Some feedback is easy to take. Someone makes an awesome suggestion that makes a ton of sense or simply loves what you are doing and wants to tell you so. Some feedback isn’t as easy – someone doesn’t like something you’ve done and wants to let you know about it. As long as they aren’t overly disrespectful or crude, they deserve a reply, like anyone else. But, regardless of what it is, you can respond to feedback in three easy steps.

Step 1: Appreciate

First and foremost, appreciate it. Appreciate that they are offering their thoughts and that they took the time to do so. Express this clearly and in the simplest of terms. “Thank you for writing. I appreciate your feedback and your perspective.” Do you want people to provide you with feedback? Then act like it. Thank them for it.

Step 2: Acknowledge

Take the time to read what they say and consider their position and where they are coming from. Once you understand what they are suggesting, say so. “I understand what you are saying.” “I can see what you mean.” Emphasize with them, honestly. If you do not understand what they mean, ask them questions to find out more, so that you can get the compete picture.

Step 3: Consider

Finally, since you have expressed your appreciation and acknowledged and understood what they said, consider their suggestion or feedback. See the value in what they are saying. Consider how it would impact the community and how feasible it is. Don’t feel inclined to do it if you do not feel that it is the right thing to do or that it would require an effort that you cannot commit, at this time. There is nothing wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with being honest with yourself and the limitations of your time.

And then, give an honest answer. This can be definitive or vague, depending on what your decision is. “Unfortunately, this is not something that we would be able to do at this time. However, it is something I will keep in mind for the future.” “After giving this some thought, unfortunately, I don’t think that this is something that we would be able to do.” “That is an awesome idea and I am going to look into it some more. I will get in touch with you when I have something to show.” Any of these would be acceptable, depending on what the actual answer was. Whatever it is, be honest.

In Practice

With these principles in mind, let’s tackle a couple of fictional conversations. Here is a sample feedback message:

I like the site a lot, but I would really like to have a chat room so that we could have some real time discussions. So, let me know what you think. Thanks.


Here’s a possible reply:

Hello Bobby,

Thank you for your message. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

Unfortunately, I would have to say that a chat room is not in the cards at this time. Our community is based around our forums and we really want to focus on them and on encouraging discussion within them, rather than fragmenting it, so that the discussion can live on with more people than just who is in the chat room at the time. That said, it is something that may be possible in the future and I will keep your suggestion in mind.

I appreciate your time and thanks again for contacting me.



Here’s a different bit of feedback:

Hi Patrick,

I’m really sick of moderators removing my posts. I make great posts and then moderators remove them. I don’t know what’s going on, but it needs to stop. It’s really hurting the topics.


Another potential reply:

Hello Joe,

Thank you for your message.

When a moderator removes a post, it is because it has violated our User Guidelines. Whenever a post is removed, a reason is provided in the private message that is sent to the member who made the post. If you are ever unsure as to why a post was removed, please do not hesitate to contact me and I’ll be glad to elaborate and explain.

With that said, I have reviewed the posts that you made, that have been removed and they were handled appropriately. I am sorry that you feel that this has hurt discussion, but our guidelines are an important part of our community and they ensure that all members treat each other with respect, that discussion remains productive and that everything posted remains appropriate for our audience.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know, at any time, and I’ll be glad to provide answers and help, however I can.

I appreciate your time and understanding.



I won’t ever tell someone something that isn’t true and a big part of community administration is simply telling people what they can and cannot do. But, there is also a certain way to frame it that conveys the truth, while respecting their feelings and appreciating the time it took to make the comment to you. That’s what I try to do.