Wind-up overworked employeeYou’ve poured your heart and soul into your latest blog post, you’re really chuffed with it, after all you’ve just spent ages composing something to offer other people. You press publish really pleased with yourself then BAM! someone then hits you with a rude, disparaging comment.

What do you do, should you fire back and show them exactly what a nob you think they are??

While it’s tempting to do just that it’s not always the best of ideas as very often you’ll find you come across as someone who just can’t take criticism etc. (Not really the effect you want to give other folks).

So lets look at ways and means you can address mean troll like comments…

For a start and before you even think about writing that furious response, you need to sit back, relax, go get a cup of coffee, walk around the block or do whatever you need to do to calm down then come back to your response and think about what you’re going to say and write. Because only when you’re completely calm and rational should you even think about replying to disparaging comments on your blog, and the same thing applies to answering emails. You should never dash off an angry response in the heat of the moment saying things you’ll probably regret later.

Once you’ve calmed down reread the comment and look for something positive. Anything. You might have to look really hard, but it’s probably there (unless it’s really vindictive and nasty). Most people have their own opinions about given issues and if its a really contentious topic you’re writing about then you should expect replies from folks who may feel really strongly about it.

Also one thing you have to remember is the written word tends to sometimes come across completely different to what you intended. What some writers may think is a witty satirical comeback can often be perceived as being unpleasant.

So look carefully and decide if maybe that was what was meant.

You could of course just remove the response, especially if it’s a nasty vicious attack on you (and to be honest that’s probably what I would do). But if it’s just an unpleasant response disagreeing with what you’ve got to say, then I’d leave it up and give a dignified response. (be the better person).

Maybe they said you don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you? If you did your research, this is your chance to point out the experts who back what you wrote.

Perhaps the commenter completely disagrees with your point of view. This gives you a chance to honor the fact that their opinion differs, while calming and rationally explaining why you hold yours.

The one thing that is paramount to keep in mind is this is not a fight and it should definately not become one. That adrenalin surge you felt when you first read the comment occurred because your primitive brain thought you were under physical attack and needed to defend your life. You do not. This is simply another person on the planet who chooses to view things differently than you do. And that’s ALL it is.

Also keep in mind – as nasty as this person appears to be right now, this is still a living, breathing human being with friends, family, fears, challenges and shortcomings. Don’t escalate the dialogue with confrontation. Instead, allow them to have their opinion. Respect their opinion, or at least give the appearance of respecting it (no matter how off-the-wall crazy it might be.)

Answer calmly, rationally and above all NICELY and politely. Often they will respond to your kindness with kindness of their own, and may even offer an apology. If they don’t respond, don’t worry about it. Your goal is not to win them over; it’s to appear as the same rational, intelligent, level-headed expert your readers expect you to be. That’s why you’ll always keep in mind that your audience is reading this interaction. If you sink to the level of your detractor, you will lose respect and you will lose readers. But if you fail to take the bait and remain the same cool, calm professional you are, your readers will respect you even more.

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