Dealing with Negative Comments

“Now, while I’m touched by that Hallmark moment, you don’t get points for subtlety in journalism. I’ve already started getting hate mail.”
“You seem very happy about that. Why?”
“Because it means I’m hitting a nerve. Besides, between the abysmal sentence structure and generous use of obscenities, I’ve got a pretty good idea of who’s been sending it.”
Chloe and Clark in “Smallville”

post_comments
Banner on the site of the National Post, advertising their feedback videos.

One of the reasons why I write this blog is the positive feedback I get. Sure, I also write because I need to, but, yeah, it’s great to feel appreciated. And I have been really lucky regarding the comments I have received so far. There were some very positive, very encouraging comments.

But what do you do when you get negative comments?

One way to deal with negative comments is to check them for their merit (see pages 160ff in “Organizing Creativity”) and go from there. But if the comments are firmly in the “destructive” category, at least according to Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement? When, despite not reaching the minimum requirements for replies, you cannot ignore them for whatever reason.

Well, the columnists of the National Post have shown a nice way to deal with negative, destructive comments. They read them aloud (see banner on the right side). Yup, sometimes the best thing you can do is to read these comments aloud. Show that the comments do not really affect you and shame those who wrote them. It’s a bit like this xkcd comic.

Luckily, so far, I did not have a need for this measure. All I can do is say “Thank you” for all those readers who left a comment here. Love it. 🙂

But if you ever encounter public criticism that is below the belt — perhaps the National Post’s strategy is a valid way to deal with it.

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