Don’t Let Them Get You Down – Handling Negative Comments with Grace

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You’ve written a blog post or created a video and you’ve posted it for the world to see. When you post your opinions on open forums like app stores, on social media, in blogs, or on a website, you are bravely putting yourself out there. Your hope is that you will inspire and that you’ll add positively to the general conversation. Things are looking pretty good until you notice that there’s a pretty nasty comment about your post, and then you notice another.

What do you do?

Take a deep breath

Remember that a negative comment is not a personal attack, it just means that at some time, some where, some one didn’t like what they were seeing or reading. They have a right to disagree and to voice their opinion. As difficult as it may be, recognize that if you open yourself up to comments, you open yourself up to negativity.

Always take the high road

Although your first reaction might be to lash out at the commenter, remember always that a lot of people on the internet will be watching this. You don’t want to act in a manner that will embarrass you or your company later on.

Decide what kind of comment it is

If it is an internet “troll" (someone who makes negative comments simply to create trouble), then delete the comment. You’ll recognize these comments because very often they are off topic, or make a point of using inflammatory language. No one needs those people on their website. If you have a comment that fits into this category, you don’t need to have an explanation, just delete the comment.

Unacceptable is unacceptable

If the person has used unacceptable language, decide if this fits in with your company’s internet policies. If unacceptable language is not acceptable you can delete the message and post the reason for deleting it. Add that you will always be open to constructive comments provided they conform to company guidelines.

What’s the point?

Figure out the talking points. Pick from the response what the important points are and then address those points. If the negative comment is from a reliable source then take a step back and look at what the commenter is really saying. Very often negative comments contain a grain of truth in them. See if the commenter has a valid point and then address that point in a response. You might want to ask for a clarification, and if appropriate, you might want to even offer an apology with appropriate action (refund or replacement.)

Correct a wrong

If the commenter is wrong, let him know. If a false statement is being made then it’s your responsibility to set the record straight. Remember that other people will be reading your blog’s comments and you want to correct erroneous information as soon as possible. Without trying to come across as a tough enforcer, correct the commenter and then end your reply.

Don’t just ignore a negative comment. Either remove it or address it but don’t let it just hang by itself. An unaddressed comment allows people to wonder if in fact, the commenter has a valid point that the company is simply (and weakly) choosing to ignore.
Always remember that there are going to be many people on the internet who will follow how you handle this situation. Knowing that, you can reply to a negative comment with grace and strength, using the opportunity as a chance to generate customer support and good will with your audience.

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