March 1, 2010

Don't Feed the Trolls

I'd like to take a minute to talk about Anonymous commenters.

First off, let me just say, for those of you non-milspouse bloggers, I realize you guys have your own share of spam comment problems. Not meaning to dismiss that at all, and to be sure, it just comes with the blogger territory.

However, the milspouse blogs get their own brand of aggressive anonymous commenters. Anything from "how does it feel knowing your husband kills innocent children for a living" to "he's probably cheating on you with a man right now, you fat ugly stupid cow." And it's all done under "Anonymous."

I have nothing to say to those people. That's why, on all of my blogs, I have written in the comment box that I will delete any comments - positive or negative - that are posted anonymously.

An anonymous comment doesn't hurt my feelings. It doesn't make me question my beliefs or decisons. It doesn't make me even blink. Within two weeks of announcing our entering the Army, they began. And I really couldn't care less, most of the time. Having faced trolls in real life (through our political activities) - really angry, aggressive get-in-your-face people - kind of takes the sting of online comments away.

But lately, it's gotten pretty bad. I'm not addressing this to the anonymous commenters - like they'd care what I have to say anyway - I'm addressing this to you, my BBs.

Be aware. The latest scheme they've concocted is to try and turn us against each other.

How?

By posting anonymously, saying for example, "X told me you're a total nut and she wants you to stop following her blog." "X said she wants to get your blog shut down, and I agree you are a total waste of space." "X said your husband is secretly gay." etc. etc.

I've gotten a slew of these recently, and I have a hunch that X (the other blogger) to whom those comments are attributed is getting the same comments, saying I've said them about her.

There's a rule among the blogosphere that apparently we as spouse bloggers either haven't heard or just for some reason don't practice: DON'T FEED THE TROLLS. Trolls are people, like these commenters, who "troll" through blogs making comments to insult, injure or misinform.

I see many of my BBs waste emotion and energy reacting to these trolls, and I see that you get wounded, frustrated and angry.

It's time to stop. Stop giving them that power over you and your blog. Because once they sidetrack you into talking about them, you are giving them attention, the one source of nourishment trolls grow on. To kill a troll, you must deprive them of attention.

And I have a hunch, no proof, just a feeling that this is perhaps a larger coordinated effort than we realize.

Case in point: back in 2008, it was revealed that ACORN had in many of its offices whole rooms of computers with paid employees dedicated to going to news stories and blogs and flooding them with comments promoting or bashing certain candidates. A nation-wide coordinated effort to flood the internet with bile and misinformation through the use, not of spambots, but of actual real live people.

I'm not saying that's exactly what's at play here, but I do think that, if we were able to collect and compare visitor data (I really wish I knew how to do that) that we would undoubtedly find a lot of similarities.

So, I'm asking you today to, with me, sign this pledge:

DON'T FEED THE TROLLS
1. I will not respond to anonymous comments, either as a blog post or in the comments, for that only feeds the trolls.
2. I will delete all anonymous comments as soon as I see they are posted, rather than leaving them up for others to see, for that only feeds the trolls.
3. I will not respond to anonymous comments on my BBs blog before she has the chance to delete their comments, even though I am coming to her defense, for that only feeds the trolls.

Sign the pledge by commenting below and adding this button to your blog's sidebar. Share the pledge with your BBs so we can join together to fight to squash the trolls.

Trolls are like flies. They will always be there, and no matter how many you kill, another will take its place. However, swat enough of them down, take away their food, and they will move somewhere else.

Will you join me?

15 comments:

  1. wow, that is bizarre! I guess I have managed to avoid the troll comments...I mean, I've had some rude comments in the past from A. Nonymous, but I just ignore/delete them.

    The whole turning one blogger against another, though?!!? weird. Get a life, people!!

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  2. Wow! I have actually never received any anonymous comments nore have I received any negative comments at all. Some people on the internet seriously need to get a life. But don't let this top you! There are so many people out there who love reading what you have to see (including me)! :)

    Btw, I gave up on the whole Google Following thing. I seem to be on your google friend list but it never updated in my reader. So I manually added you to my reader and that always works. :)

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  3. Oh wait, it works both ways now. :) I guess I just wasn't patient enough. So no worries! Everything is good! :) You are back in my Google reader.

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  4. I've already been doing this! I got a really nasty comment a while ago something along the lines of I can't be a super mommy because I am a loafer since I don't work... I figured it was someone I knew that wanted to be an ass. I had planned to blog about the anonymous comment and then I was like, why waste my energy, they have no idea what they're talking about - and deleted it. Made me feel better. The only anon. comments I allow are the ones from my friends who don't have blogs but they have to sign their name or it doesn't go up! lol. I haven't had the other nasty kinds you have talked about but I'm sure it's only a matter of time... Some people...

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  5. Wow. I haven't had this problem yet...and I'm glad I haven't. But then, I don't have all that many followers or visitors. =) I suppose that can be a good thing sometimes!

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  6. I can't believe people would take the time out of their day just to leave anonymous comments to someone they don't know.

    I haven't encountered it, but I would be so mad.

    I left an award for you on my blog :)

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  7. I haven't experienced this either!! Oh my gosh, that's insane! What is wrong with people? Thank you for addressing it because if I hadn't been warned, I may have been depressingly shocked if it happened to me. You go girl!

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  8. I haven't seen this either, thankfully, but I'm glad you did this post. I too would have been devasted the first time I saw something like that. It's just awful!

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  9. I have not had to deal with any anonymous commenters yet. I do follow a few blogs though that get them quite frequently. I completely agree with you. The best thing to do is ignore them.

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  10. Wow! What the hell?!? Don't people have better things to do then to start drama on the internet???/

    I'm sorry you had to deal with this! I'm glad you brought it up though so I'll be more aware.

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  11. This is really sad. I just avoid all of this by keeping anonymous comments turned off.

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  12. This has never happened to me! But thanks for the heads up!

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  13. Anon's are annoying. I think I turned them off on my blog, but there may be reasons not to.

    Anyway just found your blog from The Mathis'! And I think its a good find.

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  14. I cant stand the trolls... annoying anonymous people. I had the same problem you did, as soon as I announced KS was joining the Army. Thankfully I haven't got any in quite a while. Hopefully it stays that way.

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  15. I'll never understand some people's need to leave nasty comments. Life is too short!

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I was nice and didn't turn on word verifications. Please reciprocate by having your reply-to email set and not posting anonymously.