I have a troll on my blog, and I’m not talking about the cute, fuzzy ones found in fairy tales. A blog troll is a bully who hides behind the anonymity of the Internet to leave negative, offensive, non-constructive comments.
A troll recently left racist comments on my blog on select posts that dealt with biculturalism, diversity, and racism. He was an equal opportunity racist, meaning his ignorant comments included not only my heritage (Asian), but also Blacks, Hispanics, or “anyone brown.”
Though I know racism exists, I was still shocked by these unprovoked, brazen acts. I felt confused – why is this bully picking on me? My blog is an innocuous parenting site that covers the usual categories such as reviews, giveaways, and events, but also has a section on culture.
I debated whether or not to leave the comment. If it remained, it could facilitate a discussion on racial tolerance, and I could let my readers react while I moderated. However, trolls usually leave negative comments to incite replies, so would I satisfying his need to engage in a battle?
The other option was to delete the comments. In doing so, my readers wouldn’t be offended, and the troll would know that inappropriate comments would be immediately removed. I left the comment up for a day while I mulled things over, but in the meantime blocked him from leaving future comments.
The next day, I received a surprise email from the same racist troll via my blog’s comment box. He told me how he knew I had blocked him, and I how my “multicultural agenda” was contributing to “white genocide.” He threw in a few more racist insults. The troll went out of his way to message me privately – I had a stalker.
I decided right then to delete all of his comments. He wanted a forum to leave his racist remarks, and my parenting site was not going to be one of them. The troll hid behind technology to spew his hate, but technology worked both ways – I used the power of the Internet to block his IP address from viewing my site and also identified who he was. I’ve kept his information in case I need to report him to authorities should he find other ways to contact me.
If you have a blog troll who won’t go away like an itch on a kid with lice, there are some things you can do.
• Use a comment barrier so that you approve each comment before it appears on your blog.
• Install a third party comment program like Disqus that requires people to leave their email address before commenting. Disqus also collects users’ IP addresses and offers options to block specific people.
• Delete comments if leaving them up will not be constructive to your blog.
• Block the troll from accessing your website – there are many free programs on the Internet that bloggers can install.
• Report the offender to authorities if the troll becomes a stalker or threatens your personal safety.
Bullies, whether online or offline, behave the way they do to feel powerful. Don’t let their words define who you are. Rise above them, knowing that at the heart of their actions lays ignorance and insecurities.
Have you ever been a victim of a troll or have more tips to rise above them? Let us know!