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Negative comments and controversary

I received an email today which discussed how he treated a particular negative comment on his blog.

The comment he received was apparently very critical, rude and insulting – effectively calling him dishonest and claiming he owed the commentor something.

Obviously, the blog owner could have deleted the message and been done with it or left it and replied to it. However, he decided to leave it and not comment on it straight away. A few more negative comments were added to the discussion – other people agreeing with the first commentor. But then, some of the blog owner’s loyal supporters jumped in – they defended the blog owner and strongly criticised the people making negative comments.

The blog owner had expected this and he took is as a chance for an active discussion, a controversy that increased traffic to his blog and some independant highlighting of his good points.

It was effective in that he had a discussion and it would have helped his blog and site rankings. Personally, I’m not sure I would have followed suit.

For one thing, some very negative comments were on his blog and they were first – some people may never read long enough to reach the positive comments. As a potential client, I wouldn’t be impressed by a blog discussion like that for two reasons – 1. why didn’t the blog owner make any response to his complainers and 2. I was probably reading the blog to learn something not hear about the person behind the blog.

I also didn’t like the fact that he was happy to have his supporters attack and flame his detractors. I prefer to not have any defamatory or hurtful comments in my professional dealings (blog, discussions, in person, whatever) so I would not allow a situation to build if I expected that outcome. It just doesn’t some across as professional to me.

I will write about how to deal with negative comments separately, but what do you think – is leaving a negative comment like that on your blog to spark a discussion a good thing or not?

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