Trollery! — Here is How I Handle It.

Video

How I respond to trolling behavior when I see it depends on where it’s happening. These are my rules of thumb. I make exceptions at times but for the most part, these are the best ways I have found of dealing with it.

On My Own Blog

The first thing I do, if I have any question about a comment at all, is put the commenter’s IP address, username, and email address on the moderation list. I do it before I approve the comment, and before I respond. That way, I control whether or not their subsequent comments come through, and I control when they come though.

I have a policy that establishes a clear baseline for what is acceptable on my threads at Sourcerer. If a first comment is so egregious that I don’t want it on my thread at all, I remove it and flag that commenter for permanent moderation until I see what they are up to. If it doesn’t rise to that level, I still flag that person for moderation to pre-empt the possibility of someone stumbling into it, responding, and things getting out of hand while I am not looking.

Do not engage — This is the first and best way to avoid drama on the Internet and the only real proof against intentional trolling. If I am absolutely sure I am dealing with trolling behavior, I send the commenter’s subsequent comments straight to the spam folder and pretend the first one is not there, even if I allow it through. I am not above unceremoniously dumping comments in the trash without a word, but I try to do that only when people don’t respect my policy.

Leave a single reply and see what kind of response I get – I do this if I am not sure, but I don’t spend a lot of time on the comment and don’t try and address everything. I just pick out one idea to question or criticize, and above all, include something conciliatory. Habitual trollers love, love, love to run into people who agree with some of what they say, but not all. That is an opening of sorts, and they exploit it. Sometimes I let them have the opening just so they’ll give me more information about what they’re up to. I only do this on my own blog, or one where I am sure the owner won’t mind. Diana and I have had more than one private conversation about things happening on threads, and one or the other of us has said “give them a little more rope and let’s just see if they hang themselves.”

On Someone Else’s Blog

Do not engage is my first rule. I let the owner of the blog handle it, and I try to stay away from questioning motivations or making assumptions about malice vs. ignorance. If it looks like trolling, I just assume it is until I have more information to go on.

When I stumble into it, the genie is already out of the bottle, and I want to support whomever is dealing with it, I don’t start a new thread of conversation with the person who is trolling. I leave whomever is responding, short, encouraging comments that give the trolling-person little or nothing to latch onto, and I like all the comments on the thread except the trollish ones. I don’t intervene in the conversation because that only fuels the flames and sucks me into it right along with the other person.

For All Cases

Never fight fire with fire. Flame wars got their name for a reason. Be calm, point out errors, ask for evidence, and register disagreement as snarkily as you like. But don’t attack the person, and whatever you do, do not allow yourself to be baited into an emotional exchange or into spending a bunch of time addressing comments point-by-point. Unless you have a reason to do so (as I did recently), it is never a good idea to get into a point-by-point criticism duel with a person who is tossing things onto a thread two and three hundred words at a time. I’ll talk a little tomorrow about why I spent so much time arguing on that thread.

Next: How vulnerable are you? And can you spot the trolling?

(Since I am hosting the linky for #1000Speak, I have been asked to post my compassion post tomorrow a.m. to make the linky available to bloggers who are in the much earlier time zones than me, so the final installment of this series will run this afternoon.)

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27 Writing, Editing Tips for Better Content

I picked this up over the weekend, and it contains so many good tips I have to give it the Monday reblog. If you’re looking to improve your blog or website content, this is a must-read.

StoryCroft

We talk a lot about storytelling and content in business communications, marketing, websites and social media. The conversation is often about the Big Picture, and that’s important, of course. But strategies and UX studies won’t help us if our content isn’t as good as it can be.

Even the little things can turn people off.

If you want your content consumed, understood and shared, here are 27 things you must never do.

 

 

1. Never start a communications project without knowing what you’re trying to say, to whom and why. Talk it out.

2. Never oversell. In headlines and links, don’t promise too much excitement or information. (Nobody likes click bait.) In text, avoid overused adjectives like “amazing,” exclamation points and all-caps.

3. Never assume people already know what you’re sharing about. Or where your photo was shot. Or why they should keep watching your video.

4. Never be…

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Random Poetry: “My Last Duchess”

By Robert Browning

FERRARA
That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said
“Frà Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say “Her mantle laps
“Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint
“Must never hope to reproduce the faint
“Half-flush that dies along her throat;” such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart . . . how shall I say? . . . too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace, all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men, good; but thanked
Somehow . . . I know not how . . . as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech, (which I have not), to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this
“Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
“Or there exceed the mark”, and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master’s known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

Text via Public Domain Poetry

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