how to deal with internet trolls

Troll La La La La Laaaaaa

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When I first joined the old interweb I was pure as the driven snow. Well…. Maybe not so much, but my eyeballs hadn’t encountered as many unexpected, flaming burns as they have these days. My first experiences with a couple of the various breeds of troll were quite traumatic. Mainly for the trolls I think. These days I just ignore the idiots.

I had a Facebook troll who was incredibly abusive about one of my short stories on my timeline. I don’t mind critique, but even the white space around the words enraged this fella. I made the mistake of politely responding to him. I was a newbie scribbler back then, and his nasty remarks pretty much broke my heart. As the conversation continued, it became clear that the guy hadn’t read much more than Archie comics, and he was just having a blast being a mean prat. Unfortunately, instead of just deleting and banning him, I lost my temper and pretty much squished him like a bug. I immediately felt bad though. Troll or not, us writers have a lot more ammunition in our verbal toolboxes than they do, if we slip into the dark zone.

My second troll was a pervert who had the ability to make the Marquis de Sade blush. Again I made the wrong move by sending a polite message asking him to please stop sending porn to my message box. Boy, did he let rip! After I got a couple of massively foul, and threatening rants I blocked and reported him. Easy peasy. Should have done that in the first place.

Trolls don’t get to take up any of my time at all these days though. Other than laughing at their desperate tries for the wrong kind of attention, I’m not interested in responding to ignorant psychos in any way, and wasting too many seconds of my time. The only way to deal with these people is to ignore them or block, ban, or report them depending on the level of their abuse.

Being an indie author means connecting with loads of new people on line every day on all our various sites. Meeting up with these ooglies now and then goes with the territory, and we should make sure that they are never allowed to insert themselves in our nostrils for long, or give them the satisfaction of knowing that they succeeded in inflicting pain, because that’s what these bottom feeders need for sustenance. I suggest the following course of action if one pops up on one of your sites.

1. Raise brow, and curl lip derisively.
2. Allow yourself one second to be appalled that such a creature actually exists.
3. Snort.
4. Ignore – block – report.
5. Forget that tool
6. Sip some champers, and write on.

troll wiki commons
Wiki Commons

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Pardon?!

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I’m not sure if it was my admission to being a techie dimwit, but all of a sudden I’ve got piles of Spam with the letters RSS in it. Not to mention bullies holding forth around and about. For example:

Hello!! Achieve you get condition they make few plugins to avoid with explore engine optimisation?? I’m irritating to get my blog to rank in support of some under fire keywords but I’m not considering fantastically sunny gains. Condition to identify of any satisfy distribute. Be thankful for it!!! I’m attempting to live talented to enrol in the RSS feeds excluding cannot figure it out. A quantity of assistance will be present awe-inspiring. Thanks!!!

Well… I couldn’t have said it better myself. Quite right you are dear Spammy. The internet never ceases to amaze me. I suppose that it’s similar to “real life” where you get thieves and violent hoods who get up to nasty physical shenanigans. These guys are on the same level of pond life in the virtual world. I don’t know if these blog messages are harmful – I’m sure that they could be if you approved them. I think it was blog spam that ended in me having to bin a perfectly good computer because of one of those guys that worm in and hijack your system to beam out who knows what onto the world wide web, so I’m a bit more careful now with regular scans and so on.

Then there are the meany trolls who pop up on threads in various groups around and about, and viciously attack some poor innocent for no reason at all. This seems to me particularly true in writers groups. You’ll have one guy who just knows he could write Stephen King under the table and out of the door, and he will just as soon as he finishes his seven year edit on his first chapter. He will pick any random post and rip it apart, often insulting the scribbler of said post at a much deeper level. If this sort of thing isn’t nipped right in the bud I believe it can cause much harm to the person so attacked. This could totally shatter a newbie’s confidence.

Group moderators who condone this behaviour by continuing such “discussions”, and thereby giving credence to this troll’s vitriol are just as much to blame. Nope. There is never a place for this sort of behaviour and it is the job of moderators and admins to stop it right there. If what someone has posted offends you so deeply that you want to poke your own eyeballs out, get in touch with a moderator and tell them. Don’t just let rip with something like, “You rotten, disgusting, pompous idiot. My scrofulous green toenail has more talent…..”. Have a little compassion.

I don’t believe that ripping anyone to shreds in any public environment makes you look any better. Kind advice, well worded and not intended to insult goes much further. When I see that type of thing on any group I’m involved in, my blood boils, and I have to generally walk away for a bit to prevent myself sinking to levels best not plumbed and blasting the nasty sod off the face of the planet.

I reckon we should all stop taking ourselves so seriously that we feel justified in spamming and trolling – or whatever you want to call it. If the spammers spent as much time as they do spamming doing honest work, and used their tech savvy to try and build something instead of breaking things down, and the trolls spent more time eyeballing the boulders in their own eyeballs before spending so much time on the specks in others, they might get to create something brilliant and have people actually like and respect them, rather than quivering in terror whenever they enter a room. Life is just way too short. Now. I’m off to smell the roses. Flowers. Stuff.

Succulent Flowers