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Advice to Authors Regarding Negative Blog Comments

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advice

by RE

Note:  This was an advice sent to MM writers after a wave of negative comments  left many authors shocked, insulted, and dejected.

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Dear Authors:

Please do not let the vile and ill-conceived comments of online bloggers prevent you from continuing the good that you do.   As one of my favorite quotes go:

“When a true genius appears you may know him by this sign; all the dunces are in confederacy against him”

— English satirist Jonathan Swift

As I mentioned in one of my articles on “Deconstructive Criticism“, that anyone with a true sense of piety or taqwa will keep slanderous and foul comments to themselves or will offer their advice to you in private.  Public displays of anger and insult is unbecoming of a pious Muslim, and therefore you should take all such comments as faults within the commenter rather than in yourselves.

Some thoughts to keep in mind:

1) People will always have envy upon those in the ‘spotlight’. The characteristic of  envy is that they do not necessarily want the same position, but rather only want you to lose your position.  Therefore, you will see them comment without offering any advice, without offering to help or revise the article, without authoring an article themselves, and simply calling for your removal.

2) As one experienced blogger told me:  Much of the commenters’ outrage is baseless, having read a word or two and taking it out of context or misunderstanding it.

3) Do not let Shaytan prevent you from doing good using false-piety; for instance, preventing yourself from giving a speech for fear of showing off.  As we were told us in such mind-striking advice at Ilmsummit last year “Riyaa is your problem, and you will battle with that for life…don’t let that prevent you from giving people the benefit they deserve” (para-phrasing).

4) Most people only comment to complain, very few to praise.  Comments on the blog are not representative of the total perception of your article. Businesses see this all the time; as a cereal company for instance will receive very few emails by customers to say how great the product is. Rather customers only send feedback to complain when they have an issue with the product.

5) Again, watch for the signs of envy. I have been reading up on the ill-effects and signs of envy now for the past few weeks, and you will not believe how much we can trace back many of our societal and personal problems back to this. Envy is one of the sickest diseases of the heart; as the envier doesn’t even want to gain anything, rather desiring for you to lose what you have.  Sh. Jamal Zarabozo has an excellent cd set on this.

So don’t let a bunch of comments prevent you from further writing.  Criticizing you for one or two lines on an article and ignoring all else is totally losing the value you contributed to.

For those who get hateful remarks, don’t let any of these diminish your will to write other very powerful and thoughtful articles.

Finally, for those who are on the frontlines of being hit by negative comments. Always seek patience with Allah and know that the work you are doing will insha Allah be a great sadaqa Jariya.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Douglas Kelly

    June 22, 2009 at 1:25 AM

    Thank you for the confidence-builder. I’m completely new to blogging, and while the overwhelming majority of the comments I’ve received have been positive, mashaAllah, it only takes one offhand remark to have you completely second-guessing your own God-given ability to put words together.

    SubhanAllahil-‘Adheem wa bihamdih

  2. Anum H

    June 22, 2009 at 1:58 AM

    I couldnt agree anymore.

  3. fly

    June 22, 2009 at 3:23 AM

    the blog doesn’t seem to take actual criticism….

    what makes anyone think they’ll take ‘deconstructive criticism’?

  4. Dustin

    June 22, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    Amen. Thanks for posting this.

  5. monkeynursemd

    June 22, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    remember this post just a few days ago? ibn hazm

    “Whoever believes he can totally avoid people’s scorn and criticism is mad. Whoever examines matters carefully and disciplines himself to rely on the facts would enjoy people’s criticizing him more than praising him. This is because if they praise him justly and he becomes aware of their praise, it might make him vainglorious, and this would devalue his virtues. If they praise him unjustly and he becomes aware of their praise, he would attain happiness from that which is false, and this would be a grave fault.

    “On the other hand, if people criticize him justly and he becomes aware of their criticism, it might help him to avoid that for which he is criticized; and this would be a great fortune, which only the faulty would forsake. If they criticize him unjustly and he becomes aware of their criticism and perseveres, he would become more virtuous by his perseverance and forbearance.”

    FYI, don’t worry about people criticizing you on blogs, or for that matter anything in life – someone will always have something negative to say about you or your writings.

    I do agree, however, that “public displays of anger” should be done with wisdom and proper etiquette.

  6. Samir

    June 22, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    This advice should also be taken for those people who are active in the MSA’s and other Islamic Organizations.

  7. Ibn Masood

    June 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    I think this is a given, especially considering the excerpt from Ibn Hazm (rah)’s book posted not too long ago. We have to be able to take the constructive criticism and simply ignore the insulting/useless comments.

  8. AsiahK

    June 22, 2009 at 2:11 PM

    Always a good reminder. Jazakum Allahu khairn.

    A’udhu bi Rabbi min sharri haasidin idha hasad. Ameen.

  9. Dawud Israel

    June 22, 2009 at 4:39 PM

    What happened exactly? If this is referring to any of my words, I apologize. Uncle Dawud has his flaws and asks your forgiveness. :(

    Possible Remedies:
    1) Similar practices happen among non-muslim blogs, but I think the trick here is to draw a certain crowd– people with quality, not quantity of people.

    2) One solution is to rather than write only opinion, solely, write on more factual or textual stuff or episodes that occurred. Br. Saqib’s last piece on lying for knowledge was an excellent example of this. You can’t easily hate on this sort of writing. But that also means, you can’t force good writing neither. As Socrates said, “Genius is eternal patience.”

    3) I think this might help understand the social/psychological effects of internet interaction among Muslims:
    http://muslimology.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/towards-a-fiqh-for-the-internet-the-need-for-a-digital-akhlaq/

    4) If you reach an argumentative state, then leave off. You conquer ignorance by silence, not speech. And have an open mind too, “He who doesn’t understand the arguments of his opponent doesn’t truly understand his own.” So in that spirit perhaps discuss Islamic literature as well so the ignorant are forced to remain quiet.

    Just keep at it guys. Look, you need to be ready for the bad. Its a part of life, things go wrong but you gotta make the best of it. Their is a hadith in which it is related Eesa alayhi salam was walking with his disciples and they saw a dead dog on the ground. The disciples exclaimed, “How foul is the stench!” And Eesa alayhi salam said, “How white are its teeth!”

    The lesson in the hadith is people have an eye for the negative and see it as more real than the positive. Don’t let that distort things or your perception of reality.

    Baraka Allahu feek

    • monkeynursemd

      June 22, 2009 at 6:30 PM

      You conquer ignorance by silence, not speech => that’s sick!

      • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

        June 22, 2009 at 8:29 PM

        I don’t think that applies when the person who initiates the ‘argument’ argues from ignorance in the first place.

  10. h. ahmed

    June 22, 2009 at 6:27 PM

    as salaam alaikum

    good article

    as a blogging veteran, i too would advise people not to get discouraged by ‘haters’ who essentially espouse their own insecurities and anger when posting such comments.

    Moreover, sometimes its best to just ignore ignorant commenters who argue just for the sake of arguing:

    Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:

    I guarantee a house in Paradise for whoever leaves an argument, even if he was right,

    Nonetheless- often times posts bring up issues where many Muslims have a difference of opinion on, or an alternative viewpoint, and these should be embraced and respected and not viewed as debasing your own points of view – even if they are completely contrary to your points. After all – you are posting on a widely read blog – and you should address people from all different walks of life.

    And ultimately the religion is sincere advice. It looks like many of us take that hadith a little too far when we dont know to properly espouse that advice.

    And Allah (swt) knows best.

  11. UmmeAmmaarah

    June 23, 2009 at 9:51 AM

    Assalamu-alaikum. Thankyou brother for reminding us all… I was often distressed by vicious/malicious comments on this blog, but feel even more let-down & disappointed when some MM writers themselves resort to sarcasm or adopt a holier-than-thou attitude while dealing with such comments. Oftentimes, it seems like they have taken it as a personal insult and go on to defend themselves on a personal level, or defend their favorite person unconditionally.. wallaahu aalam. Just wanted to remind everyone, including myself that this too is a form of Jihad, and it would benefit us to follow the example of Ali RA when he let go of an enemy who spat on him in the battle-field, because he was so scared for his taqwa that if he killed this person, there was a chance that consciously/unconsciously he would avenge himself. May Allah Ta’Ala bless all your efforts and guide us all to the straight path.

  12. J

    June 24, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    Wa alaykum as-salam,

    I agree with the article that many of these critics are envious of MM’s lofty position in the eyes of the Ummah. That is why you will find their eyes pealed to the website, always ready to attack! Why would they care so much unless it be that they wish their group had the recognition that MM has?

    Fi aman Allah,
    J

  13. Stranger

    June 24, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    Unfortunateley, some of the authors at this site seem to have a hard time distinguishing between ‘deconstructive criticism’ and someone simply disagreeing with what they have written (and of course doing so in a perfectly respectful manner. OK, I’ll be more specific and quantify this statement: From my limited experience with this website, one author in particular lacks this ability to distinguish, and as a result I seldom visit this site. I posted a comment that clearly dissented from the author’s opinion in his article but did so in a dignified, mature manner. My comment was promptly deleted and replaced by, what I felt to be, a very arrogant response. I am not mentioning names as this incident was not significant enough for me to remember one, but I perhaps naively assume the author in question remembers and need not be mentioned by name anyway…

  14. Talha

    June 26, 2009 at 3:09 AM

    there you go again… comments being deleted right left and center..

    now you know y people react the way they do….

  15. J

    June 26, 2009 at 6:01 PM

    I think MM should adopt a new policy: we will delete any and all annoying posts, without need to explain. :)

    • dissenter

      June 26, 2009 at 11:53 PM

      be careful! Big Brother is watching… ;)

  16. myarthritispain58

    June 28, 2009 at 12:11 PM

    Michael Jackson is my favorite pop artist ever since i was a child. He is truly the King of Pop and i am saddened by this news.

  17. Yusuf

    June 29, 2009 at 2:52 AM

    The number of visitors on this site has dropped dramatically over time…. cant really blame the mods…

    They jus doing their job, based on the request of the scholars….

    Well.. its your site….

    • J

      June 29, 2009 at 3:20 AM

      Bro Amad, is this true? Have the number of visitors gone down?

      • Yusuf

        June 29, 2009 at 6:30 AM

        compare it jus prior to the Sh TC article regarding terrorists… and in its current state….

      • Yusuf

        June 29, 2009 at 6:31 AM

        Those who regularly follow this site can view the visitors for themselves..

      • Amad

        December 11, 2009 at 3:48 AM

        actually, our readership (esp. if you include RSS) has been going up since the inception of the site, albeit slower, like any other organization that reaches a maturity stage. I know this is a response to a very old comment, I missed it while I was moving. It is actually humorous to see people make conclusions based on absolute lack of facts :)

  18. Abu Muawiyah

    December 10, 2009 at 11:55 PM

    Jazakallah Khair for this.

    i really needed this advice

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