Blog long enough and eventually you’re going to run into flamers and trolls, no matter what you’re blogging about. It is your blog and you have the right to handle those nasty comments anyway you see fit. However, handle them the wrong way and you’re just going to cause more trouble.
Here are seven tips for handling flamers and trolls.
- My number one tip, regardless of what you read anywhere else, is this: Do whatever it takes to make your blog a safe haven for your readers. If that means deleting those hateful posts, fine, do it. If it means replying with a well-written work of art that melts them into a puddle of putricity, then do that, too.
- Censor carefully: That said, if the flamer is attacking you or your content, then man up. Take a look at what he’s really saying before you fly off the handle. He just may be right. And if he isn’t right, he’ll look like a real idiot if his comment just hangs there with no response. Don’t immediately reach for that delete button. Chances are some of your readers have already seen that comment and you don’t want them thinking you’re a weenie or that you’re going to delete comments just because they don’t agree with you.
- Be tolerant: People don’t necessarily have to share your opinion. In some cases, that little bit of controversy is why some readers keep coming back to your blog. They’re trying to understand your viewpoint or they’re looking for a good debate.
- Ignore it: Again, if it’s not hurting anyone, just let it sit there. Internet trolls are a fact of life and some of those smarmy comments give your readers a good laugh. In fact, if you leave it there, one of your readers will probably bash the guy for you.
- Respond to it and Teach him some manners: Most flamers and trolls actually think they’re doing the right thing, they’re just going about it wrong. I’ve turned around a number of flamers by simply asking them if they’d please tone it down and reminding them that they’re scaring the other readers. Some of these guys have valid views that are worth discussing. They’ve just chosen the wrong time or place.
- Take your time responding: I always end up regretting quick replies to flamers and trolls. It always turns out to be one of those “Darn! I shoulda said…” things. You do not have to immediately respond to any comments, especially the hateful ones. Take your time. Step away for a while if you have to. Think about it and craft an appropriate response that calms the situation instead of throwing fuel on the fire.
- Be the bigger man: Sometimes the best response is a simple, “Thank you for commenting. Stop back again.” The flamer knows you saw his comment and he sees he wasn’t able to get your goat. You also make him look like an idiot because you’re being polite even though he’s been a jerk.
The other six tips in this list will give you a variety of suggestions but the first thing you need to do is defend your loyal readers. If a flamer is attacking one of your loyal followers, or even a newcomer for that matter, than you have to do something to show your support for that follower. If you can’t do it verbally then delete that obnoxious comment and block that commentor.