Personally, I don’t follow the news too much, I started my information diet some years ago, and I’m emotionally much fitter as a consequence. I catch the occasional story when I check my email on Yahoo, and keep abreast of issues which are relevant and necessary, but largely I don’t miss it or need it.
UK – I was incredibly saddened by the death of Hannah Smith, suicide, it’s said the cause was Trolls on the website ask.fm. I don’t know the entire story, nor will any of us probably ever know the truth of exactly what Hannah was thinking. From what I understand she was young girl struggling to come to terms with personal issues and looking for friends and people to support her, normal stuff in any kind of caring community. Normal supportive behaviour of people who have any kind of moral compass, good heartedness or integrity. But it seems all she got was abuse and a kick in her vulnerabilities. Really, I’m disgusted by this, why pick on someone who’s young, vulnerable and impressionable, that’s just cowardly bullying. And to do it in “anonymity”…I can’t really find words without swearing, makes my blood boil. What kind of cruel sickos are these people ?
So why am I writing this ?
I’ve not been blogging all that long a time, a few months. Recently my 5000 followers mark came and went, without announcement. I’m happy that people like my blog, happy that I’ve inspired people, but don’t want to let it go to my head too much. Occasionally I do blow my own trumpet, hope that other’s would want to share my happiness.
The WordPress community I’ve found is such a breath of fresh air, so many creative, inspiring people here, it’s a joy to behold. In short, I like it here, I enjoy the chat, I’m loving what I’m doing, even though I don’t earn any cash at it, hopefully that’ll come later. Something like, find the passion and the money will follow.
So it’s not all that pleasant to see defamatory and untrue things said, by people who I can only guess are envious or mean me harm for some other reason. Personal amusement in their empty lives to compensate for their utter lack of in happiness, maybe? Seeing themselves having some kind of power over others makes them feel big? Ultimately they are looking to get me/you/us to react.
Sidenote: Of course I’d like feedback on what I’m saying here. Your experiences and things that I have missed are solid gold. I love to learn from other people’s experiences, that can drastically shorten my learning curve, a great thing. But keep it positive, and don’t name specific people or blogs.
A little more about me
I always reply to comments personally on my blog, I never send spam to people, do my best to keep up with comments on other people’s blogs. It can be time consuming to write full and meaningful replies to every comment, some days 10 hours or more have gone by, just replying to people. I don’t mind, my integrity says people who’ve taken time to contribute and help me, deserve my respect. I do my best.
I enjoy meeting other like-minded bloggers and chat a little about whatever’s current. I believe in Charisma and Positivity. I’m human, get tired, need to rest, get fed up, this is normal, but do my best to be Charismatic and Positive in what I’m doing, when I can. These are the characteristics of friends and mentors who’ve inspired me. These are the shoulders of the giants, that I’ve had the privilege to stand on.
Who and What is a Troll?
A troll is someone who gets gratification, that is pleasure, from seeing someone else suffer in some way. Well more than that, they actually set about causing another person to react, in the hope that they will expose that person’s weakness or trip them up into making a social faux pas (error). Ultimate goal to see them humiliated and laughed at, or hurt or punished in some way. It’s a power game for weak minded people, leveraging manipulation rather than any real strength. The larger the audience, the bigger the “thrill” for the troll(s). So a sophisticated social bully, celebs and other well known people would probably compare with paparazzi or hack journalists.
I could explain various Troll strategies in detail, but don’t think it would be anybody’s interest to educate Trolls any further in their black art. “Fake” victim would be one for instance.
They want to hook you in, then perpetuate the situation by throwing more and more at you. They are social-vandals on a power and control trip. They will try to make others think they are doing good, by “exposing bad people” (utter nonsense), freedom of speech or similar (again utter nonsense), it’s a far more selfish and sinister in reality. Some people are dumb and innocent enough to buy into it, which is how packs and families of Trolls form. Dumb and dumber.
Since I started blogging, I’ve had three and a “bit” Trolls try to get me to react to them. The “bit” is a French lady who made a comment, a “veiled” insult with plausible deniability built in, very sophisticated work, excellent craftswoman-ship, top score… NOT, I could see her a mile off, wasn’t impressed. Not really worthy of an extended mention.
The first real Troll was somebody calling himself “Moose”
First Troll – Moose, Australia
Troll potency 1/10 – Utterly flaccid, pathetic in the troll arts, a “force” to be well and truely ignored.
I don’t know what this guy thinks I did to him, really I have no clue. I’m guessing from looking around at what I found on Google that he’s pissed because we share the same name and he doesn’t like sharing Google-space with me. I couldn’t see that he was doing anything successful, so perhaps envious of my doing well. Conjecture on my part, honestly I don’t know, nor really care any more.
His comment went into my spam queue, and I did my own investigation based on ip-address and email in case of further problems. These details I’ve kept private and will stay private, as I don’t believe it’s good behaviour to publish this kind of stuff. Just because someone else is weak doesn’t mean I have to be as well.
Second Troll – Mr Whisk, USA
Troll potency 2/10 – Impotent, troll art skills virtually non existent, a “force” to be ignored then laughed at.
This guy had followed my blog a month or more prior, and he’d commented with his life-story twitter style, an exhausting 160 characters, then never heard from him again. Bit odd really, perhaps a “hi, really like your blog, how are you?”, and then a conversation over a few replies, would have been “normal”? Perhaps he was too busy creating the wall of words on his daily winge. Who knows.
So, time passes by and then out of the blue, I get a comment on my blog’s moderation queue “how do I get you out of my inbox” … my reply “come again ?”, ie what-the-funk????
I check out his blog, again, and he didn’t really seem to be very happy with his lot in life. I sympathise, really I do, but not going to jump in the ditch with him, doesn’t help me or my loved ones. In contrast, I’m blogging about positive stuff, enjoying what I’m doing and making the best of my life even with my own challenges and disadvantages.
So again, perhaps envy, I really just don’t know, I prefer not to engage with these trolls to find out. Perhaps fed up looking for someone to lash out at ? A cry for help ?
Lastly I check my inbox and there are twenty messages “Mr Whisk is following your blog”, he’d obviously kept pressing repeatedly the follow/unfollow button in order to “send me a message”. Childish? Personally I just found it a bit pathetic.
Third Troll – Affectionately know by my friends and I, as “The Axe Murderer”, Holland
Troll potency 5/10 – Quite skilful in the troll arts, to be taken seriously, but relatively minor annoyance. A force to be stood up to, then squashed, then laughed at vigorously.
A grown man from what I understand, several blogs been here three years. I followed his blog some time ago, and liked some of his posts.
For background, my own father passed on knowledge of his trade to me, a carpenter. Via my father’s trade I have an interest in what this guy posts about, it’s why I followed his blog in the first place. It’s normal behaviour in most people’s reality, following a blog that’s of interest.
In point of fact, anyone with a computer, internet connection can BY DEFAULT anonymously view a blog or follow it’s RSS feed. So it’s not like we need to be bossom buddies or facebook “friends”/”sweethearts”. I don’t need to drop him a little sweet message every five minutes, it’s just not that kind of relationship. Following a blog just means that I have an interest in the blog, a normal ordinary anonymous interest.
He could set his blog to private, but most people don’t do this with a blog as it defeats the object of blogging a blog in the first place. So you want to blog to yourself, why, what’s the point ?
Liking is a way of showing appreciation and merit. I use it on my own blog as a measure of whether I’m getting it right or not in terms of my content. More likes=better content, less likes=poorer content. Building an ego over likes, well maybe for a novice blogger. Not any more for me, it’s just a feedback meter on whether I’m getting it right or not. I’m happy when I get it right, I learn when I get it wrong. Likes is a nice way to do it.
So, anyway, I’ve digressed… some time passes, and he leaves a comment on my blog. Not exactly friendly, but rather blunt and rude, asking me to remove my following from his blog, no substantial reason given. Fair enough, he’s asked me, so I leave a polite comment and unfollow his blog. I didn’t think much more of it.
Then whilst checking my SEO on Google, I stumble across something he’s written publicly elsewhere. He’s named my blog, given my IP address and worse, he’s made untrue defamatory comments. He accused me of being an “abusive stalker” and a “persistent annoyance”, what absolute and complete utter rubbish and fabrication. Those are just not things that are in my nature, anyone that knows me, knows this. So why on earth would I waste time doing that kind of stuff when I’m busy enjoying doing my blog? JUST UTTERLY RIDICULOUS AND UNTRUE.
What has the world come to when a grown man gets upset and annoyed by someone just following his blog and liking his posts…absurd and ridiculous, yes, but that’s what happened to me !
Completely taken aback and unprepared, I replied to his fabrications, which did at first, still in shock, annoy me, I admit. For most sane people who have had someone blatantly lie about them, making attempts to harm their reputation publicly, they’d be annoyed, that’s normal. And behind their back, let’s be honest is even more annoying.
On reflection and speaking to a few friends, we concluded that following a public WordPress blog and identifying myself, is normal. Anyone with a Gravatar account can do this on any WordPress.com blog. Further, as I’ve already said anyone with a computer, internet connection, half a brain cell can follow a blog anonymously just by going to myblog.wordpress.com and reading their browser or following via RSS. Liking someone’s blog or posts is done with a positive intention, to provide positive feedback, a mini-compliment. What kind of stupid person doesn’t like a compliment?
I’ve chalked this down to experience. I generally don’t respond to trolls, but do reserve the right to defend myself against lies and fake serious allegations. That’s starting to go beyond troll’ing into slander and deformation. I don’t accept the defence of English not being the persons first language in a public forum. Ignorance isn’t a legal defence, it’s the individual’s responsibility to inform themselves of law and the language they are using. Having said this, with humility, “sorry, English not my first language, I made a mistake”, then olive branch accepted, shake hands and make up.
It’s probably more a matter of ignorance more than malice on the part of the “The Axe Murder”, but really wish he’d spoken to me personally, rather than going behind my back.
Positives that have come out of it
- If his intention was defame me publicly, he failed, he’s actually ended up looking the stupid, ignorant one. Rather this has enhanced my reputation. I’d prefer not to win like this in my life, but up to him, he brought it on himself.
- It’s given me a good chance to clear out of the blogs that I was following. I don’t really need to be following and waiting for trolls to arrive on my blog, or troll me elsewhere. I do my best to follow ALL of the blogs that follow me and a few others. Sometimes I will follow a blog speculatively because it looks like it has potential – I will be a little more choosy about this in the future.
- I’ve learn’t a lot about how I react to trolls and how to deal with them more effectively next time. There will be a next time, I’m sure, 100%. Squashing a troll can be relatively painless for those that have prepared themselves. Real experience is good preparation, arguably the best.
- I’ve remembered (again !) that it’s good to have a few friends around that can put things in perspective (thanks Shaun and Danny!). So happy to have them around for when a troll tries to wield his black arts on me again.
Advice on dealing with Trolls in public places
Trolls prey on the weak, the gentle, the vulnerable, those in need. Scummy cruel little narcissists. First line of defence, try not to be weak, overly gentle, overly vulnerable or need too much, in public – easier than it sounds I know, but you can only do your best. Save your virtue for the ones that love you back. Caution doesn’t mean you’re a coward, it might mean you’re using your brain to stay safe from the weak minded.
- First stock advice is to ignore Trolls, they are looking for a reaction, they want to laugh at someone else’s suffering, by poking at you in any way they see a chink in your “armour”. Without your reaction, they haven’t achieved their objective. This can take courage and strength, but that’s what it takes. Ignore, block, delete, put in spam queue.
- If you are publicly forced into a corner by one of these prehistoric Neanderthals, then keep calm, be polite, continue with an air of respect, but be firm and don’t buy into their point of view. Never ever in your own mind let them be right, you are right, they are not. Try to make what you say your final comment, so there isn’t anything else to be said later. Don’t be pushed off balance into making a social faux pas, or getting involved in an extended interaction. Be a leader – “this conversation is over” (or you can craft better) closing words.
- Most other normal well adjusted human beings will recognise a troll a mile off. Whilst their support may not seem obvious, they are there. They dislike trolls as much as you do. They are also wary to get involved, as they don’t want to get stung either.
- Look to your friends, family and loved ones for support, help and advice if you need. They often can put a much calmer relaxed perspective on things, and help you deal the the troll more effortlessly. But be careful who you ask, some may make matters worse.
- If you’re unlucky enough to find yourself in a pack of trolls, without a friend, then remove your self from the situation, your safety comes first. Just walk away. Better to be on your own and safe, than amongst trolls and abused. You know you’re a good person and that’s all that matters.
- Do your own investigation on the Troll, search Google for their ip-address and email, be inventive, use your imagination, it’s very possible to dig up a lot of stuff very easily. Keep screen prints of web pages as they do change – Evernote good for this, save entire page. Keep links, emails, ip-addresses and any other information. File away, just in case the problem escalates. Never publish or share this information, but police/authorities may wish to see it if the Troll goes beyond scope of troll’ing and is actually a nut-case, not a harmless weakling.
- Do realise that internet is public, and that written communications can and are seen by many people and can be easily copied and re-distributed. By all means say what you want, but think about what you say, before you say it, before you press send.
- Don’t reveal too much of yourself in public, save the best bits for yourself, your loved ones and friends:)
- Do use your moderation and spam system in your blog. Also consider disabling commenting or like facility if you’re sensitive to people’s comments or feel that every like should be wholly authentically given.
- Important – Once you’ve recorded the info from the troll’s comment, put it in your SPAM queue, you won’t see another message from him/her again. I said this already but it’s important:)
- Lastly I know Troll baiting is fun, but try and have the heart the troll doesn’t have, otherwise we’ll never be rid of this nuisance. Use the good judgement that the Troll lacks.
Although it’s pretty colourful (and has bad language, so not for everyone), I like how Vinnie Jones deals with his challengers in the movie “Snatch”. You can find it on YouTube, “Desert Eagle vs Replica”. This is the kind of strength needed to stand up to persistent Trolls, and highlight them as just flaccid empty vessels where a good human being once stood. Don’t watch if you’re offended by bad language !
Don Charisma 3 / Trolls 0
My blog has received over 37000 visits, and I have had three and bit trolls come to visit. In perspective trolls are actually quite rare here on WordPress, endangered species, which in this case doesn’t need protecting, squash ’em, well at least the ones that deserve it. You can learn a lot from a Troll, about yourself, about how to be more charismatic and a better person, so don’t thank them, but be grateful for what they can teach you.
Squashing trolls for the experienced can actually be quite fun. Who doesn’t love to see a pumped up bluff, burst and then crawl off back under it’s rock? So, how about a “Don Charisma, I squashed a troll award”, for people who can send me a publishable post on their Troll slaying activities ?
Just leave a comment on this post with your proposal if you’d like to share your troll-squashing activities.
Update 11-Oct, My first award goes to Shaun Gibson for his Troll squashing activities – http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/so-i-gave-a-person-an-award-he-asked-me-if-i-was-a-jew/
Resources & Sources
‘She’s pathetic’ – Now Facebook trolls target family of latest Ask.Fm suicide girl – http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/shes-pathetic-now-facebook-trolls-target-family-of-latest-askfm-suicide-girl-29476014.html
“Reblog” on thoughts – http://scarletts-letters.thoughts.com/posts/how-to-deal-with-trolls
Re: “toys” lettering
Note: I drew my own “toys” lettering in Adobe Illustrator for this post, I didn’t use a font for the logo or captions.
Note 2: After completing the post, I found on Google (1st result) this FREE font, might be useful for anyone wishing to do similar lettering who doesn’t have Adobe Illustrator skills – http://www.freepremiumfonts.com/free-font/toysrus-babiesrus-32273.aspx and also this one is quite similar – http://www.freepremiumfonts.com/free-font/best-of-the-toys-for-sale.aspx