(All comics were created by the author using Pixton.)
I’ve been the hapless target of a lot of (mostly male) trolly rage lately. When it comes to internet trolls, I often imagine a bunch of blubbery lips spitting onto their computer screens.
The point of internet trolling is simple: to make the writer feel like shit.
And sometimes I, the writer, do. Sometimes it literally feels like someone has punched me in the most tender spots of myself.
It’s like sometimes they can see all of the things I may not like or worry about myself, and they’re confirming it.
But sometimes, too, I get comments from readers who make my day. They assert what I would hope would come across: that I’m being very vulnerable. If I could high-five these people, I would. Unabashedly.
If you’ve ever been the target of personal hyperbolic hate-drivel here on Medium or elsewhere, here are the ways to handle them:
1. Report them or have a trusted friend report them.
Every. Single. Time.
Every social media platform has community rules. Here on Medium, we have them as well.
If you are following the community rules of your platform, you have a right to be here just as much as anyone else, so don’t let the angry few drive you away.
Medium’s rules specifically denounce threats of violence and incitement, hate speech, and harassment, as do Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
Harassment here on Medium includes
* Bullying, threatening, or shaming someone, or posting things likely to encourage others to do so
* Using Medium features like responses, private notes, mentions, follows, story requests, or writer requests in a way intended to annoy or harass someone
Figure out how to report them for your specific platform, and report them.
Here on Medium, it’s easy! Any comment is considered a “story,” so follow the instructions for how to report a story below.
Taken from here:
Then it’s out of your hands!
When you report a story, user, or private note, you then have an option to also block the user.
It’s up to you whether you do so.
I choose not to block people who leave hateful comments. Why? Because the Medium platform has changed how writers get paid. Even if someone is hate-reading your piece, you’re getting paid for it if they’re a member!
2. Ignore them.
Sometimes, it’s super easy to tell when I’m going to get a nasty comment. I delete the notification or e-mail and go on with my day, happily ignorant of whatever vitriol someone commented with. I then can come back to it later, briefly skim it, and then report it if necessary.
The other option I and you have is telling a trusted friend to read it and report it for you.
Internet trolls want fuel. They want you to respond with something mean, so they can respond with something meaner, and then for you to respond again…ad nauseam. Don’t get baited.
Hopefully, with no response from you, they’ll move onto hating someone else (probably another poor woman who’s courageously put herself out there).
Also, don’t delete their posts. It seems counterintuitive, but just leave them there. Deleting their posts can actually escalate their bad behavior (think a toddler once you take away their favorite toy), so just leave it there.
If you would like to respond to your trolls, do so in one of the ways below:
1. Compliment them.
Who doesn’t love a good compliment? Maybe your internet troller hasn’t been told that he or she is loved today, and you can be that person!
2. Reframe their comments.
This works not only for de-escalating the comment, but also for yourself. Who doesn’t need a reminder that they’re great??
3. Reply with facts.
Sometimes trolls are just making salacious assertions. Stop them in their tracks by stating just the facts.
4. Remind them of the community rules of your platform.
This is the most professional way to respond to an internet troll. You’re reminding them of the rules and quoting the ones they’re directly breaking.
5. Diffuse with humor.
These internet trolls do NOT know you. There’s no way they could! So make light of it wherever you can. You’ll at least make yourself laugh, and maybe some of your other readers too.
Trolls and social media go hand in hand. Whenever we put ourselves out there, we are also making ourselves vulnerable to criticism, judgment, and (sometimes) vehement hatred.
Your stories deserve to be read. Handle trolls tactfully by taking the high road whenever you can. Try not to take their comments personally, and, most importantly, keep being shiny and pretty you.