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The Day I Was Flamed At My Blog (And 7 Steps To Handle Flames With Grace)

Posted By Darren Rowse 9th of April 2010 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

A Guest Post by Celestine Chua from The Personal Excellence Blog.

It’s been over a year since I started The Personal Excellence Blog. As my blog grew, I received many feedback, many of which are positive. Occasionally I get negative feedback which I do my best to learn from. Flames are a rare occurrence and even then, they are usually short and unsubstantial.

That changed 3 weeks ago, when I received a flame the length of an essay. It was a reply to my latest 5-part article series on moving on from relationships, sharing my story of how I moved on from a heartbreak and how others can do the same too.

The anonymous commenter described my series as “incredibly self-centered and biased”. She had somehow concluded from the articles that I was “ridiculous”, “delusional”, was pursuing personal development with “superficiality”, among other points.

After reading it, I was filled with bewilderment. The comment bordered more as an attack than constructive criticism.

How I Handled the Flame & Why You Shouldn’t Act Like I Did

Even though the comment wasn’t entirely constructive, I approved it as I wanted to be transparent with the different comments my blog was getting. I thought there were interesting points worth sharing. Some readers replied. One reader wrote a comment which I thought was pretty constructive.

To be honest, at this stage I didn’t feel negative or angry at the flamer. Overall, I thought most of her points were irrelevant, some were out of the line, a couple were interesting and worth thinking more deeply about, but nothing that would make me angry.

My sentiments quickly changed when the flamer posted a 2nd comment – this time, a curt reply to one of my readers. I got annoyed. What was that for? It was okay if she wanted to flame me for whatever reasons, but to extend it to a reader who was trying to be constructive?

Ticked off, I replied to the flamer with a reply that started off neutral but ended off quite defensive and pissed. I remember it was 3am when I was writing the reply to the flamer, and I had an interview scheduled for 4:30am (I live in Singapore, whereas the interviewer was 13 hours ahead). It didn’t help that I had a particularly hectic week then. Earlier in the week, I slept only a total of 5 hours over 4 days, preparing for a workshop at my personal excellence school. I was not in my best state of mind. This was where things went wrong.


I thought that would be the end of it. But it wasn’t. The flamer replied with a third comment that was the length of an essay. It was equally aggressive as her first comment, if not more.

On top of that, a lurking reader now joined in the discussion. She questioned my defensiveness in my reply and my approach in handling criticisms. Not only that, she also raised questions separate from the article and the flames. She asked about my intentions behind my endeavor and what I was trying to achieve. She also questioned the validity of my credentials and achievements in my About section.

To be honest with you, I felt quite depressed after reading the comment. Fighting off flames was one, but to have a reader doubt my intentions and credibility was like questioning the very values I stood for. One of my values is authenticity (truth) and I’ve always took pride in being upfront in all my communications. Many things I do at my blog are for my readers and it was upsetting to be questioned about my intentions.

In retrospect, it was more of all the different real life and online events that had culminated together and weighed me down, rather than just the comment itself. As her concerns were more specific to her rather than general reader concerns, I wanted to email her directly. However, she didn’t leave her real email. I thought whether to ignore the comment or reply.

In the end, I thought if this reader has this concern, it’s possible there would be others with similar thoughts. I chose to reply and take the opportunity to remedy the situation.

Remedying the situation

Since the flamer’s follow-up reply had the same hostile tone and aggression, I did not approve it. It was clear she was not here to constructively discuss, so I disengaged from further discussion.

With regards to the reader, I thought over my reply to the flamer and recognized it was indeed defensive. I wrote a long follow-up reply to the reader’s comment, also addressed it to my readers. In my comment,

  • I acknowledged I was harsh with the flamer and apologized to those who may have been taken aback by it. I explained the reason for my defensiveness so others could understand why I acted the way I did.
  • I wrote detailed responses to the reader’s concerns, regarding my intentions behind my endeavor.
  • I provided detailed proof for my credentials and achievements.
  • In the whole reply, I wrote it with heartfelt intentions, with the hope that it would be received in the same manner.

After writing this, I felt lighter, like a burden was lifted off me. While before I was wondering whether to reply or not, after writing it I immediately felt it was the right decision. Explaining the situation earnestly helped to clear the air and any possible concerns lurking in readers’ minds. Later on, I received positive feedback from my readers later for the reply.

From this episode, I’ve learned 7 key steps on how to handle flamers which I want to share with you. These will be critical in your blogging journey, especially if you run a prominent blog or if you plan to really grow your blog :

7 Key Steps To Handle Flamers With Grace

1. Keep your cool

When you receive a flame, you’re probably itching to fire up and give the flamer a good lashing out. While you might not think twice about being defensive elsewhere, the situation is different here since you are the blog owner. People are going to look towards you to conduct yourself appropriately and in a manner consistent with how you normally present yourself at your blog.

Even though your readers and you have not met in person before, many of them form mental images of you and conclude they know you based on what you share. You probably have good reasons to be defensive, but they wouldn’t know since they don’t know the complete picture.

For example, how would you feel if the normally composed Darren lashes out violently to a flamer at Problogger? You’d be thinking “What happened to Darren?! Is this the Darren I know?” This was what happened at my blog. I am normally calm, reflective, positive and upbeat, but in my reply to the flamer, I was angry and defensive. This probably surprised some readers.

Furthermore, defensiveness prevents you from thinking coherently. You might end up saying things or doing things you regret later on, like what happened in my case. Not only that, you will be trapped in the defensive stance as you keep defending yourself from whoever replies. Defensiveness is like a trap that locks you in further every step of the way.

Be the bigger person and keep your cool. Go air your head if you feel you are bogged down by this. Take a walk, do some other work, watch a movie and come back to it later. You need to be clear headed to proceed to the next step.

2. Assess the flame objectively

Whatever the flame is, it didn’t erupt out of nowhere. Take an objective stance as you read the flame. Is there any nugget of truth behind what was written? Any points worth noting? Anything worth looking into?

For every one person who has such concerns, it’s possible there are more out there. The flamer may not have presented himself/herself appropriately, but don’t let that fault the message he/she is trying to convey. Read the flame and cross examine yourself. I did that with the flame I received and took away some learning points. In comparison, if I kept thinking this person was just out to get me, I wouldn’t be able to take away anything.

One tip that helps me maintain objectivity is to get opinions from friends. More heads is always better than one. Since they are your friends, they might be inclined to react in your favor, so let them know that you want to improve and you just want their honest, objective opinions.

Some questions you can ask:

  • Is this person being unreasonable?
  • What do you think is his/her concern?
  • Is there any validity behind the comment?

3. Decide if you want to deal with the flame

It’s up to you to decide how you want to handle this. I’m open to different views and opinions, hence I approved the 1st flame. If you find there are notable points in the flamer’s comment and the flamer isn’t being too out of the line, I recommend to share with your readers. It’s always good to hear an alternate point of view. People prefer blogs over traditional news channels because the former offers a fresh perspective while the latter is usually censored and one sided. You don’t want to turn your blog into a censored information stream.

4. Reply fairly if you decide to approve the flame

As I was writing this guest post, I asked my readers on my Twitter and Facebook to share how they would respond to flames, and had many interesting replies. Some of them are:

Make it clear that everyone’s opinions will be heard, but anger and hate will be disallowed. – Ravi

Your blog is your domain. Treat it like it’s yours. Be polite in your response to the flame, but be stern. Show other commenters that you can keep your cool under pressure, but do not back down from your position. Agree to disagree, and move on to the next comment. If flaming by the same person persists, politely ask him to cease. If not, ban him/her from commenting. They’ve been warned :) – John

Learn from the good, discard the offensive, be respectful to all. – Lionel

If you decide to approve the flame, your readers may respond to it, but ultimately everyone will look towards you to give your stand. The following will help in your reply:

  • Lay down commenting guidelines. Generally: (1) While everyone is encouraged to share his/her opinion, please do so with civility. Anger, hate and attacks towards anyone will not tolerated. (2) Any further behavior like this will not be entertained.
  • Be assertive. You are the blog owner and your readers will look to you for direction on what to do.
  • Don’t fan the flames. Fanning the flames means to react defensively or attack back. Like I mentioned in Step 1, keep your cool. Flamers thrive in negativity and anger, so you are only helping the flames to grow into a fire. As you have seen from my example, my defensiveness resulted in another flame being thrown back. There’s no end to it when you fight fire with fire.
  • Be emotionally generous with the flamer. To be emotionally generous means to be generous with your love and kindness. When I was young, I used to be selfish and judgmental. I was emotionally stingy and honestly it was an ugly persona which I wasn’t proud of. The flamer may have been rude and it’d be the easier way to react to him/her rudely, but it’s more rewarding to react in kindness. One of my favorite quotes is from Peaceful Warrior – ìThe people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.î. You’ve experienced how nasty it is to be on the receiving end of an assault. Don’t act in the same way towards him/her.
  • Address the flamer’s concerns. Be earnest in addressing the flamer’s concerns. If there are areas where you are wrong, be ready to own up. (next step).

Related articles on responding to criticisms:

5. Be open to possibility that you can be wrong too

We can’t always be right all the time. And you know what? It’s entirely okay. It is through our wrong actions that we learn.

If you have indeed made a mistake, own up. If your readers are truly supportive of you, they will be more than willing to forgive you. Not only that, it will also help you build your credibility. I believe the real reason why your readers regularly read your blog isn’t because you are a know-it-all in your niche. They come to your blog because they see you as a real person who is sincere with valuable thoughts to share. This is the same for my blog readers.

6. If the same behavior continues, disengage and drop the person

If the flamer at your blog does not change his/her tone, draw the line and cut him/her off (appropriately). Your blog is a medium for your readers too, so you have a responsibility to maintain a positive reading experience. They don’t want to be surfing your blog and reading bitter spats that’s just between 2 to 3 people. It’s not their business and you shouldn’t make it their business.

If you want to resolve the flamer’s issues but you don’t think it’s reflective of general reader concerns, take it offline. Ask for him/her to email you, where both of you can talk it out. If he/she doesn’t email you, then it’s probably not worth your time to bother.

7. Learn and improve from this experience

There is always something to learn, something to take away from every experience. I had learned many things from this experience, some of which I had shared with you guys through this article.

For example:

  • I learned defensiveness isn’t a solution and it will only fan the flames. (Step #1) Fanning the flames = Fire that gets out of hand.
  • I also learned it’s okay to be wrong and it’s more important to own up if you are indeed wrong than insist on your stance. (Step #5)
  • While there was no resolution between the flamer and I, I did note down several points from her comments which might reflect blind spots about myself. These are areas I’ll look into further as I continue writing at my blog.

Getting Flames Has Its Positive Sides

This might seem counter-intuitive, but at the end of the day, this experience helped me realize receiving flames has its positive sides.

1. You and your blog have achieved a certain mark

If you are just running a small blog with a readership of 2 a day (of you and your mom/dad), chances are no one is going to flame you. People aren’t going to bother to reading and criticize you with long messages. It’s only when your blog grows to a certain size when flames start coming in. Clearly, flamers regard your blog and you in some manner, and that’s why they make the effort to flame you.

Thus, as your blog grows bigger and bigger, you will receive more flames. As my blog grew in the past year, I have gotten more negative criticisms which I see as a positive sign. That’s because it means (1) my blog is growing and reaching out to more people and (2) these criticisms help me to improve. I’m prepared for more negative criticisms and more flames as I grow my blog. It’s part and parcel of growth.

2. It lets you know the readers who care

If you have readers who care for you, they will step up to defend you. This was what happened for me. After I approved the comment, several readers stepped in to defend me. I didn’t know some of them, so it was definitely very encouraging and heartwarming to witness their support. I also received more encouragement messages via email and private messages, which made me feel there were people out there who really cared for me.

3. Shows you your blind spots

Blind spots are parts of us which we are unaware of. All of us, no matter whether we are a problogger or a new blogger, have our own blind spots. These blind spots prevent us from growing our blog to the next level.

While flames may not be pleasant to receive, they give you a perspective different from the one you have been using. Even the inability to deal with the flames appropriately reveals your blind spots. This recent experience dealing with this flame has helped me uncover more blind spots which will be important in my growth.

4. How you reply can help you win trust among your readers

If you reply the flame in a graceful and constructive manner, it will help you win trust among your readers. This helps to establish stronger credibility. My 1st reply to the flamer wasn’t one I was proud of, but I worked to address it through a follow-up reply, where I explained my situation earnestly to my readers. My readers followed up with supportive messages and it was great to get the affirmation on their support.

Final Words

At the end of the day, everyone will have different opinions. You can account for them as much as possible, but if someone chooses to interpret what you have written in a different manner, it is that person’s choice. You don’t have a choice over whether people want to flame you or not, but you do have a choice over is how you react and what you learn from the situation. The key is to react appropriately and fairly (Steps 1-6) and get the maximum learning out of the situation (Step 7).

Check out my other guest post at Problogger How To Get Featured By The Press (Repeatedly) Even If Your Blog Is New, which shares how you can get your blog featured by in press and media.

Celes writes at The Personal Excellence Blog, where she shares her personal stories and insights on how to live your best life. Some of her top reader favorites are 101 Things To Do Before You Die and Are You Sleepwalking Your Life Away?. Add her on Twitter @celestinechua.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. My name is Pat and I have a personal flamer. =sigh=

    I post frequently on a couple of cancer support boards, and my blogs are linked in my signature. One forum allows anonymous posters, and has been plagued by a person who anonymously posts anti-ostomy, anti-surgery stuff. Shortly after I responded to one of those ‘guest’ posts with the suggestion that maybe a professional counselor would be appropriate to help her deal with her apparent issues, and that her fate going forward was in her own hands, I started receiving flame comments on my blog. The comments usually show up on older posts but now they’re being added to the most current post. The ‘whois’ for the comments are from a collection of IP addresses in New Zealand (the same location of the ‘Guest’ who posts anonymously on the forum.)

    I haven’t approved any of the comments to my blog – there have been about a dozen so far. I just delete them as spam, although I admit that at first I felt pretty violated (they’re pretty raw.) I’m not going to enable this person to continue her anti-ostomy, anti-surgery campaign in my blog about cancer survivorship. I’m a tolerant woman and I’m all for open discussion – but even I have limits. ;)

  2. It depends on your definition of a flame

    To be honest I think that 99% of blogs are far too harsh on their policy to disapprove feedback that doesn’t serve their own agenda.

    If I am going to take the time to write a comment on your post it is because I feel I have something constructive to say – I am not going to simply say ” I agree” “great post” which to my POV is more about comment link spam than engagement.

    Secondly I am not going to use foul language thats an instant red card despite never using profanity I have had several comments disapproved on problogger because my point of view was not that of the author or the agenda of the site.

    Opps that will probably get me disapproved again ! haha

  3. The first time I was flamed at my blog, it struck me by surprise and affected me a lot.

    Now I know as a fiction writer I’m not going to please everyone, but the topic (or story) I was writing on really hit home to some people because at the time of my writing a news story similar to the situation popped up.

    I approved the comment which stated I was a very sick individual if I felt writing about a teacher falling in love with a student was just alright in the world. I needed mental and psychological help and I must be a horrible horrible mother.

    It didn’t bother me until the last statement.

    Just because I was writing fiction; a fantasy, I was a horrible mother? Lawd, how extreme.

    I did what you said, C, I kept my cool and went to bed to reply in the morning.

    But when I arrived at my blog the next morning, it was like looking at sunshine.

    My other readers had come to my defense. They in so many words flamed the woman for taking fiction and comparing it to reality. They railed her for being so judgmental and they really cut her through for downgrading my mothering capabilities.

    I almost cried at the outpouring of love from my followers.

    So I didn’t have to reply to the flamer and I was glad about that because for the first time as a writer, I honestly had nothing to say because her words had really hurt me that bad.

  4. I admire your strength in not getting defensive at the very start, and while it’s the best approach, it takes a lot of patience and understanding. I also thought you had all of your posts closed for comments so this must’ve been an exception and perhaps the views and thoughts of the reader had been building up for sometime. Either way, I would probably choose not to entertain a discussion around someone questioning my values. What is the point? If they don’t enjoy the blog, they can go to the next blog or mind their own life. It’s a complete waste of OUR time to entertain an unnecessary flame, and instead it’s best to focus on learning from the experience, which you so beautifully have in the context of this post, thank you!

  5. Excellent article, Celestine — thank you for sharing your experience and insight!

    It all gets down to “control” issues, doesn’t it? Sometimes people want to push the envelope because they can, to see if they can get published, adding no value to the convo. If we engage in dialog with those who add no relevancy to the discussion at hand, we lose control of our valuable time that c/should be applied in more constructive ways.

    All a learning experience… we learn from constructive feedback, insightful comments and sincere discussion. Everyone has an opinion — or should. They have a choice in how they share it, hopefully believing enough in it and themselves that they use their ‘real name.’ I have the choice as to how I will handle, accept or reject it. We must always be careful who we give the power to, considering if it can dilute or damage our efforts in some way.

  6. Bravo. I totally agree. I can relate to the postsince my temper is a bit of problem for me and I experienced a heated online exchange of words at one time too :-)

  7. I usually just delete comments like that. I have no patience for that crap.

  8. This happens a lot when blogging. New bloggers do mistakes. Sometimes genuinely or sometimes people are just trying to make fun or discourage the blogger. Its important to deal with such things in the right way. Excellent article.

  9. Honestly I have NO IDEA who you are but I highly respect your transparency Celestine LOL. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone discuss such a human yet embarrassing situation so publicly.

    That alone should earn you some cred here and elsewhere.

  10. Thanks for this article. I write for a popular tech blog (other than my own personal blog) and I’ve learned that flamers abound. I’ve also learned that some flamers are just out to get a rise out of people.

    I think a good idea is to have a commenting policy stated outright so people can know why their comment was not approved. If it can be stated in a quick paragraph, it can put inserted right above the comment section of each post.

    In my dealings with criticism, I’ve found the Bible to be true where it says “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” If someone’s criticism is real but they come across harsh, try a soft answer. It will usually defuse the situation. If the comment is not constructive, sometimes not giving them the rise they were looking for will make them go away.

    Thanks for the tips!

  11. Oh, and I liked the comment about your blog being your domain. You need control over what you allow on your site. You set the tone and you lead by example.

  12. I’m new to blogging and I haven’t had a flamer yet. I’m sure I will and I know I will reread this. Thanks for positive information.

  13. Yep. The best way is remedying the situation, not growing the burning flame. I faced this situation several times but I did reply naturally and thanks the commenter.

    Sometimes we made mistakes and yes, the comments make us realize that.

  14. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been there, too. Wanting to allow opposing viewpoints, then realizing the personal attack was really a personally attack and there shall be no decorum. Expecting reasonable behavior from someone hiding in anonymity. There are many ways to offer opposing thoughts and criticism. If someone decides to be ridiculously abrasive, they’ve got more issues than I care to explore. I’ve learned to be more selective. Now I need to learn to be more resilient. Excellent thoughts here!

  15. in the past month, i did research into the whole SEO and online blogging scene. I’m a person with academic background. One thing i realized, is that all these blog sites, basically their primary focus is making money. Even though many are honest, valuable (such as problogger which i learned a lot from), but there is certain inherent conflict with real truth. Let me explain a bit.

    for example, there are blogs dedicated to writing, and problogger itself also sometimes give tips about writing. If you look at these tips, for example some of the most common are: write concisely, use simple words and avoid big words, try to itemize your points. Now, if you look at pop magazines, e.g. women’s mags, typical their headlines is:10 ways to lose weight. 8 secrets of guys you need to know. etc.

    In a way, you can see, that these tips about writing, isn’t really the real thing. Put it this way, would professional writers (e.g. world class fiction writers, poets, recognized journalist, professors of letters), advice the same type of writing tips as these blogs? like wise, the type of tips given by blogs usually don’t really appear in pro circles, e.g. Elements of Style aka Strunk & White.

    In a similar way, with topics regarding how to deal with comments … academics it is about criticism. The issue of criticism, its nature, value, style, or dealing with it e.g. acceptance level, effects, is a old and deep topic. A common problem from personal blogs to a politics.

    the blog approach, which is pretty much exemplified in this blog post. It is very valuable for the typical goals of bloggers, especially for those trying to monetize their blogs (a legit goal). However, if you expand the point of view a bit, to what degree you accept negative comments and how you deal with it, and the effect to what is truth in your blog subject area, isn’t 100% compatible with the typical advice in blogs.

    in a way, after reading much about all these blogs in the past month, one feels that the world of internet has become all these nice 10 ways to xyz, 5 tips you must know. Some other blogs from for example professors, you don’t see this, and typically, they have readership maybe 10 subscribers. lol.

    me, have always tend to be the type who leave critical comments, typically ostensibly offensive with 4-letter words. Apart from the 4-letter words, my reason is, to grow truth, negative comments is far more important than positive ones. If you look at a typical blog, vast majority of comments are like “thank you”, “great tip”. They are of little substance. There are 2 perspectives in valuing feedback. (1) with respect to how it grows your community. (2) with respect to the density, quality, of info of that feedback. For commercial bloggers, 1 is good, but if you really intend to seek “truth”, 2 can be considered.

    here’s some rant i wrote about criticism
    was written in the programer community. (i took out the http part off in hope i won’t be thought as peddling my site )

  16. This is great advice. I will occasionally get flames, usually because my spiritual beliefs are more open than some people are comfortable with. I have only gotten two flaming comments that I did not post. One of them came directly to my email address rather than to my blog. I answered the first email explaining my beliefs and apologizing if I had inadvertently offended the person. He wasn’t interested in understanding my views or in accepting my apology. I got a second email which was worse than the first and attacking me personally. I deleted it and did not respond. Some people are just interested in sharing their rage and hatred with the rest of the world. I won’t allow them to use my blog for that purpose.

    To the flames that I publish on my blog, I usually thank them for sharing their opinion and leave it at that. I did write a whole post in answer to one misguided commenter. My post was firm and polite in pointing out some of the errors of opinion that the commenter shared.

  17. I’m totally new in this arena. I hope that I’ll be benefited from you.

  18. Daryl says: 04/10/2010 at 5:07 am

    I have had my share of flamers on various blogs I work for, so I can totally sympathize.

    The people like the one you described can be found every where. I’ve seen similar comments appear on my blogs, friends’ blogs, and my favorite blogs. Everyone seems to handle them differently.

    I have come to appreciate the ‘approval’ option in my blog software. I used to think that I should post every person who took the time to post. Now I only allow comments that are thoughtful and relate to the article in question. Negative or positive, that doesn’t bother me – I love a good debate – but nonsense, rudeness, abuse just never see the light of day.

    For the most part those who flame are not interested in a discussion. For that reason I never engage them.

  19. Great post. Usually my posts stay really positive, and I had one turn wrong recently, and I was totally caught off guard. Especially when discussions about me where brought to Twitter, taken off topic, and really ugly.

    WHERE WHERE YOU THEN??? Just kidding. ;)

  20. I’ve had a handful of flamers turn up on my blog, but I always delete their comments. I can understand the argument about transparency and freedom of speech, and I’m only too happy if a reader shares a point of view that differs to mine, but I won’t put up with spitefulness or insults directed at me or anyone else. At the end of the day, it’s my blog and if someone can’t play nice, they can play elsewhere.

  21. You get those crazy idiots all the time, on blogs, on youtube in forums. Their everywhere. There called “tolls”. I liked all your points but really you just need a comment policy.

    Any comment that violates my comment policy gets nuked, but your right, you should reflect to see if their is any truth in flamatory comments because you might have made a mistake. However, if it violates your stated comment policy, delete it and dont give it a second thought. Lead and set the tone.

  22. Celes – Sorry this happened to you and other readers too. It hasn’t happened to me yet but I am prepared for it. When I see these type of rude comments I wonder why people leave them. Sometimes I see something I disagree with and I mention it politely. Isn’t that the normal way to handle things. I’ve seen comments on some blogs which are nothing short of vile attacks. I wonder why people feel the need to be rude and agressive.

    If a troll hits my site I plan to delete it immediately and forget it as soon as possible. Disagreeing with what I write if fine but being rude is not. Thanks for sharing this and do try not to take it personally. You’re right, I think it’s a blogging milestone:)

  23. wow! all i can say to this article is amazing!

    well, i am a blogger too in which i write what i live. of course, criticisms are everywhere especially nowadays since the doorways to the world are just a click away and it is up to you on how you deal with it. your guide is totally helpful. i salute you for that.

    2 thumbs up for you!

    best regards,

    Count Clement II

  24. Hi guys,

    I think flamers flame you because they are bored and they want to see how you will react to them. I say delete their message and completely ignored them. Flamers hate to be ignored.

    Kind regards,


  25. Just as in real life you are going to find people on the internet with baggage.

    When I was younger I stopped to help virtually everyone with baggage because I felt sorry for them.

    As I have gotten older I have since quit that nonsense and shortened it to a single sentence when I meet those kind of people: ” Nothing; No Drug, No Therapy, No Sympathy, is going to help you if your life really sucks. Your gonna have to change your life and get real!”

    Pretty much this is what I would have told that commenter.

  26. Thank you Celestine! I appreciate both your advice and your candor, as I have had a similar experience in a blog I used to write for a past employer.

    I’d be interested in your – or your readers’ – advice on another conundrum I’m facing. As I try to build my online presence across blogs, twitter, facebook, myspace, I’m having a problem with fake profiles.

    Someone is building fake profiles of me on the social media sites. Naturally I find this concerning, particularly as I’m trying to build my professional reputation, not to mention that it’s personally confronting. Of course I report the fake profiles to the various social media sites, but there’s nothing much they can do, and the pages remain live.

    Has anyone else experienced this kind of reverse stalking / identity theft? Since I need to keep my name (and brand) out there in cyberspace, how do I manage the fake names?

    Any advice?

  27. Hi Celestine- your posts are on point! As for any flamer acting out of jealousy,or,feelings of inadaquacy? Like the song goes, “I fly above all the haters!”

    About your post on How To Get Featured By The Press? I regret not reading it sooner as I’m attempting to promote my blog for women. I’ll give it another few months & try again,,,

    Thanks for the valuable info…


  28. It was very understandable, as mishandling an emtionally charged and newly presented situation.

    The great thing is now that it has already happened once. You won’t be caught off guard again. And you learned how to better handle that situation.

    And best, you shared the experience with us.
    Speaking for myself, I now feel more prepared for the unexpected.

  29. Although this is a very well-written post, I can’t help but question the validity of your arguments. First off, you give us advice on relationships based on one of your own that didn’t work out, then you tell us about how to deal with “negative” commentators based on your terrible handling of the situation.

    I can understand learning from experience, but teaching us about things that you don’t even know is a bit crazy, considering your rant about being far holier than us cretins down on Earth.

    Maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at why so many people said the things they did and not try to put a positive spin on such a poor situation?

  30. Sharing what you have learned from a negative experience can be a very valid pursuit. I’d actually put forward that many times we learn the MOST from those mistakes we’ve made!

    As far as taking the proverbial step backward and seeing why the people said what they did, I think the author did a good job covering that. Notice comments in the article such as:

    “Be open to possibility that you can be wrong too”,
    “Learn and improve from this experience”,
    “Shows you your blind spots.”

    Check those titles and what the author wrote under each. You are right, we should see if there is a beam in our own eye, but we also need to know how to diffuse the situation with the least amount of damage as possible.

  31. As my blog grows I’m getting more and more pot shots taken at me. Had a couple today.

    If the comment is just an unimaginative flame, like “This article blows” I delete it. It serves nobody.

    But if it’s a longer, more specific attack, I let it stand. I leave a clever response that makes me look like the “bigger person.” I have to suppress the impulse to really let them have it.

    What’s so great is that almost always a loyal reader will jump in there in my defense. That happened today, and it was so cool.

  32. Key steps to handling flamers with grace :
    Point number 6 If the same behavior continues, disengage and drop the person

    I totally agree: There is a belief in business that the customer is always right and this costs many entrepreneurs too many hours trying to fix what can’t be mended.

    I think the same applies to readers in the blog. It is YOUR blog and therefore YOUR responsibility to maintain its readability. Any blog is bigger than one (especially grumpy) reader.

    But there is nothing more embarrassing than being wrong and the last one to see it! So be careful and then be decisive.

  33. I treat comments on my blogs the same way I treat a conversation with a stranger in real life

    If a stranger is rude to me I walk away – if a strange is rude to me on my blog I walk away (delete his comment). My blog is my home, don’t be rude to me in my home or you will be asked to leave

    I never really understood why people think you should be 100000000000000X more patience with rude and insulting people just because they are on the internet

  34. @James: I am totally with you here. I used to work in an office where I would always get angry and rude phone calls. My policy was always if someone escalates to the point of cussing me out and yelling, I hang up. It’s interesting that when they really want to be heard, they call back with a totally different tone and then we talk.

  35. I’m totally new in this arena. I hope that I’ll be benefited from you.

  36. Thank you Celestine! I appreciate both your advice and your candor, as I have had a similar experience in a blog I used to write for a past employer.

    I’d be interested in your – or your readers’ – advice on another conundrum I’m facing. As I try to build my online presence across blogs, twitter, facebook, myspace, I’m having a problem with fake profiles.

    Someone is building fake profiles of me on the social media sites. Naturally I find this concerning, particularly as I’m trying to build my professional reputation, not to mention that it’s personally confronting. Of course I report the fake profiles to the various social media sites, but there’s nothing much they can do, and the pages remain live.

    Has anyone else experienced this kind of reverse stalking / identity theft? Since I need to keep my name (and brand) out there in cyberspace, how do I manage the fake names?

    Any advice?

  37. Great post. Usually my posts stay really positive, and I had one turn wrong recently, and I was totally caught off guard. Especially when discussions about me where brought to Twitter, taken off topic, and really ugly.

    WHERE WHERE YOU THEN??? Just kidding. ;)

  38. I had a really bad flame the other day. Too hot to handle but it put me in a downward spiral for about 10 minutes then I decided I am not going to let what they say stop me from doing what I love doing. I have put so much time, effort and actually did things just for the blog, to let it go to waste. Some may not see the point of it or even in it but it’s my home.

  39. Larry Quiambao says: 05/28/2010 at 12:23 am

    You hit the nail on the head with that one, awesome read! Keep up the good work.

  40. Rgding step one, there’s a chinese proverb that goes, “If you’re patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”

    When dealing with difficult situations, the first thing I tell myself is “relax…”, and I’ll come back to it later when I’m cooler.

    It’s not the end of the world, all problems can be dealt with; and it’s definitely not with anger.

  41. Yes and James 1:19-20 says: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

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