Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of some nasty comments? It was interesting to hear Stu Heritage talking at BlogCamp in London last week about some of the comments he has received, and to hear that many of you have faced similar attacks. His talk was incredibly funny, as always, but it also offered some tips for dealing with unpleasant trolls.
What is a troll?
A troll is someone who makes their way around the web leaving unpleasant comments for other people. Sometimes this is via their blog comments, sometimes it may be on social media sites such as twitter and facebook. What they say is often directly abusive towards another person – we’re all for encouraging interesting and relevant debate, but these comments tend to go beyond that. Often their comments will be anonymous of via a ‘fake’ persona. Most of the time, their sole aim is to provoke a reaction – the bigger the better!
What can you do?
Nobody likes receiving hurtful comments and for some people it can be very upsetting. It is very difficult not to take things like that personally. Try to remember that, in most cases, it is unlikely they have something against you personally, but will be leaving their unpleasant comments in many other places. There are a few options you might like to consider if, or when, you come across these trolls.
This is usually the best thing to do. If their main objective is to get a response then they won’t have succeeded. It can be really hard just to ignore it – most of us naturally want to fight back and defend ourselves. If you don’t enter into a dialogue with them, they’ll soon find they are talking to themselves and not getting anywhere! Remember, it’s your blog so if the comment isn’t relevant to what you have written then you can get rid of it and block them on twitter.
Try to reason with them
If you feel it isn’t something you can ignore, then you could try reasoning with them. It’s a tricky one as you may end up provoking them into making more nasty comments, but some people like to defend themselves and others. If you are going to pitch in and try to help out a friend who has received unkind comments, it may be best to check they are happy about that first. If you create a lynch mob, you may come out looking worse than the troll!
Go in all guns blazing and turn the tables on them! Be prepared for a fight if you go for this option and it is likely that others will wade in for the fight too. Some bloggers have a band of readers who will immediately step in and jump on the troll, so you may like to leave the fight to them! Things could get messy or they could find they have met their match and head off elsewhere. There were some bloggers at BlogCamp who fought their corner and felt they came out victorious.
Whatever your decision, be careful and think it through carefully first. Is it worth the hassle? Is it worth getting upset over? Will it just be easier to delete the comment or ignore the tweets?
On rare occasions things can get out of hand and in this case it is best to seek help and report people as soon as possible.
Overall, I think the best way to sum this up is in the title of this post – Don’t Feed the Trolls!