Jerks, Haters and Internet Trolls

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Jerks, Haters and Internet Trolls. This is my latest experience with a bully hiding behind a computer screen. What is it that makes people think they can say/do things online that they would never do face-to-face to another person? What makes people so uncivil when they are hiding behind a computer screen? Do people behave badly online simply because there are fewer repercussions to being rude, crude and downright mean?

Jerks, Haters and Internet Trolls

This is my latest experience with a bully hiding behind a computer screen. What is it that makes people think they can say/do things online that they would never do face-to-face to another person? What makes people so uncivil when they are hiding behind a computer screen? Do people behave badly online simply because there are fewer repercussions to being rude, crude and downright mean?

I have been blogging since 2008. I have been working online since 2001 at various forums on the internet. Please believe me when I say I have seen some pretty bad behavior online in the last 16+ years. There are quite a few people that are “very brave” online hiding behind the mask of anonymity. I will not go into the fact that is is a false sense of privacy on their part. An IP address is recorded when sending an email, messaging or leaving a comment somewhere. People can be traced (unless they are very, very good at ip masking, still have dial-up, or are posting from a library or internet cafe). You are not as hidden as you believe.

I have had internet stalkers for years. It is one of the reasons photographs of me on this blog are basically non-existent. And one of the reasons that my current last name (hey, I’ve been married twice) is given out to very few people. Some people are nuts, and I subscribe to a “safety first” mantra.

Last week I received a comment on this blog that was simply vile. It attacked me (who this person does not know), this blog and, unknowingly, a contributor to this blog who had shared an old family recipe. You see, I cannot run this blog on my own. I’d have been burned out and brain dead years ago trying to come up with new and different material every week if left to my own devices. I’m just not that clever. Or industrious.

While I allow (actually, I welcome) constructive criticism and differing opinions on Ann’s Entitled Life (see the comments here and here and here and here for a few examples), I have a much lower tolerance for criticism of my contributor’s work. Admittedly, sometimes they do make mistakes. Sometimes, my editing is not the greatest. I always double check the original material and if an error is found, I apologize (once I sent a lady a reward for letting me know of a mistake – because the mistake was so egregious that both I and my assistant should have caught it long before it posted).

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The reason for that disclaimer is because of the haters, internet trolls and just plain jerks. You would be shocked at how many people complain about a recipe after changing half of the ingredients! (Recipes seem to be the biggest culprit.)

But getting back to the repugnant comment…

After attacking me, my blog, the name of my blog (if you are not familiar with the story of my blog’s name, I can see where you might think it was a serious name instead of a goof), the recipe and wishing me personally ill, I was a bit upset. And I seldom get upset these days with mean internet trolls, internet bullies, or internet jerks (you know I wanted to write something worse here). I have just been online too long to frequently allow unpleasant people to get to me for more than a few moments.

Do words matter? Yes … and no. When words are disparaging to my work, friends or my family, I usually consider the source. If someone close to me says something hurtful, then yes, those words matter. Constructive criticism I take to heart and explore. There is a right way and a wrong way to present an opposing opinion. There are also ways to provoke that yield negative results. And I am sure the anonymous author of that nasty comment is happy as a clam that I responded with this post – because I cannot imagine they thought I would ever approve that comment.

I don’t know why this one cruel comment hit me so hard. I spent days trying to shake it off. I alternated between incredulous, and despondent. I (once again) spoke to Hubby about quitting blogging. Believe it or not, I do not make enough (or anything really) to take a lot of (or any really) abuse.

I wrote at least three different columns in my head laying out why mean people suck. I laid out what can be done to deal with internet bullying. I had grand passages mentally written about how to combat this type of behavior, and not encourage it. But the truth is I simply marked the comment as spam and deleted it without approving it for public eyes. (I also never approve posts with swear words or attacks on other commenters.) And then I flushed the spam so I wouldn’t be able to respond or approve (I have a propensity to overthink things, and I worried I’d approve later).

I am not a psychologist and I do not play one on the internet. I honestly have no idea why that person was so mad at this poor little recipe. I do know s/he claimed to be a great baker, so the recipe must have been wrong (the Pinterest ratings and comments on this blog say otherwise). And, I definitely hope this person gets some anger management classes… goodness knows s/he needs help.

For anyone who has ever had a bad experience with a recipe, craft or other DIY after following the directions on a website (blog or otherwise) my advice? Do not be nasty. Email the contact page and ask for clarification. Many times the correct materials and/or directions are there but have been overlooked while reading quickly. You may never receive a response … or you may receive a detailed response helping you correct what went wrong. Be polite. It really does go a long way toward getting help and information.

Ok, so now that I have gotten this out of my system, I can move on and put that nasty bit behind me. I hope. 🙂 Until the next rotten comment (or email) that is. Naw, my skin is usually a lot thicker than this blog post would lead you to believe. It will probably be another few years before a horrible comment or spiteful email hits me this hard again. And I must say that just writing down my feeling about this matter has proven to be quite cathartic. Sometimes, all it takes is a good rant and a little Troll-Be-Gone spray, and *POOF!* you feel better.

I do appreciate all of you that come to my blog with the same polite manners that you’d display in my living room. You are the people I blog for, share recipes with, show off the latest crafts and homemade beauty products and give out my gardening tips and advice to. Your kind responses make my day. And I thank you.

Have you had an experience with internet bullies, stalkers or just plain jerks? How did you resolve the issue?

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  1. Sorry to hear that you received this from a troll. I hardly ever comment but do enjoy your blog and have been here a while to see the changes you have done. Thank you for your hard work and what you want to blog about. I like to come here to see what you have to say about the Buffalo area as I am originally from Western NY. Keep up the good fight and I pray the words of others are something that you don’t dwell on.

  2. Wow, the rage that person must feel on a daily basis that a recipe sent them into outer space. Thank you for taking one for the team. And by this, I mean all the new bloggers that have not experienced negative feedback. We all know it’s just a matter of time and we try to prepare mentally for it. Reading how you dealt with this unfortunate episode will help us to cope when it’s our turn in the barrel.

  3. So sorry you had to deal with that. No one ever should. I’ve been on that end and it’s no fun. People like that just have no life. I can’t imagine how they are in real life around people they actually interact with. Hope your writer is ok. Moving on!

    • Thanks, Karen.

      Oh shesh could you imagine if they are like that all the time instead of brave internet-warriors?


  4. Stephanie K says

    Well, I am thankful that you are still here blogging and didn’t just quit (although, I would totally understand if you did). I’m sorry that people can sometimes suck. As long as you’re blogging, I will keep reading. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Stephanie! I appreciate your taking the time to read (seriously… I know it sounds trite, but I really mean it!)


  5. Shake it off Ann, shake it off! Haters will hate, and I have noticed that there is way more hate in the world lately. Even the passive aggressive ones, ugh!
    Worst case scenario you can always have me “sick em” 😀

    • Hehe… that would teach them, Didi!!

      I think you are right about there being more hate lately. Maybe we need forced enrollment in charm school? 😛


  6. Maria Lorcher says

    Isn’t it amazing we can hear 10 compliments and 1 complaint but only remember the complaint? Sorry folks are rude, bullies are small people who have the need to feel big. I appreciate your blog, enjoy reading it, please keep it going and know that most humans are decent and in the long run our voice of hope and being positive will always be louder than those of doom and gloom. Life is too short not to pursue happiness and grace.

    • You are exactly right, Maria. The complaints are foremost in our minds, and what impacts us heavily. Compliments are nice (I like them!) but the complaints, they sure do stick.

      I thank you for reading. It is very much appreciated. 🙂


  7. How sad that some people have to bully and hate on others. I’m glad you were able to vent and get their nonsense out of your system. This person is obviously unhappy with his/her self and want to lash out at others. Misery loves company.
    I thoroughly enjoy your blog and sense of humor.
    Always a fan,

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