Handling the Haters: How to Deal with Unpleasant Readers
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These days, being an online “troll” on blogs is practically a trend. Some people go out of their way to rile up other readers, post offensive comments, and in general be a nuisance. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that appears to be going away anytime soon.
Thus, you will need to know how to handle such individuals to prevent the situation from getting worse. In doing so, you will be able to quickly diffuse the issue and, hopefully, prevent that person from irritating you or your readers again. So, with this in mind, here is what you can do.
Take Proactive Measures
The first thing you need to do is to actually set up terms and conditions for your blog. List out the kind of comments or content that will not be allowed. It is up to you to decide what these are, depending on the target audience of your blog.
Commonly, though, people will prevent commenters from being able to use bad language, or post anything that can be considered racist, sexist, or homophobic. Regardless of what your moral code is, you need to make it absolutely clear what will and won’t be tolerated.
Now, there is a good chance that this policy will not do much to dissuade the more persistent commenters. Nevertheless, the policy does provide you with some wiggle room. If anyone defies the regulations, you have proof to back up any action that you take against the comment.
Consider the Message
It can be tough to take criticism from anyone for the work you do. However, when it comes to your blog, there is a more personal element. As such, any disapproval aimed at your writing can often feel like condemnation. Thus, it is easy to get offended and simply disregard the commenter as a troll.
Before you do this, however, you should take the time to carefully read through the comment. Are they making valid points against your writing or content? If so, they may be simply trying to correct your mistakes, albeit in a rather rude manner.
Of course, there is a good chance that the commenter is just spewing hateful words without any real meaning. After all, this does tend to be the modus operandi of many online trolls today.
To Ignore or Not to Ignore? That Is the Question
For the longest time, most people have advised bloggers to simply ignore the comments on their articles or sites. However, is this the right way to go every time? Well, it would appear that the situation is not quite as cut and dry as you might imagine.
For the most part, ignoring negative comments is the best approach. In fact, many find that disregarding hateful discourse works well. After a while, the person behind the online attacks will simply get bored and move on.
At the same time, this shouldn’t necessarily be a blanket approach to the issue. For instance, if the comment is targeting a particular group of people or is intentionally misleading, mentioning this can be helpful. Of course, this action isn’t for the trolls but rather for others reading the message. Taking a stance proves to other readers how this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
However, at the end of the day, it is up to you to decide what move to make. Carefully consider the circumstances and determine whether you should respond or simply ignore what that individual has chosen to write.
Should You Delete Comments?
So, let’s say that you don’t want to reply to the comments, you then have two choices: to either keep them or to delete them. Which should you do? In most cases, leaving the comments up on the site is your best move.
When you do this, the responsible party will know that they are being ignored and will eventually turn their attention to something else. If you delete their comments, there is a good chance that they will become incensed and ramp up their online attacks. Thus, it can take longer to diffuse the situation.
This doesn’t mean that you should always keep the comment on your site. Remember the conduct policy that was discussed above? Well, that helps you moderate the comments on your website a little more systematically.
If you find that someone has violated the terms and conditions of your conduct policy, you can delete the comment and mention your reason for doing so. In such cases, if you fail to moderate specific comments, you may be letting the rest of your readers down. So, it is best to get rid of those that are doing actual harm.
Beware of When the Abuse Goes Offline
Although you may not realize it, there is quite a bit of information on you online. Due to this, it may be relatively simple for people to track down your email address, phone number, or even physical address! Some trolls aren’t shy about taking their abuse offline as well.
Emails are easy enough to ignore and you can always block the sender. If you are getting prank calls, you may want to visit https://www.checkpeople.com/reverse-phone-lookup and figure out who is behind them. This can make it easier for them to unmask the perpetrator or even report them to the authorities.
If someone has managed to get their hands on your home address, it is a pretty serious deal. You should always inform the local authorities as the situation can always escalate. You should certainly not ignore this problem and hope that it will go away.
As you can see, online trolls and their comments on your blog or website can be a bit of a grey area. Due to this, it can be rather tricky to know how to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, there is no tried and true method for you to rely on. Instead, you need to examine each instance and decide on what the right move is. Eventually, you will become a lot better at handling such issues.
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