Don't Feed The Trolls – Negative Readers and Comments On Blogs

I was having a discussion with some other bloggers about negative comments that were left on their blogs and what to do about them. I am not talking about a difference in opinion on a certain subject…these were personal attacks on the bloggers themselves.

Unfortunately, this is a pretty common occurrence among blog sites and other business ventures. When you stick your head above water and start to see success, there are people in the world that just can’t handle that! Instead of creating their own successes in life, they feel like they have to bring you back down.

Having a Thick Skin

In the world of owning your own business/website/blog, you have to learn how to develop a thicker skin and let these personal attacks roll off your back like they never happened. I know this is really difficult sometimes and your gut reaction is to jump right into the fight with the troll.

You have to remember, their goal is to get you worked up and fight back. In the end, it only hurts your purpose and does nothing but satisfy the troll. That is why they made the comments to begin with…they wanted that reaction!

Develop a thicker skin and higher tolerances for bad behavior and it will make life much easier as you grow in size. The more success you see…the more trolls will try to bring you down.

How to you develop a thicker skin?

  • When attacked…deal with it and move on. Don’t dwell on it and wonder if you should just give up, or are they right…they aren’t. If they were right, you wouldn’t have trolls to begin with!
  • Focus on your success and future goals. Nothing upsets a troll more than more success. Use it as a driving force to become even bigger and better! You make them happy by arguing…you infuriate them by ignoring and moving forward with even more drive than before!

You will often find that your readers will actually come to the rescue when faced with a troll. As satisfying as this is…for the purposes of my blogs…I would rather not have those kinds of arguments between readers public. It takes away from the purpose and overall user experience.

Now…I do allow a difference of opinion in the comments section. Do not think that everyone is going to agree with everything you say…I wouldn’t want them to anyway. I am specifically referring to personal attacks that have nothing to do with subject at hand.

How Can You Prevent Comments From Trolls?

The only way to prevent comments from trolls from seeing the light of day is through moderation. Unfortunately, the few ruin it for the group because that means you will have to moderate every comment as it comes through your blog.

There is a compromise to this by requiring the first comment by a reader to be moderated, and then after that first comment…they will get posted instantly in the future. This prevents the fly by night troll, but if a reader turns on you…you might have to go back and delete any unwanted comments.

What Do I Do If I Get A Troll?

These are the steps that I take when faced with a troll commenter situation.

  1. I either delete the comments or don’t approve them to begin with as quickly as I can.
  2. I email (if a valid email address is actually given) the reader explaining why I deleted their comment. I also mention that I always welcome a difference in opinion, but not personal attacks on my site. Be sure to thank them for stopping by at the end of the email.
  3. I ignore any further attacks via email or comments. I have already said my side…there is no need to revisit it over and over again.

One Last Thing To Remember…

9 times out of 10, trolls are a sign of success…not failure. If you blog is growing, you are getting increased reader interaction and you are happy with the results…people are going to try to bring you down. It is always easier to criticize than create. Set your goals and do the necessary steps to achieve them. Once you achieve those goals…you will have proved the trolls wrong without the need for argument and at that point…at least that one will join in or go away.

Photo by .m for matthijs

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1 comment

Can you ignore the critics and grow your blog? | robb sutton dot com July 27, 2009 - 9:16 am
[...] throw in the towel. If you are getting negative attitudes…check out this blog post on “Don’t Feed the Trolls” to get a grasp on how to handle negative waste. In the meantime, keep pushing forward to [...]
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