Sometimes you sit behind your computer screen wondering if anyone is listening. And then, all of a sudden, you realize they are. And they are mad!
When I first started seriously blogging in 2011, soon after I got my first angry comment. Here is the story.
She wanted to be heard. My goal was not to be heard, but to hear her.I sat there rereading and rereading my first angry comment, then I reread the post a couple times. I struggled to figure out where the breakdown in communication existed between blog and blog reader. I realized it wasn’t anything in the actual post but something deeper. The commenter was hurting. Something made her angry. She wanted to let me know, but mostly…She wanted to be heard.
We commented back and forth a few times. Every time I commented back, I prayed and read her comments thoroughly. My goal was not to be heard, but to hear her. Eventually she apologized and that was that.
Obviously, rude commenters don’t always relent or respond to rational conversation. But, lucky for me, my first angry commenter did!
Understanding the Nature of an Angry Comment
Sometimes commenters just need to vent and the only safe place they feel like they need to do it is on someone else’s blog. Maybe they’ve never come across the information you are presenting and they are just spouting off the first thing that pops into their heads before they allow themselves time to sort it out. Maybe what you posted was their “soapbox” issue and they came just to comment against what you said (most of the time they might not have even read the entire post). Or maybe the people they want to listen to them ARE NOT listening to them.
Whatever the reason, don’t take the offensive. Someone once told me that “an overreaction is caused by a past under-reaction.” If you find someone commenting in anger, realize that it might have nothing to do with you!
Placing Boundaries on an Angry Comment
Just because someone is hurting, doesn’t mean you let them throw their daggers in your comments section. You have options:
- Ignore the comment.
- Delete the comment.
- Comment back with anger or sarcasm.
- Comment back with hopes to have a dialogue.
At this point in my blogging, I read all comments. I haven’t had to ignore any angry comments. But I have had to delete some comments on my YouTube videos because they just weren’t helpful. I didn’t comment back, I just deleted.
Many bloggers have a “no mean comments” policy — they just simply delete angry comments. They liken their blog to a house. They wouldn’t let people leave trash on their doorstep and they won’t let people leave trash on their blog.
As a Christian, I would advise against commenting back in anger or sarcasm. Ever heard the saying: “Don’t Feed the Trolls?” (Read Janet Fouts’ blog “NEVER Feed the Trolls.”) Imagine your husband snaps at you, then you snap back. Then, imagine he says, “Awww, baby you are soooo right. I am wrong.” Happens all the time, right? NOPE. And that method won’t work on your blog either.
My policy is a mix of commenting, ignoring and deleting. I recently saw a meme on Pinterest that said “Remember, You may be the only Bible that others read.” At times, responding in love might be the best course of action. It might open up a dialogue that the commenter hasn’t ever gotten somewhere else. It might not. But if you chose to respond, responding in love is always the best course of action. In other situations, a clear-cut “trash” the comment is in order. It really just depends.
Decide how you will deal with angry comments, so you aren’t caught off guard. Maybe ask one of your four friends from Day 10 – Counting Your Following to help you sort through your own emotions after you receive an angry comment if it really upsets you.
Whatever you do, keep the scripture from Matthew 7:6 in mind:
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
You can’t win everyone over. If you find yourself in a commenting war – be the first to back out. That doesn’t mean you apologize (unless you need to), just stop replying. If they don’t stop commenting, delete and block.
Ask for wisdom from God and others. Sometimes you just need to step away from the blog.
A blog with a comments section is a two-way street. A conversation between writer and reader. Treat it like you would any other conversation. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Don’t hide behind the security of your screen, if even your commenter does!