Blog Commenting - How to Deal with Comments
Last week we focused on leaving comments on blogs: why it's such a good idea and how to do it most effectively.
For our final post in this series on blog commenting, we will look at the other side, dealing with comments on your blog, from the good to the bad.
The comments left by blog readers tend to fall ino the following categories: positive (that was an interesting post), engaged (have you thought about this in relation to your topic?), negative (from disagreements to personal attacks) and spam.
If you moderate your blog it is easy to get rid of the latter, but there might be an argument for keeping in commenters that disagree with you, for reasons we will get to in a moment.
Positive Comments - How to Acknowledge Them
The best kind of commets are the positive and engaged kind.
These deserve a reply from the author, as a reply makes sure your respondents know how much you appreciate their contributions, whether just to acknowledge their appreciation or to make the most of someone who is prepared to continue the converstaion.
The people who reply with something that extends beyond your post, or brings their particular experience to the subject, present a blogger with a fantastic opportunity to build a conversation, which develops an engagement with someone in your field and can deepen your understanding of a topic.
Negative Comments - How to Handle Them
In the event of a negative comment, rather than taking the comment personally, you might consider how this can be turned to your advantage.
If the comment is negative but still engaged, then this can become part of the wider debate - you can acknowledge the commenter's position, but if you don't agree simply state why.
The best thing to do is to deal with it even-handedly, rather than being defensive.
If a negative comment seems to have no value in widening the discussion, you have every right to ignore it or not to publish it.
However, even then you might find a value in providing a neutral and calm response that rebuffs the comment but doesn't get involved in more negative behaviour.
Recently we saw that a local food blog, the always interesting Bristol Bites, received a negative comment on their review of Bristol Restuarant, Bells Diner.
The review itself was very positive, and the comment was unprovoked and necessary.
In the wake of this, some rather interesting things happened.
Firstly, the blog's author didn't immediately respond, but the other readers of Bristol Bites all rushed to their defense, which demonstrated a loyal readership.
Secondly, as a result, this post received many more comments than other posts on the site.
Thirdly, when the author did respond, she was able to acknowledge the loyalty of her readers and to dismiss the negative comment.
We thought this was a good example of how to respond to a hostile comment.
So, the result was that immediate evidence of reader appreciation was visible, reader interaction went up and the author's professionalism was highlighted.
If you are worried about the impact of a negative comment, here is one example that demonstrates a negative comment doesn't have to mean a negative experience.