Responding to Offending Blog Posts: The Mirror up to Nature

Responding to Offending Blog Posts: The Mirror up to Nature

Before you get offended by someone’s blogging, you need to ask yourself three things:

1. Is this post even about me/us?

“It’s a feature of our age that if you write a work of fiction,
everyone assumes that the people and events in it are disguised
biography — but if you write your biography, it’s equally assumed
you’re lying your head off.” —Margaret Atwood

Good bloggers write from experience, but—for the love of good ideas—not every good blog post is a secret revelation of a writer’s life!  And before you think the following post was inspired by any recent event or my work as a Guru, please reread the above. What I have done, as they do in many works inspired by reality, is taken the experiences of many, many, many others people and events, edited, combined, and omitted to protect anonymity but preserve the meaning.

2. Is there any truth to this post?

If the answers to both of the above are clear “yes” answers, silencing the blogger is only treating a symptom.  The person writing about the problem is only holding a “mirror up to nature”, so to speak.  If you want to change something, don’t ask the blogger to change how he or she sees the world; change the reality that he or she is blogging.  What do you accomplish by pulling a post?  The truth is already out there.  The reality of bad customer service, poor morale, a ruined friendship, or whatever, still exists.  Why not fix the underlying problem?

3. Is this post completely untrue?

Consider the work and reputation of the person posting it.  If the blogger’s work seems to be credible, you may want to follow-up to set the record straight.  (Tip: Sometimes it’s worthwhile to submit corrections privately to the blogger and allow time to him/her to self-correct instead of posting publicly. It allows both of you to save face.)  However, if the blogger has a reputation for distorting facts or being disgruntled, it may not be worth your time to intervene.  You will probably get nowhere with the blogger, and most readers will probably disregard whatever he or she has to say anyway.

Image Credit: writing… by envina

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This post was written by:

Nikki Massaro Kauffman

Nikki Massaro Kauffman - who has written 42 posts on .eduGuru

Nikki is a multimedia specialist with Penn State's World Campus Learning Design unit, creating and editing multimedia for online courses.

Previously, she was technology training coordinator with the Penn State University Libraries, responsible for technology training offered in the Libraries' 20+ departments and 30+ library locations.  

Over the years, she's been she served as an interim associate director of instructional technology and multimedia, a programmer, a database specialist, a Microsoft Certified Master Instructor, a continuing education instructor for seniors and adults with disabilities, and a high school English and communications technology teacher.  

Her interests are in the areas where technology, training, and communication intersect.  She holds degrees in both computer science and in education.  She is also an insomniac and an extreme extrovert with an indiscriminate love of language (including expletives).

8 Responses to “Responding to Offending Blog Posts: The Mirror up to Nature”

  1. Avatar image
    Karlyn Morissette Says:

    Great post Nikki! Spot on.


  2. Avatar image
    Ann White Says:

    The Air Force came up with a great flow chart on how to deal with disgruntled bloggers:


  3. Avatar image
    Heidi Cool Says:

    Well said. Many issues aren’t clearly black or white. If a post seems offensive, wrong-headed or otherwise problematic, it’s then especially important to read it carefully. Your point about knowing if the post is directed at you is particularly useful and can help us understand the context.

    For instance I just blogged, Is Flash evil? No, but Flash-based sites can be a marketing nightmare. in which I laid out some of the basic problems Flash has with SEO. I knew it might stir up some controversy among Flash developers, and I did receive one particularly negative comment. I don’t know what this commenter’s background is. But if he’s a Flash developer who excels at SEO, then it wasn’t meant for him. It was instead meant for Flash designers, many of whom are quite talented, who don’t know much about SEO and therefore don’t factor it into their site development process.

    It’s all about context and we tend to read things through the perspective of our own experience, but I think it helps to also understand the perspective of the writer and to try to react accordingly.


  4. Avatar image
    Mike Says:

    Great post! alot of times there is some truth to the post…but not always.


  5. Avatar image
    Nikki Massaro Kauffman (author) Says:

    Thanks everyone! If you are writing something worth reading (like Karlyn and Heidi), it doesn’t take long before you hit on something that hits a little too close to home.

    The question is, if it hits a nerve do you shoot the messenger o do you fix the problem?

    And when the messenger gets it all wrong (as Mike says can happen once in awhile), the tool Ann points out is a good one for when and how to take action.


  6. Avatar image
    Black Katz - flats to rent in London Says:

    You’ve got to be thick-skinned to be a blogger, otherwise you’d think that no one would be reading you anyway and what would be the point of writing?


  7. Avatar image
    Study Arts in London Says:

    I am very much glad on your thought of writing. I like…very much



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