs

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Jus Keep Smiling January 4, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Sorry you had to deal with that. Did FB say why they took your group down? It says its linked so Ill check it out =)

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Dagmar January 4, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Hi, it’s not my breastfeeding support group that was deleted from Facebook, it was Leaky B@@b’s. Her latest post quotes the lame explanation from FB.

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Katie@DomesticDebacle January 4, 2011 at 5:18 PM

I certainly welcome differing opinions on my site, but unfortunately get a few negative ones that seem to spoil the whole bunch. I wish I would have had your comment policy in place years ago. I think what you’ve done is FANTASTIC and must give you some peace of mind!

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Alison January 4, 2011 at 4:43 PM

I never thought of doing a commenting policy! I think I may have to do that one day. Though I really only got 1 really nasty comment it was just insane that people are… so crazy. Hah! Though I must say that the one post I was sure I would get nasty comments on cause it’s a hot topic (my oldest son had to have his circumcision revised) I didn’t get any. I wasn’t even going to post that cause of the nasty people out there, but I did because I was researching on how it goes and I couldn’t find any info on it!

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