Sunday, December 12, 2010

3+ Ideas on Being/Stopping a Comment Troll

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I wasn't going to do this, but as a learning experience on blogging, commenting and just communicating in general, I thought this might be constructive and educational.
I've had one dust up with a blogger over on his website(The original comments are now off when the blog was switched, I guess.)
My gist of the article and I think the original discussion in that case is that sarcasm and satire online are HARD. Very hard to understand. I think it hurts REAL communication.  Does it stop people from trying? No. But does it mean things get taken wrong, YES.
Now, I've had another dust up where I took umbrage with the way a government agency's twitter and blog were portrayed and was able to illustrate so. 
I was contacted directly after ending the commentary on the blog post and told that arguing in that forum doesn't make anyone look good. 
I'd post comments over there, but after being painted as a nasty troll, a-hole, bully, and someone who pisses all over a blog, I conceded and won't waste my time. I took the advice and am talking about it here.
The reaction on both parts resulted in the creation of two different comment policies.
This is Educational Point #1. 
Have a comment policy. You can do what you like. Here is mine. I would DARE say, in this case I adhered to mine. You can think of your words in blogs as little babies and fain to protect them, but acting like they are sacrosanct is kinda silly.
I am inviting comments. I want to write better and learn from what others think about how I think. I invited thoughts a few months ago. Please rip me a new one, in as nice a way as possible please.
Educational Point #2
Pointing out an issue with someone's blog post is not sarcasm, mean, or anything other than what it is (necessarily).
I said in my earlier post that too much of what I see as commentary on posts is just virtual back-patting. This isn't to say that you should beat on everything you come across, but if you disagree, pull the trigger and say so (within the confines of the stated comment policy). 
This leads to Educational Point #3
Grow a pair.
I said it before and I'll say it again: "I'm not right and neither are you." 
Until you "know" someone on the internet, you can't really be sure of how they might take ANYTHING you write. You could be trying to compliment and it's misinterpreted. You could just be saying you don't agree with them and they think you are a hideous, hateful troll spewing bile all over the place. 
Educational point #4 (bonus)
Use a commenting system
A common reason people USED to give for commenting issues: anonymity. I don't see it as that common anymore. Sure on message boards and forums it is REALLY easy to be as anonymous as you want to be. With the variety of commenting systems that require some acknowledgment of who the commenter is, this is not much of an excuse. (Danny Brown talks about the big ones here). But then again, that doesn't stop someone from being a d-bag in their comments.
A huge short-coming of the internet: there are no interpreters to make sure your feelings are not hurt. If you are going to put YOUR thoughts out there, OBVIOUSLY you want them shared and thought about. Otherwise, stay home. But now they are out there, be willing to take the lumps, especially if you are be critical or praising. There is ALWAYS going to be someone who sees it differently.
Photo:kfawcett
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