When you say something worth saying someone is going to disagree with you. Disagreement is healthy but negative trolls (those who don’t know how to say anything positive and get a kick out of bringing others down) need to be dealt with carefully. Here are four things to remember when dealing with negative internet trolls.
1. Trolls rarely create their own stuff
If Michael Jordan said I had a bad jump shot I’d believe him. When internet trolls start talking it’s often hard to find the content they create. They don’t make their judgements from their own experiences. Troll make observations not content. Seeing and doing are different and I listen to and respect “doers”.
2. Trolls want your attention so don’t give it to them
When you respond to negative Nancys (my favorite name for them) they feed off of it. If you ignore them they rarely dig in further. The best way to diffuse their fire is to just let it burn out. I rarely delete negative comments on my blog because my readers will come to my defense or join my ignoring. Save your energy for healthy things and don’t give trolls any attention. If they scream really loud you can privately message them and/or delete their comments.
3. Trolls are hard to forget
Less than 1% of the comments posted on http://www.takepermission.com/ are negative but I can tell you who the people are who write them. It’s hard to forget negative comments. You have to commit to ignoring them and pushing yourself back into creating more great content for the 99% of people who actually appreciate what you do.
4. Trolls don’t know they’re being mean
Most of the negative comments I have received are from people who think they’re being “helpful”, not mean. If I try to convince them of anything I’m stupid. It encourages a public conversation that should have been private in the first place. Again, I’m ok with disagreement but there’s a tone that we should take when we disagree with someone in public. If I have something that could be difficult for the writer to hear I rarely leave a public comment. When someone comments publicly they’re breaking the first rule of conflict management, “Go directly to that person.” Public comments are PUBLIC so it’s really a calling out of the author in front of everyone. It’s cowardly to do that. Be brave and take the conversation off-line if you can. I’ve given trolls my phone number before. They never call.
How do you handle trolls?