Tuesday, June 20, 2006

[Comments] How do you respond to snarky comments?

Thanks to all of you for such a wonderful blog. I am a longtime lurker, first time poster.

I got my first borderline mean comment on my blog today, which leads me to ask: how do you recommend responding to mean/snarky comments on your blog? I want to encourage the free exchange of opinions and information, but I also don't want to put up with people making themselves feel better my being mean to me. For today's borderline comment, I went with the "kill them with kindness" approach. That likely wouldn't work for some comments. Thoughts?

This Post was written by Madeline from Everything Rachael Ray.

UPDATE: I used the word "borderline" in my post when describing the snark, but should have been more clear that I was not offended by the comment I received, it just got me thinking about what I would do WHEN (not if) it starts getting ugly. With RR as the subject of my blog, I have no doubt regarding what the future holds for comments! I think I will create some sort of comment policy and post it, as suggested in the comments to this post. Thanks again for all your input.

And really, I just like using the word snarky.

30 comments:

Derrick said...

If it's mean for the sake of being mean, I usually just ignore them. Mean comments are usually there to get a rise out of the blogger and give the troll attention.

If the person seems snarky but open to a discussion, I just reply with facts, not with a return volley.

Jennifer said...

I find ignoring them works best. Most vile posters are just looking to pick a fight.

However, I did add a comment policy to my site a few months ago, just to cover myself if I ever choose to not let a comment go public. Luckily, I haven't had any that extreme yet.

Derrick said...

Was it the one about real oil vs. olive oil? That didn't strike me as snarky at all (perhaps bluntly worded), so I must be missing the post you mention.

Madeline said...

Yes, Derrick, it is the oil one and it is definitely borderline. But it raised the question for me of how I would deal with it in the future if there was one that was truly offensive. My dear Rachael Ray tends to (how can I put this nicely?) evoke a passionate response from some people. There is an entire community devoted to hating her, so I am worried about how to respond if/when the comments become truly mean.

Ellen said...

I haven't had any mean comments, but have no problems deleting spammy ones. It's my site so I got a mean one I'd just delete it. However, I went and read the comment and don't see it as snarky, just an opinion, but perhaps we've got different definitions. He didn't leave a link so I see him/her as pretty anonymous, giving you no real way to respond other than how you did. I've had people ask questions and I never presume they'll keep checking back for an answer, so I'll go to their blog and use the RYC (regarding your comment) prefix and answer there.

Alicat said...

I say screw the snark. I don't have time to waste with idiotic comments that are left just to be nasty. I delete with no hesitation and anyone that has a beef with that policy (on my site) can exit out the door on their left.

Sam said...

madeline - i think the oil comment is pretty mild as far as snarkiness goes and they have a valid point in so much as olive oil is not generally associated with Asian food, but as Derrick said they were slightly blunt in their approach, but still nothing to worry about at this stage.

I think you handled it perfectly anyway - exactly what I would do.

I find it is very easy to get defensive - but there is no need - its your blog and your life and you can do what you want with it. Somebody will always think it should be done differently, and sometimes I have found it even pays to eat humble pie and learn from the advice a reader leaves that is contrary to my own. It all depends on what they have to say.

If you look down the new archives in the blogroll I have been creating (work in progress) you will see a section called "reader/commentor behaviour" which has 4 posts listed I am sure will be worth reading -- as I recall those posts have lots of useful comments.

Rachael said...

Personally, I think you should ask Sarah of The Delicious Life. She contends with a constant commenter (name with-held) who I had to put the kybosh on. I deleted everything he had to say and it drove the point home...she on the other hand, tolerates his bizarreness with grace. Just goes to show, right?

Sam said...

He that Rachael speaks of {"LA-CM"} hit my blog at one point and we had a little comment scuffle/exchange which i never deleted, and he never came back either. But I am glad i don't live in LA else I am sure he wouldnt forget about me so easily.

indeed - one of the posts in the archives I was talking about was started by our very patient Sarah I believe.

Madeline said...

Thanks everyone. I appreciate hearing your thoughts.

I agree the comment from today was not a big deal at all, but it certainly got me thinking....

Franca said...

Madeline, the olive oil comment I'm reading (if it's the right one) is more of a suggestion than anything. That said, anyone cooking Rachael Ray-style should expect some EVOO to creep into the recipe, as well as substitution.

Feel free to ignore the comment, or if they keep pestering you, delete the comments, if you can. At my forum right now (http://foodvirgin.com/phpbb/index.php), I seem to be getting one spammer/day. I'm editing their comments for now, but if the pace steps up, I guess I'll start blocking certain users.

martha said...

Tejal posted a not very pleasant restaurant review on our site, and it riled some wierdo up something fierce. At first, we responded a little, trying to get to the bottom of his rage (we think he worked at the restaurant). When he wouldn't give it up, started cursing and insulting, we just deleted his comments. He was trying to piss us off and get us to argue with him, something we decided not to gratify him by doing.

Tejal and I saw it like this: our blog is our space, like our living room. We've invited people in, we're totally willing to hear dissenting opinions and have spirited arguements, but if someone is being nasty and insulting to us in our space, we kick them out. Just like we would if they were sitting in our living room

kitchenmage said...

shrug Your blog, your call. But...

Madeline, you do realize that, given the topic and your unabashed love of all things RR, your blog is going to draw snark, right? And real snark, not the polite suggestion to try 'real' (i.e., more appropriate to the cuisine) oil. (In fact, were I to think you'd enjoy the lightly snarky conversation, I'd have cracked jokes myself by now. But you didn't seem like you'd appreciate it so I didn't. Good call on my part.)

If it was my site, I'd put up a comment policy that included a paragraph saying something like:

"I know there are a lot of Rachael-haters out there, but we're not them. The owner of this site love RR and any abuse of her will be dealt with via drowning in a giant bucket of EVOO, to be delivered by a group of perky brunettes. If you must dis the goddess that is Rachael, please go to (list anti RR groups)"

Seriously, it is your site and you are 100% free to do what you want with it, but you did draw a target on it. You might want to inspect your shields and examine the weapons systems you will be deploying.

Cate said...

I've only had one rude comment on my site, and I just hit delete. Not wasting time defending myself. As others have said, my site, my rules. I'm all for freedom of speech, except when it gets personal and obnoxious. That said, I had a similar comment on one of my flickr pictures last week that really made me seeth. The comment was that I have a son who needs love and attention and it is unreal that I'm spending time taking pictures of food. Like that? I deleted the comment and blocked the person. Of course, then I start to worry and made all of Nicholas' pictures private on flickr. I'm sure anyone who visits my site can tell how much love and attention our son gets. My first instinct is to defend myself because I was hurt by the comment and insinuation. Like saying that he is usually standing right NEXT TO ME when I'm taking pictures, and always begs me to take pictures of HIS food. Like saying that he cooks with me CONSTANTLY in the kitchen. Like saying that I'm leaving my FT job in July so I can be home MORE. But, wait, that's defending myself.

leslie said...

Hey, I agree with kitchenmage. The comment was not snarky only an appropriate response. As far as using Martin Yan as a guide to using vegetable oil, that's pretty wierd. Veg oil is the cheapest form of oil. It's genetically modified, has too many poly-fats and is a poor choice in my opionion. It also seems like olive oil does not belong in an asian dish.

Madeline said...

Hey all,

Thanks again for your comments.
I am well aware of the RR hatred out there, which is part of why I started my site. And I actually include commentary from people who don't like RR, esp if they are funny about it (like the Manolo's hilarious post about her).

It cracks me up that the oil debate has migrated here. I had no idea people would take oil so seriously. Too funny!

paul said...

Keep in mind food is passion for some people. Mess with traditions and you're bound to bring up people's passion once in awhile. I tend to learn from comments that are passionate about food. But if it wanders off the subject of food, it's the equivalent of my living room, and they're gone.

I was severly admonished early in my food blog, by a well-known indian blogger because I posted a chicken curry recipe with things like butter and tarragon in it.

That blogger did recant his ire, and gave me his recipe as the proper way it should be done. That blogger eventually went on to open several restaurants.

I still maintain that the match of ginger and tarragon is what makes my curry.

calvin said...

I agree with Paul. People do get passionate about certain cooking techniques or ingredients. It doesn't mean that they are attacking the writer only giving their opinion. It also seems to me that the Rachel Ray writer thinks people are attacking her queen. I don't even think anyone ever mentioned RR.

calvin said...

I agree with Paul. People do get passionate about certain cooking techniques or ingredients. It doesn't mean that they are attacking the writer only giving their opinion. It also seems to me that the Rachel Ray writer thinks people are attacking her queen. I don't even think anyone ever mentioned RR.

Madeline said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Madeline said...

Calvin- Hey there. The Rachael Ray writer is me - Madeline.

If you read my update and responses to comments, you'll see that I was actually saying that the comment led me to think about the future - when people will likely attack RR on my blog. No one is attacking her yet.

And yes, she is my Queen!

Elise said...

Hi Madeline - I like to think of my blog as a window into my home, my family, and kitchen. I simply do not allow any behavior displayed in comments that would not be considered respectful coming from a stranger invited into my home.

SaltShaker said...

I find it interesting that people worry about negative comments - just delete them. It is your blog after all. You put the time and effort into writing it. Tons of blogs out there moderate every comment. Some (like my own) require that you register in order to comment. As long as you're not deleting all the time and leaving people discouraged from commenting, go for it (and even if you were, it's still your blog). No one has some inalienable right to comment on your posts, and you have every right to moderate responses.

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