How To Handle Negative Comments on Food Blogging Posts
Among all of the holiday baking I did was one recipe that was very special to me.
My great-grandma's fudge. I literally have dreams about this fudge and its melt in your mouth texture as well as sinfully sweet flavor.
When I got a Christmas card this year that just so happened to have her recipe tucked away in it, my heart skipped a beat and I could not wait for the opportunity to make it!
And make it I did.
And it was pretty bad. A FAIL by every definition of the word.
Some things about it were right, but the consistency and texture were so bad it was embarrassing. I think my thermometer was not calibrated correctly, and I ended up with a hard sludge that dried into an even harder fudge.
Let me tell you what I did not do.
I did not pull up my grandma's Facebook page and leave her a scathing comment about how her recipe must be off since I followed it to a T and it still turned out disgusting.
I did not jump on Twitter and tell all my friends to never use this recipe when making fudge.
I did not write a critical blog post about a certain recipe that I had such high hopes for but that failed so badly and how everyone hated it and now all I had was the ruined pans to show for it.
(I didn't do that because my mom would kick my butt.)
I also didn't do it because I trust the source. I know grandma knows her stuff. And I know that more often then not, the error is mine.
But sadly, negative feedback is often deemed as acceptable in the food blogging world.
At least, it seems that the folks leaving comments feel that way.
I consulted some of the foodie geniuses that I am lucky enough to read and asked their opinion on foodie negative feedback.
Most agree, there is a time and place. If a recipe has flaws (significant or not) most really appreciate having that pointed out so they can make adjustments!
They also agree that you have to develop a thick skin to be a food blogger. It was discovered that people will leave bad comments/ratings based on taste alone ... something that would be impossible to make universally pleasing.
One question kept tumbling around my noggin.
What can we do to make this community more productive?
For those who have left unkind or critical comments (and will continue to do so):
1. Attempt to do it privately first. Contact the author via email or leave a comment saying you would like to talk to them privately.
2. Troubleshoot on your end. Is it possible your thermometer is not calibrated? Or that your oven heats unevenly? Or that your baking powder is bad?
Could you make the recipe again and see if you have the same results?
3. Remember that no one is perfect. If you discover a flaw in a recipe, please do let the author know! But try to sandwich it between some grace and charm.
And now, the advice that I really need...
To those who have received negative feedback:
1. Be calm. At least in print! If you need to, yell and scream at your couch, or call your BF and vent, but do not reply in like to the offender.
2. Answer negative comments but do so with as much kindness as you can muster. Pretend you are replying to someone you highly respect!
3. There are legitimate concerns and there are trolls. If someone is attacking you and there is no basis to the claims, they most likely fall into the latter group. (It can be harder to ignore because they are often more personal and vengeful with their attack, but it would serve you better to do so.)
Feel free to delete and ban/block IP address's.
Remember, your credibility (and reputation!) will positively grow if you answer a negative comment professionally.
This is definitely a lesson I am learning daily!
And now I leave it to you.
Have you ever left a negative comment? Or how about had one left for you?