Publishing Online without Worrying About Trolls and Abuse
By jessica.tibbs on June 06, 2014
The internet has been incredibly liberating for writers and bloggers who may not have journalism degrees but have a lot of to say about a particular subject or the world at large. It can cost less than $200 to get a .com up and running these days, and all it takes then is your own time to research and write articles/posts that people will engage and interact with.
Unfortunately there are people out there who do not appreciate the hard work that goes into establishing yourself as a writer on any level. Whether you’re a beauty blogger, food writer or an online marketer, these internet trolls and abusive commenters are rife on the web, and they don’t care about your feelings or your writing prowess.
Take a moment to read the comments section of the Daily Mail, Huffington Post or – and this is by far the worst – YouTube comments. People have become so numb to what they are saying, and one of the reasons for this is that they are not saying it at all. These people can hide behind the mask of anonymity that the web provides, and it doesn’t do anyone – the writer, the website or the troll themselves – any good.
There is a reason why these people are often referred to as “keyboard warriors”. If you want to hide behind a picture of a comic book character and a fake name and blurt out obscene comments, it highlights a massive lack of courage in your character. If people truly feel this way, surely the cloak of anonymity should be removed from every online medium and their views can be discussed in person? You can guarantee that 99.9% of these views would evaporate within seconds.
It takes courage to voice an opinion in public and allow your views to be discussed, debated and criticised. Anyone who starts a blog, writes an online article or posts a YouTube video of them singing, acting or performing in any capacity. It takes no courage to hide behind a fake name and try to belittle people.
What Can Be Done?
Fortunately there are things you can do in this instance. First of all, you can take away the ability for people to comment on your posts – either on your own blog or elsewhere – and instead encourage interaction via your social media platforms by via the contact form on your website. Trolls can of course follow you there, but it is unlikely they will go that far out of their way to do so.
Secondly, you can install a profanity filter into your application to block aggressive or abusive comments. If you are using video to post content, you can also include live moderation as part of your community management strategy. Do not for a second convince yourself that this is cowardice or a way of backing away from conflict or debate with your audience. This is a question of etiquette and respect, and everyone deserves to be treated with that. All you are doing with these kinds of actions is highlighting something that blights the internet every single day.
Why should anyone have to read this stuff?
Growing a thick skin is all part of being a writer, filmmaker, singer or any other form of creative medium in which you choose to publish your works online, and the faster you learn to deal with criticism, the better. Trolls are not critics, they are people who are setting out to hurt people. Don’t give them the satisfaction, and hope that every online publishing platform soon wakes up to this issue and forces anonymity away from trolls.