IF YOU’VE NEVER had the pleasure of encountering the oft anonymous keyboard warriors known as trolls then you are either: 1) indescribably lucky and should buy me a lottery ticket immediately or 2) have spent limited time in online forums or reading blog comments. Either way, count yourself lucky. But odds are you have had a run-in with at least one of these charming individuals.
FOR THOSE who are unclear as to what a troll is I’ll give you a brief definition: a troll is an often anonymous individual who posts on forums, blogs, etc in an aggressive and unproductive manner with the sole intention of causing fights, being offensive, etc in an attempt to upset, be disruptive and cause chaos. Their tone is often abusive, rude, and aggressive. In short, they’re bullies who decided the playground was too small and opted to take their personal issues global.
ON AN INTERESTING side note, there has been a recent study that demonstrates an overwhelming number of shared personality traits between trolling behavior and several serious personality disorders such as sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. You can check out the actual study, Trolls Just Want To Have Fun, if you’re interested in all the in-depth nitty-gritty.
So why am I bringing this up now?
ABOUT A WEEK ago I received a touching and thoughtful comment from a troll who registered as Sassy. Naturally, no real name or identifiable information was given (aside from her email and IP address…I wonder if she knows I have access to that information as the site administrator. *shrugs*), which is typical behavior for trolls; anonymity is their shield. This concerned individual was compelled to take time out of her very busy evening to comment on a very old post where she shared her amazing insight and was courteous enough to point out the ways in which I’m “gross.” Needless to say I was touched.
Where is this comment, you ask?
OH YOU’LL never see it (or any of the others that I have received…and there have been many and they have been far more abusive than what Sassy shared) because I have a very clear way of dealing with trolls. And it’s this: I actually moderate my comments.
NOW THIS is contrary to the advice I have read from numerous other bloggers who say let the trolls post and don’t reply; simply let your readers step in and stick up for you. Ummmmmm. No. I can’t even begin to tell you how wrong I think that practice is. You, my readers, are my friends, not my army and I would never in a million years dream of asking you to jump to my defense.
So here is my anti-troll policy:
KISSES & CHAOS is my home. When you come here you’re in my house and I like my house filled with love, weirdness, laughter, sincerity, creativity, beauty, ghosts and zombies.
MOST OF YOU are my welcome guests…my friends and internet family and I love that you come to visit and I hope you always feel welcome and appreciated, because you are. Kisses & Chaos is your home too.
SOME people, however, are interlopers, akin to obnoxious drunk party crashers. And I have dealt and will continue to deal with party crashers the way I always have…I kick them out of my house.
I HAVE AND WILL ALWAYS welcome intelligent, thoughtful discourse. If you have a differing view on a topic and want to engage in a thoughtful and mature conversation based on mutual respect that is and will always be welcome here, as will good-natured jokes, playful sarcasm and affectionate teasing. We don’t have to agree with each other about every single thing to get along and respect each other. It’s true in life and it’s true on Kisses & Chaos.
BUT IF ANYONE comes into my home to spout vitriol and put their emotional dysfunction on display by being aggressive, rude, abusive or offensive towards myself or my welcome houseguests then their comments will never see the light of day and their emails are not answered.
ALL TROLLS’ comments and emails are marked as spam. They are then blacklisted so that they can no longer post comments. In some instances (like when I was being stalked by a complete psycho who, through this site and other means, was being verbally abusive, threatening me and even showed up at my house pounding on my front door at 1 in the morning while sending threatening messages from her cell phone…that was a fun night *eye roll*) I block the trolls from accessing the site completely.
Yup. I ban asshats.
THIS has little to do with the degree of hostility of the troll and has more to do with my willingness (or should I say unwillingness) to tolerate a troll’s behavior. It’s a time suck to have to monitor persistent pests and banning them is the easiest way for me to keep Kisses & Chaos my priority and prevent those who prove to be a consistent nuisance to be a drain on my time.
I WANT Kisses & Chaos to always be a place where we celebrate weirdness, individuality, beauty and love. I never want it to be a battle ground between people intent on being hateful and disruptive and people who are here to enjoy themselves and be part of a quirky, diverse and loving community.
HOPEFULLY this will remain a rather minor issue here, allowing the comments to always stay on and foster more connections and more conversations and more love and more weirdness; allowing my beloved houseguests to always have a virtual couch to crash on.
But as for the trolls…
…MY DEAR little trolls, I regret to inform you that there’s no food for you here, nor will there ever be. Feel free to move on to greener pastures where people are more than happy to feed you. I leave no table scraps and I keep a pretty clean house so any crumbs for you to lick off the floor are highly unlikely. There are a million other bridges for you to hide under; corners of the internet that are more than happy to engage you in your sociopathic behavior, but I nor my readers are among them, but I wish you all the best.
AS FOR my welcome houseguests, how do you feel about my policy? Do you agree or disagree? Thoughts? Feelings? Ideas? Feel free to share them.
Kisses & Chaos,
Alli Woods Frederick
P.S. – Here is an amazing video by an amazing woman, Maysoon Zayid. While the thrust of her story isn’t about trolls, she does touch on them briefly and it’s a perfect demonstration as to why I have my policy in place. No one deserves that kind of verbal and emotional abuse. No one.