Do-ers, thinkers and dreamers (and cats)
Managing your business, managing blogs and time to manage lists

Comments that make you change your ways

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?

Today I also received PetesWeekly, the email newsletter of Peter Carruthers - South African Business Adviser and founder of Business Warriors SA

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'.


Lisa Gates

Hi Karin,

Great post, and great blog!
I do agree with Peter, but even one strong voice should make your ears stand up and listen.

It's the constructive criticism that I listen to most. People like to be nice and not rock the boat, even if they have a strong opinion.

But, if you were to query the other 98% about what the 2% said, you would find lots of agreement from the 98% ers. What if you test the water, take it back to the people, ask the question, and generate participation?

Could be very revealing.


Mark Goodyear

Except for a few lost comments (and posts!) when I switched servers last week, I have never deleted a comment. Never.

And I would never do so--in part because nasty comments allow me the chance to model for people how I respond to nastiness.

And I like thinking of myself as an outlaw early adopter!

Kent Blumberg

I have not had to delete a comment yet, but I would if it was personally abusive. Constructive criticism is welcome - I'd love to get more of it - but personal attacks on me or on anyone else don't belong on my blog.


Karin H.

Hi Lisa

thanks for dropping by. I like you're idea of feedback, always a good tip on any subject.

Hi Mark

You're 'half' right about showing how you deal with nastiness, but there is a line IMO no one should cross. That line differs from blog-owner to blog-owner.

Hi Kent

Might take you up on your wish - just kidding, your posts I've read so far deserve applause.
Agree with eliminating abusive; personal, racist or directed to others who can't defend themselves. Get rid of it, straight away before it gets a chance to fester.

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