How To Handle A Blog Attack

The more you blog and share your opinions when you blog, the greater the likelihood an anonymous party will disagree with you in a non-collegial manner. That’s a polite way of saying you’re going to get damn near slandered. If you want to disagree with something I write, and ACRLog readers do all the time, I respect your right to do so. Use the comment box to share your thoughts and challenge my ideas, but do keep it collegial and add to the discourse. When an anonymous blogger makes a personal attack or invents a few false accusations, that’s downright nasty. When it happened to me my initial reaction was to respond to the attack. It’s only natural to want to defend yourself. But I knew that would probably be a losing proposition so I decided to ignore it and move past the incident.

Based on something I just read in the July 2008 issue of WIRED I’m glad I took the high road. In this month’s Mr. Know-It All column (see letter #2) a restauranteur wanted to know how to handle a nasty, slanderous and anonymous review of his restaurant that was placed on Yelp, the review site. I thought that WIRED’s Mr. Know-It All gave some good advice on how to handle the urge to attack in return:

No one enjoys being raked over the coals by a pseudonymous commentator, especially when the attacker is motivated by hostility rather than honest disagreement. But don’t credit your detractor with too much influence. You need to trust in the sophistication of online-savvy consumers – specifically their ability to see the big picture and factor out aberrant comments.

So I will take this to heart. If one person wants to attack me anonymously, that’s fine. I can balance that with the dozens of well-meaning colleagues who e-mail me or talk to me at conferences to let me know that they derive value from my blogs, or they’ll mention a particular post that inspired them. I really appreciate that, and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts. It really means a great deal to any blogger to know that someone appreciates the time and effort he or she puts into their blogging.

5 thoughts on “How To Handle A Blog Attack

  1. It’s so true. If you’ve been blogging even just a little while, you’ve probably experienced the infamous anonymous blogger. And it’s amazing how just a few of their hurtful and anonymous words can wipe out the heaps of constructive comments or kind praise. I once heard from a child psychologist that it takes 5 positive comments to wipe out the effects of one negative comment. I guess that might be true for adults as well.

  2. Thank you for writing on this topic. I feel gun shy as a blogger because I am sensitive to blog attacks or even attacks on my comments in other ppl’s blogs. Two things:

    1. Some people are really harsh in comments- seriously malicious
    2. Some written text can be interpreted with an angry tone, when in fact, the comment may not have been intended to be harsh. The tone of comments, emails, etc can easily be misinterpreted. That’s the danger of nonverbal communication.

  3. I greatly appreciate the bloggers in our field. Without them, I would find it difficult to keep up with innovation and all of the other news out there in our field. Thank you to those who do provide this service, usually outside of their normal 40 hour work week.

  4. Steven, I just wanted to write to express my appreciation for your work on this blog, and particularly with this topic. As a recent library school graduate who experimented with blogging as a way to disseminate information to a small community (my classmates), I’m excited about blogging as a vehicle for exploring ideas which can “scale” to larger audiences. However, like Amy, I’ve always been sensitive to the fact that online posters don’t always treat others with the same consideration they’d give to people they interact with in real life. Amy’s and your reminders – to give commenters the “benefit of the doubt” when their meaning is ambiguous and to strive to focus on the positive value that your blog does bring – are quite helpful.

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