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Responding to reader comments?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Peytons place, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. Peytons place

    Peytons place Member

    Admittedly, I am no fan of reader comments on stories, period, but the paper I work for allows it, and that's fine. However, we have some readers who like to leave pretty rude comments on my stuff, which are generally opinion pieces. It's not usually offensive, just stuff like "you're a moron, and idiot, ugly, fat," whatever. It does get frustrating to me, and I'm wondering if I should respond in the comments section, or just ignore it?

    I wouldn't say anything rude back, maybe "thanks for reading, and not everyone has to agree on everything" or something like that. Or am I just being too thin-skinned by letting it get to me? I guess a part of me wants to let them know it's silly to make personal attacks based on a difference of opinion, but not sure that engaging them is the best course of action.

    Thanks in advance for any input.
     
  2. Unless you're disputing a fact, I'd stay away from it.
    Like if someone is writing that you have something factually incorrect in your story and it's not, go ahead and make that clarification. You don't want that idea to fester for others to accept as truth.
    But if it's just someone calling names, there's absolutely no point to engage. If someone's a big enough idiot to write that kind of stuff, you're never going to create a healthy exchange with them.
     
  3. canucklehead

    canucklehead Member

    If I'm not mistaken someone once posted on this board a clever response to idiots who send dumb emails. Something like ' Thanks for your response to my column. It's always nice to get feedback from readers. Have a nice day' or something of that nature. If the idiot writes again, send them the exact same response to drive them nuts. It gives them no indication that you've actually read their email.
     
  4. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    You can never win against anonymous Internet assholes, at least not in their eyes.

    It's not worth trying.
     
  5. bumpy mcgee

    bumpy mcgee Well-Known Member

    I would find out if your paper has a policy regarding off-topic personal attack posts.
    A lot of papers do and will yank any posts that turn into an insult war.
    If your paper does, or even if it doesn't, might be time to find someone to bravely monitor posts.
     
  6. jlee

    jlee Active Member

    Sure, ask a professional question to a bunch of fat, idiotic Obama minions parading as journalists instead of talking to the REAL people. Why don't you do a story on all the bad drivers around town, huh? They're everywhere, and I haven't read ANYTHING about it!! Not one headline!!!!!! I got cut off yesterday interview me. There you go there is a story look at me look at me look at me lookatmelookatmelookatme
     
  7. jimmydangles

    jimmydangles Member

    Well played.
     
  8. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    Don't do it. Someone needs to post the West Wing/Josh message board stuff here.
     
  9. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    We had a reporter at our sister paper get banned from responding to comments — even those made on his own blog — because he'd argue with the the posters, even getting into name-calling matches with them.
     
  10. Peytons place

    Peytons place Member

    Now that made me laugh. Thanks.

    I definitely don't want to get in some argument about who's dumber, fatter, uglier on my paper's Web site, especially considering I actually have my real name attached to what I write, as opposed to my spiteful commenter. I just didn't know if responding would be like saying "hey, I'm paying attention, and I'm not backing down," to him, or just create something even worse.
     
  11. doogie448

    doogie448 Member

    One of the reporters I respect the most said never get involved in the comment stream. I follow that advice to the letter. Some of the others at my joint don't and they seem to put their foot in their mouth more often then not. I'd say she hit that one on the head.
     
  12. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    Find the server in the building that allows you to post comments on your stories. Then beat it to death with a sledge hammer.
     
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