“You’re a dumpster fire of a human, this is the worst blog on the entirety of the internet, and I hope you slip on a banana peel in a very public place with recording devices present.”
While this isn’t technically a direct quote of any comment I’ve received in my five years of blogging at Alex in Wanderland, I admit I’ve fielded some impressive insults lobbed my way. This summer when I started sharing some behind-the-scenes blogging content, you guys gave me two thumbs up to keep veering off the travel path every once in a while, so here are we. I’ve been thinking a lot about comment moderation lately, and I’m excited to really dive into this today and hear what you all have to say, too. Because if there’s one thing you’ll learn from this post, it’s that I love hearing different perspectives.
“What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.” — Leslie Knope
At some point in every successful blogging career, one is going to have to decide how to handle dissenters and dissers that pop up in their comments section, social media pages, and inbox. Some respond politely, some delete gleefully, some reply aggressively, some write highly-anticipated round-up posts of their best hate comments of the year.
Personally, I think I can count the number of comments I’ve ever deleted on one hand. Now, I have to admit that I’m pretty blessed in this department — I have a kind-hearted, loyal and fun community of readers around these parts, and mean-spirited comments are few and far between. But they do occasionally roll in, and even after half a decade of experience they can still feel like a swift kick to the gut. Yet rather than evict those comments to the black hole of cyberspace, I tend to let even the most wince-inducing through. I find that whenever “coping with comments” comes up as a topic in blogging circles, promotion of the delete button is the most resounding recommendation — which left me wondering, why don’t I just do that?
Sitting down to reflect on this choice I’ve made in my blogging and business life was interesting, and I thought I’d share the results with y’all. One thing I want to emphasize for any fellow bloggers that might be reading this is that I don’t judge you in the slightest if you make a different choice in this department than I do.
Why I Don’t Delete
1. Limiting speech is a slippery slope.
I never really valued free speech until I lived in a country without it. I mean really valued it. Living in Thailand, a country where lèse-majesté laws reign, where single moms can go to jail for Facebook posts, where men can be imprisoned for a joke about the King’s beloved pet, and where ambassadors can be investigating for raising concerns over such laws, has made me grateful for the basic human right to speak one’s mind in a way that seeps through every cell in my body — even when it seems some people use it in ridiculous ways.
In this current US election cycle, when so many are rolling their eyes at the opinionated outbursts of their friends and the madness that is the media news cycle, I’m the one with my hands up in the air praising the fact that even that weird kid that used to sit behind you in homeroom can share his looney tunes political views without fear of persecution. Go on Billy Bob, tell me more about your crackpot conspiracy theories! Really go into detail about that faked moon landing! If I see someone go off on a particularly hateful rant, well, that’s a gray area for sure, but I try to remain grateful for the heads up never to willingly take a seat next to that person should we find ourselves on the same bus.
I want Alex in Wanderland to be a place where everyone had a voice, even if it’s one that I disagree with — after all, I love a good debate! Some people lack tact. Some people are just plain wrong. That doesn’t mean they should be silenced, even if it does leave me wincing or wound up.
2. It’s good practice for real life.
Silencing our critics doesn’t make them go away.
When someone is rude to me in person or online, I try to remember that they might be having the absolute worst day of their life — of course, they might also be an asshole, but thinking that doesn’t really help me handle the situation with grace. Maybe they’ve had a terrible day. Maybe they’ve lost someone they love very much and they’re hurting. Maybe they’ve been dealt a million bad hands and today was just the final straw. This story of a comedian’s clash with her harshest troll stuck with me for a long time after reading.
You may be able to delete blog comments, but firsthand experience has taught me you can’t delete rude people in front of you at the checkout line at Target. Responding with humor, compassion or honesty to rude blog commenters? It can be great practice for being a diplomatic person in your real life.
3. You can address rumors head on.
As a blogger, I’m always afraid that if one person wrote it, a hundred are thinking it. Hence, I like the chance to address criticism directly, and share my perspective. When a reader complains that I’m a sell out, I’m spoiled, I’m narcissistic, I’m racist, or any of the many painful accusations that has been lobbed my way in the comments, it hurts. But in a strange way, I’m grateful they’ve voiced their allegations — because I can’t respond to a thought in someone’s head, or a rumor whispered behind my back.
Even when I know claims like the ones I just rattled off aren’t true, I appreciate the reminder to stop and reflect on whether or not I’m misrepresenting myself in some way. Maybe it’s not actually about me at all — maybe that reader is bringing their own biases, excuses and issues to the table — but it never hurts to pause and parse how you are portraying yourself to the world.
4. Blogging is a conversation.
At least that’s my favorite aspect of it. Guys, my mind has been cracked wide open a million times by the new perspectives readers bring to the table! And I feel humbled by having a relatively large platform with which to share mine.
The comments section is where I can really get to the heart of things that matter to me. Of course I hope that the people around me will adopt some of the ideas I share here, especially regarding important issues like responsible tourism. But if I strongly believe X and the person in front of me strongly believes Y, I don’t have even a shot at converting them to my ideas if I don’t take the time to see and understand theirs first. “Why does this person feel this way?” can be a powerful question to ask yourself.
If someone criticizes an idea I have about how to travel responsibly, I try to think of it as an opportunity: a chance to figure out why that solution didn’t fit that person, and maybe get to the heart of how we can make more wide-spread societal change. Stopping that flow of conversation means stopping that flow of ideas.
When I Do Delete
Every blogger has to decide where to draw the line. Personally, I’ll let through personal attacks, criticisms, and petty taunts for the reasons listed above, but I quickly hit the eject button on posts that are (a) sexual harassing in nature — my readers don’t need to be made uncomfortable by reading that — or (b) are cruel to my family, friends or readers — they aren’t the ones who put their lives into pixels for public consumption.
Threats are an obvious exception to any free speech policies, and I wish social media sites would be stricter about regulating them and law enforcement would take them more seriously.
And How To Deal
I sincerely hope it comes as a shock to no one that I am not perfect! Sometimes I respond snappily, sometimes I’m less than gracious, and sometimes I post a screenshot on my personal Facebook with a self-deprecating caption, and let my friends’ giggles ease the sting of a particularly cutting comment… like when someone wrote that this site was the blog version of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and I was losing focus. Serious burn! But in general, this is what I aim for:
“When they go low, we go high.” — Michelle Obama
Responding with humor
If someone straight up leaves a comment that says “you’re an idiot,” obviously there’s little to reflect upon or learn from a comment like that. Yet, going back to reason one listed above, I still don’t like to delete. So typically, in this case, I deflect back to humor. As my friend Angie says, “gee, let me get you a refund on that free content you hated!” Often times, I think trolls are just looking to pick a fight — and so by coming back with a lighthearted laugh, you’re actually really sticking it to them while still getting to enjoy the view from the high road.
Responding with love
Coming back with love is exactly what I aim for — and very often fail at — when responding to comments that burn me. Normally I don’t feel this blog is the appropriate outlet for partisan politics, but this response from Senator Corey Booker to a very famous critic is too relevant not to share.
Because I’m fairly outspoken about my passion for sustainability and the environment, I get a lot of critiques from those who feel I’m not green enough. While I’m frustrated by those comments sometimes, I try to remind myself that this person who has just hurt my feelings and I share the same root beliefs that have caused them to criticize me in what I feel is an overly harsh manner, we are just at different places in our journeys or focusing on different aspects. So I respond with respect and love, and you know what? They often come back and meet right back and meet me with it.
Responding with honesty
I’m not afraid to let someone know when they have hurt my feelings when they’ve been harsh — I’m not made of teflon, after all, and it can be easy for some people to forget that there’s a human being behind the screen.
This also circles back to the point I made above about reflecting on how you’ve represented yourself. When I realized I was receiving multiple comments that bitterly pointed out my “perfect family” (ha ha) or accused me of bragging about “my perfect childhood” (lol), it was a wake up call that I wasn’t really painting an accurate picture of a past that was yes, privileged, but also at times extremely painful. It prompted me to write one of my most raw posts ever, in which I opened up as much as I could while still respecting my family’s privacy — and it was a cathartic, healing process I’m grateful for.
Responding with reflection
It’s easy to write critics off as “haters” but it’s hard to look in the mirror and realize that maybe you do have some room for improvement. When a commenter last year criticized that my blog had changed and I was doing too many sponsored hotel stays, I gently pointed out that it had been a full six months since I’d last stayed in a comped hotel room, and politely directed her to the many paid-out-of-my-own-pocket hostels I’d reviewed in the interim. Yet when another commenter called me out for using insensitive language in describing a place I didn’t enjoy or feel particularly safe in, I conceded that I’d been harsh and thanked her for reminding me to use more diplomatic wording in the future.
Responding with facts
When a commenter makes a factually incorrect — and borderline hateful — statement on a post about voting abroad or when a commenter asserts that young backpackers make up the majority of sex tourists (LOL FOREVER) on a post about Sihanoukville, I try to keep a level head and simply respond with factual data. Don’t be afraid to cite sources! If someone really can’t hear reality, you have to just walk away. Don’t fall into this trap.
Opinions are harder to defend. Anytime I don’t trip over myself falling in love with a place — Vietnam and Guatemala come to mind — I get some flack ranging from subtle to sledge-hammer in the comments. In those cases, all I can do is reiterate that I’m relaying my personal experience, and that’s all I have to share.
Responding with silence
Sometimes, it’s best to leave it to your community. When one reader insisted on relentlessly criticizing my beloved dog in the comments during a recent series on traveling with your pet, I was rattled, but found myself really touched by how many of my readers jumped in — not to be cruel or gang up on the original commenter, but rather to tell me how much they were enjoying the series, how insanely adorable they think Tucker is, and to give their two cents that in their opinions, pet travel is a topic that is very relevant for a travel blog. A year prior, when another reader left me pondering the very nature of blogging by telling me my opinion was worthless, over a hundred fellow travel addicts weighed in to give me a virtual “chin up!” And years prior to that, when a reader accused me of being a liar and insisted I was using stock photography, one of the prominent editors I was freelancing for at the time stepped in to defend me.
Personally, I do like to reply personally as well, but if you’re taken aback by a harsh comment, don’t be surprised if your readers rush to defend you first!
I’m certainly not saying my way is the high way. But if you’re a new blogger hearing a chorus of experts telling you to delete with abandon anyone who gives you a bit of grief, I’m just here to offer one humble, dissenting opinion. Speaking of opinions? When you’re taking in so many from what is hopefully a large, passionate community, remember to give appropriate weight to outside ones. I really do deeply value listening to others’ viewpoints, because that is how ideas are spread and I always want the same courtesy extended to me. But I remember that when it comes to decisions about my blog and business, my own vote has to weigh the heaviest.
What do you say, friends? How do you deal with criticism both online and in person?
This was such an interesting post! I like your method of deleting or not, and I usually do just because I’m younger and honestly very uncomfortable with strangers critiquing my life. Just so you know, you are my favorite blogger and I look forward to every post, photo, and word you share!
I think that’s totally understandable, Cate! I think a thick skin develops with age… and if it never does, that’s okay too. Just keep writing!
Love this post! Especially as a travel blogger, it’s important to be open to other ideas that different from your own, and this is a great example of you showing that can apply to the digital space too. Your point about readers coming to your defense is so true- you’ve built a loyal audience and I’m sure it’s much appreciated to have a cheering section on days that are a bit tough, comment-wise. Keep it up!
It does — especially because they are so cool and level-headed even when they are defending me, too. I love that we can all keep things so civilized around here!
I have been reading you almost from the early days and have always loved your work – but this post makes me respect you even more as a human being. Your comment on free speech is so on point, I read it three times. My (metaphorical) hat is off to you!
Thank you Trish, that’s so kind! I can totally understand how easy it is to take free speech for granted when you’re sick of hearing the opinions of your nutjob acquaintances, but when you really step back and see what the world looks like without it… it’s scary.
Maybe it sounds a little bit twisted, but I look forward to the day I start receiving negative comments ha! It means you’re shaking things up and forcing others to look at ideas and viewpoints other than what they’re used to.
A thick skin is necessary, but like you said, you have your readers to back you up!
They do say it’s a sign of success! I suppose that is true, in a way 🙂
This is a wonderfully insightful post that covers everything comment-related I could’ve thought of! I definitely considered the free speech aspect before, and I always tried responding politely to the “trolls”…. and you know what I noticed? They never responded! Not even once, so far. So I decided I don’t want to spend energy responding to rude comments anymore. Then again, I suppose each comment is different, and therefore deserves a different reaction.
Actually, I have had quite a few people who left negative comments come back and respond to me after I replied! I am sometimes frustrated that the ones I want to hear from don’t reply after I’ve spent so much time crafting a response, but what can you do 🙂
That’s great! I was thinking about it and I still think it’s good to respond nevertheless, because a lot of people love reading the comment section, might as well entertain them a little, lol!
That’s another reason, for sure! 🙂
That was such a thoughtful post! I really appreciate it when people stand up for free speech even when it can be a bit painful to read: deleting really feels like censorship when it is too readily used.
Also as a person who enjoys to dig into human psychology one of the most sobering things I have learned about non-constructive and mean criticism/dissing is that the thoughts of others about you say more about them than about you. It’s called projecting and it takes a lot of self-control and awareness to avoid it: in short it means that if people feel that you somehow threaten their views, personality, etc, they invent a way to preserve their own peace and direct their negative feelings back at you: for example if they feel insecure by reading about your lifestyle they would try to convince themselves that you are fake or incompetent or (insert mean comment here). So yes: ignoring, humor, kindness and preserving your own peace of mind are really the best ways to respond.
What a fascinating comment, Tina! I’ve definitely sensed what you so eloquently expressed here — that often times, a cruel comment is a justification to the person who left it for why they couldn’t do XYZ that you have done.
I did not think about that (projection), it’s amazing!
I do always try to think about their motive. Usually I think that maybe they had a bad day or something.
As someone who has started writing online more often, it was great to read your perspective on the online world (and include some awesome articles about trolling).
I repost links to my articles in Reddit and sometimes the response isn’t at all positive. It makes me anxious every time I see a new comment and I always expect to read the worst.
I think I need to develop a thicker skin for the online world, and your blog piece has certainly helped me re-frame things in my mind about stepping back and viewing it in a different light.
Oh yes, Reddit can be cruel! I actually thought it wasn’t allowed to post your own links there — have you had any issues with that? Is it a good traffic driver?
Well, I don’t say “hey this is my link check it out guys”. I just post the link in relevant groups sometimes with just the post title and other times with a question. It’s my number one traffic source at the moment. I’m only in my third month of blogging and I have two posts that are almost on 1000 views thanks to Reddit referrals.
Cool thanks for the info! Maybe I’ll give it a try 🙂
Interesting post! Craig gets really annoyed at me for ‘feeding the trolls’ as he calls it but when we do get the rare negative comment I like to address it. We have had a fair bit of positive and negative attention on our Cuba posts, why? Because I didn’t love the trip. It’s dangerous not to be transparent and only sell the paradise side of travelling. We learn from critics too!
Oh man, yes. Some of my most relentless negative comments have come from my Vietnam posts, another place I didn’t really love. I think the hardest part for me is feeling misinterpreted or misunderstood — just because I personally didn’t love Vietnam doesn’t mean I’m bashing its people or am telling others not to go! As a professional communicator, it burns to feel you aren’t doing your job effectively.
I’ve been a long-time fan of your blog. I love how “real” you are–about the highs and lows of being on the road. Your travel posts are amazing, but what I love most about you is that, through your blog, we get to know YOU and not just the places you feature. That takes courage! So yes, hats off to you and please don’t stop writing 🙂
I’m glad these posts are well received! It’s fun for me to know I have a little more wiggle room in topics I can write about here — and that you guys will enjoy.
Your an idiot
Just kidding I thought it would be funny to see what response I got
But seriously I enjoyed reading this thanks for sharing
I laughed out loud when I read this! I did wonder if this post might incite a few wind up comments 😛
I love it how you write such honest and personals posts!
I never understood why people spend their time typing a mean and not well reasoned comment… That’s probably the bad part of having such a big Wanderland-community that there will be a small % of people with less then good intentions.
In Dutch we have a saying “if you don’t do anything, you can’t do anything wrong”, so just keep doing what you do: writing great, honest and interestings posts about a lot of things related to travel.
Love that saying! A good reminder that big risks have big rewards 🙂
I love this post. I enjoy reading all your blogpost but definetly this one is a topic worth a mention. What I enjoyed the most about your post is your open mindedness. I would be the type to delete negative comments and definetly not respond no matter the degree of negativity. Yet after reading your post, i am giving it a second thought. I like the idea of allowing people to have a voice, yes… to a certain extent like you say. Your reasoning is fair and open.
a very interesting and insightful post. Thanks heaps. xx
Thanks for reading — and weighing in! Might be fun to challenge yourself to replying instead of deleting next time 🙂
Alex, you’ve blown my mind wide open! I’m a complete newbie in the blogging world, as in, I’m yet to even publish my first post. I won’t lie, one of my biggest fears about posting is the judgement which will no doubt follow. I’ve been trying to overcome my fear by scrolling the ‘inspirational quotes’ section of Pinterest (I know, lol!)and sure it helps but your post has just offered up a totally new perspective for me. I think I’ll print this post off to pin above my laptop for some reassurance in times of need. Order for 1 x thick skin, please! THANK YOU!
I’d be honored to sit on your desk 🙂
This was a really interesting read. It makes me cringe just to think about so many unpleasant messages arriving in my inbox – you’re brave to face them! Also: for me personally, there can never be enough dog stories.
DARN RIGHT THERE CAN’T! 😀 Glad to hear that because if all goes well there will be more headed your way soon!
Man, I have been learning how to deal with (real-life) criticism from the first time somebody they didn’t like the part in my hair in grade school. I still don’t think I’m fabulous at it, but you’ve outlined a lot of really good points here. I think the one thing I loved most is how it makes a conversation. That’s why I get back into blogging!
Do you remember your first negative comment? I know some people say they celebrate it. 😉
Hmmmm I’d have to think back — but I know I wasn’t celebrating! Ha. I think I was probably weeping in a corner somewhere…
Like I said, pet travel is totally relevant to a travel blog. It’s writing multiple posts as your dog that’s cheesy AF.
Jen, Alex’s posts from Tucker’s POV aren’t my favourites either (sorry Alex!) but I know that a lot of other people love them – I just skim over the text and enjoy the photos! I would never dream of leaving bitchy comments about how Tucker is “ugly as sin”, which serve…what purpose exactly?
You’ve made your point (although your message is somewhat diluted by your attitude [see the above quote from one of your comments]) and I don’t fully understand why you’ve continued to do so on multiple posts. You’re clearly a regular reader, so why not just accept that there are some posts on here that you don’t love and move on with enjoying the rest of the content?
And Kat, no offense taken — Tucker and I think our collaborations are hilarious and that’s enough for us ?
Jen, I am sincerely glad that you’re still reading despite not liking my very occasional entry in the Tucker’s Tails series. However, you really didn’t say that “pet travel is totally relevant to a travel blog.” You said a lot of mean and rude things instead. Tone goes a long way! I’m always open to feedback but I do believe that here, as in most places in life, you catch more flies with honey and your opinions will always be more graciously received if they are delivered politely.
That’s exactly what I said in the last comment..
Jen, I really don’t want to pick on you here, but since you seem to think you said nothing wrong… your first comment was “That dog is ugly as sin.” Your next comment was “Sorry for expecting travel posts out of a travel blog… The 37 photos of your dog belong on facebook.” After many people called you out for being rude, you wrote “I didn’t say that tips on traveling with a pet were irrelevant, but narrating as your dog on top of the plethora of photos of him is too cheesy to stand.”
However, when I DID write a full post on traveling to San Diego with a dog, you commented “Seriously though… enough with the dog. No one cares.” There is a pretty massive difference between that and “pet travel is totally relevant to a travel blog.” Saying no one cares is, in fact, kind of the opposite of that. You are more than welcome to share your thoughts here on what kind of content you enjoy, but don’t be surprised if people react with shock to shocking comments that refer to adorable beloved pets as ugly 🙂
I love Tucker. Really mean things people can say.
There’s always haters in the mix CRITICIZING every move, nothing seems right.
In my office, no matter how good you do, a few people will still talk bad about you.
I just ignore these people and talk to them less.
That sounds like a good tactic 🙂 Rise above!
Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Pet travel as a whole can be informative but numerous photos of one dog are not.
I love reading your posts about blogging :p I’m kind of in the same boat with which comments I delete. They tend to be either racist or sexual. I actually don’t have that many Indian male readers percentage wise, but the ones I do have are very vocal and often say pervy things or really racist things about other Indians or what they call anti-nationals… complicated stuff I won’t get into, but I delete it all! I don’t want to give them a platform to say that stuff. I actually really have to moderate my Facebook page as well because fights start – I ban at least 1 person a week 🙁 It’s always stuff me and my blog have nothing to do with though.. argh!
Yeah, racist comments are a really gray area where I waver. I don’t want to give people a platform for hate speech but I also know that deleting those sentiments doesn’t make them go away and sometimes I’d like the opportunity to respond. It’s not easy making those calls! And man, I’m going to start hanging on your Facebook more often — it sounds more fun than mine 😛
Great post, Alex. My blog serves such a tiny niche (working in tv with a bit of travel) that I’m yet to get a proper “hate” comment… I’ve been bracing myself for years!
I always think the hate comments are born out of a place of jealousy — unless they really don’t like the way the content is presented… but then, why are you reading and bothering to comment?
Also, nice photo of Barista Parlor. 🙂
Barista Parlor, my favorite Nashville office 🙂 While I agree that some percentage of not nice comments come from jealousy, I think there is a wide range of motivations people might have for leaving them. We humans are pretty complicated creatures after all!
Just wanted to say that I love your posts. They might not all pertain to me and I might not agree with them all, but they are all well thought out and worth reading. I think a lot of people read blogs like its a newspaper full of facts and forget it’s an opinion. I’ve been called “The reason people hate Americans” for simply listing a few things I thought were funny in different countries like paying to use a public restroom, etc. It’s amazing how heated and mean people get when they don’t agree with you. Keep your head up and keep doing what your doing. You inspire people like me every day!
Oh yes, expressing shock, delight or disapproval of anything you encounter on your international travels can be a minefield for potential criticism. My years of blogging about my international travels have certainly taught me to be diplomatic!
For what it’s worth, I have always found your blog to be extremely well-written and I’m always impressed with how thoughtful your posts are. I often feel disappointed with travel blogs that focus on knee-jerk reactions to travel experiences or skip over the internal struggles and crises that we often face while traveling. This post is just another example of the humility and grace you have always put into your blog, and I just wanted you to know that there are many of us out here who appreciate that. Good luck and congratulations on producing such excellent content. Love, your loyal and avid reader, Blayne.
You are so sweet Blayne, thank you for putting a smile on my face with this comment 🙂
So many thoughts! First of all, how dare Sir Tuck be disrespected. His agent will issuing a press release shortly.
But really, I love that you don’t delete (most) mean comments – you’ve sited strong reasons for doing so and as my little page/social continues to grow, I told myself early on that I would not delete comments for largely the same reasons (respecting others free speech and allowing honest conversation.) Also, I don’t think “mean comments” are “bad comments.” Having a voice in your writing means that some people will love you… and some will think you’re an asshole. The way I see it, it’s not important to be liked by everyone all the time or (in this case) to moderate your comments to make it look like you’re liked by everyone all the time (so boring.) Taking risks in your writing and putting yourself into your writing may be divisive at times but is way more interesting than the alternative. Sense of humor and compassion, I think is key when dealing with others opinions and something I know you are not in anyway short of… Great post, girl, always inspiring
Thank you my dear! Learning to be diplomatic in writing has allowed me to share a lot of stories I might otherwise be too afraid of hurt feelings to share. It’s definitely an important tool for writers who want to bare all — and still have friends at the end of the day 😉
Hi my first visit here you can thank Diane from Oui In France https://ouiinfrance.com/ for that and have to say I am glad I came for visit I also rarely delete nasty comments but then I also rarely get nasty comments but I am a believer that everyone has a right to their own opinion and you all don’t have to agree with me because I am also entitled to my own opinion.
I will indeed have to thank Diane, did she link to me recently? Glad you stopped by!
Fellow travel lover here. For reference, I used to keep an somewhat active blog that chronicled my daily adventures with my Labrador Retrievers (which has now grown into a family of 2 labs, 2 Danes, and 1 GSD/Greyhound mix). But, my followers were fairly sparse and I didn’t keep up the blog for long – it was more for personal reference and storytelling, not for the pure intent of public consumption.
All that being said, I was spared negative comments but have seen some really nasty ones on a fair amount of blogs over the years (more in the mommy blog realm). People can be incredibly mean-spirited and just plain rude. As you have of course developed a loyal following, some people will like some content more than others, or some viewpoints less than others, etc., but there’s always a good way to dialogue about it – and I appreciate your rhetoric on how to deal. Similar to why I might listen to NPR or BBC – because the content makes me THINK – not that I AGREE with all of it.
I think your guidelines on approving comments is sound; that way, people who really do have something to say (even if they don’t say it nicely) will at least be saying it to “your face” (on your blog) rather than at an alternative site and talking “behind your back.” At least that way, your readers can stick up for you and flood you with positive comments! 😉
As someone who has a well-paid desk job that’s light on the travel schedule, I read your blog for two reasons: (1) good ideas for later when I do take my sporadic vacations, and (2) I appreciate keeping up with your adventures, both personal and professional. I don’t read your blog because I’m planning on metaphorically sailing around the world, but I pick up what is relevant and/or interesting to me and go with it. Some content I have burned into my brain, other content, not so much because it’s not 100% relevant to me and I can’t see myself doing it in the future; but that’s not to say that I haven’t found every single post of yours interesting and worthwhile of occupying space on the internet. 🙂
Please keep on rockin’ just like you are – I love your learning + growth mindset and hope that others can learn from it, rather than just spend time trying to take you down or dim your light. Just shine brighter instead. 😉
(P.S. – I think your responses have been spot-on to the reader who insists on being inflammatory; but it’s also a good idea to just let it rest. People like that get bored if they aren’t getting a rise out of you, and they don’t represent 99% of your readers, so best to just start disengaging.)
Peace, love, happiness, good karma, etc., etc. –
Um first of all, five dogs? You are living my dream, girl! Thank you so much for all the good vibes you blasted out here — I’m basking in them! xo
I could never write a mean thing about your blog Alex! LOL I always thought you have dealt with criticism well and I enjoyed reading this post 🙂
Thanks Erin! I have actually received that compliment a couple times and it’s a nice reminder that EVERYONE sees my replies, so it’s extra incentive to take the high road ha ha.
Hi Alex! I have been quietly reading your blog for about three years now. I enjoy the places you’ve seen and the beautiful photography, and I’ve gotten some good general travel advice. I especially like your posts about your travels in the U.S. I think you’ve matured in your “travel person” (for lack of a better term) over the last couple of years. When I first started reading you, you struck me as kind of a wild party girl on your travels, but not spoiled as you say some of your critics have mentioned. I never made a comment to you, but I stopped reading you for a while because, well, who needs “wild party girl?” In the past year, since you’ve taken active steps to really put the focus on your blog as a real business, the party girl stuff seems to have ebbed, and improved your blog. Much better.
“Travel persona” was what I meant to say. I hate it when my iPAD thinks for me.
Hey there! So glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog at the moment. And I have lots of great USA posts coming up! Can’t promise there won’t be some wild party stuff popping up from time to time, however 😛
Such a wonderful post, Alex!! Your writing is so engaging and I love that you tackle the sometimes tough topics like this one. Your blog is a constant source of inspiration – of course for world traveling, but also for how to be a better blogger, traveler, and person 🙂
ps – my Tucker pup and I agree (and will tell anyone who doesn’t!) that your Tucker is one FINE CANINE!
Greatest dog naming skills ever, Emily! 😛 High five from this Tucker mama coming at ya!
Love this! And I love how much thought you’ve put into how you choose to respond.
Personally I work on the basis that not every post on any blog will be of equal interest to me, and I just skip the ones that aren’t – why anyone would post negative comments on ones that don’t appeal to them is baffling to me. But well done for dealing with them with such grace 🙂
PS Tucker is adorbs
Yeah, I mean purely from a time management point of view it is hard for me to imagine as well, ha ha.
This is a fantastic post. Not only your views on free speech, but the helpful advice on how to handle the negative comments that inevitably show up (though I certainly hope that they are not common) when you open your life up to people and their judgements.
I enjoy your blog, though I don’t comment much, and look forward to reading more content as your continue to live your life the way you want to.
Thank you so much Ree — that really means a lot to me! <3
I am still waiting for that first horrible comment to take away the wind from my wings or how does that saying go (is that even something one can say? Whatever, it is 2am where I´m at :-)), but my blog is also fairly new. I think it is incredibly cute when your readers defend you in front of haters! That is a dream come true. Good luck!
Thanks Karin! Wishing you lots of constructive and kind comments on your blogging career!
Ugh Alex with every post I love you more and more! Your kindness shines through in all your posts. Keep it up! Also, if you ever visit South Africa you have a place to stay:) Or you could just move here so we could be best friends. Either way.
Ha! Love this comment 🙂 Someday, I definitely will! (Visit, anyway. Can’t promise about the moving.)
I think another reason you don’t get a lot of nasty remarks is that your blogging and social media isn’t “showy”. I never feel like you are bragging about your travels, you’re just very genuine and personable. You seem really happy to share as much info with us as possible so we can have a similar experience. I really like that approach, it’s like a friend sharing info with me about their trip.
This comment made me so happy, Alli, I read it three times. You couldn’t give me a bigger compliment! Thank you <3
This is an excellent post! I have so much respect for the way you handle mean comments. It’s so easy to stoop to someone else’s level and lash out, but it’s much more rewarding to continue to be a good person and deal with them maturely, even when they don’t seem to merit it.
Like I said, good practice for real life 🙂
Very interesting article, and I like your approach!
Sadly, some bloggers even delete corrective comments. For instance, just a couple of days ago, I posted a comment to a certain blog. The blog owner later replied, “You misquoted me,” and then made another comment. Well, the blog owner was WRONG. I told her that I had not misquoted her, pointing out that I had quoted another poster instead and had clearly included his name to indicate that fact. Apparently the blog owner didn’t even bother to really read what I wrote, but just jumped to the mistaken conclusion that I had misquoted her.
Well, guess what? She then deleted both of our posts!!! I made another post asking why she deleted our comments, and then she e-mailed me and said that she did so because she didn’t feel the posts added anything to the discussion.
EXCUSE me? I think that’s extremely RUDE!! Instead of saying, “I’m sorry for accusing you of misquoting me–I goofed up” and thanking me for correcting her, she just deletes my post without any explanation.
Personally, I think the real reason she deleted the posts is that she was embarrassed by her mistake and wanted to pretend that it never happened. Well, I sure won’t be posting any more comments to her blog. 😛 In fact, I’m surprised that other people even bother.
Anyway, I’m glad that you treat those who comment on your blog posts with respect–even the mean ones. Other blog owners would do well to emulate you. 🙂
Sorry to hear about that experience Sam, it does sound frustrating! I wouldn’t be happy if someone deleted a comment I spent time writing, so I don’t do it to others. Hope to see you around here more often!
Thank you, Alex.
Thanks for this! You’ve developed some great coping mechanisms, and you summed up perfectly my thoughts when you said ‘I’m always afraid that if one person wrote it, a hundred are thinking it’ I always find myself thinking that and getting worried about it, but the positive spin that it gives you a chance to defend yourself is spot on, you’re right! 🙂
Exactly! I want the opportunity to address rumors head on. It’s almost a blessing when someone says it to your face!
I would say blog comments are like feedbacks, views and opinion. I sympathize with you it is not easy handling blog comments but you have handle it well. I like how you explain that blogging is conversational. I always believe it is not what you say but how you say it matters. Your tone of voice and also your way of writing matter most. Keep it up. God bless.
Thanks Mike. I definitely try to keep it an open, two-way conversation around here. Thanks for reading!
This is a great post. I actually googled why don’t bloggers delete criticism and you have such good reasons, this is going to help me a lot. It’s painful to read a post about a new sweater or painting your doors black from a blogger you have been reading for years (I get attached to some of these people!) and some comment is stupid hateful. Stop it! I just want to have fun!! But this is real life and free speech is real. And developing skills for nice debate is certainly valuable.
I’ve never lived in another country but right now I live and work in a very liberal west coast city. Since I have come to realize in some ways I’m a deplorable Catholic clinger I won’t open my mouth at work, I’ve seen from others in our minority it’s a disaster. So, I think I get a tiny microscopic taste of not having free speech.
Now I’m going back and look at the rest of the blog, my family and I are going to northern Italy in April for a month, even if you haven’t been there, I always need some travel ideas and tips. And cute dog.
Hey Nancy! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I know what you mean about feeling defensive of the bloggers you grow to love — I feel the same when I see the harsh criticism some of them receive!
Unfortunately I have yet to visit Italy but you’ll find plenty of general travel goodness around these parts 🙂 Welcome to Wanderland!
Just wanted to let you know there is a typo in the title for #4 🙂
Love your site!
Hey Rachel! Sorry if I’m being dense, but I don’t see the typo! Enlighten me? 🙂 It is late on this side of the world!
wow, maybe i should proofread my comments. I meant #3.
3. You can addressing rumors head on.
3. You can address rumors head on.
Ah, thank you Rachel! Off to correct that now 🙂
Your decision to allow all types of comments – minus the really inappropriate ones – go through is nice to see. I agree with your thought about if one wrote it, many may be thinking it and having a little reminder or wakeup call once in a while. Sometimes, those negative comments are actually better because you can learn to improve based on them. You go girl!
Thanks Jojo! It is always interesting to read the perspectives of other bloggers on this!
Your writing is so engaging and I love that you tackle the sometimes tough topics like this one. Your blog is a constant source of inspiration – of course for world traveling, but also for how to be a better blogger, traveler, and person ????
I’m blushing, Shauna! Thank you. I recently talked about this blog post at a conference I spoke at. It was good to go back and re-read!