So question - how do you handle this?? I have to approve comments before they appear on my blog - I'm no fan of censorship, but don't know what to do when the comment is of the "you are an idiot and completely stupid" vein...
I've had two people (I'm assuming different people, but don't know if that's true) make comments of this kind - one on my blog (where I can approve/disapprove comments before they post) and one on a GoodReads book review (where I can delete things after they post but can't prevent them from posting in the first place). To be extra, crystal clear: I'm not talking about an "I disagree with you and here's why..." comment, but about an actual ad hominem attack in which I'm called things like idiotic, irritating, or pompous without any explanation other than that they don't like the rating/review I gave a book.
I understand that putting my opinions out into the world invites comments/criticism - I'm ok with that, if they're actually comments or criticism. But things like "Wow, you sure are pompous and irritating" (actual quote) followed by a description of how the books in my personal library mark me as an idiot aren't really what I consider "comments"...
I'm not being thin-skinned - I get it that not everyone will agree with me or like me. I'm fine with that, I'm a big girl. But I don't really see what the point is in the personal attack - you don't have to like me or agree with me. You don't have to read my blog either. As a defender of the freedom of opinions and their expression, I feel funny not approving or deleting comments from real people - but I have to confess that I don't really see what purpose is served by posting them either.
I'd ask them why they think you're stupid/idiotic/etc. If they can actually voice a real opinion as to why they think that, I might let the comment stay. If they continue to be rude and mean, I'd delete the comment. Usually it's just a troll trying to get a reaction out of you.
Sorry you're having to go through this!
Thanks Alison! This person has made two comments on two separate spots on my blog - neither of which is approved yet. I agree it's someone looking for a reaction... Given that, I debated approving them and then just saying thanks for stopping by and sorry you don't agree with me - that way there is no reaction. The only dangerous thing there is that once you approve a commenter, they can comment at will - and I don't want to have to view every one of the past year's (and future) posts to watch out for spiteful/rude things. Plus, I'm no pollyanna, but don't like having rudeness on my blog. Disagree with me all you like - if you say why, and are respectful, I am fine with that - I like discussion and debate (I'm an attorney!). But I don't like - and don't want to support/allow - are mean-spiritedness and rudeness. Even tacitly and in support of free expression! :)
Ugh - thanks for your help and sympathy!!
I suspect such attacks are from the very young and immature and/or those who view the world through such a juvenile lens. I've observed attacks, usually in swarms, on authors at Goodreads on a couple of occasions and the sole purpose is to crush another human being. It's egocentrism at its most ridiculous and, unfortunately, most damaging. Moderating comments seems to be the best course of action. This way, silent response is golden.
Good question - and I think you are completely justified to nix the comment. I believe a lot of people are a little more bold and rude on message boards. On the other hand, any one who reads the comment should also think - wow, who would actually post such a thing.
Manners for a digital age...
Any kind of Personal Attack can be considered as Trolling so it's better for you to delete the negative comment or if you cannot delete it, ignore it. Don't take it personally and don't be affected too much. It can also be considered as random attack given the logical fallacy of his argument, but ethically you're better than him and you can do it by at least being fair and being solid. If you want to respond to his message, do it cordially.
Manners in this digital age is almost close to nil.
In effort to keep some privacy for myself and my daughter, I listed our names as KW and E on an amazon review we did. This is the comment I got... nothing about the review at all:
"So... your name is KW, and your kid's name is E? What's wrong with you? "
Sometimes comments are productive, sometimes they are rude, sometimes they are pointless. Don't let it get you down. Ignore the morons and enjoy yourself. Delete them if you like, with Amazon I dont have that control so I ignored it, but others have marked it as non productive in the discussion. If I comment back, I risk making myself look like an idiot too :) Be the bigger person, let it roll off you and dont take to much offense. Angry, miserable people are just trying to knock happy people down a peg.
Thanks so much everyone. My gut reaction - to delete the comments and ignore the whole thing - seems to be the approach most advocated, which is always nice to see! :) At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna (or Taylor Swift, teehee), I don't understand why some people just enjoy being mean...
Thanks again for the feedback/opinions/thoughts!
I would ask them to elaborate (make sure your reply is visible) and let it go.
Chances are, people will recognize the commenter is making unsupported claims/attacks and disregard him as a mean person. If you delete the comment, they will think they got the best of you. Challenge them.
Though if the commenter is a bigot then I would delete the comment, simple "you are an idiot" comments don't faze me.
I've actually had this happen to me. I simply remove the comment and then I sent them an email, stating that there is no need to publicly bash me. My email can easily be found on all of my blogs and they could have handled it in a much more confidential and professional way. People have to remember that we each have our own opinions, and don't ever take what they have to say to heart. It's your opinion, you own it and if they don't like it, they don't have to read it :). Oh, and always be sure to tell them to have a nice day :).
Non constructive criticism or personal insults by people who have never met you serve no purpose but to show the immaturity or mean spirit of the person submitting the comment. I agree you should just ignore those kind of comments and don't approve them then use the delete button.
There are many out there who do this on purpose just to get to you. I'd delete the comment and go on believing in yourself. These are immature people who love to start trouble. And I'd block them from future comments. You have a goal. You don't need to be stopping for them.
Thank you again to all of you for taking the time to be so helpful - and to make me feel better! :) Like I said, I'm not crying in the corner because someone doesn't like me - but it's still somewhat disheartening when someones goes all mean-girl on you... It's also kind of funny though - did you ever notice that the people who make "you're stupid, your reviews suck" comments usually go on to reference 50 of your reviews?? Teehee - thanks for boosting my numbers, and if you really think I'm so dumb why oh why are you spending so much time reading my stuff?? ;)