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Summary:

Ben Worthen, Biz Tech blogger for the Wall Street Journal, got a nasty comment by email recently: We received this email the other day in response to our post about Google’s mobile-phone operating system: “You are a moron…Hopefully you have not (and will not) procreate. It […]

Ben Worthen, Biz Tech blogger for the Wall Street Journal, got a nasty comment by email recently:

We received this email the other day in response to our post about Google’s mobile-phone operating system: “You are a moron…Hopefully you have not (and will not) procreate. It would be a shame to have your genes pollute the gene pool. PS: you’re a [expletive deleted].”

The web makes it easy to get feedback and have conversations. The flip side of that is it’s easy to get criticism and insults too. This isn’t exactly new — as long as there have been online bulletin boards, there have been online flamers and trolls.

What’s the best way to handle rudeness online? While you can learn something from your critics, when criticism tips over into personal insults that’s a good time to turn away. There’s little to be gained from engaging with those who can’t act civil online.

How do you handle web rudeness?

  1. I’ve done a lot of online email-based support in the past, and most of the rage I received was from trial customers who told me how bad our product or documentation was and almost always lacked details. I never ignored support requests, so the first half of my response explained how they could be part of the solution by providing substantive comments. The second half of my response referenced our money-back guarantee. This approach quickly separated the upset people who were unable to provide constructive feedback but wanted help from the trolls.

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  2. I always try to remember that Jesus loves them as much as He loves me. Then, I reply in a way that matches my motto: if you can’t say something nice or helpful, don’t say anything at all.

    Whoever sent Ben Worthen that email sounds like a very reactive person with no self-control, and I feel sorry for them.

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  3. A big part of it is the webs anonymity. Its easier for people to send a nasty email then it is to say that kind of stuff face to face. Whoever sent this email expected at worst a nasty reply back, I bet he didn’t expect it to be posted for the world to see. I guess this is why god invented the block button.

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  4. Having been recently featured on TechCrunch, I know all too well about insults and the worthless and baseless opinions of the public. I too think it’s best to simply ignore insults. Don’t waste any time trying to defend your position, purpose, etc.

    A lot of people live for not focusing on their own lives.

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  5. People who post anonymously do not deserve to be heard.

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  6. Definitely a situation where you walk away. Nothing good can come from a confrontation with someone so close minded and rash.

    Anthony

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  7. [...] Rage Quit 101  ∞ [...]

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  8. The best way – elegant silence.

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  9. Ignore it. People who offend you just want to provoke a reply. Do not give them waht the want: additional publicity. Always remember that any offense is not true and the person who offends you is at fault. Otherwise he or she would have made a valid point instead of insulting you.
    Also Skellie has a grat article on that:
    http://www.skelliewag.org/criticism-a-rite-of-passage-on-the-web-97.htm

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  10. Simply Ignore it. How about the reputation Online. The comments will stay forever in some of the sites. Did a post on Online Reputation in our blog here:
    http://gravityfreedom.com/2007/09/11/dealing-with-reviews-comments-online-seo-sarasota/
    thanks for the post
    Suresh

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