Friday, 16 December 2011

Trolls and Blogging

I can't speak for all bloggers, only for those who blog in a conspicuous Christian setting, those who speak of their faith and their life's experience. 

As with all activities, there are the Detractors. I think that it is part of life in general, the equal and opposite force that represents the antithesis of what you are doing. One only needs to think of light and dark to know that life is often a selection of two-sided coins.

As is blogging, and all such activities.

I was reminded yesterday (by two friends) of a pernicious breed of human that hides in gloomy sweaty bedrooms, seeking here and seeking there for what in the blogosphere they might devour. In the trade we call them Trolls, and they are very often sallow-skinned, sunken-eyed, fetid Gollom-a-likes who have no appreciable life of their own. So they make themselves a nuisance in the lives of others. Have I laboured the point enough? They really are very slimy and unpleasant (and they reputedly smell of wee). 

Blogging is a form of journalling where the blogger, very often, is exposing him or herself in the act of simply being honest. In our blogs, we lay down our thoughts and fully expect (and hope) that people might react in a constructive and meaningful way. We cherish disagreement where that disagreement is born of a mutual respect and it is, after all, the basis of all good dialogue.

Trolls don't do that. In the temporal world, they would be the window-licking type who hides in a doorway only to jump out and tell you that your nose is too big or your breath smells. In blogging terms, they appear in comments box of our sites and broadly insult us, deride our work and mock the honesty with which it was delivered. Religious folk are, I think, more vulnerable to these Pointless People. We speak of matters that command no tangible proof, of things that we feel over and above what we know - and when Trolls appear to muddy the waters for no appreciable reason, it becomes hurtful. Sadly, these Lumps of Goo are often outspoken and prolific, and when they find a hapless blogger, act as near-stalkers and as bullies. I met one such  pratt yesterday. They are the people who will laugh in the sidelines when you tell your children that you love them, emerging like puffed up comedians to tell them that love is lie. 

Many Trolls will read this post and some might even comment. You know the comment of a Troll, as they often go by the name "Anonymous". You know who you are, silly people, and so do we. 


  1. Hi I'm a blogger but I also get called a troll. I think it is more complex and subjective than you make out.

  2. It sounds as though you've been 'got at' David.
    Not a pleasant experience, but perhaps The Ugley Vicar has the right idea when he refuses to accept anonymous comments on his posts.
    Publicly identifying these people is one way of reducing their impact.
    On a more personal level, I suppose the response 'get a life' would not go down too well, but might deter one or two.

  3. I feel your pain.

    I blog about freedom, personal responsibility, common law, ancient law, and statute law. My trolls turn up with law degrees and an attitude. Rather than refute the evidence I have, they simply insult me. (Like that's a new thing).

    Good thing I have a thick skin, although it can be wearing at times.

    Some advice? Crack on. Ignore them if you can. If you feed them they will just come around and pester you even more.


  4. I suspect that I don't blog enough to attract such Trolls. Perhaps a good thing, because I would just consign their garbage to the waste bin of deletion.

    By the way, I always thought that troll was short for shopping trolley - which shows what a sheltered life I lead :)

  5. Well said. And yes, anonymity is their cloak of darkness.

  6. We are all made in God's image (even Trolls)

    If you keep repeating that you might begin to believe it.

    I dunno though.....

  7. Well said indeed. And it's true that trolls don't only hide online, although its obviously easier for them on here because they can be anonymous - it's just cowardice really. I do, though agree with The churchwarden above, even trolls are made in Gods image and I suspect that they all have issues that cause them to anonymously irritate and insult bloggers and others. Thing is, at least in real life you can have a go at helping them, on here its almost impossible

    @Elly: haven't checked out your blog yet (will do...), buts it's true there are people who genuinely comment and ask questions because they want to know. I am a questioning type and I am sure that it gets up peoples noses sometimes but I think its fairly easy to pose questions or comments in a non-offensive way. It doesn't take much to use a bit of common decency,so I'm not sure it really is more complex and subjective...

  8. I have an elderly neighbour who has a collection of trolls on her windowsill. She also places gnomes by my front door and turtles and cats and headless statues and I love her very much.
    Setting oneself up in the firing line is part of the process of proclaiming one's belief and love of God- one has to bear much for having courage.
    Keep up the brilliant blogging.

  9. I must not be saying anything too compelling as I have yet to be visited by a troll. Then again, I write everything with my grandchildren in mind, and as long as I harbor chocolate they LOVE everything I say. That'll change :)

  10. I like your latest video bar version of this carol
    Very atmospheric.

  11. Sorry to hear that you've encountered some of these slime.

    That "Delete" option on the comments is there for a purpose. Use it, and ignore the troll-catcalls about "censorship" (the troll cares nothing about censorship -- it's just an attempt at manipulation). Also ignore any claims that *you* are the troll -- trolls will say anything.

    The troll is not harmless; on the contrary, he sets out to do harm to others, by baiting and goading and manipulating. He won't be doing it on my blog, tho.

    I would imagine that anonymity will vanish from the web in the end. Which will make us all that bit less free.



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