Accounting Unplugged

Frustrated Commenter

Posted in Uncategorized by Erin Lawlor on the December 4th, 2008

I just finished with one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  I listen to a weekly podcast done by a couple of guys that started a new site/service for programmers called stackoverflow.  Since I am not a programmer, I feel a little bit like a voyeur listening to their podcasts but they are really smart and they talk about the human aspects of programming that are easily relatable.

I stumbled upon a blog called Joel on Software a couple of years ago and have been a fan and a reader ever since.  So, when the writer, Joel Spolsky, partnered up with Jeff Atwood ( for this new site, I was curious and when I started listening to their weekly podcasts (they’ve done 32 as of this writing) I was hooked.

This week, their podcast included a topic that I wanted to talk about and relate to my experience in writing my “blog”.  I encourage you to follow the link above for stackoverflow and listen to the latest podcast (at least starting at about 34:45 and ending at about 55:15) the discussion is very insightful.

The topic I want to write about is how to stay positive after receiving negative feedback.  Actually, I have received both good and bad feedback for my site, I try to give them equal consideration.  I received one comment that told me my site was poo.  My initial reaction to that comment was that the person was just mean because clearly, my site is not poo to me.  But then I tried to be more open to what that person might be trying to tell me.  Perhaps that person was looking for a quick answer to a question and was frustrated because it is likely that there are no quick answers here.   In that sense, I failed the frustrated commenter.

The negative comment caused me to evaluate my writing more than any positive comment would.  I am still not a quick answer person but I do try to keep in mind that posts that are too wordy are boring and unhelpful.  My conclusion is that instead of allowing negative comments to hurt your feelings, step back and take another look and decide what there is to be learned from them.  Don’t dwell on the negative, instead, appreciate the opportunity to learn from it.  Applying this philosophy to the negative feedback you receive in life – including unsuccessful sales, job interviews or blogs can only help you to improve and become more successful.

To address the frustrated commenter, the only possible way I can give a quick answer is to have a clear question first.  I invite/encourage you to put your questions in the comment section.   It is likely that either I or other readers will be able to provide an answer that will be helpful for you.