Those people, once calmed down, are extremely valuable to you. They are a chance to see another side, to improve what you do, to clarify your thinking. This is why you must always mean what you say and say what you mean.
If you really believe in what you write then you can welcome the chance of debating your point. That is not to say you should go looking for a fight, but if a fight finds you then you can be prepared for it.
I love criticism, when it is helpful. If you challenges me on an issue, I may not like what you have to say, but you have a point and you are welcome to it. I will listen, sifting it through my personal value sifter, and maybe you make sense. Maybe I can learn from the criticism. I’ll thank you one way or the other because I value my readers input that much.
Personally, I think we all need a little criticism to help us evaluate where we are and how we are doing along the path to somewhere.
The problem I have is when bloggers pick fights intentionally for ratings.
Is the Fight Real or For Show?
Many think that a fight between bloggers is a good traffic building, attention-getting publicity stunt. And it can work, as long as the debate is sincere.
It helps if the opponents have mutual respect for each other, thus creating an intellectual debate. These attract smaller crowds, opposed to those who come running at the first sound of “Fight! Fight! Fight!” But they open up the debate to other bloggers who want their say on the issue, leading to a carousel of blog posts and incoming links. These are productive fights that get quality traffic and attention.
The other kind of nasty down-and-out blog fighting gets attention, but only as long as the fight lasts. If there isn’t any value to the entertainment, and no reason to return after blood has been shed, the audience is gone, looking elsewhere for their jollies.
Insincere and faked fights can often be spotted quickly and can backfire fast. Your readers are very smart and can spot fakes in a minute. If they spot insincerity in your attention-getting tricks, they won’t last long enough for you to get to the good stuff. And some bloggers will write about the fight and link to the blogs but not to recommend them but to point out that they are indeed faking the fight.
Take care in choosing the fight method for attracting attention to your blog. Make sure you choose your battles wisely and inspire others to join the debate instead of standing on the sidelines.
Personal Attack or Commentary Criticism?
The key point is to only deal with the issues or ideas. Do not stoop to making it personal and ignore anyone that tries to do that to you. If the other party insists on bringing it down to name-calling then you know what their intentions are and you might as well walk away.
There will always be those “someones” who come along and say mean things just because they can. While we like to think we live in a world where we can say anything we want on our blogs, commenters also live in a world where they can say whatever they want, too, and on your blog.
You have the right, as the blog owner, to edit or delete such comments, but do you have the right to respond anyway you want to those comments?
The issue of blogging freedom of speech and libel, publishing something that offends, harasses, or defames someone or business, is going to be big business for lawyers over the next few years. Some local, state, and federal governments are starting to include online comments within freedom of speech protections, including blog comments, but not all do. You may be held responsible legally for what you publish as a comment on a blog or forum.
You have the right to respond in any manner to comments on your blog, but you also have a responsibility for that response. More importantly, your response is judged by your readers. How you respond represents your true character, part of the information readers distill from your blog content and comments about who you and your personality.
Readers have a right to question you and your intent. They do not have a right to attack you personally. You have a right to question your readers’ comments and intent. You do not have a right to attack them personally.
As Liz Strauss says on her highly conversational blog: Play Nice.