Ok, I’m declaring war on all of the trolls and bullshit artists I get on this blog, and my other blogs for that matter. I’m royally fed up with these cretins coming into MY space and trying to bully me, intimidate me, hate me, annoy me, post with fake names/accounts (sock-puppeting) spam me with fake concern about my fatness, waste my time and/or do any or all of the above to my respectful readers, you’re about to get what you deserve.
There is this culture in blogging where writers are expected to be civil, be respectful to anyone who comes to their blog and comments. You’re supposed to “give them the benefit of the doubt”, “encourage discussion” and “keep an open mind” when it comes to commenters on your blogs. However, it’s a totally one sided concept. Because every day when I log on to WordPress, I’m confronted with this bullshit, even though I’ve tried to keep civil and give people the benefit of the doubt, nobody calls the trolls on this. Where is their civility and respect for me?
99% of the troll comments I see on my blogs never see the light of day. They get relegated to my spam filter quick sticks and in most cases, when they don’t see their comment go public and don’t get a reaction out of me, they go away. The real pisser though is that for every one that goes away, there are more waiting in line to have a go.
They are of course, worst on this blog. There is something about a fat woman blogging and being proud of herself, confident and having strong self esteem that simply enrages trolls, and they just can’t leave without leaving some bullying behind to try to cause hurt.
That’s what this boils down to, no matter what the method. It’s bullying. Whether it’s the “Oh, but what about your health?” concern trolls, the “Fucking die you fat bitch” full blown hatred trolls, the argumentative trolls that try to read something into your work that you’re not saying, the “freedom of speech” trolls who try to bully the blogger into allowing them to spread their hate by suggesting that they’re being censored if they are blocked or deleted, no matter what kind of troll you have infesting your blog, it’s bullying. It’s trying to make you feel bad, or shut you up, or make others laugh at you, or to get you to react.
That is bullying.
It’s not discussion, it’s not telling the truth, it’s not keeping it real, it’s not concern, it’s not for your own good. It’s simply bullying to make you feel bad and to silence your voice.
The abdication of responsibility in online bullying is one thing that infuriates me. If I “publicly” (and I acknowledge that online is still public, but you get what I mean) said some of the things that troll bullies say to people online, there would be outrage. But because it’s behind a username, or in the comments on a blog, or someone’s Facebook or Twitter, and so on, it’s written off as something one just has to suffer through as the price to pay for being online.
I read this fantastic piece by Anil Dash called “There is No Such Thing as Cyberbullying” today. In it, Anil calls out the practice of diminishing online bullying as something that is the fault of the technology, and not the perpetrators behind it. The internet doesn’t bully gay kids into suicide, or fat people/women/bloggers into giving up their writing, PEOPLE do. And those people need to be held responsible for their actions.
Just today I came across this post from the lovely Georgina at Cupcake’s Clothes where she talks about some utter arsehole who stole a photograph of her from her site, and photoshopped it “thin”, and then anonymously sent it back to her. What kind of loser, what kind of sad, pathetic little person has time in their life to do that shit?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to read the blogs that I love, and comment on all of them. Let alone go to a blog and bully someone as a troll. What kind of life does someone have if they have time to do that? Or have time to take a perfectly good photo of someone off a website and photoshop the shit out of it?
My time is at a premium. But I’m going to make time to take on some of this.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of this bullshit. I say it’s time to take back the internet from the bullies.
I say it’s time that we start taking a few simple steps to show the bullies that there are repercussions to harassing people online. There are several things you and I can do.
- Publish their email addresses and IP’s online for all to see. Then other bloggers can block them/add them to spam filters.
- Take their IP, and look it up. If they are posting from their workplace, then contact their employers and make a formal complaint that they are bullying people from a workplace computer. I personally have had bullies post comments from companies that I could easily identify by their IP details. Trust me, businesses don’t want the bad press of their employees bullying people from work computers.
- If they are threats of violence or other crime, then take the time to report them to the administrators of your blog, Facebook, Twitter or other platform.
- Support one another. Instead of just letting bullies say whatever they like unchallenged, when you see it on a blog/Facebook anywhere else, speak up. Call them out, tell them their behaviour is not acceptable.
- Blog about how bullying is not acceptable online. The more we talk about it, the more momentum it will gain.
- Bullies operate on fear. Don’t be afraid, get angry.
- Remember that your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, your account with anything is YOURS. Ask yourself – would I accept someone treating me like this in my house? If the answer is no, then don’t accept it in your online spaces.
- Most importantly, don’t let the bullies silence you. Don’t let them win. Don’t reward their behaviour.
We can change this. The internet doesn’t belong to bullies, it belongs to us. All of us. Collectively, we make the rules.