Ever gotten an overly critical (perhaps vitriolic) comment, and decided to just delete it? I know I have. When I moderate comments, I don’t think of myself as a censor; I’m simply keeping the spam out. But sometimes, a comment just rubs me the wrong way. Usually I let it through, but I don’t give the author the satisfaction of responding to it.
Next time you offer criticism to a blogger, think about how that comment will be received. Are you building rapport or burning a bridge? Unless you are being an anonymous coward (which I don’t recommend), you’re associating your name and reputation with that comment. Are you willing to stand by that comment and have it represent you in the blogosphere?
One way to be constructive in your criticism is to structure the comment as a “criticism sandwich“. This method involves sandwiching the constructive criticism between two constructive compliments. Think of the compliments as the bun and the criticism as the meat inside.
Another way to think of it — and this will appeal to you geeks out there — the criticism is “nested” within the compliments. Like this:
How might this work in practice? Well let’s come up with a hypothetical comment that is a response to this very post…
Thanks for raising the issue of unconstructive commenters; it’s an important topic and relevant for all bloggers. I can’t help but feel you’re leading your readers down a path towards dishonesty in their blog commenting. The tenets of operating in the blogosphere include transparency and authenticity. You’re not advocating either here. That said, I find your posts in general do espouse those tenets, so thank you for that and keep up the good work.
As the blogger I’d take that criticism on board more readily than if it just “cut to the chase”:
Yeah, nice one. You’re advocating dishonesty, when instead you should be advocating transparency and authenticity. Jackass.
Got an opinion? Please chime in.