How Do You Deal With Haters and Trolls Online?

Image from “Marketing Abstraction”

Pistols + Popcorn isn’t really a very controversial forum.  I write about my son, I write about my relationships, I write about things I do in New York City, I write about confusion in parenting, I write about solutions I’ve found in parenting.  Once in a while, I approach topics that can be discussed in more than one way with intelligence and civility.  I have no problem engaging with my readers if they disagree with me – and usually have to thank them for their part in helping me clarify and re-think the points I am trying to make.  I am not the most intelligent nor the most articulate writer on the planet, in Brooklyn, or even on my block.  Still, I keep on writing because it helps me remember these beautiful days I’m living, and it helps me connect with people I would probably never ever meet.

And then sometimes, a person stops by, takes the time to read,  and then takes a whole bunch of time to let me know what a moron I am.  When this happens, I’m always a little confused about what to do.  Obviously, my knee-jerk reaction is to take whatever they’re insulting me with and dismantle it, tell them why they’re wrong.  But that’s attention, isn’t it?  And that’s probably what they’re looking for.  So, my next choice – do I leave their trollish comment, for others to read and react to, or do I delete it?  Tempting to leave it, because honestly – I don’t want to be accused of only permitting comments that praise me.  But I also don’t want to turn this place into a back-and-forth of escalating remarks.  And it’s tempting to delete it, because honestly – this is my spot and I’m the boss applesauce, and if you’re going to be obnoxious, it won’t be on my watch, in my house.

So what’s the right answer?

I read an article at computerworld here, called “Five ways to defeat blog trolls and cyberstalkers”.  Trolls are defined as “a person who posts with the intent to insult and  provoke others”.  It goes on to describe trolls as being “characterized by having an excess of free time and are probably lonely and seeking attention”.  So that tells me that the blog-world acronym of DFTT (Don’t Feed The Trolls) is probably on point – by not reacting, you are starving them for the attention they’re seeking, and they’ll probably, hopefully, maybe move on.

What do you think?  How do you handle the Haters and the Trolls?  Ignore them?  Eviscerate them?  Go into the “Edit Comments” option of your Admin page and fill their comment with spelling and grammar errors to make them look ridiculous? (Actually that was an idea my brother Fatty threw out one day.  I love it.  Passive-agressive in the most delicious way.)  Let me know your approach in the comments below.  Just make sure to agree with me, or I’ll delete it.  Ha.  Kidding.  Or am I?…..

17 thoughts on “How Do You Deal With Haters and Trolls Online?

  1. i have a very little read blog. so, i get trolled rarely–but when I do. I delete the comment before even reading it totally. hell, life is too short to spend 2 whole minutes away from your family to read that crap.

  2. I agree with the delete button punishment. I totally don’t get the trolls, but I think taking away the toys is best. Sorry you’re dealing with that!

  3. I’m always amazed that people will continue to post trollish remarks when it’s oh-so-easy to just click out of the site, and go somewhere that you enjoy. Why stay? Why stay and then post hate? I don’t get it. Delete that stuff.

    As a reader here, I don’t want to read dumb comments from people who are begging for attention. You’ve got the approach just right. I’ve seen comments here where people have disagreed with you on things, and those definately do belong. Because they’re posted by thoughtful people, who just happen to have a different opinion. That is entirely different from those who are just posting inflammatory remarks for reaction. DFTT!

  4. I agree with Tiny–nothing wrong with posting (and you leaving up) a comment that suggests a different way of looking at things. However, if a poster is posting a comment intended to be inflamatory, rather than to promote real discourse, I say delete away. Differences of opinion aren’t negative, but if given such a way that they are hurtful or mean or spiteful they become negative, and I do my part in my own little piece of the world to eliminate unnecessary negativity whenever possible.

  5. I like what Heather Armstrong from dooce does. If someone says “YOUR A BAD MOTHER, STUPID HOOR! NEVER LET YOU’RE KID WATCH TV!!!” she will reply with – Dude! She does watch a lot of tv, but how else am I going to get all of this crack smoked before I send her out to pick up some more. Plus, I only let her clean the guns when Sesame street is on.

    Or whatever. It acknowledges and invalidates the comment, makes the readers laugh, shows it didn’t bother you, and sometimes makes the troll go away. If it doesn’t, then start deleting.

    Also, you should know that trolls are a sign of success! Enough people read your blog that they fell they can get attn here!

  6. Don’t have a blog, but read a few (including Fatty’s) and though it’s fun to see a troll put in their place…it’s probably best to not engage that particulary pained body. I agree with Donna L…spread goodwill and constructive discussion, not trollish negativity. Delete away. BTW…your troll is too cute.

  7. honestly, i think i’d leave it. if nothing else just to see everyone eviscerate the troll in my defense. 🙂

  8. I like the don’t feed the trolls angle. I don’t understand why a person would take the time to even finish reading something they don’t like let alone take the time to comment on it. Not worth my time. Also, if I read a blog 3-4 times and don’t enjoy it, I take it off my list and don’t go there anymore. There are too many awesome people out there writing interesting things (like you). :)That is why you are in my top 10 list. ( Your bro was, but I lost interest. hehe Nothing wrong with his, that’s just how I roll)

  9. I’m actually the boss.
    That said, nobody better say crap to you, but if they do, erase.

  10. Because I use StumbleUpon alot (Okay, I need a life), I tend to read a lot of random blog posts. And sometimes, if I enjoyed it, I’ll read the comments. OMG, you would not believe the flame wars people get into over something fairly innocuous. I saw a page full of picture of kittens where the comments came to verbal blows over whether or not they were photoshopped, the frequency of times people cry photoshopped, and deteriorated to the general lineage of the posters and on and on. It was like a train wreck…I couldn’t stop reading. Do people REALLY have so much undirected anger that they can spend this much time and energy reading and crafting insulting responses to something that doesn’t matter a rat’s a**? And all from a photoblog whose average comments are: Awwwww and So Cute! C’mon, people, if you wanna fight, join the National Guard…otherwise shut up. lol (Oh my, did I just become a flamer? lol lol)

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