Blog Envy and Trolls

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I always assumed that when I reached adulthood my social interactions would be much more simple and straightforward. As a teenager I was surrounded by people who were untrustworthy, two-faced and false, (although, luckily I had some good friends) and I looked forward to the day that I would be able to participate in relationships that were exactly as I perceived them to be.

Of course, in my naive little world, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Adults, are in fact, as bad, if not worse than children, particularly if they have a computer screen in which they can hide behind. When I was a teenager, the World Wide Web was in it’s early stages, there was no such thing as social media, and mobile phones were enormous chunky things that were mainly used by rich people working in the city. ‘Trolling’ was not a term I had ever heard of, aside from in the ‘Billy Goats Gruff’ story that I had read as a child.

However, as technology has developed, so has the troll. I always imagine that the troll hides in its darkened room, sitting at a display board made up of lots of monitors, surrounded by broken computers, wires and empty coffee cups, staring at the brightly lit screens in front of it and giggling nastily every time it writes a hurtful comment.

Unfortunately, the troll looks just like every other human being, and is impossible to identify based on appearance. The key to troll identification is within the comment section of lots of blogs.

In my experience, the blogging world is predominantly made up of opinion and, as bloggers, we all like to use our own little space of the Internet to share these with others – make-up to buy, recipes to follow, rantings about the lastest news stories, music to listen to and fashions to wear, to name a few. Β There is nothing wrong with doing this – in 2014 we should be able to speak freely about subjects that interest and/or frustrate us. However, we also need to understand that when doing this it is highly unlikely that everyone will agree with us, and will use the comment section to spark a healthy debate.

Earlier in the year I wrote about my dislike of Justin Beiber, in which I listed many of his misdemeanours and gave my reasons as to why I felt that he was a poor role model to the millions of young teenagers worldwide that idolise him. Lots of commenters agreed with what I had written, but as I expected there were a few that didn’t, quite rightly pointing out that a nineteen year old boy with lots of money and very little guidance is bound to make mistakes. I appreciated those comments (aside from the one who made it personal by accusing me of being a bully), they made me think about things from a different perspective and I enjoyed the debate that started because of it, until Mr Troll got involved.

Mr Troll totally disagreed with what I said, and wrote a very long and abusive comment that somehow started with Justin Bieber and ended with Michael Jackson. It was so abusive, in fact, that I didn’t allow the comment to be posted (I moderate every comment before I allow them on my blog). When I didn’t respond, Mr Troll came back for more.

This is the difference between a troll and someone who disagrees with your opinion. A troll seeks to cause trouble and will return repeatedly if they feel that what they are doing is successfully havingΒ a negative impact.Β Rather than respectfully disagreeing with an opinion and explaining why, a troll will do their best to make things personal and hurt feelings, sometimes by writing extreme things that wish harm on the writer.

Having trouble with a troll?

1. Set your comment section so that all comments are required to be moderated by you first.

2. Delete the comment immediately, or move it to the spam section and take screen shots of it if you are genuinely concerned.

3. If your blog is public, you cannot block people and prevent them from following you in the same way that you can on Twitter. You can, however, by using their IP address, prevent them from commenting on your blog – it will be sent straight to the spam folder.

4. If you are concerned, contact WordPress. The admin guys have been amazing when I have asked them for assistance.

5. Focus on the positive people – they’re far more entertaining.

6. Try not to take it personally – there are always going to be idiots in every aspect of life.

WordPress is a community that I have always been proud to be part of. In just over a year of blogging I can genuinely state that I have had very few negative experiences – the Justin Bieber commenter being one of only a few occasions where someone has become extremely nasty – but I have found that, like in lots of areas of life at the minute, the negativity seems to be on the rise. I awoke this morning to see that one of my favourite bloggers has decided to cancel his account as he is sick of the abuse that he receives from trolls that are simply jealous of his extensive and loyal following. His blog is witty, insightful and honest and I look forward to every post. Since I began my blog TD has been nothing but supportive, taking the time to comment on and promote my posts, and I know for a fact that he does the same for hundreds of others out there too. I’m sorry he feels that deleting such a great blog is his only option, and I’m going to miss him.

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The reason why I believe that he has had to deal with abuse is because of the blog envy that seems to becoming more prominent in the WordPress world. It seems to be all about the numbers, rather than the content. I am the first to admit that I have shouted my blogging milestones from the rooftops on occasion, but I have done this because I am proud of what I have achieved, and have certainly never tried to make others feel small. Indeed, I have experienced blogging envy when others have done the same, and there are a few blogs out there that are so great I am jealous every time I read one of their fabulous posts. However, I would continue to write whether I had 100 followers or 10,000, because I write for me, and me alone. Always have.

So, for those of you who are spending far too much time comparing your own writings to everyone else’s, I’d like you to consider doing this:

1. Write fabulous posts that you enjoy.

2. Mind your own goddam business what everybody else is doing. Leave the trolling to Twitter.

What do you guys think? Have you had any bad experiences with trolls?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.

 

image credits:

theatlantic.com

Ifiwereartemis.com

76 thoughts on “Blog Envy and Trolls

  1. I get comments on my weight and my appearance when I post pictures. The most recent was last month, so I decided to not post any more pics where you can see my face and locked up the posts that had them. Yeah, I guess I should ignore it, but the truth is I was never that comfortable showing myself to begin with. Therapeutic selfie fail LOL.

    We share so much of ourselves on so many different levels on these blogs, it’s hard not to take it personally when you feel targeted or, even the opposite, excluded.

    It’s just my blog, my words, whatever. Read, follow, participate. Or don’t. I finally figured out it’s about me, not them. I have had plenty of hurt feelings this year, but I can’t walk away. Better to vent into the Internet, even if nobody listens, than let it stay inside me. That’s just my take on it though.

    • Absolutely agree – Ive read some of your posts where you’ve mentioned the abuse you’ve received from people before about your pictures. Assholes. I love your take n the matter but I think you should continue to post pics if you want to – I always enjoy seeing pics of you when you look really happy. Loved the hair ones too!

      • Thanks, Suzie., but I am not quite there yet again. However, I will send the latest in hair color experiments lol.

        And, certainly there is a difference between targeted trolls, random trolls and then regulars turned hecklers. I don’t know what the situation is here though, not that it matters. Sometimes you are just done.

  2. I just think we’re going to face “trolls” in all aspects of life. There’s always going to be someone who wants to gossip, be jealous, or take joy in causing problems for others. It is an imperfect world. Some days it really upsets me, and some days, I can laugh it off and ignore it.

    I feel your pain. Stay strong. Take the high road. Don’t like them get you down. πŸ™‚

  3. I just discovered TwinDaddy and then the next thing I know he is giving up blogging. Makes me very sad. 😦

    I would like to also say, I don’t think there is anything inherently different about drama on WordPress versus real life or elsewhere on the web. Where there are people there will always be drama and gossip. We can’t always control what other people will say or do, but we certainly can control how we act.

    Excellent writeup. πŸ™‚

    • I must agree. Humans love drama, it’s why television and movies have done so well, but this was excellently written about trolls and didn’t target anyone while doing so. Whenever I try to rant to myself about this problem, I have a hard time keeping it this well done.

    • Thanks so much, and thank you for always taking the time to write so many comments – it’s very much appreciated! I agree, but i think it’s sometimes more obvious online because people have more nerve than they would in person…

  4. Sometimes trolls hide behind sweet comments, biding their time, and then they sock it to you. I had this happen and I left the comments. But since I did not want to give this person free advertising for their blog I had to temporarily remove the widgets that show my blog community. Once they went away, I added it back. So annoying.

  5. People suck sometimes. Truly they do. I very happy to see this post on what to do, being a new blogger. I will keep this advice in mind , just in case.

    Now in Forums, I have met these trolls. I responded to a post about the popularity of Unique names (the ones with the interesting spellings Airweka instead of Erica). People were listing all the unique spellings they knew. I said because I was a teacher, I knew a lot and I was notoriously bad for pronouncing them correctly. This coupled with my pale profile picture turned me into a racist teacher who took of points and gave bad marks to students with different name spellings. As if that were ethical way to grade someone or I would do such a thing! My mistake was I spent hours correcting these trolls. Finally, and luckily others read what I said and banded together to defend me. One troll apologized, but the rest…

    Anyway, I am sorry to hear it’s rampant here too. Your poor friend, that is truly a shame!

    • I’m sorry you had to go through that. As a teacher I’ve taught loads of children with various spellings of unusual names, but what has that got to do with race? I teach kids of all nationalities with names that sound unusual to me, but in no means is that a race thing!! The world’s going mad!

      • It truly is too much. People take offense when there is none, especially nowadays in this “teachers are wrong and scum” culture America is cultivating. I often joke I am going to move my family to Canada and start over… I think we’ll just have to wait it out 😦

  6. I’ve only had one recent experience with a troll, and however much I tell myself not to worry about such pathetic and insecure attention-seeking aggressive behaviour, I have to admit it’s definitely put me off blogging for a while… healthy debate is one thing, but a deliberately vindictive personal attack written with the sole aim of creating upset is something completely different 😦

      • Is that a service you will offer up for all who apply?
        I’ve never really had any trolls either. To the point that my friend John “made me” some trolls to post on my site. All in good fun, of course.
        This was a great post… I too was sad to read that TD has reached a breaking point with the trolls that harass him. It’s a dark day when the bad in this world drives away the good. So, thank you for this post, for drawing attention to the negatives going on behind the scenes, as a warning, and as a rallying cry for the rest of us to stand up for the good in the blogosphere.

      • Thanks so much Matt – I was so annoyed when I heard about TD’s reasons for quitting that I felt compelled to write something…

        I’m so behind in comments on this post – really need to catch up, but I love the idea of ‘whack a Troll.’

  7. It makes me very sad that someone with an excellent blog allowed himself to be bullied out of existence. He let them win and that only encourages their bad behavior. Hopefully he had other reasons, besides the trolls.
    I decided in the beginning to let the comments roll and have stuck with it. If someone has something ugly to say, I don’t have to respond. I see it like this, they are only embarrassing themselves and showing the world what a jerk they are. Not that they use their real names but they look like jerks all the same.
    I agree with everything you said, except #1 above: “Write fabulous posts that people will enjoy.” I write fabulous posts that I enjoy writing. If other like them too, awesome. If they don’t, whatever. I’m not in it for the popularity either. Sometimes the numbers are deceiving in that followers column. If you ‘publicize’ they count those followers too and Twitter is a joke. Those followers don’t account for much. LOL

  8. I think some people don’t realise that blogging actually takes a lot of work. You get back what you put out. You have to be prepared to interact.
    I’ve been really lucky, I have the most awesome people following me who have had nothing but a positive effect on me, hopefully that;’s the way it will stay, because after all it only takes one person to upset the apple cart and I had enough of that shit growing up.
    I’m sorry you were having troubles, it’s a shame you cannot play a huge real life game of ‘Whack a Troll’ lol

  9. I agree that trolls are cowards who are too afraid to show their feelings in real life, so they use the anonymity of the internet to express their anger and unhappiness. They seem to feel a sense of power and control when they do this. I don’t post a lot on facebook or blog here, but I don’t read comments who attack the writer. They are not worth my time, or anyone else’s. Thank you for incorporating not only trolls but the actual nastiness that has increased so much lately.

  10. i have only just started blogging and so do not have many “followers” and as such no experience yet with trolls however I have noticed it a lot of facebook and I just wonder why people find such enjoyment in being nasty…. also I don’t know how they find the time to comment and follow up with comments and arguments…I have enough trouble keeping up with things in my own life let alone trying to engage in something that has nothing to do with me or doesn’t effect me in any way!
    great post! πŸ™‚

  11. I was trying to catch up with blog reading since returning from being on holiday and, like you Suzie, I was saddened to read that TD had decided to call it a day. I don’t know the ins and outs of why other than what he said in his closing post but it still naively astounds me that adults can act like kids in a playground.
    We see it in life, sure, but I’ve always felt, since being here on WP, that the sense of community and common purpose in open communication was bigger than small-mindedness. Unfortunately, that, apparently, is not always the case.
    I’ve been extremely lucky in that I’ve only had one person be ‘ranty’ in reponse to one of my posts. I chose to let the comment stand with my reply. I heard no more about it for which I’m thankful because, quite frankly, I can’t be arsed with arses. I’m here to write and read. The rest can take a hike.
    Moderating comments is sound advice as, even should you decide to let obnoxious comments stand, it at least gives you time to reflect on a suitable response. I hate to think of people being bullied or pressured by others and I hope TD rethinks his decision to leave. As someone here has commented, it takes work and time to build your own blogging community and it’s awful to think of being forced to relinquish it.
    Good job, Suzie, on highlighting the problem and reinforcing appropriate measures.

  12. Beiber is a t*at end of lol I wish orlando bloom had hit him harder might have knocked some sense into him x

  13. So sorry you had to deal with this, Suzie! You handled it perfectly, though, and your advice is great. I haven’t had to deal with this yet–something for which I am very grateful. Your post has encouraged me. Whenever it does happen, it definitely won’t be the end of the world. Grown-up are nuts, and that’s that.

  14. Hi Suzie! Missed this the other day when you published but Norah Colvin just put me onto it (bless her). I’m currently suffering from a similar problem and blogged about it this morning. It’s just horrible. Reading this helped. Although I don’t wish this upon anyone it is good to know someone else is going through it and you’ve handled it so well. Thank you!

  15. I’m with Mr. Embers – just found TD and now he’s leaving. ‘Tis a sad time indeed. I’ve only dealt with one negative comment/blog post about me and that was enough. I hope I never have to deal with it again.
    Bravo for writing this, Suzie, and for not mentioning any names. All the trolls need to starve to death. And by that I mean they deserve no attention.
    Thanks for letting us know we’re not alone with these scourges of society.

    • Thanks Linda – I decided that mentioning names would only escalate the situation so it was best to keep quiet – the person that i had an issue with has done the same so it’s all good!

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