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When to Answer Critics

Statler and waldorf - Muppet CriticsWriters get a lot of criticism so tend to have to grow a thick skin, especially when working online. The internet tends to bring the inner critic out of people.

This week while I have been out of the loop due to a family emergency it seems from heads-up emails I have received that I have caught a lot of flack. Some criticism has been level-headed and reasoned, some bizarre, some offensive and some just idiotic. I wasn’t around to respond even if I wanted to, which in some cases seems to have emboldened the more, um, challenged individuals. What would I have done had I been around?

Critics Are Not Always Trying to Help

The first thing to determine is what the intentions of the criticism is. Some criticism is meant to help, some to just to vent, other times criticism is more about the critic than the criticized. It’s impossible to mind read but you can try to work out where the critic is coming from. The more crazy the attack the less likely you are to find any logic but it is worth trying.

Any Feedback is Useful

Any feedback is useful, even the (worryingly common) “YoU sUck!!!111″ type. I encourage feedback, bloggers need it. Of course though we benefit most when there are some details to work on, plus details help us work out if we need to respond and if there is anything to actually learn from.

If someone just says “I don’t like this”, whatever language they use, then you have little to work with. All you can do is listen to quantity really. Lots of people saying they don’t like something, vocally or in analytics, is a sure sign you have done something wrong for a portion of your audience. Doesn’t mean you are wrong, just there are people in your group who you are not connecting with. The bigger your audience the more likely this is to happen. I don’t often respond to generic “don’t like” unless I get a sense they want to talk, you can’t please everyone and shouldn’t even try.

“Don’t like” with details is constructive. If the person is being nice and helpful then you should try to engage the person in conversation. You can learn a lot from complaints as much or maybe more than compliments.

Fact is if someone has taken the effort to contact you in private then their intentions are more about letting you know than about gaining anything for their selfish goals.

Do You Criticize or Do You Create?

Bloggers often fall into this “criticism as content” trap. It’s all too easy, you need content, popular blogger does something you can criticize, can’t fail. Of course it does fail, and drags your reputation down with it. At the time you might get praise from your own group but the silent majority who look on just see right through what you are up to.

As the recipient of the attack you need to decide how and if to respond. Blatant link bait attacks should never be rewarded with a link. Responses are best in comments over at the attackers blog. Keep level headed and stick to the points, don’t get defensive of be dragged down to retaliation. Never repeat yourself more than once, and do not divulge details just because someone demands it.

Sometimes commenting defuses the personal nature, sometimes it inflames them, all you can do is try to maintain a measured tone.

What I try to remember is it is far easier to be a critic than create something. Critics are often people with chips on their shoulders, for whatever reason. They attack you because of something in them, not something about you.

When to Answer Critics

  • Can any useful feedback be gained?
  • Is there actual detail to address or are they just projecting insults and displeasure?
  • Are the critics factually inaccurate or voicing opinions?
  • Will joining in just perpetuate something that will blow over anyway?
  • Have the critics hallucinated something they imagine you might say or is the criticism based in any reality?
  • Has someone already stepped in to defend you?

I will only step in to correct something that might not be self evident. After all, anyone interested in the truth will follow links or search to find the source, anyone loyal to the critic or interested in the theater of it all will not want facts to get in the way anyway.

Remember, silence does not mean guilt and does not mean you agree. Sometimes silence is a better response than actually opening your mouth and continuing the debate.

Do you have any thoughts on when to answer critics? Please share in the comments …

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Comments

  1. What a timely post. Totally get what you are saying here Chris. It’s the same everywhere, there are always going to be people who are known more for their moaning than actually creating something.

    When someone I respect criticises something I have done, I listen, but when it’s someone who I have only seen complaining about others I shut off.

    A thick skin is a requirement for a writer. The way I deflect any critics is simply to get down to work and do more of what I do.

    Good post.

  2. What a timely post. Totally get what you are saying here Chris. It’s the same everywhere, there are always going to be people who are known more for their moaning than actually creating something.

    When someone I respect criticises something I have done, I listen, but when it’s someone who I have only seen complaining about others I shut off.

    A thick skin is a requirement for a writer. The way I deflect any critics is simply to get down to work and do more of what I do.

    Good post.

  3. Chris, I haven’t found myself in this situation yet but I think this is a great piece on the thought process to run through if and when it does happen, including analysing what if anything is to be gained by answering criticism.

    In this interwoven world a lot of criticism is written as you say for other reasons, not directly related to you at all, and might be as well left to run in its own way.

    I think it takes a level of maturity to be able to recognise that though, so hats off to you for doing that, and turning your own response into something constructive that we can all learn from here.

    Joanna

  4. Chris, I haven’t found myself in this situation yet but I think this is a great piece on the thought process to run through if and when it does happen, including analysing what if anything is to be gained by answering criticism.

    In this interwoven world a lot of criticism is written as you say for other reasons, not directly related to you at all, and might be as well left to run in its own way.

    I think it takes a level of maturity to be able to recognise that though, so hats off to you for doing that, and turning your own response into something constructive that we can all learn from here.

    Joanna

  5. These are good guidelines to responding to criticism. I think there are times when you have to directly address blatant lies. Responses sometimes need to consider who is leveling the criticism as well: is it someone you know or that you don’t know?

    I understand your point about addressing critics once and only once, but I think it’s a bit optimistic to assume that will do because there is still a tendency to listen to the loudest and noisiest signal even if it’s broadcasting the wrong message…

  6. These are good guidelines to responding to criticism. I think there are times when you have to directly address blatant lies. Responses sometimes need to consider who is leveling the criticism as well: is it someone you know or that you don’t know?

    I understand your point about addressing critics once and only once, but I think it’s a bit optimistic to assume that will do because there is still a tendency to listen to the loudest and noisiest signal even if it’s broadcasting the wrong message…

  7. Nice to have you back Chris…hope your emergency wasn’t too serious.

  8. Nice to have you back Chris…hope your emergency wasn’t too serious.

  9. If I learn something from the critic I will say thanks;
    If the critic is linkbaiting, put it up but ignore it.
    If the critic is coming from an obvious postion of those who can do, those who dont teach. Ignore it.

    O/t Hope your crisis is resolved.
    Stan

  10. If I learn something from the critic I will say thanks;
    If the critic is linkbaiting, put it up but ignore it.
    If the critic is coming from an obvious postion of those who can do, those who dont teach. Ignore it.

    O/t Hope your crisis is resolved.
    Stan

  11. YoU sUck!!!111 hehehe, just kidding :)

    I think the main thing,is, as you say, to determine the intention behind the comment and work from there. You have to draw a line somewhere – some folks are only commenting for reasons not connected with a producing a fruitful discussion.

    Making your counterpoint once (for the record) is sufficient to deal with those; readers who *are* interested in the discussion can then take on board your point, and in future separate the wheat from the chaff…..

  12. YoU sUck!!!111 hehehe, just kidding :)

    I think the main thing,is, as you say, to determine the intention behind the comment and work from there. You have to draw a line somewhere – some folks are only commenting for reasons not connected with a producing a fruitful discussion.

    Making your counterpoint once (for the record) is sufficient to deal with those; readers who *are* interested in the discussion can then take on board your point, and in future separate the wheat from the chaff…..

  13. Chris,

    Great blog. Well said. It’s one in the eye for those critics who want to spark a negative reaction out of you!

    Unlike me, you refuse to lose your rational, logical, coolheaded approach. This is admirable, mature and so professional.

    You keep inspiring us!

    Regards

    Robert@iscatterlings

  14. Chris,

    Great blog. Well said. It’s one in the eye for those critics who want to spark a negative reaction out of you!

    Unlike me, you refuse to lose your rational, logical, coolheaded approach. This is admirable, mature and so professional.

    You keep inspiring us!

    Regards

    Robert@iscatterlings

  15. Chris,

    Great information on the feedback solutions-when and when not to reply…Sometimes, depending on our mood, we respond when we should have let it pass.

  16. Chris,

    Great information on the feedback solutions-when and when not to reply…Sometimes, depending on our mood, we respond when we should have let it pass.

  17. As the great composer Sibelius s quoted as saying, “”Pay no attention to what critics say. No statue has ever been put up to a critic.”

    I wouldn’t say pay _no_ attention, because sometimes critics can have valid points and make useful suggestions. But ultimately, we have to be true to ourselves with what we create and, sometimes, when it comes to critics, we just have to say “Fu–“…erm…”Heck with them!”

  18. As the great composer Sibelius s quoted as saying, “”Pay no attention to what critics say. No statue has ever been put up to a critic.”

    I wouldn’t say pay _no_ attention, because sometimes critics can have valid points and make useful suggestions. But ultimately, we have to be true to ourselves with what we create and, sometimes, when it comes to critics, we just have to say “Fu–“…erm…”Heck with them!”

  19. I have a regular troll who comments and emails and then the few who come out of the woodwork. Normally if they’re rude or vulgar, I delete them. Many times I’ll post their comment or email on the blog for all to see and respond in the kindest, most polite manner. Keyboard courage tends to bring out the worst in some people and they say things online they’d never do so in person.

    I hope all is well with your family and your emergency is over.

    – Deb

  20. Chris,
    Lots of good points here. I think it’s important to never respond in the heat of the moment. Think about it, maybe even sleep on it. Sometimes the worst critics can be turned into your greatest supporters if they feel they are being given an ear. There are blog cockroaches (a.k.a. blogroaches) — that scuttle off when the light comes on. Those are the ones that just seek to cause problems, and you can ignore and wait until they move on. This is why bloggers need to take the time to set up a comments guideline policy for themselves BEFORE the little buggers show up.

  21. I have a regular troll who comments and emails and then the few who come out of the woodwork. Normally if they’re rude or vulgar, I delete them. Many times I’ll post their comment or email on the blog for all to see and respond in the kindest, most polite manner. Keyboard courage tends to bring out the worst in some people and they say things online they’d never do so in person.

    I hope all is well with your family and your emergency is over.

    – Deb

  22. Chris,
    Lots of good points here. I think it’s important to never respond in the heat of the moment. Think about it, maybe even sleep on it. Sometimes the worst critics can be turned into your greatest supporters if they feel they are being given an ear. There are blog cockroaches (a.k.a. blogroaches) — that scuttle off when the light comes on. Those are the ones that just seek to cause problems, and you can ignore and wait until they move on. This is why bloggers need to take the time to set up a comments guideline policy for themselves BEFORE the little buggers show up.

  23. Chris, while I’ve luckily not been the recipient of too much criticism, I really appreciate your post on the topic. Great points and ideas on how to approach and handle negative feedback. Thank you!

    Rick

  24. Chris, while I’ve luckily not been the recipient of too much criticism, I really appreciate your post on the topic. Great points and ideas on how to approach and handle negative feedback. Thank you!

    Rick

  25. I have not recieved any “you suck” comments on my self-help blog. I think its because if give opinions on how to live a better life its hard for someone to say “you suck” for giving me advice on living a more positive life……But I write a number of guest commentary articles for newspapers. And from those I have recieved a number of “you suck and you’re an idiot” comments.
    I have responded to some and then after wished I had not. So now I don’t respond to any of those comments. I think it validates them when you try to correct them or convice them that they are wrong.

    So now I just say “how nice” and move on…..

  26. I have not recieved any “you suck” comments on my self-help blog. I think its because if give opinions on how to live a better life its hard for someone to say “you suck” for giving me advice on living a more positive life……But I write a number of guest commentary articles for newspapers. And from those I have recieved a number of “you suck and you’re an idiot” comments.
    I have responded to some and then after wished I had not. So now I don’t respond to any of those comments. I think it validates them when you try to correct them or convice them that they are wrong.

    So now I just say “how nice” and move on…..

  27. Timely and well written post!

    I weigh my responses and whether or not to do so. A blogger with a history of not listening, disagreeing with commenters and calling other commenters names or some other put down doesn’t warrant my respect. There are ways to offer an alternative opinion without insult, but a lot of people have no idea how or desire to deliver that way.

    I’ve also learned that if someone knows how to disagree with me without offense or can point out something I hadn’t considered, I listen to them and often make a new friend.

  28. Timely and well written post!

    I weigh my responses and whether or not to do so. A blogger with a history of not listening, disagreeing with commenters and calling other commenters names or some other put down doesn’t warrant my respect. There are ways to offer an alternative opinion without insult, but a lot of people have no idea how or desire to deliver that way.

    I’ve also learned that if someone knows how to disagree with me without offense or can point out something I hadn’t considered, I listen to them and often make a new friend.

  29. There have been many times when I felt the urge to be critical, but instead found a way to make a statement about something positive. Not in a falsely optimistic way, but to focus on building solutions instead of complaining about problems.

    One thing I despise is when people fly off the handle and launch personal attacks in public instead of communicating privately with someone first to make sure they truly understand the situation. It is far too easy to embarrass yourself with public, unfounded or inaccurate criticism when an effort to connect with another person would have made a difference.

  30. There have been many times when I felt the urge to be critical, but instead found a way to make a statement about something positive. Not in a falsely optimistic way, but to focus on building solutions instead of complaining about problems.

    One thing I despise is when people fly off the handle and launch personal attacks in public instead of communicating privately with someone first to make sure they truly understand the situation. It is far too easy to embarrass yourself with public, unfounded or inaccurate criticism when an effort to connect with another person would have made a difference.

  31. @Lyndon – Getting down to work is probably the best thing. Sometimes that is all we can do. One of the things I have been criticized for this week I can look at changing, but the other is the book and that is harder to fix even if I agreed there was anything wrong in the first place :)

    @Joanna – Yes I think sometimes we inadvertantly hit peoples hot buttons, I think the book title definitely does that, so we catch flack not because of what we do but because of what goes on in their heads.

    @Mark – You are right, loud can often trump true, but to repeat and repeat you just lose energy or even look desperate?

    @Jack – Good to be back and everything on the mend, thanks :)

    @stan – Oh yes, if you do learn something be grateful, it is very valuable

    @Nik – Sorting the wheat from the chaff is the hardest thing I think

    @robert – It’s important in at least one of these cases that I don’t spark any escalation, as it is not just my reputation on the line, restraint is very important :)

    @Nancy – We have built in fight or flight mechanism, sometimes we choose the wrong path out of hot headedness so a good breather is very useful

    @Matt – Ha, yes, always be true to yourself, no matter what

    @Deb – All is much better, thanks. Yup, it does seem sometimes delete is all you can do, but if on another blog, turn away and hope it blows over I guess

    @Anita – Very true, people who disagree can be very useful sounding boards too, not healthy to be always agreed with :)

    @Rick – I think sometimes the nature of what we write about brings out more or less criticism. As I say somewhere above, the title of our book is quite provocative to some people

    @Steve – Liz Strauss has some approaches like that, sometimes I will say “I hear you” which does NOT mean I agree, just that I am listening :)

    @kim – Absolutely, our reaction can have as big an impact on reputation as the criticism

    @Michael – Finding the positive is something I think you are good at. I am just glad with one of the issues I can share in the pleasure and pain of feedback with a co-author, and in the other friendly people were there to talk it through with me

  32. @Lyndon – Getting down to work is probably the best thing. Sometimes that is all we can do. One of the things I have been criticized for this week I can look at changing, but the other is the book and that is harder to fix even if I agreed there was anything wrong in the first place :)

    @Joanna – Yes I think sometimes we inadvertantly hit peoples hot buttons, I think the book title definitely does that, so we catch flack not because of what we do but because of what goes on in their heads.

    @Mark – You are right, loud can often trump true, but to repeat and repeat you just lose energy or even look desperate?

    @Jack – Good to be back and everything on the mend, thanks :)

    @stan – Oh yes, if you do learn something be grateful, it is very valuable

    @Nik – Sorting the wheat from the chaff is the hardest thing I think

    @robert – It’s important in at least one of these cases that I don’t spark any escalation, as it is not just my reputation on the line, restraint is very important :)

    @Nancy – We have built in fight or flight mechanism, sometimes we choose the wrong path out of hot headedness so a good breather is very useful

    @Matt – Ha, yes, always be true to yourself, no matter what

    @Deb – All is much better, thanks. Yup, it does seem sometimes delete is all you can do, but if on another blog, turn away and hope it blows over I guess

    @Anita – Very true, people who disagree can be very useful sounding boards too, not healthy to be always agreed with :)

    @Rick – I think sometimes the nature of what we write about brings out more or less criticism. As I say somewhere above, the title of our book is quite provocative to some people

    @Steve – Liz Strauss has some approaches like that, sometimes I will say “I hear you” which does NOT mean I agree, just that I am listening :)

    @kim – Absolutely, our reaction can have as big an impact on reputation as the criticism

    @Michael – Finding the positive is something I think you are good at. I am just glad with one of the issues I can share in the pleasure and pain of feedback with a co-author, and in the other friendly people were there to talk it through with me

  33. I think there is such a thing as constructive criticism, but most people just don’t know how to express it without offending others. I would never offend someone on purpose, and certainly in this digital age it is so hard to write a sentence without every single person who reads it taking it a different way. With that said, most critics are well-meaning, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t trolls and mean-spirited people out there.

  34. I think there is such a thing as constructive criticism, but most people just don’t know how to express it without offending others. I would never offend someone on purpose, and certainly in this digital age it is so hard to write a sentence without every single person who reads it taking it a different way. With that said, most critics are well-meaning, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t trolls and mean-spirited people out there.

  35. Yes, and some people THINK they are being constructive when they really aren’t. In one of these cases going on though it was clear it was just to get a reaction which in the end led me to block the person on Twitter and now I don’t have to listen and am not tempted to react :)

  36. Yes, and some people THINK they are being constructive when they really aren’t. In one of these cases going on though it was clear it was just to get a reaction which in the end led me to block the person on Twitter and now I don’t have to listen and am not tempted to react :)

  37. I like how every time I hear the expression, “You suck!”, I hear it in your accent. (score another one for SOBCon.)

    It took me a long time, but I finally learned how to not completely collapse with criticism. It still hurts, but I can see the silver lining now in the opportunity to improve.

    But I had someone who’d come around my blog and put on a smile, and yet subtly slap me with words. It was clear they didn’t like it, but they weren’t really being honest about it either. I wrote a snapping reply, and almost posted it… but thought better of it, and just blacklisted them instead.

    I just decided that life was too short to entertain trolls. Not when there are so many other cool people out there I’d rather interact with.

  38. I like how every time I hear the expression, “You suck!”, I hear it in your accent. (score another one for SOBCon.)

    It took me a long time, but I finally learned how to not completely collapse with criticism. It still hurts, but I can see the silver lining now in the opportunity to improve.

    But I had someone who’d come around my blog and put on a smile, and yet subtly slap me with words. It was clear they didn’t like it, but they weren’t really being honest about it either. I wrote a snapping reply, and almost posted it… but thought better of it, and just blacklisted them instead.

    I just decided that life was too short to entertain trolls. Not when there are so many other cool people out there I’d rather interact with.

  39. jonson roth says:

    Chris, this isn’t a criticism of you, rather a “booster”…

    It’s not necessarily true that lots of people complaining is a sign you’ve done something wrong. By their very nature, complainers are… well… complainers. I’m not talking about constructive criticism. I’m talking about the idiots that think “you suck” is the epitome of eloquence, and that you can actually respond.

    My guess is that, unfortunately, a greater percentage of dissatisfied people will comment, while people who are content are likely to say nothing.

    Or maybe I just sUck and don’t know what I’m talking about.

  40. jonson roth says:

    Chris, this isn’t a criticism of you, rather a “booster”…

    It’s not necessarily true that lots of people complaining is a sign you’ve done something wrong. By their very nature, complainers are… well… complainers. I’m not talking about constructive criticism. I’m talking about the idiots that think “you suck” is the epitome of eloquence, and that you can actually respond.

    My guess is that, unfortunately, a greater percentage of dissatisfied people will comment, while people who are content are likely to say nothing.

    Or maybe I just sUck and don’t know what I’m talking about.

  41. I figure that if I’m inspiring enough passion to attract both heavy criticism and some fans then it’s a sign I’m on the right track. No one can please everyone. Heck, even Jesus had his passionate critics so I guess it puts me in good company! :)

  42. I figure that if I’m inspiring enough passion to attract both heavy criticism and some fans then it’s a sign I’m on the right track. No one can please everyone. Heck, even Jesus had his passionate critics so I guess it puts me in good company! :)

  43. I’m lucky…nobody has told me that I suc* yet. But people do write and tell me that the post could have been better if I did this or that. They also tell me how they have written a post on the same subject which they think is better.

    None of this really bothers me. I haven’t been doing this as long as you have but I’m not even sure that You Suc* would bother me too much.

    Sticks and Stones
    The Masked Millionaire

  44. I’m lucky…nobody has told me that I suc* yet. But people do write and tell me that the post could have been better if I did this or that. They also tell me how they have written a post on the same subject which they think is better.

    None of this really bothers me. I haven’t been doing this as long as you have but I’m not even sure that You Suc* would bother me too much.

    Sticks and Stones
    The Masked Millionaire

  45. I think the key to the answer to this one I first heard from the amazing Zig Ziglar; do you respond…or do you react? :)

  46. I think the key to the answer to this one I first heard from the amazing Zig Ziglar; do you respond…or do you react? :)

  47. Jonson Roth makes a great point. I find it funny that the people most likely to complain are also the people most likely to not be a leader in anything.

    And definitely it’s true that if you don’t have any enemies, then you’re not doing anything worthwhile.

  48. Jonson Roth makes a great point. I find it funny that the people most likely to complain are also the people most likely to not be a leader in anything.

    And definitely it’s true that if you don’t have any enemies, then you’re not doing anything worthwhile.

  49. My feeling is that none of us are above critique, myself included. Also, as a blogger, it’s par for the course. Someone, somewhere, will have a view that doesn’t agree with yours, and that person’s opinion is valid.

    Criticism without backup is empty flaming. Criticism with backup is simply a difference in views.

    When I take a stand on something or voice my opinions, I do try to provide backup for my thoughts. And, I always try to be respectful – even when I’m being direct.

    When I’m on the receiving end, I do address the situation. I never say, “Screw it,” and let it go, because that only exacerbates the situation. I will comment, once, perhaps twice, and then let it go.

    Everyone’s views are valid if they’re presented in a logical manner and in polite tones, I think. Ignore them, and you discredit your credibility and also lose an opportunity to turn the situation around completely.

    I also feel that it takes a big man to address someone critiquing him. It takes guts and a strong sense of worth. It doesn’t take much strength to run or ignore a situation. That’s why I feel it’s important to at least take a stab at responding politely.

    I’m sorry to hear about your family issues and hope that everything turns out alright.

  50. My feeling is that none of us are above critique, myself included. Also, as a blogger, it’s par for the course. Someone, somewhere, will have a view that doesn’t agree with yours, and that person’s opinion is valid.

    Criticism without backup is empty flaming. Criticism with backup is simply a difference in views.

    When I take a stand on something or voice my opinions, I do try to provide backup for my thoughts. And, I always try to be respectful – even when I’m being direct.

    When I’m on the receiving end, I do address the situation. I never say, “Screw it,” and let it go, because that only exacerbates the situation. I will comment, once, perhaps twice, and then let it go.

    Everyone’s views are valid if they’re presented in a logical manner and in polite tones, I think. Ignore them, and you discredit your credibility and also lose an opportunity to turn the situation around completely.

    I also feel that it takes a big man to address someone critiquing him. It takes guts and a strong sense of worth. It doesn’t take much strength to run or ignore a situation. That’s why I feel it’s important to at least take a stab at responding politely.

    I’m sorry to hear about your family issues and hope that everything turns out alright.

  51. @Adam – Trolls often think, online or off, that a smile makes up for any amount of venom in their words. Best to avoid those people when possible!

    @jonson – You might well be right, but I think we have to keep aware of the feedback we are getting good and bad. It’s not about trying to please everyone, but it is sometimes hard to know when we are still getting praise that in fact we are going off track.

    @Chris – Indeed, I often say if some people do not hate what you do you are not trying hard enough

    @The Masked Millionaire – There are so many venues for feedback now it is not always being around a while that draws the attention. One individual on Twitter hates everything social media stands for, so mention social media or certain conventions and the individual will go on a 10 tweet tirade :)

    @LA – Excellent quote!

    @Michael – True, I much prefer “feedback” than “enemies” though :)

    @James – I agree, and as I say above, feedback is valuable whatever form it takes. We have to work out when it is appropriate to step into a criticism situation. Early is better, once a certain time has passed the original tone can be lost and people join in for sport. There are times when it is best to leave be, especially if you get a sense there are people watching who smell blood. As I mention in another comment, one of the situations recently has led me to block a well-known critical someone on Twitter, even though I had attempted to reply using various approaches over and over. They have moved on to attack others, but thankfully my time is freed up for constructive things. At some point you have to move on and not spend your energy on something that will only draw out a discussion with no hope of positive outcome.

  52. @Adam – Trolls often think, online or off, that a smile makes up for any amount of venom in their words. Best to avoid those people when possible!

    @jonson – You might well be right, but I think we have to keep aware of the feedback we are getting good and bad. It’s not about trying to please everyone, but it is sometimes hard to know when we are still getting praise that in fact we are going off track.

    @Chris – Indeed, I often say if some people do not hate what you do you are not trying hard enough

    @The Masked Millionaire – There are so many venues for feedback now it is not always being around a while that draws the attention. One individual on Twitter hates everything social media stands for, so mention social media or certain conventions and the individual will go on a 10 tweet tirade :)

    @LA – Excellent quote!

    @Michael – True, I much prefer “feedback” than “enemies” though :)

    @James – I agree, and as I say above, feedback is valuable whatever form it takes. We have to work out when it is appropriate to step into a criticism situation. Early is better, once a certain time has passed the original tone can be lost and people join in for sport. There are times when it is best to leave be, especially if you get a sense there are people watching who smell blood. As I mention in another comment, one of the situations recently has led me to block a well-known critical someone on Twitter, even though I had attempted to reply using various approaches over and over. They have moved on to attack others, but thankfully my time is freed up for constructive things. At some point you have to move on and not spend your energy on something that will only draw out a discussion with no hope of positive outcome.

  53. Speaking of Twitter, how do you handle when someone criticizes you on Twitter? I suppose it depends on how many followers the other person has.

  54. Speaking of Twitter, how do you handle when someone criticizes you on Twitter? I suppose it depends on how many followers the other person has.

  55. Very often you never know you are being criticized on Twitter, unless you do vanity searches. But in my case people sometimes tell me, and most of the time the criticisms either have a basis in reality so they are useful, or are a bit silly so easy to let pass. My particular blocked user was following me and criticizing me amongst many, even though they were knocking the very medium they were using and was stuck in an endless loop of repetition, I had to block if I was ever going to use Twitter without distraction again :)

  56. Very often you never know you are being criticized on Twitter, unless you do vanity searches. But in my case people sometimes tell me, and most of the time the criticisms either have a basis in reality so they are useful, or are a bit silly so easy to let pass. My particular blocked user was following me and criticizing me amongst many, even though they were knocking the very medium they were using and was stuck in an endless loop of repetition, I had to block if I was ever going to use Twitter without distraction again :)

  57. Hello Cris, great article, bes regards form Poland :)

  58. Hello Cris, great article, bes regards form Poland :)

  59. Chris,

    When I answer the occasional critic, I wish I did it half as well as you just have without saying a word. All class.

    Regards,

    Kelly

  60. Chris,

    When I answer the occasional critic, I wish I did it half as well as you just have without saying a word. All class.

    Regards,

    Kelly

  61. Hi Cris, i like your blog. A very informative and great tips. for me you are one of the experienced bloggers. Keep it up

  62. Hi Cris, i like your blog. A very informative and great tips. for me you are one of the experienced bloggers. Keep it up

  63. Excellent points, Chris. There are certain critics that will not respond to any reason or rational dialogue. As you mention, understanding their intent is key, and when you get a very good sense a particular critic is not interested in exchanging information and helping out, the “delete” and/or “block” button should be used. Yes, politely embarrassing them in front of other well-intentioned readers can work, but the trade-off is that they can poison the well for some.

  64. Excellent points, Chris. There are certain critics that will not respond to any reason or rational dialogue. As you mention, understanding their intent is key, and when you get a very good sense a particular critic is not interested in exchanging information and helping out, the “delete” and/or “block” button should be used. Yes, politely embarrassing them in front of other well-intentioned readers can work, but the trade-off is that they can poison the well for some.