What you can do when your blog gets hit by negative comments

trolls

Image by kennymatic

Negative commentors, trolls, stalkers represent the dark side of blogging.

As fashion bloggers, often we're putting pictures of ourselves out to the public leaving ourselves vulnerable to criticism…. and sometimes harassment. From the famously documented negative comments of Fashion Toast to that one person who won't stop commenting mean comments about my disorganized closet. It seems that we're on our own when dealing with negative commentors, with ranging emotions from ‘whatever… delete' to ‘ouch that really hurts.'

While dealing with trolls is relatively simple, “Ignore them.” You can delete the comments and that's that. Sometimes however, trolls can persist, sometimes at a level where it's scary, at that point what do you do? Post about it? Give them more attention? Suffer in silence alone? Is it enough to simply develop thicker skin?

In some cases yes, thicker skin helps, because everyone agrees with everything. Disagreement should be allowed, but destructive negative comments don't have to be tolerated, especially under the guise of ‘free speech.' I think of my blog like I would my home. I wouldn't kick someone out for saying my shoes don't really go with my outfit, but I may kick someone out who calls me old, fat and tell me my shoes suck.

I think of my blog like I would my home. I wouldn't kick someone out for saying my shoes don't really go with my outfit, but I may kick someone out who calls me old, fat and tell me my shoes suck.

I have been lucky enough to have only experienced a rare dose of anonymous negative commentors in my two and a half years of blogging. But I do know that it has affected many bloggers once they start getting a fair amount of traffic. It breaks my heart to see bloggers posting about recent slews of negative comments, and often times I wonder if the negative commentors are the same person… and since we are on our own, we're often left dealing in silence.

Wait, we can make a place to report trolls

One thing we can do is start a members-only thread in IFB and report trolls by IP address, email or by comment. That way we can recognize repeat offenders and not feel so alone if your blog gets hit, then you can make a more informed decision on how you want to deal with this situation.

This thread will only be open to IFB members, which hopefully none of us are trolls, so it should be safe from their eyes. Please note that IFB cannot take action against trolls, we can only provide support for you in the event your blog gets hit.

Report a Troll Thread (you must be logged in to access this link)

Blocking persistent trolls

Blocking IP addresses can be done relatively easily in a WordPress Plugins, or in Blogger it's risky, you could accidentally block some of your lovely readers if they use a proxy. I would recommend doing this as a last resort, trolls can easily go to other computers, use IP masks if they really want to cause trouble for you. Also, if you use WordPress, you can mark users as spam so they don't make it to your moderation queue.

Still the best thing is to not interact with them, but that doesn't mean we have to suffer alone.

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26 Responses

  1. apricot tea.

    I feel the same way; about the home thing especially. I consider my blog my personal domain, & I would totally kick someone out if they were disrespecting my home; especially if they were useless strangers, just spouting off.

    As far as Fashion Toast’s negative comments go, while a lot of the comments are downright despicable, I feel like a good majority of the comments say what everyone else is thinking. Many of the comments I’ve seen are dissatisfied with the way she is now (“an Erin Wasson-wannabe”) & wish that she was the way she was in the past: vintage, thrift-store shopping, down-to-earth girl. While I don’t agree with the method that these messages are brought to light, I have to agree with what they are suggesting.

    I hope I don’t get stoned for my opinion about this; I’ve just always thought that people take popular fashion bloggers like Rumi far too seriously.

    apricot tea.’s last blog post..apricot recommends… must-see movies.

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  2. Arabelle

    No, I agree with you completely, apricot tea. I think when I started out blogging, I was pretty much like every other blogger — I wanted to be friends with the people I admired, and I wanted to add my side of things to the pool. I know who my friends are now in the blogging world, and I pretty much value their opinion and their opinion alone when it comes down to things. It is the INTERNET, after all, and you can’t expect everything to go the way you want to. It helps if you have a structured support group, because then even if you get the worst email ever you can eventually laugh it off with them.

    That being said, if you’re going to post on the internet ANYTHING you need to expect stupid people. If you’re really proud of what you have going for your blog you should feel confident enough to hold your own with hateful comments. 99 percent of the time they’re made by cowards who have nothing else to do anyway, so don’t waste your time and don’t give them the satisfaction by addressing their comments defensively in the next post.

    Arabelle’s last blog post..

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  3. Denise @ Swelle

    Ooooh…….

    Anyway….. I agree with the united front approach. I like the idea of reporting IP addresses, people only have so many computers – usually one at home and one at work so at least we can tell if we’re getting targeted by the same, ahem, people.

    Having said that, I haven’t received anything truly awful, but I don’t look forward to the day it happens as I plan to continue blogging for the foreseeable future. I have no idea how these bloggers deal with what are ridiculously immature comments, but hurtful ones nonetheless. When I see them I can’t figure out why they are left there for all to see, but figure it’s a ‘who cares’ defence, and that is the choice of the blogger.

    P.S. Make a point to locate where the IP addresses of your commenters are detailed if you don’t already know!

    Denise @ Swelle’s last blog post..Bonjour, Spring Flowers

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  4. Jennine

    ❤ apricot… wow that’s really great that you call it like you see it. i guess i’m too much of a wimp to say it publicly. i honestly don’t know what to think of her blog, sometimes i find it really inspiring and others kind of make me cringe. but that could also be said of a lot of blogs out there. i don’t agree that she should publish destructive comments because i think that just creates a culture of polarity of lovers and haters.
    ❤ arabelle…you are absolutely right… one it helps to have a support network, two your blog friends aren’t always who you expect, nor who you think you want them to be and three anytime you put yourself out there, it’s a risk that someone is going to be stupid about it
    ❤ denise… yeah i wonder if they do come from the same people, sometimes i think they just might be. and thankfully awful comments aren’t so common..but it helps to have a place to go incase they do…

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  5. Ashe Mischief

    Negative comments intrigue me. It’s hard for me to understand & relate to those on Rumi’s blog, since I only found it within the last few months. (Yeah, my head’s under a rock.) I find it hard to invest in her blog, because her style & life is so far removed from my version of reality– it’s kind of unbelievable and at the same time, I’m like “Eh, BFD.”

    That being said, it’s amazing how even a regular audience can be destructive or react negatively & have terse words for you when you don’t post what they expect you to. Case in point– Gala’s recent post about her Ugg boots. It was surprising how many people accused her of changing, being negative, not being herself, because she made a post about something she loved but hated. Not even the lovely Gala can be positive & only think that way ALL of the time. She’s a human girl!

    I feel very fortunate that I really haven’t received any negative comments on my blog– I’m not sure what I would do if & when it happens, to be honest. Having a means on IFB to provide support & aid, as well as compare the ne’er-do-wells is an excellent addition to the site.

    Ashe Mischief’s last blog post..OMG Shoes! The Memorial Day Edition

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  6. Nina

    you always seem to know what my currents concerns and issues are in regards to my blog. i’ve been hit by negative comments recently, too, and have been wondering how i should deal with them. i reject and delete all negative or derogatory comments – not only do they upset me, but i don’t want to expose that sort of negative energy to the rest of my wonderful readers. but it’s hard when u really feel like you’re dealing w/it all by yourself. it’s nice to know that there is a support group out there.

    could you tell us what the best way of finding out the trolls’ ip address? i do have a tracker installed on my blog, but not sure how i can pin point where they come from.

    Nina’s last blog post..knight divine

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  7. Fashionista

    Thanks Jennine,
    This actually happened to me recently and has put me in a foul mood. However luckily I can moderate my comments before they are actually published so non of my readers saw this particular person’s rude comments.
    And as usual this coward signed on as Anonymous.
    I felt degraded and well my confidence had fallen. I couldnt even tell my family about it. Thankyou for posting about this, its as if you read my mind! 🙂
    x

    Fashionista’s last blog post..An ode to no one

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  8. Michelle

    I’ve been lucky enough not to get any negative comments, but I agree that your approach is the best. I know that if/when the day comes, I will probably have trouble following it through b/c I am notorious in my family for always having to have the “last say” in arguments…but I think in this case it does more bad than good! I also really like the report a troll thread – awesome idea 🙂

    Although, Jennine, I have to say – you really have a negative commenter who complains about your closet?! Don’t people have anything BETTER to do? I mean, really. Who looks at a photo and is like “Messy closet. Must leave nasty comment.” I just don’t get why people have to be so nasty (except for Gala’s theory, and the most obvious, that they’re upset about something unrelated) if I read something I don’t like, I close the tab and move on.

    Michelle’s last blog post..Marvelous Monday!

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  9. apricot tea.

    @ Jennine: Perhaps it’s because I just don’t really like Rumi’s blog, & can’t understand what all the fuss is about, that makes me feel more inclined to call it like I see it. I completely agree with you that her (Rumi) posting the negative comments isn’t a good idea. If I had people writing that shit on my blog, I wouldn’t post it. Why glorify ignorance & stupidity? I’ve often wondered why she puts up with it, but then again, she could just be a genuine person who wants people to see the good & bad side of her readers. I could understand that, if so, but I still don’t see why anyone would allow that kind of filth & discouragement on their blog. Because if anyone says “Oh, it doesn’t bother me” they’re lying.

    & I’m only mentioning Rumi because her blog was mentioned here in this article, as well as her blog is notorious for rude comments. She is definitely not the only one who gets this kind of treatment.

    @ Ashe Mischief: In a sick & twisted kind of way, nasty comments fascinate me too. :]

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  10. Icy

    I have a code of conduct on my blog and I make it very clear that I don’t tollerate spam or rude comments. I just delete them straight away if they show up. Thankfully, I haven’t had that many.

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  11. misselle

    I’ve only recently experienced super derogatory comments on The Demoiselles as a product of a personnel rearrangement. I was shocked to see that someone would deface a website that obviously is treasured by the owners. I often wonder what negative commentors get out of a situation like that. Satisfaction? A big head? Justice?

    I’m not surprised at the negative comments on Rumi’s blog only because of the attention she seems to attract with her fashion. It’s just my personal opinion, but her blog seems like a good example of how fashion influences who is drawn to you.

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  12. Denise @ Swelle

    Just a follow-up to Icey’s comment about instituting a code of conduct: that’s a wise approach. My husband just started a politics blog and being an academic put all kinds of things in place to address these things right from the beginning that I hadn’t even thought of after a year of blogging (such as a code of conduct as well as a Creative Commons notice about how content on his blog may be used – and here I thought he was being anal).

    If you know your position before you receive a nasty comment, and state it, than surely this will relieve you from having to decide what to do with it when you’re emotional. Just delete!

    And Nina’s point about putting the negativity out there by keeping those comments public is spot on – no one wants to see that. I stopped going to certain blogs because of that, they began to feel like a dirty place, and it does promote a culture of hate.

    I’m curious – does anyone who doesn’t do styled photos of themselves get nasty comments?

    Denise @ Swelle’s last blog post..Bonjour, Spring Flowers

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  13. SwanDiamondRose

    i really like constructive criticism. i wish there was more of that. i’ve been lucky too, i can only think of 2? 4? negative comments in 4 years of being online. i don’t publish them and they just go away i guess. i like the troll thread though. that’s a great idea. and it does make me really sad when i see certain bloggers getting ridiculously attacked by negative comments. yuck.

    [p.s. i haven’t moved over to the new IFB yet! am on my way, just got attacked by sewing it seems. i LOVE the new site! it looks so fresh and well organized and of course i love that there is a link to your latest blog post after each of your comments. nice Jennine!]

    SwanDiamondRose’s last blog post..the SWANclothing Venice Dress [2]

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  14. Little Black Book

    @Denise

    I have been attacked verbally specifically on my ‘daily outfit’ photographs, which I do not photoshop or tweek in anyway. It was degrading and very disheartening! They complained how the clothes I wore were not even nice, that other people’s daily outfits were special and creative etc etc.
    I’m pretty sure it was the same person, who continued to complain on my shoutbox and also about a competition I am conducting.
    I mean if you don’t like my blog then why are you even reading it? Or taking the time to read my posts just to write negative comments? I mean come on. lol

    Again Thanks Jennine 🙂

    Little Black Book’s last blog post..Isabella Oliver: Reserve your autumn essentials now

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  15. Frankie - Swell Vintage

    This is a really great post.

    I haven’t had any negative comments yet, but following some recent bouts of them on other blogs I do “live in fear” that I will get one soon.

    As for blogs that I don’t necessary like or agree with, I’ve always followed the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” rule. Taking Rumi’s blog as an example, I don’t always like what she wears, but I think she looks amazing, and I respect her for being so brave and for having her own look. I guess that makes people uncomfortable or jealous. I personally don’t see how me leaving a comment telling her I don’t like what she’s wearing is helpful to anybody.

    I’m not sure how I feel about her publishing negative comments. I don’t think I would, but that’s because I’m too insecure to do so! On the other hand, Wendy B, Mademoiselle Robot and Princess Poochie have all been very brave when confronting negative comments.

    Great post, Jennine!

    x

    Frankie – Swell Vintage’s last blog post..Swell weekends

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  16. Jennine

    OH my gosh, thank you for the really great comments.
    I do think a vast majority of us don’t receive negative comments, and that’s a GOOD thing. But I know I’ve experienced it from time to time and i always get a little pang from them, so that’s why i wrote the post.

    ❤fashionista… comment moderation is a good thing, i have that turned on too. but it is off putting.
    ❤seeker, i’m so sorry you got those comments… but don’t let it get you down, you’re great!
    ❤icy, we have the same policy here on IFB… i have it on my other blog, it makes things more clear cut if someone decides to challenge a moderation choice (which has happened)
    ❤miss elle… man i have no idea what people get out of those comments
    ❤ denise… oh tell me about it! i have heard many stories, so many i don’t think any personal style blogger hasn’t gotten them
    ❤little black book… oh man… even if you did do photoshop (which all photographers do to their photos… all of them) it doesn’t warrant those comments. man.. that sucks.
    ❤ frankie… i agree, if i don’t like it, i usually don’t say anything… except if i feel they are publishing to cause a debate, then i’ll say i don’t agree. but if someone is just sharing their lives, i’m not going to discourage that by saying mean things. that’s just rude.

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  17. Freya

    In my one year of blogging, I have never got negative comments. I have been moderating comments so far and also allowing Anonymous comments. I really love Mademoiselle Robot’s video about it. I think we all should just keep our cool and deal it in a funny way. I would recommend deleting obcene comments, and as for insulting ones which sometimes hilarious more than mean or wicked, we should just answer/insult them back in their own tone.

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  18. Kyla Roma

    I have to second the “don’t respond” part of this – and add in a “Be careful!”. I had a crazed reader of my old blog sift through facebook profile pictures of girls my age in my city until he found my real name, and then found my personal portfolio site, my work – and proceeded to threaten me through all the avenues he could find, including at my job. It was terrifying & really changed the way I looked at blogging.

    Best feature ever: Google’s Webmaster Tools. I still have my portfolio site and my old domain but I have had them removed from google. Now people can view them if I give them the URLs but they will not come up in any google searches. I know it’s not the most fail safe method, but I feel 100 times better knowing that I’m not so out there anymore.

    Kyla Roma’s last blog post..Putting your back into it.

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  19. Jennine

    oh my goodness kyla! that is so scary! a nightmare, seriously.

    i really hope they find a way to catch these people and give them some kind of way to punish them, seriously.

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  20. Freya

    @Kyla: Man, that must be so creepy! That’s why I’m very particular about my anonymity. It’s easy to think that they are just silly creeps who like to just scare us, but the mind always imagines the worst.

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  21. Budget Chic

    I’ve been on the net since ’96 so I’ve seen this type of troll-like behavior time and time again, from guest books and forums back in the 90s and now on personal blogs. This kind of negative B.S. is not going anywhere, its just how you deal with it.

    In my opinion, a lot of the comments that you young ladies deal with just stem from jealous, insecure and a lot of the time mentally imbalanced individuals with access to a keyboard and a internet connection. Block ’em! I don’t approve any of thoses comments.

    On another note, I like Rumi, I think she is sweet young lady and I know where apricot.tea is coming from. I’ve followed her since her early mystylediary days as I was also posting outfits to that site around the same time. To me Rumi is just evolving, doing different things and pursing her goals. Obviously her blog has opened up opportunities that she is taking full advantage of – nothing wrong with that. Wasson maybe an inspiration, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for her nor does it seem like she minds the comparison at the present moment. Perhaps in time she will evolve even further and define her style more clearly. If someone no longer relates to that, then they have so many other blogs to follow out here. Lots of choices in the fashion blogging community. On the net – people come and go. Followers may grow tired of your blog and move on to someone else’s, thats just the ways it goes. You gain and lose readership, just the nature of the beast. I just try to focus on keeping it positive on my blog and not let the “fake ones” weight me down with negative comments and distract me from my whole reason for blogging.

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