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About Online Photo Comments (Part 2) - How to react sensibly!

Part 1: Take it with a grain of salt! -

Yesterday, I gave you my view on photo commenting and how to best interpret all the comments you get for your work. Today, let's look at what a good and adequate reaction to a specific type of comment looks like.

If you have been around a while in social networks and on photo sharing sites, you may have built up a following and you may get a number of comments for the photos you share. Reacting properly to each and every one of them is not always easy, in particular when people start to attack you and your work.

Let me give you an extreme example and ways of reacting:

Assume that you have uploaded a new photo to You are really proud of it and curious to see what your peers have to say about it. Somewhat later, you read this:

TerrorBoy666 says "Your photo sucks! All of them suck! Get a decent camera and learn how to use it."

Reading this type of comment surely raises your adrenaline level. Your work is under attack! You feel a mixture of sadness, anger and disbelief. You feel the immediate need to retaliate and express those feelings right now. But wait! Is this really the right way to react here? Ok, it's time for a deep breath now. Still feel the blood pumping in your head? Take another deep breath!

What are your options?

1. You could write something like "Who do you think you are? I have been using a camera before you were even born, young man!"

Not a good idea. You took him serious and gave his comment validity by defending against it. Moreover, you took the same arrogant attitude that he took. You just stepped down onto TerrorBoy666's level and accepted the fight using his weapons. This is exactly what he wanted, and believe me: He is better at this! Chances are that the two of you will engage in a never-ending, ugly and useless fight - a fight that he will win because you will be giving up at some point.

Result: You 0 - 1 TerrorBoy666

2. Or maybe you write "Your photos suck too!"

Now you even stepped down to one level below TerrorBoy666. Not a good idea either if you want other people to still take you serious. TerrorBoy666 won't even bother responding to such a lame statement. He won!

Result: You 0 - 1 TerrorBoy666

3. You could, however, also write: "I am sad to hear that you don't like my photos. Well, I guess not everything is for everybody, right? By the way, I liked your shot of the super moon over Golden Gate. Which aperture did you use?"

Do you see the difference? Politeness and interest are two weapons that TerrorBoy666 does not have in his arsenal. How is he supposed to respond now? "Thanks! ...urrrm... I used f/8"? No way! He will read this and silently troll away because you simply did not to take the bait. You stayed calm and polite. You respected his opinion - not because it is valid but because every human being is entitled to have one. You showed that it's really not that big a deal - not only for him to see, but for the world to see. Case closed! Next one please!

Result: You 3 - 0 TerrorBoy666

Here are my tips:

1. Whatever somebody writes about your work, stay calm. Take a few deep breaths and get a coffee before you answer.

2. If somebody attacks your work, do respond! Simply ignoring such a comment sends out a message too. People may start thinking that you don't pay attention or that you feel helpless. Deleting the comment and blocking the person is better, but it also sends out a message: TerrorBoy666 may tell people that you are arrogant and ignorant and that you don't respect other people's opinion.

3. Don't defend your work against attacks that obviously have no valid ground.

4. Don't feed the troll. If you answer back immediately and start fighting with their weapons, you give them what they want. Don't do it!

5. Be polite and objective in your response. Never put a single foot onto their level.

One final tip: Don't let TerrorBoy666 take away your fun!

#photography #togs #photog
Chris Sutton's profile photowilliam laksamana's profile photoRalph Mendoza's profile photoUmesh Jain's profile photo
great advice, although like many things in life is much easier said than done. It can be difficult to respond to some people especially if you don't have any information to use to throw them off guard (and out of troll mode).
I would have thought the conversation rather ends with
TerrorBoy666: "Thanks!? ... Aper..what?"
Agree, but there is another version - don't react at all.
Great post. #4 is so important. I've been on message boards and people don't get it. You respond to the troll's level or look to fight back it's a no win situation. Oh and your pictures don't suck. They're very good. :)
Just don't feed the trolls. It's not worth the time and effort. 
I don't get the last part. -_-
I agree with your previous post in regards to the "if you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all", earlier today i commented on someones photo (they shall remain nameless) mentioning that I liked their photo bus wish they had toned down some clouds which were distraction from all the attention in the foreground. It was a very PC comment, and I didn't mean it to be negative, just constructive. The person deleted my comment and only kept comments that said "great" and "i love it"...feels like flikr here sometimes...
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