As bloggers, who have opened their blog to readers and allow comments on it, we are aware that some comments don't feel/fit well. Before we even post a post we might worry already about the kind of comments we can receive, but it doesn't prevent us from posting/blogging/web-publishing.
Today I read two different posts (well, one was an email newsletter) about the effect some comments can have on the 'way you work'.
"Death threats are not protected speech" on Kent Blumberg's blog is exactly about that subject: death threats in comments - how un-blogosphere like, how horrible, how inhuman, how stupid, how... you name it.
I agree with Kent that as blog owner (yes, that's you, me, everyone who has a blog) you have to set your own 'acceptance' level with regards to what kind of comments you rigorously delete, remove from your blog (perhaps even without making any kind of excuse to the poster of that comment: it's your blog, your ethical rules, your blog 'culture').
But it is and always will be a thin - grey - line: make sure you act on the right reason for deleting, are you just removing a comment of someone who doesn't agree with you or does it indeed violate your ethical standards?
His newsletter talks about receiving two emails (comments) from his readers pointing out to him that lately his letters are getting longer and longer and that in fact he's waffling.
I cannot tell you how effective these two comments have been in making me review my writing style, and seriously consider producing a tight business email.
So effective, in fact, that I totally ignored the 20 emails each week telling me how funny that week's article had been, or how it had made somebody laugh out loud, or spew their coffee, or re-look at an aspect of their business, or put something in perspective. On top of which subscriptions are rising, and unsubscriptions are falling.
Which brings me to the point of this very short weekly: whenever you face a barrage of criticism (even if it is from one person) take a step back and get some balance from the folk who are telling you that you're doing good. And then consider the 98% of the rest of the folk who don't care either way - at least not enough to comment. And then look at your resultant sales. And only then, think about changing
I can of course just end with saying I agree with him, which I do - of course - but would like to end with a link to one of my favourite 'building-block' books I read lately "Citizen marketers" and the reason why the writers talk about 1%-ers:
Why a 1% patch? The people who write blogs, record podcasts or otherwise create content as a hobby are the early adopters -- the outlaws of culture.
It's a tough world out there, especially for outlaws, it doesn't mean outlaws don't have their own rules or that they should be shot at site or be 'reformed'.