Domestic Me

How To Post A Negative Response On The Internet

It happens. You find something the internet tells you “Tastes Great!” or “Works like a charm!” so you try it and it does just the opposite. You trust the internet and then the internet fails you. What do you do?

Do you make a mental note and walk away? That’s often what I do, and I’m probably making things worse by doing just that: Nothing. Or are you the type to post your dissatisfaction? Well! If you are – to those of us who visit that guide/recipe/review in the future – can I offer a few tips? Many people might read your comment to see if they want to try this craft or meal or solution to their problem – and your comment could make a difference. Especially if the original author of the item comes back in and chats with you about your results, maybe even coming up with a solution!

My point? Saying, “This sucks!” does nothing. It doesn’t really deter me from trying because you gave me no details about why it sucked. Especially if there are positive comments before you saying, “Worked like a charm!” No, please provide me a little more details and also – fingers crossed – if you are respectful and kind, then the original content producer might take the time to offer other alternatives to your failed attempt. I mean, if you need to leave a negative comment on something, then can we at least be constructive about it? I always read the comments before I try anything and the ones that say, “I did this and it didn’t work! Don’t bother!” irritate the crap out of me. If it’s a craft – what part didn’t seem to work? If it’s a how-to can you at least try to get feedback from the author? If it’s a recipe – what didn’t work? So many things could go wrong with a recipe – being specific helps the next people who may want to try. Maybe not everyone reads comments on those type of articles and entries but I like feedback before I try something, so I do read them!

Here are some suggestions from the person who reads your comments before attempting the item in question –

Domestic Problem Solving
(Like home-made grout cleaners, or methods to kill fruit flies.)
What you WANT to say:
“This did NOT work at all! My problem still exists! Don’t even bother!”

Try this instead:
“I had this problem and did exactly what you suggested, but it didn’t solve my problem. Do you have any ideas as to why it did not?”

What you WANT to say:
“I followed this recipe exactly and it tasted awful! I do not recommend this at all!”

Try this instead:
“I followed this recipe exactly and it was a little spicy/bland for me. I didn’t like the consistency, it was too thick. I’m not a big fan of cilantro, I would suggest leaving that out if you aren’t either.”

Try this instead:
“I went on a Saturday and it was very busy and I couldn’t get very good service. The floors were also quite dirty and the food was lukewarm. I went back a second time and the service was better but the food was still lukewarm and the place was dirty.”

Negative reviews are funny things. I’m very glad people leave them, but especially with restaurants, I wish people would go back twice just in case they just had a bad server, or chose a bad menu item. Even at my favorite restaurant there are bad servers or items on the menu I don’t like. I would hate for people to judge based on just those things. But, no matter what you do, if you leave a negative review someplace PLEASE be specific! Maybe some people like bland food? Maybe – even if the service was bad – someone wants to try because they heard the baklava was AMAZING. Tell why as specifically as possible or else you’re just leaving negative detritus on the internet that serves no real purpose.

What you WANT to say:
“I made this craft and it fell apart and looked nothing like the picture! Don’t waste your time!”

Try this instead:
“I made this craft but the glue I used (E9000) didn’t work very well as it fell apart. I also had a hard time getting it to look exactly like the picture. Mine turned out a little fluffier than the demo photo indicates.”

Restaurant Reviews
What you WANT to say:
“This place was dreadful. I’ll never go back.”

The internet is full of good tips, I search for them daily. I recently tried a concrete cleaner that the woman even posted pictures of the before/after – yet still – even as I followed her exact instructions…NADA. My concrete looked EXACTLY the same. I left a comment saying that in the nicest, most helpful way possible. I don’t like putting anything negative out in the world because I don’t want that negative coming back at me, but sometimes things don’t work. And you can at least help others who come across your negativity by being as helpful or detailed about the failure as possible. “This didn’t work at all!” does nothing to help anyone, really. Not only is it a harsh delivery but it provides no details as to how the process failed so it’s likely to be ignored.

5 thoughts on “How To Post A Negative Response On The Internet”

  1. I’m a huge fan of allrecipesdotcom. I tend to stick with the recipes that have received hundreds of reviews, but there are always people who rate the recipe, but “instead of pork I used beef and instead of sugar I used honey and instead of grilling it I baked it.” You get the idea. Give me the people who followed the recipe exactly as stated, said it took theirs half an hour longer to cook, or it was a little too sweet so next time they would try playing with the amount of sugar. Much more helpful!

  2. If it’s a recipe on the internet or something like that I’d be like, “Maybe I did it wrong or the oven wasn’t agreeing with me but…….didn’t work and so I tried x instead”

    I posted instructions of how to make granny squares on my blog, who knows if anyone actually read them but it would be handy to have feedback whether it was like “The instructions make sense but each step is too long” well that’s easy enough split each step and add more steps if needed. But until someone tells me that I don’t know it’s a problem because chances are I can do it myself without looking at the pattern.

    I’m with you if it doesn’t work, ask questions – maybe a step has been missed or the particular ingredient used doesn’t quite work – for example the normal self raising flour works better than bread flour but you thought you’d try it anyway as that’s what you’ve got in the cupboard.

  3. This was and is something that I think about a lot since I write reviews online as “my thing”. I try to be always Candid and Kind. I’m not going to lie, if something sucks, my readers deserve to know about it. But the people I am reviewing deserve kindness, so I don’t assign blame or use harsh words (“always/never”). I keep in mind that there may be reasons and I point out what i don’t like so that others can decide for themselves if they might like it. : )

  4. I read tons of reviews on items to buy, hotels to stay, places to eat. The more descriptive the review is, the more informative it is for me!

  5. ME TOO! And often I disregard a bad review like, “The food was bland!” because that is soooo subjective! I read reviews on everything and hate when it’s just a crappy rating with NO explanation. That does no one any good!!!

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