Blogging Tips: How To Handle Your Haters

Good afternoon lovelies,

I have to be honest, I had no intention of writing this post for you today. It wasn’t on my schedule to do and yet, after waking up to a comment on yesterday’s post, I knew what I had to do.

I’ve ummed and arred about the way that I wanted to handle this situation. Quite often, it’s all too easy to fly off of the handles and rant about the person who dared to leave an offensive or antagonistic comment on our blog. While I generally find that the WordPress community is nothing if full of supportive, loving and wonderful people, there are unfortunately still one or two bad eggs that get through.

I don’t want to dwell too much upon this story, but I suppose now is my chance to share with you what has gone on.

It all started last year when I noticed one of my followers sharing her take on on a lot of the things that I’d written about. At first I ignored it and I was just happy that we were both talking about hot topics, but then I came to realise that these topics weren’t actually that hot. Sometimes a group of us housewife bloggers would band together and talk about the same thing, but that doesn’t make it a hot topic, that’s just a collaboration post.

Smarting a bit from this experience, I decided to take the best (albeit slightly passive-aggressive) approach and created a blog post to talk about blogging & plagiarism. It wasn’t only her that could benefit from it, I felt, maybe there were others, too. She apologised and said that she was inspired by me. I forgave her, and life moved on.

Some months later, I wrote a (now-retired) opinion post about how Greta Thunberg behaved at the UN Global Climate-Action Summit. It wasn’t exactly complimentary (but it wasn’t offensive, either) and fearing a wave of far-left haters on my blog, I decided to disable comments. I was quite new to blogging at the time and I didn’t want the backlash from that post to be my downfall. Some months later I decided that I was now sort of over that post, and so when I moved to Big, Bold & Bright, it went.

When I woke up the day after that post, there was a post waiting for me on my reader feed. She’d chewed out people (who happen to be disabled) who write about other disabled people, but then disable the comments, I knew that was aimed at me. She unfollowed me, and I unfollowed her. As far as I knew, that was going to be the end of it.

But perhaps not.

When I woke up this morning, the same user had commented on my recent experiences of my trip to the NHS after months upon months of not liking or commenting on anything. I fully understand the points she raised and the logic made complete sense. I was going to reply to her rather than disregarding her comment, but first, it was time for some catching up.

When I browsed back through her blog, I noticed a post about privileges dated June 14th, saying that someone who can write such a post has priveleges. I was sure that not so long ago I’d also written a post about being told to check my privileges as a disabled white woman who has been attacked several times. Sure enough I had.

So this was personal, and now, I concluded, she just had a vendetta against me and was following me purely out of hate. Time for her to go.

Readers, I have no issue with you disagreeing with something I’ve said, we can’t all just agree on everything. Discussion shapes change and for so long as we can have patience and understanding to explain things to those of us who “just don’t get it” (because some of us don’t sometimes), I think we can have a bright future ahead of us. I have my opinion and you will always have yours, but if we can’t treat one another with respect while we share those opinions then there’s going to be an even bigger problem going on. I’ve not since disabled comments on my posts and it comes down to “The Greta Thunberg Experience”. People are going to have opinions, and that’s okay.

After today, I’ve now blocked both her username and her IP address (which I will get onto in a moment) from every accessing my blog again. I didn’t want to have to take such drastic measures, but sometimes these things are just a necessary evil. If it was just a harsh comment, I would have resorted to option 1 on my list. As she was also pinching my ideas, I was forced to resort to options 4 and 5.

5 Tips For Handling Your Haters

As mentioned above, it is rare you will need to use these tips on WordPress. Most of the folks on this platform are truly wonderful people that I absolutely love hearing from. Just occasionally though, you will inevitably find someone who ruins the party for everyone. Take a look at these five tips below and decide which works best for you.

1. Kill Them With Kindness

This absolutely was number one on my list, and would have been my preferred go to option as I mentioned above. I firmly believe that our haters are actually deeply insecure inside, and so by understanding their fears and frustrations, you can sometimes turn an arch enemy into an ally. When I say kill them with kindness, I don’t mean to be falsely sweet to them (don’t give candy to the trolls, guys). Acknowledge them, thank them for their comments and respect their opinion. Nobody said you had to agree.

2. Leave It Be

I really like some of the tips on Brian Shim’s post . In his post, Brian suggests leaving comments up and allowing the author to expose their true personality to your audience, especially where some of your readers are likely to come to your defence. In this incidence, this was the second part of my pre-planned response to this situation. Just sometimes, your haters are super-sweet to the people they like and nobody would ever guess they could be so acid-tomgued. Don’t let them get away with it and use this opportunity to expose them. One they’ve published their comment, only you have the power to take it back down.

3. Delete It

Just as I said above, you have the final say in what comments stay or go on your blog. Whilst I strongly encourage you to leave up any comments that you don’t agree with and respectfully disagree with them in a calm and polite manner, if there is no way of having a civil discussion (or the comment is quite clearly trolling for attention), don’t hesitate to delete it. There is healthy debate, and then there are trolls. Remember, don’t feed the trolls, people.

To Be Used Only In Extreme Circumstances..

4. Block The Username

If you just have a WordPress user who is posting particularly aggressive comments on your blog, you can block them from your site by clicking ‘Comments’ on the menu, clicking the little ‘i’ beside their username and clicking block. I encourage you to only use this option for trolls and not just anyone who disagrees with you. If you routinely block readers who don’t agree with you, you risk jeopardising future potential followers, so consider this move carefully.

5. Block The IP Address

Because of the creditless idea-stealing that had been going on in the past, I decided to deploy the nuclear option. I wouldn’t have used it if she’d just disagreed with me, but in order to protect my blog, I decided I needed to deliver a final blow.

The good news is that, once you have installed a plugin, blocking an IP address is easy. The bad news is that, in order to install the plugin, I had to pay quite a bit of money.

In order to use plugins on WordPress, you need to have a ‘Business’ plan. Billed at £184 a year, blogging no longer comes cheap. It was a headache, I realised, but also a worthy investment if it meant securing my blog from outside attacks.

Once I had plugins enabled, I added IP Blacklist Cloud, which is oh so easy to add and oh so simple to use. Once installed, you can find the offending IP address (which is just above the ‘block’ button mentioned above) and add it to your blacklist. I also blacklisted the username, for absolute peace of mind. Now, not only will she be unable to comment on my blog, she won’t be able to read and gain from it, either.

So there you have it my lovelies, lesson learnt – give credit to other bloggers where it’s due! 😉

I hope you have a lovely weekend and I shall hope to see you back here on Monday.

Until next time,

Stay safe & have fun,

Helen xx

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