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Anyone who runs a blog knows first-hand how pesky comment sections can often be. Even though we all strive for reader interaction and hope that our posts will get users communicating, there is nothing that will mar an awesome post more than multi-paragraph rants posted by some unknown, angry user.
If a renegade comment-poster has you feeling down, or is even compromising the look or reputation of your blog, it’s time to find a way to smooth over the discord.
Here are some great steps to figuring out what to do when suffering from a comment section explosion:
Honestly consider the comments’ merits.
Let’s admit. Most of the time, people who rant and rave in comment sections are either on a soapbox or have an ulterior motive and are generally going to be impossible to reason with, no matter what you do. But, it’s also important to realize that this is a real user on your site, and you have to take what they say with at least some level of objectivity.
Even if you don’t agree with what this commenter has to say, take some time to recognize the possible merits in what he or she has posted. This will allow you to deal with the situation as impartially as possible.
Know when to stay quiet.
If you’ve objectively reviewed the comments and have decided that this person is beyond reason or is simply ranting for the fun of it, then it may be best to refrain from engaging.
When a commenter is worked up, any response from you, no matter how objective, will only add fuel to their fire and make the discord last even longer. If a commenter seems out of line, simply let them talk to themselves, and they will eventually tire of chasing their own tail.
If you do respond, do so with respect.
Maybe, after taking stock of the situation, you feel that some sort of response is necessary from the webmaster (you).
Maybe not as a direct reply to the negative comments, but as a way to let your regular readers know that you’ve seen the comments and will deal with the situation accordingly. Or, maybe you want to acknowledge whatever truth is in the negative comments and offer your own perspective.
Whatever you choose to say, be respectful of all parties involved. Post one respectful, but assertive, response, and, if you continue to get negativity back, simply disengage.
Publish new distractions.
Instead of placing more and more emphasis on a particular comment section when things go awry, one of the best things to do is publish new and different content as soon as possible. This will push those negative comments further down the tube, making them less obvious, and it will distract your readers from the situation.
Try to choose a subject matter very different from the posts with negative comments so the commenter will not feel compelled to continue the conversation into your new posts.
If all else fails, use your right to moderate.
At the end of the day, this is your blog. You have the right to publish and edit comment sections as you see fit. If you feel that a particular commenter is having an unnecessary heyday with your comment section and feel it is truly disrupting the quality of your blog, you can and should exercise your right to simply block that user and delete the posts.
Because open discourse online is so important, this should be a last recourse, but the people who avidly follow your blog will surely agree with and support the decision.