Don’t Feed the Trolls

Wow! It’s been ssssooooo long since I wrote a post here (looks like sometime in 2013), even though I’ve continued to lurk around checking things out.

For whatever reason I just got an image of Batman, or would that be Batgirl, slinking around?

Anyhoo, there are so many new people here that I feel the need to introduce myself again.

Hello! *dorky grin and wave* My name is Stephannie Beman, I’m a writer. I write books.

And yes, I’m this awkward in person, possibly even more so.

Actual picture of me so you know who you're talking too. :D
Actual picture of me so you know whose talking.

Okay, now that the introductions are out of way, we can focus on the important stuff. The reason I decided to break my long silence and write this post.

Storytime

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a group of people terrorized by Trolls. These were not the normal kind of trolls with an ugly countenance, giant tusks, long claws, and sharp teeth. These Trolls were the covert kind. The ones that looked like everyone else, hiding in plain sight. It was only through their actions that the truth of what they were was revealed.

These nasty, mean, awful beasties thrive on stalking their prey, destroying lives, causing self-doubt, and ruining the dreams of the people. But then the people started to learn an important secret about the snarling creatures.

Don’t feed the Trolls. It only makes them stronger.

By feeding the trolls ego the people were giving the trolls what they wanted. Control. These people learned a few ways to weaken the noxious influences of the trolls in their lives by….


Knowing That It’s About Them

Those who go around behaving in an abhorrent manner that reminds you of a raging toddler in adult form are trolls and you should tell yourself that it has very little, or more likely, nothing to do with you personally. Yes, I know the attack was probably personal in nature, they usually are. But it’s not about you. It’s all about them. It’s about who they are, their past experiences, their unmet desires, their inability to communicate in positive ways, their fears. Anger is just fear indulged and magnified in an unhealthy and hurtful manner.

That Sometimes It’s About You

Yes, sometimes you did or said something to contribute to the incident. However, that doesn’t mean you are to blame. If you said or did something they didn’t agree with, they could have taken their mom’s advice and walked away without saying a word. Nothing says that anyone has to agree with everyone’s opinions, but the trolls are the ones that feel justified in pointing it out in great and insulting detail why you are wrong. They want you to see it their way because it is the ‘only way’. It doesn’t mean it’s the truth, or even your truth.

Some trolls find insult in the smallest things, like the woman who was angry at me for “destroying the Persephone myth” in one of my stories by not following the myth to a ‘T’. Not only did she point it out in great detail what I did wrong, but she brought a few of her friends along to do the same. At the time I was a newbie author who took what she said to heart and it crushed me.

Why? Because I was afraid that she was right about my ability to tell a good story, a deep-seated fear that was created long before she came along. I was afraid that everyone would hate the mythology that I created and that the books would fail miserably. I really had to take a good look at that fear and ask myself if it’s justified. Years later I can say, I told the story that I wanted, in the way I wanted to, and as a fiction writer it is my right to screw it up royally if I want.

Either Way, You’ll Never Know The Whole Truth

Even if you ask. There rarely is a good reason for trolls to do what they do. They are no better than the schoolyard bully trying to feel better about themselves or impress the other bullies by attacking “the little guy” to make themselves feel important

If some of the troll attacks I’ve had over the years are anything to go, it probably won’t make sense even if they tell you the problem they have with you. I’m still scratching my head over one woman’s scathing remarks over my author bio which I won’t go into detail other than to say that for two days she personally attack me and all those who commented on the blog post that had nothing to do with the bio. I came back from the weekend to 120 comments.

Years later, she apologized for her behavior and being curious as to what started it I asked her in the hopes of understanding why something so simple had set her off. It only triggered another bout of personal insults. Needless to say, I still don’t understand her reasoning and probably never will.

So Remember The 1/3rd Rule

When I was in the 2nd grade I came home crying because some of the girls didn’t want to be my friend because I wasn’t girly enough and I was kinda weird. My mother told me that there is no way to please everyone I met and to try would only twist me out of true. That rather than change to be their friend, I should surround myself with friends who loved me for who I am. I learned early that people will try to change those not like them and demand that they bend over backward to please them.

Later I learned the 1/3rd Rule. 1/3 of people you meet will love you, 1/3 of people you meet will hate you, and 1/3 of people you meet won’t care one way or the other about you. So I guess the question is, do you really want to spend your life trying to impress people only to fail? Or would you rather strive to impress the person you have to live with the most, yourself?

Because Resistance Is Futile

Yes, I love Star Trek. And I do use this phrase on my kids regularly, although the circumstances usually involve cleaning their rooms or doing their chores. Mom is the Borg and resistance is futile. You will be assimilated, kids.

Surprisingly, it also applies to trolls. You can’t change the minds of bullies. They will think what they want no matter what you do. Sometimes you can teach them a hard lesson, but I wouldn’t suggest it. It has the horrible potential of backfiring and causing you more harm.

No matter what you say or do, defending yourself against a bully will only makes things worse because if they don’t “hate” you for one thing, they will find another “fault” to hate about you. Haters hate.

And Hate Is Contagious

Trolls ‘hate’ you for anything and everything you do, and that hate can contaminate you if you let it in. If you aren’t careful their hatred might become yours. Don’t own that.

Hate is like an infection that spreads and consumes the person. A better use of your time would be to learn from what they say, and if changes need to be made (like improving my horrible grammar), then it is better to put energy into improving yourself rather than hating the trolls. It’s not like they care if you hate them, it only gives them more power.

Just Wait 24 Hours

Don’t respond to them. Stop responding to them. Ignore them.

If I learned one thing from the schoolyard, bullies hate to be ignored, and nothing angers them more than your apathy. It’s actually the perfect revenge. If you don’t feed the trolls, they’ll eventually lumber off in search of easier prey who will respond to them and feed their need for control and conflict.

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is that most things, even the vilest of rumors, die within 24 to 72 hours. It might be Hell during that time but there will always be juicer gossip for people to consume.

Or Delete Them

If it’s an offensive blog comment, delete the comment or post a note that their comment was “deleted for offensive behavior”. It sends a message to the other Trolls that see it that your blog isn’t their stomping grounds and their attacks will not be tolerated.

Regardless if you can delete them or not, don’t speak to people who are bad for you. You deserve better than their venom. They aren’t worth the breath, or words you’ll write, to answer them. Don’t become the thing you hate in the mistaken belief that you are combating them.

Either way, Don’t Respond to Them

I get the need to defend yourself by creating boundaries and lines that trolls can’t cross without consequences. I’m not saying ‘turn the other cheek’ or ‘let them use you as a doormat’, I’m suggesting fighting them in a way that hurts them most, by not giving them the attention they want.  I found that if I do or say something, even if it’s calm and rational manner, I’ll eventually say something they will later be use against me.

In the grand scheme, ignoring them and removing them from your life is the best advice I can give you.

Eventually, Time Heals all Wounds

Anger and hate ultimately passes if you let it and you will heal from what was said. In time, you might even be able to shrug it off as an unfortunate learning experience or laugh about “that one time when that one person told me…” or you could use that anger toward the troll in your next story. What better way to relieve the pressure then by using that energy to fuel your story? You can even make your troll into the villain and proceeded to kill them horribly and violently.

And yes, I am that vengeful. However, the idea came from other writers who have used strong emotions to create emotional charged scenes in their books and from time to time even immortalized their enemies by making them the villains in a story. 😀


In Summary, Trolls are bad

Nothing makes their attacks right or excuse their behavior. Feeding the trolls makes it worse. Letting them into your lives is like bathing in toxic waste. You will not get superpowers. You will get burned. Keeping them around like allowing a feral Mountain Lion to sleep at the end of your bed. You’re likely to wake up one morning with a Mountain Lion gnawing on a body part. Really not smart.

Be smart. Don’t feed the Trolls.

20 Comments

  1. I’ve experienced a few trolls in my time, though thank God none have ever come after me personally or left nasty reviews of my books online to spite me. In all cases, I’ve found ignoring them to be the best option. Heck, I’ve even laughed at them when I’ve gotten offline, because they really are petty and small when you think about it. Toddlers in adult bodies, like you said.

    1. I’m glad they’ve never come after you, Rami. Trolls can be a big pain and like you said ignoring them and laughing at them works the best. I hope you stay troll free.

      1. Me too, but as long as I keep commenting on YouTube videos and Hillary Clinton’s Facebook posts, they’ll show up. Oh well. What’s life without a few risks, right?

        1. A life without risks isn’t fun, although commenting on YouTube and Facebook is taking your life into your own hands. LOL

          1. Tell me about it. I commented on a video saying that Batman vs. Superman was fun, despite its many flaws. The two first commenters weren’t trolls, but they weren’t exactly happy campers. I hope I don’t get any worse than them!

            1. Wow! You do like living on the edge. 😀

              I can’t say I’ve seen the movie, but I’ve found myself liking shows that other people hate. If I mention that I liked them I usually get the run down of why I shouldn’t like it. I hope you don’t get worse comments for liking the Batman vs. Superman. After all your opinion on the movie is subjective and shouldn’t be attacked just because someone else doesn’t like it.

            2. Batman vs. Superman WAS fun!

              1. Thank you! Yeah, it had its problems, but I did have fun watching it.

  2. Great post! I always ask myself “what would Stephen King do?” Hint: he wouldn’t reply to Amazon or good reads reviews because he’s too busy, and we should be too 😉

    1. Thank you and Amen! Keeping busy with writing saves a lot of hassle from the trolls. 😀

  3. Well said. The only thing I’d change is that you’d call yourself Batwoman instead of Batgirl. 🙂

    1. Very true. Batwoman is better than Batgirl. Sadly I can’t call myself a girl anymore. Or maybe that isn’t so sad. Hummm…

  4. “Or would you rather strive to impress the person you have to live with the most, yourself?”

    This hit it on the head for me. I would much rather be happy with myself and the choices I made. What I do know is that every time I’ve engaged a troll, I have regretted it. Ignoring them is the best way to deal with it.

    1. Being happy with your self and your choices in life is much better then going around regretting everything you did or being upset because you didn’t do what you wanted to do. I’ve always regretted it when I’ve engaged the trolls. 😦

  5. I’ve been pretty lucky in that I haven’t had much trouble with trolls. Just a couple on reviews. I had one reviewer accuse me of stealing a character from another author and proceeded to tell everyone to read THAT author instead of me. Amazon was good enough to take that one down. It’s funny you mentioned someone didn’t like it because you changed the Persephone myth. Isn’t that our prerogative as authors? It’s fun to see different spins on things. I got a bad review partly because my vampires could actually eat real food in addition to blood. *sigh*

    1. Some people kids. *shakes head in dismay* I’ve had readers who were upset that the pomegranate seeds didn’t show up in the story, that Demeter was too controlling, that Hades wasn’t more proactive in getting Persephone to like him, that Persephone wasn’t likable enough, that Persephone doesn’t stay in the Underworld for 6 months and return to the land of the living for 6 months, that the gods are too human, and the list goes on. Luckily they usually tell me these things in emails rather than in reviews.

      I’m glad Amazon took the review down. But why they thought you stole a character is beyond me. How would one character from another author’s book work in a story with all your other characters? Even if you’d gone out to steal that one character, they would have been changed drastically because of the different situations they found themselves in and the characters they interacted with throughout the story.

      And yes, as author’s it’s our prerogative to change anything and everything to fit the world we’re writing in. I like that your vampires can eat real food and if the reader was a consumer of the vampire genre than they would have known that you aren’t the first author to do that and probably won’t be the last. Mythical creatures are changing to fit the time and the fictional world of the author who writes them.

      1. The vampires on Buffy can eat food! LOL

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