How do you deal with negative blog comments?

how do you deal with negative blog comments?

Spot the deliberate mistake: but let’s leave it for Mujona to correct

I have to say that last week (August 7th, 2014) was the first time I have ever received a bitchy, negative comment here on HTWB.

I didn’t burst into tears, despite the fact that this is the first (yes, really) sarcastic jibe I have received in 3 and a half years since the blog started.

But what struck me as particularly interesting was that she picked up on what she thought was keyword stuffing on my part

… which it wasn’t, although looking back on it I can see why she might have got that impression.

Here is what the good lady (I assume she is female) had to say

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

MUJONA says: I think if you tried hard enough you could stuff “publication date” a couple more times into that article. Gotta get that keyword density up! Also: “Having read the article through it I think it’s excellent, by the way!” Gotta grammar issue there.

Here is what I replied…

Hi Mujona – actually the keywords for this article were “research” and “Google” – but I have just Googled “publication date” and there were 302 million results, so I don’t suppose that could hurt! Considering that’s what the whole article was about, the fact I mention “publication date” 5 times (just counted!) isn’t exactly a hanging offence. In any case so far I haven’t got any search traffic for “publication date” which should please you.

And as for the sentence you mention, it’s a typo – sorry about that. I have removed the word “it” and it is now correct.

“Gotta a grammar issue” is American slang and is grammatically nonsensical. If you’re going to be bitchy and criticize, at least get your own stuff right!

Many thanks for your feedback. Is English your first language, by the way? :-)

OK, I was irritated at her negative comment, but…

I always preach that negative comments shouldn’t be trashed – that’s too easy! In any case often they can be turned around to make some valid points both for the commenter and readers generally. So I took a good look at the comment and saw where our Mujona (seemingly from somewhere around Virginia, USA) had noticed repetition of the term “publication date.”

In the article – and those few paragraphs referring to publication dates – I had used the term 5 times. Now, if our Mujona thought I was keyword stuffing (as it seems she did) … would Google have thought so too? That’s worrying.

Considering that the article was 597 words long, 5 mentions of a keyword/keyphrase is what I have always been told is Google-friendly. However I digress: the keywords I was thinking about for this article were not “publication date” but were more along the lines of  “research” and “Google.” So this whole accusation of keyword stuffing was totally irrelevant anyway.

“Gotta a grammar issue”

Dear old Mujona had finally found a real goof to criticize – yee hah! I put my hands up: actually this was a typo/editing mistake (watch out for another blog post on what you can trip over when you’re editing on a screen.) Immediately on receipt of Mujona’s missive I corrected the problem. Hardly worth making an issue over it, but never mind, thanks for pointing it out.

What do we learn from these negative comments?

How do you deal with negative blog comments?Often, mistakes or misleading text can cause readers of our blogs and other content to misunderstand what we mean. If that isn’t pointed out, we may not notice it ourselves. That in turn means we fail to benefit from what we work so hard to write and share.

These comments are invaluable, because they give us a springboard into correction of our mistakes and, as I suggested above, the chance to build on that, for the benefit of our readers.

Although our Mujona’s comment is the first one I have ever had that chastises me in an non-constructive way, I have found it useful … if only because it also tells me that some people get off on being bitchy and patronizing to make themselves feel better. Mujona, I hope you feel a whole lot better for having starred in this article which examines your criticisms thoroughly.

How do you handle negative comments on your blog, website, or social media pages?

Would love to know, and please share here as we can all learn from it!

photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc




  1. You know, Suzan, she/he is a troll. You gave her/him way too much attention. 😉

  2. You’re probably right there, Cendrine!

  3. I think we all flare up from time to time, just as sometimes our comments and posts aren’t received in the ways we would wish. Really, we have no idea what brought Mujona to these pages a few days back. Maybe she was seeking back-links, perhaps she was on a Fivver gig – maybe she wants to learn how to write better but has a thing about those who teach?

    All I know is that when I flare up I try to examine what got my goat and think of alternatives. It’s not that I think no one has a right to lose their cool, it’s simply that studies prove that in the main doing so habitually ain’t good for us.

    What I admire here, is how you’ve gone back to making your blog a journal, that is you’ve picked up on something that occurred in your world and made something useful out of it for us all 🙂

    • Thanks for the supportive comments Stephen. Much appreciated, especially as it would have been much simpler just to delete the person’s comment in the first place, but I wanted to expose this sort of internet “trolldom” so others could benefit from my unpleasant experience.

  4. Hi Suze,

    Great post – knowing how/whether to respond to negative comments is something about which I think most web writers are still unsure. I guess it depends on all sorts of factors – how offensive the comment was, how constructive it was (as you mentioned) and maybe whether or not you’ve had your morning coffee!

    I had an odd one a while back; a long rant of a thing (ahem) criticising non-existent grammatical errors and taking umbrage at my defending of social media as a useful political tool – his view being that it was one of the four horseman of the apocalypse.

    I responded as professionally and politely as possible, despite actually seething behind the monitor, and I never heard from him again. I’m still not sure if that’s a good or bad thing!

    On the other hand, I’ve had comments that while negative, really did help improve either the piece or my writing skills and so I responded to those with a genuine, if somewhat begrudging, gratitude.

    Either way, I think writing this piece was a great idea, but if Muwotsit does ever come back, steer her in the direction of my blog – I’ve got a few choice 4 letter keywords she can get ‘stuffed’ on 😉