Well, you guys, Mosaicca officially got its first troll!
I think this means I’ve ~made it~ in the blogosphere. (Kidding!)
A few years ago, I got a nasty troll on a different blog I had back then. I posted about it on social media, looking for support. Among all the comforting words like “just ignore them,” one particularly astute comment arose.
(I wish so badly that I could remember who said this. If you read this and remember it being you, please tell me! The below is also a paraphrasing.)
Words tell stories. Most of the time, we use words to tell stories about the world around us. But sometimes, a person will say words that, on the surface, appear to tell a story about you, but really, their words are a misdirected story about themselves. This is what trolls’ words do; they tell a story about the troll that just happens to be aimed at you.
I love love loved this insight. It is so easy to tell someone to just brush it off and ignore a troll. Personally, I find that incredibly difficult. But this insight allowed me to re-frame the nasty words I had read and realize that they were a reflection on the other person, not me.
So today, I wanted to ‘rewrite’ my recent troll’s words. But before I do, I’d like to say a word about what constitutes trolling.
What Exactly Is a Troll?
While there is some trolling that indisputably earns that label (for example, calling someone a profane word), low-grade trolling can be harder to define. I think a lot of it comes down to personal judgment.
For me, trolling is a personal attack on myself or my readers that is worded in an uncivil (often sarcastic) tone. It is NOT disagreement or leaving a passionate comment. I hope I always make it clear to you guys that I believe in free speech and open dialogue.
I love it when you guys disagree with me, actually! I don’t want only comments that make me feel warm and fuzzy. It’s OK for a comment to make me feel uncomfortable, because then it will challenge me to reevaluate my perspective on something!
But being unnecessarily nasty and not backing up your words with reasoning goes into trolling territory. Essentially, if you leave a comment that is worded in such a childish and mean way that it is evident that you are not willing to engage with me (or fellow readers) in a diplomatic, open-minded discourse, then I will flag it as trolling. Period.
OK, with that out of the way, here goes!
Rewriting My Troll
I am not even going to waste my time arguing with the merits of this person’s words, at least not here, because that’s not the point of this post. (Although, in fairness to them, they do address an interesting topic about who has “the right” to be a book/art/movie critic.)
I am going to rewrite this troll’s story one line at a time.
These are amazingly patronizing words I am leaving on your blog, which I don’t follow and have never even read before today. I myself have been on the receiving end of trolling or bullying, so now I feel like everyone deserves it.
Well, you know what they say: Those who choose to use their voice in a proactive way will actually blog, and those who choose not to will just troll. I am passive aggressively attacking your blog, when really I am the one struggling with releasing my emotions in a mature way.
I am actually going to be meta here by giving an example of exactly what I am criticizing in your post: redundancies. See, by calling your post both gratuitous and redundant in the same sentence, I myself am being redundant. See how subtly clever I am?
Finally, this entire trolling comment really lets my bitterness at the world shine through. I may have had some legitimate complaints about this book review you wrote, but I chose to take the low road. I could have penned a civilly worded comment disagreeing with your book review, and we could have had a mature exchange where we each learned something from the other person. But really, this isn’t about a book review. This comment and my choice to troll is really just a reflection on my deep-seated personal issues.
So, there you have it, folks. I rewrote my troll so that he or she is now telling a more accurately aimed story.
Tell me, have you had the displeasure of dealing with trolls on your blog (or perhaps elsewhere)? How do you handle them?
Until next time,
P.S. In case you are wondering, I have still not approved “Em’s” comment. The bleeding heart in me wants to approve it, respond with kindness, and offer them the virtual hug that they so clearly need. The skeptic in me tells me that’s unwise. Alas.