Thirdeyemom

Dealing with rude comments on your blog

This morning, I woke up to do what I always do. Brew a cup of mi gasolina (strong coffee) and open up my computer to read over comments on my blog. I’ve been blogging now for over a year and a half and have found it to be a wonderful experience that has not only brought on new friendships but has opened many doors. But every once in a blue moon, there is that one comment that bursts your bubble and makes you remember the risk you took in starting a blog, in opening up your heart, soul and mind.

That one comment, always from a complete stranger who most likely has not read a single thing on your blog except that one fateful post.  That one comment that hurts, wounds, burns like salt poured into an open wound. Then flushing you with anger. For how could a complete stranger be able to make these kinds of cruel, rude accusations without ever having met someone before?

I’ve had three such comments in all my blogging history of 482 posts and 4,700 comments.    Each time it had been by someone who isn’t a WordPress blogger (as they don’t have a gravator and only an email address to respond to) who has somehow happened to fall upon my blog and read one post. I’ve been utterly amazed by the level of hatred, rudeness and cruelty of these comments by complete strangers. I have responded to each one. The first two offenders actually ending up apologizing and on my end I actually did change things on the posts that offended them. Should I have done that when it is my blog and my freedom of speech to say what I want? I’m not sure. But I did anyway as I’m not a person who likes conflict. I’m a middle child and grew up always trying to make peace.

Yet I’ve realized over time that if I’m going to blog and make it my voice there will be times when people don’t agree with me or don’t like what I have to say. Recently I wrote a piece called “Are we becoming complacent with freedom“. It was a subject I felt very strongly about was a little scared to publish it since it was really speaking my beliefs. I was taking a risk. But I did it anyway and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback about it.

Writing a blog is all about using your voice. It is about taking risks and letting your heart, soul and most inner beliefs be shared with the world, many of them strangers. It is a frightening risk we take as bloggers exposing ourselves.  But overall it has been a risk I’ve been willing to take as I’ve met so many wonderful blogging friends whose comments, advice, encouragement and support have kept me going down this path.

So I leave this post with a copy of my comment I received this morning, with a question to you all.  How do you handle negative, rude comments? Why do people write this kind of stuff?

My opinion is that if you don’t like what your reading. Don’t read it.

Thanks everyone who has been there to help me, encourage me, inspire me and keep me going with this blog! I truly appreciate it all and you are always welcome to comment, good or bad. Just please not hurtful, rude or offensive.  That’s all I ask.

Comment about my post “The Notority of being blonde in China“.

P.S. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m a 40 year old mom of two. Yes I’m American and I guess perhaps I’m “an old hag”. But if you’ve followed me you hopefully know I’m not at all like this description!  I am the most humble, loving, giving mom out there.  Maybe I’ll take it as a complement that she thinks I think I’m lovely? 🙂

Comment from “Jean”:

Oh please (eyeroll). Italy has its fair share of native blondes, probably more than the U.S.– certainly enough to where a blonde american wouldn’t be seen as some exotic creature. You’re probably imagining you’re the center of attention. Trust me, you’re not. Italy, France and Europe in general is teeming with young stylish svelte gorgeous blondes that make you look their divorced grandmammy. Same goes with contemporary China. And any extra attention (esp. in Italy) is not because of your appearance, but likely because you advertize you’re an American with a huge red, white & blue neon sign. American women are notorious for being sexually crass and easy, esp. when plied with alcohol. The European & Chinese girls just have more class.

Here is the brash American woman she is referring to….me with my son at school wearing my “Shot@Life” t-shirt during global immunization week. 

Yes, I do have to highlight my hair now that I’m so “old” so perhaps I’m not a native blond….boo hoo.

How do you deal with rude comments by strangers on your blog? Do you get angry, laugh it off or hurt? Or do you just let it go?

49 comments

  1. I am flabbergasted at the thought that someone thinks they have a right to make a venomous comment. I have been in one situation, I was hurt, more because I think that there is enough hate around that there is no need to keep spreading it. The negativity is all around us, we just have to rise above it and not engage. I have cut out friends and family due to the enormous amount of negativity.

    • Yes me too. It really is crazy. My general rule of thumb in life is to treat other people with respect, dignity and kindness. The way I’d like to be treated myself. To never judge people based on ethnicity, race, sexuality, beliefs, religion, etc.
      Thanks for reminding me! And by the way, I really am enjoying your blog! It seems like we have a lot in common with our love of travel, volunteerism and view on raising internationally minded children! 🙂 N

    • Yeah, it makes me angry but then I decided to laugh it off since it is so not me it is hysterical. I am a rather humble person who hates being the center of attention and does not consider myself to be anything special on the outside. I’m just me. So now I’m better after blowing it off and laughing a bit about it. 🙂

  2. I used to get stressed over negative comments. Until someone pointed out to me that one was a troll and it’s useless to argue. Another one commented with only a question,”…you call yourself a photojournalist?” –which raised my hackles, and so I traced his email address, and sent him links to my big, fat portfolio of work for 16 years as a legit media person (which was very unnecessary). And did that make me feel better? Apparently not. One voice among a hundred praises, and I felt so rotten that I couldn’t even please this stranger in cyberspace. So as a rule, if I don’t like the comment and commenter, I shall now delete his remark, or block him off. That’s what I do on Facebook, that is (huge grin). I agree, our blog is more on a personal level, our journal where we are entitled to our own opinion, in our domain, on our own terms. Anybody who passes by and scoffs at our musings is welcome to leave without any trace at all. 🙂

    Personally, “Jean’s” remark was uncalled for. Apparently, she doesn’t know how to blog, either. Hugs from this side of the globe. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Jojie! I agree that you have to do your best to not take anything personally, especially if it is from a complete stranger. It does anger me though that people can be so rude. I guess it is part of the risk we take as bloggers by opening up ourselves to anyone on the world wide web. The good part is that 99% of the time, the comments are so incredibly supportive and positive that it keeps you going. Hugs from over here too. I think your photography is amazing!!!!! 🙂

  3. Dave Malnes

    I tend to follow the advice, “Consider the source” when confronting criticism, rudeness or any other personal attack. Blogging is intensely personal — so when criticism does come it still stings. It’s funny how often we remember the rude comments and easily forget all the nice ones.

    • Thanks for the advice! I think it is because you are right. It is very personal. We are showing ourselves and exposing our emotions, beliefs, thoughts etc. But it is indeed true that you can’t let the mean attacks get you down, especially when it is a complete stranger. Thanks for your words of wisdom! 🙂 Nicole

  4. sas

    I live in Wales now, but previously I have lived in Austria and Greece, and from personal experience I can confirm that you are right in what you say about people standing out in certain parts of Europe. The locals in Rhodes all love my friend’s English baby because he has pale skin and ginger hair. To them he is exotic.
    Just ignore any negative comments you receive. If someone can find time to waste writing something hateful, they obviously don’t have a very positive outlook on life. Hopefully reading your uplifting blog will have taught them how to look at things in a different light 🙂

  5. Definitely blow it off, and try not to give it a second thought. It stings, and wounds the spirit for a bit but it will blow over. I’m thinking I wouldn’t give this person the pleasure of approving the comment…just delete it, and let them think what they will think…..more negativity, I’m sure.

  6. Wow. I’m so sorry this happend to you–so, so sorry. I must be lucky, as I’m well over 12,000, going on 13,000 comments, and I’ve NEVER had a single rude comment–only one that borderline from another blogger I know that could be taken a number of different ways. How did I get so lucky?

    That comment you got is outrageous! Again, I’m so, so sorry. You CERTAINLY don’t deserve it!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • Oh Kathy! I hope I wasn’t complaining too much. I just thought it was so strange that a complete stranger who doesn’t read my blog would write such a personal attack on me and my appearance! How rude! Anyway, I’m over it now. Just had to vent at the cruelty of some people in this world. What is so funny is that picture isn’t even anything special. I’m wearing sweaty t-shirt and pants, baseball cap and shades. Doesn’t look like I’m trying hard to get attention or be a “svelte sexy Italian wannabe!” Oh well….got to laugh. 🙂

  7. I had a negative comment recently, not about me personally, but about lovely Bagni di Lucca. I considered deleting it, but in the end, answered it as you did.
    You handled the response well. The woman was extremely rude and out of order. Fair haired people do still stand out and invite curiosity in some parts of the world. I felt this in Istanbul. I am blonde ( now with help ) and I was stared at, not in a bad way, but stared at. I am nearly 60 and chubby, so it was not because of my crass, sexy look.
    I might add that there are not that many natural blondes in Italy, I don’t know where Jean has been.
    Hopefully Jean will keep her thoughts to herself in future.

    • Thanks Deb! I found it awful that someone would jump on my appearance and call me an old divorced grand mammy but made me laugh too at the meanness of some people. If she actually read my post I was trying to use the “third eye” approach to what it feels like to be different and stand out. How uncomfortable it can be yet what a good experience it is to understand what it is like. I often think of my best friend’s adopted brother who was the only black kid in our school. That is what I was getting at in this post in a lighter sense. I said nothing at all about my personal looks. Oh well. Some people really are rude.

      As for Bagni di Lucca, I can’t believe anyone would ever say anything negative about it! It is such an incredibly lovely place that most people would only dream of visiting! PS….I highlight my hair too! 🙂

  8. I am so sorry to hear about your negative comments. I had one or 2 over FB when I first started, but recently people on the wordpress community are much more positive. I have noticed though one girl in particular who is always “liking” every single one of my posts as soon as I have posted and every time I come to a new bloggers page I see she has liked their posts as well. She is one of those people who just sits at her computer liking every single new post that pop’s up to bring traffic to her work. I find that way more insulting and unnerving then negative comments. I see she has liked this post as well.

    • Thanks so much! I believe the comment was not a WordPress blogger as it only had an email address and no gravator. You are indeed right that the WordPress community is amazing! Everyone has been so kind, supportive and wonderful. It has kept me blogging.

      As for that one blogger, I can guarantee you that I know who she is. I’ve noticed it too and found it annoying and odd as she never comments but just likes. I told myself I’d only like something if I really read it and liked it. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words! It is nice to get all this feedback and support! 🙂 that is why we blog, right!

      • I agree! I want to support other bloggers and if I like their work then I like it and I want the same feedback. Good, honest, and sound. It is discouraging when someone keeps like your stuff when they haven’t even read it.

  9. I think I would cry if someone was so outwardly rude and without reason or need. I was always taught if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all! This was not constructive critism, but just a rant of some bitter lemon who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It would bother me and to date I have been lucky with the kind words and encouragement I have been given. Why is it though when given hundreds (or in your case thousands) of kind words we focus on the bad? Maybe because we are sensitive, caring and kind and would never dream of hurting someone with words that cut like a knife… we treat others how we wish to be treated and this is beyond our understanding of kind nature 🙂

  10. That is a an unforgivably rude and strong worded comment. Have never experienced any negativity, so can’t say how I would react, guessing I would be just as mad. But I do tend to agree with Dave above. The source of the comment should decide our response.
    So sorry this happened Nicole, Can’t see anything in that post that warranted a negative response.

  11. I would just like to add that I suspect she has never set foot in China, certainly not off the beaten tourist path to make a brash statement like that. Your posts are fun and enthusiastic observations about life around the globe, clearly enjoyed by many of us! Keep it up! delete and move on!

    • Thank you so much for your nice comment! The more I look back, I agree that when you step off the beaten path like I did on this trek (we took the non-tourist two-hour daredevil climb up) you rarely see anyone western. I think these ladies were really surprised to see us. My guide said that a lot of Chinese from the countryside come in to the big cities for the weekend and may have never seen a western person before. He said it was quite common to get looked at. I have a red-headed friend and she said it was crazy for her! Anyway, I love your advice to move on. Perhaps I wasted too much time pondering this topic but I guess what I was really getting at is I’m often started by the rudeness of complete strangers in this world. I try my best and teach my children to respect others, no matter what their differences. Deletion done! 🙂

  12. Ciao Nicole,

    You have done an awesome job in the time you’ve been blogging. Don’t let one or two persons ruffle your feathers. You are stronger than that. Yes, I know it’s a little nerve wracking and annoying but it’s only their opinions, we can’t make everyone agree with us. I always respond to negative feedback, I think they don’t expect it.

    Keep on keeping on!

    • Thanks Jennifer! I guess writing this post was a way to get it out of my system. I like it when I get constructive criticism but not darn right mean, rude commentary. But you are right. You can’t let it ruffle your feathers! There are rude people everywhere around the world and I think the best approach is to “kill em with kindness”! THat is my favorite way when in person! 🙂

  13. Nicole,
    Don’t let it bother you. I have noticed that there are a lot of right-wing bloggers out there and some are very rude when commenting, especially when you begin discussing anything in the political realm. I don’t know if you have read my writings on politics and economics, but these subjects will certainly generate some nasty comments. To be fair, there are some on the political right who will engage in a civil conversation even though they won’t agree my opinions. If you read the comments to my posts you will see there are some nice back and forth conversations. But there will always be those who are just nasty and rude. If they won’t be civil I just block them. We all should all be able to express our opinions, so don’t stop just because of a few rude bloggers.
    Dan

    • Thanks Dan! I can only imagine what kind of comments you get on your political posts. I am very liberal too and can only imagine what you open yourself up to when writing about politics. People get crazy when you talk politics including members of my own family! It can get very heated. Yet I think a good debate without getting angry is wonderful. Isn’t that what it is all about? Sharing your opinions and even opposing ones? But when people get darn right rude and obnoxious, that isn’t good. Thanks again for your support and please keep your political posts going! We have a big election coming up and need all the debate possible! Nicole

  14. Please do not worry about comments like that at all as these people have nothing better to do than spreading hate. I had my share of hate comments recently as well but the funny thing was he/she was pretending to be different person and was using different emails and name to post similar comment on my post. He/she forgot that I can see the IP address when comment was made and it was all from same computer.

    It made me laugh how low people can go to make a point.I just ignored those comments and didn’t gave him/her satisfaction of seeing me annoyed or angry or any other reaction.

    I am sure you have lots of good follower including me who love what you write so ignore these stupid people.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. I don’t know why I let those comments bother me but I guess we are all human. It does often shock me the rudeness of complete strangers. But if we look overall at the kindness and wonderful people there are out there, the rotten eggs get quickly forgotten! 🙂 Thanks for your support! 🙂 Nicole

  15. I will let people comment anything on my blog as long it’s not offensive to others, i.e. insulting certain belief or race. If I get a rude comment I will just leave it and not leave any reply.

  16. I think that whoever she is…she is just a frustrated bitch Nicole. I have had a few comments of people telling me I have no idea what I am talking about…they’re probably right too…but that’s the beauty of freedom of speech. You can say just about anything. I have had the same thing happen…in Bangkok I had to run after my kids after they were swept from my arms the locals were so fascinated with their fair hair and blue eyes. I feel almost sorry for her that she spends time on negativity and as for: divorced grandmammy…one hot divorced grandmammy at that…hehehe
    As for me…I usually have a giggle and then tell em where to go (politely of course)
    😉

    • Thanks Jo! It is funny how out of over 4000 comments you always remember the nasty ones (only 3). But you are right. Time to move on! Sometimes as a writer I am nervous about expressing my beliefs especially when it comes to political viewpoints. However, nice debate with the opposite viewpoints is always wonderful. It is the hatred that is hard to swallow but the risk you take as you open up. Thank you freedom of speech! So happy to have it! And of course, thanks for your support! 🙂 From “not quite a grand mammy (my kids are 5 and 7 so a long way to go) and happily married third eye, blond haired mom! 🙂

  17. Honestly, I wouldn’t give them space on my blog. Like you said, it might even be a blog troll/spammer pitching for a fight. I delete those kinds of comments. Have an awesome week! 🙂

  18. Comment From a Stranger

    OMG, your blond! I don’t know how to handle this situation. Perhaps if I put on some funny colored glasses you will look brunette LOL!

  19. Skt

    I don’t have a blog on my own but googled to see if any users had experience a rude blog owner and happened upon your page. A troll left a negative remark on the blog owner’s page and the blog owner tore into that person. I would it would be best to delete something like that because it just makes the blog owner look bad. Her response wasn’t very respectful even if someone was disrespectful first. I dunno; I’m in the camp where if someone is going to be a meanie, I would ignore it. I do like your blog and think its a cute name!

    • Thanks! When I wrote this post I was at a much different point then I am now. Now, I would just delete it or leave it there without responding. Thankfully out of all 7000 comments on my blog only this one was out of line! 🙂

  20. Wow!!! I think people forget that on the other side of the internet is a real person. My blog has only been up for a few months and I’ve gotten a few rude remarks as well. Recently, a chat board kind of ganged up on me and left me half a dozen rude comments. But I try to keep it in perspective. I’ve received sooooooo many more kind, encouraging comments than rude ones. Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

    • You’re welcome! I think back now and I wrote this about a year ago. Out of all 8,000 comments I’ve only had two bad. Now I realize that I will just delete them and not even respond. People can be crazy! 🙂

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