Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Taking The Power Away


In the sweet natured and generally wholesome world of internet blogging lies a rare and somewhat strange character of the blog troll.
Blog trolls, as far as I can make out, fall into two broad groups.
They are either
The severely mentally ill or trouble making loners who get fixated on a particular topic or blogger with varying degrees of anonymous and often abusive contact.
The first group should be pitied and helped as the internet can be a frighteningly vast breeding ground for delusion and unreality but it is the second group that net areas such as blogger needs to be more robust with, for, like mischievous sad children, they can wreck anything from mild irritation to severe distress , to the victims of their faceless rants and comments.
Of course like anyone who gets their kicks from trouble making, it is vital to be able to put your finger on their Achilles' heel. This is easier to do when the interaction is face to face, so to speak, but it's not impossible. You just have to be clever.
A while ago, I was one of many people who were on the receiving end of an abusive phone caller.
After several graphic and sometimes upsetting interactions, I asked the caller in a very calm way, just why they had called and amid the following abuse suddenly realised that it was the ending of the call that was the hub of the abuser's motivation. When I ended the phone call on my terms, I removed the abuser's power and broke the satisfaction of their fantasy.
Recently, I was fortunate to have a conversation with a retired psychologist.
I asked her about trolls ( it was at the time of the whole twitter troll thing.) and her thoughts were interestingly just common sense.
She said
Report them to the powers that be ( including the police if the contact is abusive and/or threatening.
Delete their input quietly and without fuss...failing that ignore em totally.
If you do feel that a reply is necessary , just tell them a simple " I am bored by what you write"

77 comments:

  1. Unfortunately the anonymity of the Internet is a breeding ground for a wide variety of angry and frustrated trolls.

    These unpleasant (bizarre) encounters have happened to me numerous times, most especially (curiously enough) on YouTube. Ignoring them is best, because any response seems to encourage and feed their "power".

    Reporting them to "the powers that be" is sometimes necessary, but generally doesn't do much good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The "powers that be" don't seem to care. The blogosphere can be like The Wild West. I have tried reporting two or three bloggers to Google Blogger but to begin with they make it exceedingly difficult to even find an appropriate address for registering legitimate complaints.

      Delete
    2. Yorkshire,
      Your observations are absolutely correct. It's futile to get "the powers that be" involved, and (in the blogging community) it's nearly impossible to locate them.

      I find it best to handle things by oneself - - deleting, ignoring,.....or getting a shotgun, tracking the bastards down, and blasting them to smithereens.

      Oops! Sorry! I live in the Tennessee wilderness where the power of a shotgun is a way of life. I'm just another crazy American (*smile*)

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    3. Gulp! I agree with everything you say, have ever said or will ever say Jon. Please don't shoot me! ("tremble")

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    4. You'd make a big target old chum x

      Delete
  2. Good post John. as I always say, its my blog, Ive got the power, and I zap the delete button.

    Ignoring them is best. Although I did have a little go the other day. But people say the stupidest things. I screen all of my comment, I know it is in not popular and a lot of people hate that. But I would rather my blog was for like minded people talking about topics I am interested in. Rather than everyone having a go at each other in the comments, or thinking they are defending me, when really they are feeding the troll. I stopped my previous blog as it got out of control. Now the control is all mine. If the dont like it, there is that little button top right, they can just close the window and find another blog that is more to their liking.

    Be kind to one another, there is enough hurt and suffering out there, we dont need to allow any more hate.

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    Replies
    1. I am not sure trolls hate......i think there is distance enough for that..I think that they are inadequate and ths is the only forum which indicates that they may be listened to......

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  3. Have you been talking to aunt Ruth on Doc Martin ?
    The answer to your question sounds mildly familiar.
    My approach is not to give them any attention and hit he delete button.
    If you refuse to play ball with them, they seem to move on.
    ~Jo

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    Replies
    1. Yes....it doesntwork with my troll.....his/her rants are, i am sure mentally or drug induced though

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  4. Ignoring them can be a two edge sword. Depending upon what reasons or lack of them they may have, to ignore them apparently reinforces their need to be "in control" and to prove they are.

    So, delete their comments, don't read them, I know it is tempting to find out what are they up again now, but you have the power so use it. I am not sure you can block them on blogger, but if not just delete any comment from them. Keep in mind that they may use different names so simply say that you are reporting them to their Internet provider because their behaviour implies they are stalking you, and the next step would be the police.

    I just delete them and wish them well. Those people need help but a blog is not the place to find it.

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    Replies
    1. Your " help" comment struck a chord
      Perhaps philip ( seebelow) can help with sme pointers!

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  5. I delete them straight to the spam folder. Then I delete them from there. Blogger must take note; they seldom come back. At lease not in the same form.
    I've never seen a reason to respond to any troll; who I am requires no defense. A phone abuser is another matter. The one time it happened I had to involve the police, and that was effective.

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  6. trolls = bullies. your response is their oxygen. no response = no oxygen = dead.

    I learned this from my 4 years of psychotherapy; I used it on my sperm and egg donors quite successfully.

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  7. Sensible advice. Most bullies, abusers and trolls just want a reaction, and they are expecting shock, horror and dismay. Keeping things on your own terms and being friendly and upbeat is usually very unsettling for them.

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  8. Sounds like a sensible approach. When I was in my early twenties and first living alone - with a phone in my name, listed in the phone book - I got an obscene phone call from someone so tentative and polite I didn't believe what they had said and stupidly asked them to repeat it! Now I just hang up if I don't like what the caller is saying or selling. If they're saying something I hang up gently; if they're selling they may get a loud crashing in their ear.

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    1. I like the comment below, that suggests to put the phone down very gently and walking away

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  9. I don't have a blog but my work with people with personality disorders suggests to me that this advice you shared John is the key:-
    "Delete their input quietly and without fuss...failing that ignore em totally" - but with one important addition: do this consistently. At least two of your regular commentators omitted the latter. If everyone did this in respect of the recent common troll, I'm sure she/he would eventually give up.

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    Replies
    1. Philip, have you any other pointers?
      Given your experience ?
      I have had some experience with working with people with personality disorder, and i have always found the ground a stoney one

      Delete
    2. I would two additional points about the importance of consistency in response. First, behavioural psychologists have demonstrated that the strongest form of positive reinforcement is 'variable interval' reinforcement (as opposed to regular reinforcement every time or fixed interval reinforcement). That's why gambling is so addictive for some people. Therefore, the occasional rant back at a troll provides the strongest form of encouragement. Secondly, in a clinical setting a key principle is that all team members respond in the same way in respect of PD. it therefore could be helpful in cases of inter-related blogs targeted by the same troll for each blogger to do the same, i.e. delete without comment.

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    3. A bloody excellent point.....a basic defence but a totally valid one
      Thanks for that
      Everyone please note!

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  10. Fortunately I have had little experience with Trolls on my own blog. Then again it is one that I Set up myself so I have maybe got more control over commenters. No comments published until approved unless the commenter had a previously approved comment. On other blogs I have found that the simple attitude "don't feed the troll" to be the way to go. They thrive on getting people upset, when ignored they wither. Of course it's nice if the blog owner can delete the offending comment and block future comments from the same source but that isn't always possible. I've been commenting on posts since the USENET days well before the Internet became what it is today (for good or ill).

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    Replies
    1. I do hate the moderation route graham.....it drives me mad

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    2. comment moderation makes for a much less dynamic comments section!
      I'm not a fan

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  11. Lawsy , the trolls I have blocked in my time ... the angry obscene frustrated and pretty much insane trollish behaviors and messages I have gotten .. Thanks to the Block This Poster options as well as very strict reviews of everything Before it gets published, I seem to be troll free at the moment.
    I wish that was how easy it is to get rid of a human up the street :)

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    Replies
    1. Also ~ you can block people and you can never even know they tried to get in. I like that .. if it were only so easy in Life.

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  12. There's enough c### in life without putting up with it here in blogger land. I agree with deleting them but it is hard to resist putting 'a bug' in their ear first lol.

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    Replies
    1. I used to think that but when I realized I was giving them just what they wanted, I don't respond. they just get blocked. and vaporized.

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  13. Thank you for such sensible advice John.

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  14. Back in my younger days, when we used to get the occasional obscene phone call on the old landline, I would just quietly lay the receiver down and go about my business. Used to upsetting people and getting hung up on, the caller would eventually realize that no one was on the other end and they'd been talking to themselves for some time! They never called back :)

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    Replies
    1. I like that......i would have done some hoovering whist singing too

      Delete
  15. For about a year I suffered the abuse of a sad nobody who repeatedly called me a "c**t". I never responded. Whenever he commented I just deleted whatever he wrote. Fortunately the sad nobody disappeared, grew up or had his head kicked in by a mob of revenge seeking bloggers. I find the third possibility the most appealing.

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    Replies
    1. It was a stressful time as i recall

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  16. Good post and advice, John. Last year I commented on Cro's post and suddenly I saw a troll placed an abusive comment on Cro's site and then he (the name was masculine - yes, he signed his comments) came onto my blog and abused me repeatedly. I was horrified but didn't respond and he went away, thank goodness.

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  17. I am glad you brought the subjest,it is more than a year that some of us here get the troll's comments on their blogs.

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    Replies
    1. I was thinking about you Yael when I thought of this blog entry

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    2. Thank you again John, i think Rachel is the target of the attacks lately, she does not deserv it .

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  18. Thanks for the advice John. When I was younger the odd dirty phone call REALLY upset me as I felt threatened. Now I do not answer my phone unless I know who it is or unless they start to leave a message. As for trolls, those that have mental issues I agree need help. The others are just inadequate twats and while I'm sure I would like to reply you all seem to be saying the same thing. I particularly agree with what Sol said. Do you remember when the woman troll who had been hounding Madeleine McCann's parent with hundred, if not thousands, of vile comments - well she was "outed" rightly or wrongly, and committed suicide a few days later. Seems like trolls can dish it out but can't take it. Whatever you think of the McCanns they lost their little girl and evil trolls can push people, perhaps weaker than the McCanns, over the edge (indeed she proved this herself). I do not take any pleasure in her suicide but I have to admit I make every effort to remain indifferent.

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    Replies
    1. Its an interesting phenomenom and one that is unique and worthy of study.....i think the " distance" the net has gives a slightly unreal aspect of what is normal.....for some relationships and the rules that govern tbem perhaps dont apply

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  19. I've only had a couple of people who have been problematic and attacked me, usually by email rather than on my blog itself. Both older men, homophobic and it was no surprise to me that both were unmarried older gentlemen. I gave them a good run though, as both could be very interesting and the main one clearly had periods of stability. That didn't worry me so much but when he began attacking people who commented on my blog I started deleting his comments, no matter what they said. It too a while, but he did give up. The other personally knew a blog mate couple and after a particularly awful email, I emailed him and said, whatever would D&B think of you sending such a vicious and hate filled email. That solved that. Both are still around commenting on blogs I comment on but we no longer interact. I hasten to add, they don't comment on your blog that I have ever seen.

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    Replies
    1. Thank fuck for that!

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    2. Indeed, but I have just noticed people saying, don't engage, and that is what I would do if they were nasty from the beginning, but in the cases I mentioned, they were not.

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  20. Totally ignoring them is the quickest and most effective way. There's nothing worse then being ignored. Deny their very existence.

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  21. I had the text equivalent of a heavy-breathing phone call a couple years ago, I did a post about it. Wrong number, a young lady thought I was her boyfriend and was out two-timing her. She also mentioned she was a month along with my child. My girls got quite a hoot about it.

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  22. Easy peasey it is then.

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  23. The advice to delete their input and ignore them is spot on. The worst thing you can do is actively engage with them. What they crave is attention and if they don't get any attention they'll soon be off to greener pastures.

    Luckily I've never had any determined trolls, only the odd person who thinks they know me better than I know myself.

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  24. sadly, many people derive power from being rude or hateful.

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  25. Fortunately, I'm too boring/annoying for most folk and all but the nicest move right along. Just lucky that way. =D

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    Replies
    1. Indeed you are lucky Jac. I have hung around.

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    2. That would be covered under "all but the nicest..." Andrew.

      =D

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  26. When my son was a little boy in school, I think it was grade 3 .. we acquired ( he and I ) a stalker. She had a child in the same school. A very well to do, not ugly woman driving a Mercedes and stalking me .. It was terrifying, I / we ended up with police protection and the happiest day of our lives back then was when the police called to tell me the woman was moving out of state.
    Stalking is horrible in so many ways. And trying not to let my young son know how frightened I was ... a terrible time.
    I do thank god every day for the police man who took it as his mission to be sure we were safe and that woman stayed far away .. he was the one who informed us she had left the state.
    So an online troll can be annoying but you never really know how insane they are.

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  27. On Blogger you can change the settings to allow only members of your blog to leave comments. And/ or you can block anonymous comments. [dashboard>settings>comments] This might discourage the troll if he/she is not a member but it would cut down on comments from non-joiner types too.
    Also it may be more helpful to move the troll comments to spam, then delete, as Blogger's spam filter may learn to put this person's comments straight into spam. You can then delete from spam.

    lizzy

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    Replies
    1. Lizzy, Strange as it may seem I hate the moderation gates....

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  28. Ignore them, delete them, don't engage them.

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  29. Nobody seems to troll my blog...yet. I'd imagine I'd just try and ignore nasty comments, but who's to say how I'd respond in the moment.

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  30. Another type of troll falls in the category of the asshole ex-husband's girlfriends.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Janie, my ex tried to turn his new girlfriend into a mini-me. I was throwing clothes out and he wanted to take them to get her to wear them. So I took a pair of scissors, chopped the arms out and said "sure, here you go". I thought it was hilarious - the girlfriend not so much. Anna

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  31. I seriously feel rather sad about my (well-known) troll. She obviously has problems, and I find myself trying to analyse her. As long as she's not over abusive I leave her comments, but when she can no longer control herself I delete.

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    1. If you were on the receiving end of the abuse I get you might think differently.

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    2. From what I've seen, Mrs More doesn't constitute a full-blown troll. She's just very argumentative and aggressive, and everyone seems to over-react.

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    3. And what would you know about what you haven't seen? Tell me that.

      Delete
    4. I do second Tom Stephenson's take on Ms More.I also do believe the pigeonhole "troll" too easily employed. Disagreeing, putting up an argument is not trolling. Also, let's allow for cultural differences in how we make our opinions known.

      As to your reply to Tom, Rachel: What indeed would anyone "know about what you haven't seen" if you keep merrily deleting it? Why not let stand what you consider an ass making an ass of him/herself for all the world to see? For what it's worth, and I hope John will forgive me for being blunt in this context: You yourself, Rachel, can be incredibly unpleasant. Rude. Not only on your own blog, you'll also barge in on other people's blogs telling their commentators where to get off. I don't think you a troll (the way you seem to define it) but you sure are given to bad moods which you have no compunction letting everyone know about. You are also incredibly opinionated - pulling no punches, tact not being your strong point. And that's fine. However, don't use two yardsticks.

      U

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    5. You live up to your name. Me? Troll no, spunk yes.

      Delete
    6. Oh Rachel. "Spunk", is it? You can't even enter a conversation with me on your strengths and short comings (as perceived by me). Instead of which, like a rat cornered, you turn around and tell me I "live up to my name". Be that as it may. Not, of course, that you have any idea, neither show any interest in, how this blog name came about.

      You know something, Rachel? Life, blogging life, is not just about you and YOUR opinions, bashing people over their head. As I have said before: By all means stomp about like Rumpelstilzkin on speed but do have the grace to acknowledge that you are not everyone's bee's knees. You may deserve a place in Cro's hornets' nest. I don't know much about hornets, though believe that they do, occasionally, die by their own sting.

      U

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    7. Ursula ,
      Now i shall email you about this too, but I wanted to state this publically... This is my blog and you know full well that Rachel is a close friend of mine so please shut your mouth and keep a civil tongue in your head
      A few times before I have had to deal with your sharp mouth and its not nice
      If you have nothing better to say but negativity please dont post on Going Gently except its a comment directly to me or about something I say

      Delete
  32. Interesting post and comments. I don't understand why anyone would anonymously post comments, Surely you want the person you are trolling to know who you are? Anyway, John......BIG SMELLY PANTS!!! hehehehehe

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  33. I had a Twitter troll after I did an interview for BBC TV News at 10 a couple of years ago. It was all very frightening but I did put a stop to it by responding very robustly. Whoever he was, I was determined the small minded bigot wasn't going to bully me!

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  34. Sadly a friend of mine had a mutual friend of ours turn into a scary stalker person. Police were involved etc. We found some good advice in the Grey Rock Method. Here is the link but you don't have to click on it. Just google the words and you will find many people have copied and broadcasted it. Basically it's about trying to bore them away. http://www.lovefraud.com/2012/02/10/the-gray-rock-method-of-dealing-with-psychopaths/

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    Replies
    1. OH MY GOD THANK YOU FOR POSTING THAT LINK. Sorry for shouting but I have discovered a whole host of women who "lived" my exact life with a psychopath. We all tell the same stories. And I think "grey stone" is right - I inadvertently stumbled on this way of behaviour and IT WORKED. Yay me - he is now perfecting his psychopathic talents on someone else. Anna

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    2. Thank you. I know someone who is dealing with a Drama Queen and this may help.

      Delete
  35. I don't get much troll traffic, fortunately, but when I do I just delete it, as you said. Or I respond in such an even-keeled way that they don't want to continue a dialogue.

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  36. Great advice. I've only had a couple of instances and simply deleted the offending messages. Fortunately, nothing followed.

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  37. I always think that those Trolls who spew the hateful venom anonymously over and over really have no life off the computer, so this is their way of feeling important. Especially when they start a roe. Ignoring is best and they will go find elsewhere to hate. Pity them.

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I love comments and will now try very hard to reply to all of them
Please dont be abusive x