We love to love you online haters

Reading the comments section on dompost.co.nz stories isn't an experience for the fainthearted. The anonymity of the digital world makes many people let loose with their opinions and boy, they don't hold back. Our readers have some strong views on issues in our region. Many also have very strong views about us and they're not afraid to let us know.

Haters, trolls, whatever you want to call them, some commenters have made a small career from pointing out other people's failings online and we're not exempt from the hating. Our comment section, our Twitter feed and our Facebook page all get daily remarks calling us out on everything from minute typos to our choices for the front page.

But even though online haters drive us crazy, they keep us on our toes, and for that, we secretly love them. There's no excuse for mistakes in what we publish, but in the rush of getting things up online or to print, slip-ups can happen. When typos and errors do get through our checks and balances, it's pretty handy to have thousands of eyes on us making sure our standards are high and letting us know when we've dropped the ball.

Our haters also challenge us over what we cover and why. Last month we published a story Big Wellington quake would kill hundreds, cost $2b and comments were pretty scathing, not just on our website but also on Facebook and Twitter, where we also posted the story.

We had 32 comments on Facebook after we posted asking if the data made people want to leave the capital. Many were along the lines of "Wtf just freak everyone out good one", "No, it stops me from buying newspapers" and "You definitely know how to accentuate the negative. Why don't you lead the way...pack your bags and get out of Welly or out of the country? Good riddance!"

There was plenty of that sentiment on our website as well.

"Gosh, is it June already. It must be time for the Dompost to do its annual 'let's scare the locals with another earthquake disaster' headline. Puh-leeze!"

While initially it was a bit of a jolt to get that kind of reaction, it did encourage us to think about how we present that type of information, and we considered that when we were publishing another earthquake study in July, which predicted that the capital would be cut off for up to four months in a major earthquake.

In our view, this type of information is very much in the public interest to share, and we never considered not publishing it, despite how it might be perceived as scary,  but the reaction did make us think about how we packaged it, where we published it and when.

I held off on putting it on Facebook until our fans had had the chance to have their morning coffee.

If you've got an opinion on what we publish, let us know. Leave a comment below, or get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Dominion Post