I've been blessed over my blogging career to have had very few problems with trolls--anonymous readers who leave valueless, condescending, hurtful and even profane comments on blogs and message boards.
One of the blogs I follow is facing a particularly nasty troll problem right now (I'll leave the blog unnamed for now since I don't want to feed that troll with any extra attention), and it prompted me to bring up the issue of trollery with my readers.
It's a lot easier to take down someone else's work than it is to generate creative work of your own. And if you decide to criticize someone's work, it's much easier to be snarky or condescending than it is to be constructive. And let's face it: there will never be a shortage of flaws to criticize in the blogging world. Even really good blogs say dumb things sometimes, and even the articles that I'm most proud of here at Casual Kitchen have plenty of flaws.
But it's the discussion of those flaws in a civil and constructive manner that helps us all become better and smarter at what we do. So when a troll leaves comments on my colleague's blog (the particular troll I'm speaking of corrected a minor spelling error, left a series of comments criticizing the blogger's religion and birthplace, and then went on make condescending remarks on several other out-of-bounds subjects), it goes without saying that this is not only useless to readers, but it's also a waste of everyone's time--including the troll's.
Of course, you could look on the bright side: once you have your very own troll dedicated to criticizing you, you can say you've truly arrived as a real blogger.
There are two schools of thought on handling trolls. Either face them down and risk giving them the attention they want, or ignore them and starve them of attention until they leave.
A healthy percentage of my readers are also bloggers, so what "troll" experiences have you had? What were mistakes you've made and what were the successes have you had in handling them?
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