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July 19, 2007

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Coleen Balent

Anonymous left a comment on my blog stating that I was a fat and ugly baby. It made my mom cry!

Roam 2 Rome

Sognatrice, your posts (as always) made me think! Hmmm... my answer to this question is "it depends on the troll". Each one might have a different hidden "need" or reason for acting in such a way...

Mainly, I vote that ignoring most trolls should work! What about the aggressive ones? I would try to ignore them too, until I get a letter at home that is!

The blogosphere is still generally incredibly rewarding and beneficial. I'm happy about so many people I've met already!
There are many dangers just by walking out the door, but I choose to put on a pretty outfit and head out the door every day! :)

Judith in Umbria

I don't think you have to be famous. Random acts of crap happen too.

Karen

Since I haven't attracted any either (not surprisingly on my little site), I'm not sure what I would do, but from my current position, I think I would delete their comment(s) and ignore. If it persisted, I would probably remove comments for a while. I don't know how I would handle it if it ever got to Kathy's point. I probably (sniff) wouldn't blog anymore, at least for a while.

meredith

I would stop blogging. I think I blog away in naive innocence, thinking that I only will come across nice people, like you.

JennieBoo

Who are these whack jobs?

Thank God I've never been a victim of this. It would "crush" me!

Unfortunately, we live in a world where the Internet is a means to express oneself, without limits. Enforcing "guidelines" or the like, would, I believe, limit somoeone's creativity.

It's sad, but true that waccko psychopaths are out there, just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

I am horrified at what this woman has had to go through. God Bless her.

I really don't know what we can do, as the web "community" to combat this abuse. It's sad but the anonimity of the Internet limits what might be done.

Such a sad situation.

Shelley, At Home in Rome

Sognatrice, I just have one experience to speak of, a nasty "hate mail" type email sent through an anonymous email program (had no idea that they existed... it appears like a real person but is anonymous so you can't respond back or do anything).

I was shocked because it was pretty offensive and attacked a post I had written about my business. This was early in my blogging days and I started to worry that this was what blogging was about, and I thought, if this is what's going to happen, forget it.

A part of me thought about writing an ironic post to talk about it, but my more seasoned blogging friends advised me to simply ignore it, telling me that trolls just want attention. I took their advice and nothing ever happened again.

In my one-year experience with blogging, I have to say it's been 99% positive response and 1% negative. My answer to your question and advice to anyone who is a target would be: ignore it completely (simply deleting comments if it takes the form of an offensive comment), at least in the beginning, and see if it continues from there. My gut feeling is that most trolls move on pretty quickly.

ally bean

My blog, my rules. So if someone comments in a way that I wouldn't allow in my home, then they are put on my blocked IP addy list. I don't respond to them on the blog, delete their comment and move on.

[It took me a couple of years of blogging to figure this out. At first I commented back to them, but always got into more trouble with them than if I'd ignored them. So, ...]

M-H

Im not sure how you define trolls. There is quite a lot of debate about what, exactly, constitutes trolling. Usually it means making abusive or violent comments on a blog or other public site about someone. It doesn't, in most definitions, mean critique or criticism of what someone else does or says on their blog. The Kathy Sierra example you used is a good example - critique descended into threatened violence; that's trolling.

I've been the victim of this, and frankly, I ignored it. Why would I care what strangers, who don't know me or anything about me, think or say about me? Some of the comments were so ludicrous that it was obvious the people concerned who had no idea who I really am.

sognatrice

Coleen, anyone who would call a baby fat and ugly is just a toad himself. And yeah, I'm pretty sure it was a male (probably a 12-year-old boy in fact). Anyway, you're in Sicily? I didn't know! I'm going to check out your blog as soon as I'm finished here :)

Roamer, I love your last sentence!

Judith, so true. We can only hope kindness kills the crap, so to speak.

Karen, Meredith, I think I'd do the same as Kathy too and stop blogging--just too scary to play with. I might consider then doing a completely anonymous blog, but I'm not sure I'd enjoy that; what fun would it be if your readers didn't get to know you a little? Mah.

Jennie, whack jobs is right; it's one thing to make some nasty comments here and there, but death threats and altered photos showing those threats? Disgusting.

Shelley, glad your troll never went any further! I think you give excellent advice--but may none of us never need it!

Ally, thanks for sharing your experience! I think a lot of us wouldn't have any idea about how to block IP's, so you know, if you'd like to post on that sometime....

M-H, in my book, an expression of criticism about/disagreement with something I've written, isn't trolling; what I'm talking about are personal attacks, death threats being at the extreme.

For instance, if I'm criticizing the American health care system and someone comments that socialized medicine is a waste of resources because then everyone gets inadequate care, that's fine, even if we disagree. If someone says I'm a stupid, useless wench that is only polluting the blogosphere with my idiocy, well, then we're getting into troll territory. If a comment adds nothing productive, and indeed only negativity, to a discussion, you've got yourself a troll methinks.

And I agree, what do I care what a complete stranger who obviously knows nothing about me thinks of me? So I'd probably just delete it and move on rather than even try to respond; I think a lot of people have experienced what Ally described above, and it's just not worth it.

Thanks to everyone for commenting!

Wicked H

Trolls,groan. They take many forms. So far, my best defense has been to delete. If it gets ugly and the IP addy is available, I'll take some action.

Basically if you don't like what you see, move along little Troll. There are plenty of other places to be amused....

sognatrice

I completely agree Wicked H. There must be something even trolls like on these Internets....

Tola

Ignorant trolls should be ignored, and their comments deleted. Dangerous trolls should be prosecuted. My (quite boring) knitting blog is currently private, due to a troll problem, but I am hoping I can open it back up in a couple of months. If anyone wants an invitation, you just need to email me with a request. All I ask is that you include a link to your own blog if you have one. tola.faery@gmail.com

Been There

I had/probably still have a terrifying troll, someone who was a boyfriend in real life and now has a userpage with all kinds of bizarre threats towards me, though no overtly violent ones yet, just cruel ones--info he's gathered over the years about my family (he doesn't name us, but it's obvious who he is writing about), accusations that I don't really have a disability and am faking it to get disability payments, threats to write a big major news article, an expose on me and my family (as if we are celebrities) about all our supposed criminal activities, and thus send us all up the river...and over and over again, fantasies about me becoming homeless and losing my house, and spending my life in prison.

He also visits my blog up to fifteen hours a day, but nothing has extended into real life yet in terms of him physically showing up at my door. Still, I may be able to file a restraining order against him, as a detective I spoke to looked at his userpage and was concerned about his obsessiveness escalating over time.

What I have chosen to do is IGNORE him in real life--nothing on my blog that might be construed as a "message" to him (a la radio signals from aliens, I suppose), not allowing comments on the blog from friends concerning him, not reacting at all to his userpage. He seems to have gotten bored with me...but you never know and so I am being cautious, working with law enforcement, seeing a domestic violence counselor this week, etc.
I am seriously hoping he will just get bored with me and find someone else to focus on eventually.

Karina

Wow, being fairly new to the blog world, I've never really tought about the "trolling" issue. I've seen some negative, and unnecessary comments on other's blogs at times and thought to myself "What a jerk, why would anyone want to be so cruel?" But I guess it takes all types, right?

It is scary to think though that it could escalate to the level of Kathy's situation! Horrible!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso

Tola, that's awful. One of my favorite knitters has also been trolled--I just don't get it. I hope you can open up your space again soon.

Been There, wow. Sounds like you're doing the right thing--cautious is *definitely* the way to go. It's so hard to predict the point at which words become actions, and I don't think you can ever be too cautious in that respect. Your situation is rather unique in that it's someone you know in real life--even scarier. Stay strong and keep going as you're going, and thanks so much for sharing your story.

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso

Karina, it is scary, and I think it's important especially for new bloggers to realize what *could* happen--this way we can all judge just how open we'll be on a space that's available to the world.

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