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).
On the sidebar, I have this disclaimer:
Copyright © 2017 Coupons, Deals and More, LLC
Disclaimer: while every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of the information displayed on this website, AnnsEntitledLife.com, Coupons, Deals and More, LLC makes no guarantee as to the procedures and information contained within. The publisher of this website will not be held liable for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages in connection with or arising from the use of information displayed on AnnsEntitledLife.com. This website is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a professional.
Please note that any content created using the methods suggested or any products recommended on AnnsEntitledLife.com will be done so at your own risk.
Coupons, Deals and More, LLC is the actual owner of AnnsEntitledLife.com (for those wondering).
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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