82. How Do I Handle Inappropriate Comments?
Inappropriate comments can come in a variety of forms. The most common inappropriate comment is spam but can also be comments that use vulgar content, are unrelated to the topic at hand, or directly offend others.
The general unspoken rule is that inappropriate comments should be left alone. The social web is supposed to be one that enables open, two-way communication between parties regardless of whether the varying parties agree on a topic. Part of keeping a social web conversation “real” is allowing people to express differing opinions.
When inappropriate comments are posted, the usual reaction is a desire to delete the comment in question. Brands should resist this temptation, however, because it can actually be viewed more negatively against the brand as censorship. Instead, consider some alternative options.
Addressing inappropriate comments head-on can often “add fuel to the fire.” If someone is upset or angry or just plain out of line, responding to the comments can make things worse. Engaging the offenders in a conversation surrounding their comment essentially gives their negativity life and the brand's action becomes reactive.
Don't be tempted to respond to inappropriate comments if you feel as if the response might result in an argument or put you on the defensive. You should never feel like you have to defend your ...