Problem childrenDavid Eaves on coping with difficult comments

Share |
Shouting and spitting

Some blog comments are easy to deal with. They praise you to the heavens, share a related story or gently offer a different perspective... that is, they're a positive part of the conversation. You thank, you respond (or they're comment spam, in which case you report them to Mollom or Akismet and then delete) and the circle of life continues.

But other comments are hard. They get your back up. They seem to question not just your argument but your integrity. The more you read them, the clearer it becomes that they were written by evil, evil people. And with your fight-or-flight mechanism firmly in gear, you write a blistering reply...

...Maybe there's a better way. Negotiation ninja and friend of the show David Eaves knows a lot about understanding and resolving conflict. And he brought that insight to bear on the thorny issue of online commenting in a presentation in February at a Northern Voice panel. (Jessi covered the panel here.)

David has lots of great advice and insight to offer, such as this:

[A] key lesson that came to me while developing the presentation is that most blogs, social media projects, and online projects in general, really need a social contract - or as Skirky describes it, a bargain - that the organizer and the community agree to. Often such contracts (or bargains) are strongly implied, but I believe it is occasionally helpful to make them explicit - particularly on blogs or projects that deal with contentious (politics) or complicated (many open source projects) issues.

(I've resisted the urge to leave a venomous comment on his blog post just to see how he handles it.)

If you missed his presentation, here's your chance to glean a little of David's thinking on the subject: he's posted it to Slideshare.

Enjoy. And by all means, comment.


SmartBlog On Social Media » Blog Archive &raqu says

March 26, 2009 - 8:09am

[...] How to cope with difficult comments [...]

Social Signal on...

RSS feedTwitterFacebookGoogle+

Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.

Join Newsletter

Rob on Twitter