Monday, July 13, 2009

Eeek! I’ve got a parasite! I’ve picked up a troll!

It is one of the unfortunate facts that, without proper precautions, we can inadvertently pick up all manner of unpleasant little things as we make our journey through life. From leeches to lice, from tapeworms to ticks, from fleas to STDs, by living a life devoid of appropriate protection, we can pick up a host of unwanted diseases and parasites.

When I set up my blog I decided to enable anonymous comments because I didn’t want to lock out people who didn’t have Blogger accounts. At first I didn’t moderate the comments but after suffering an outbreak of comment spam a few years ago, I set the comments to be moderated so I could keep it out of my comments.

Despite opening the blog to anonymous comments, however, I do have standards. I don’t allow insults or ad hominem attacks, but legitimate criticism is published. What is “legitimate criticism?” you ask? Well, that brings me to the point of this blog entry…this month, after five years of blogging, I picked up my first troll.

On 7 July I found this anonymous comment awaiting moderation: “Terrible writing. Sorry. Just being honest.” I didn’t publish it, categorizing the remark as lacking legitimacy. Had the author expanded on her comment and given solid reasons that she considered my writing to be terrible, then it would have been published. This, however, was more properly classified as baiting, an attempt to draw me into an argument, the flippant “just being honest” tag giving it away. I deleted the comment and forgot about it.

Yesterday, however, I received this comment: “You CAN'T write! This is not to be "published," (since we wouldn't want to be on your blog!), just to advise you to stop polluting the internet with your non-writing!” Well, aside from the fact that this was unmistakably a personal attack, the author firmly established herself as an agent provocateur, with a comment that was both off-topic and clearly baiting. And, considering that this juvenile attempt at insult was posted to the same entry as the first transparent attempt to provoke a fight, it’s clear that not only have I picked up a troll, I have picked up a stalker troll. Not content to have done the typical troll’s hit and run, she has returned to see if I took the bait and upon seeing I hadn’t she left some more.

I’m honoured. I am finally initiated into the ranks of true bloggers, having acquired my very own bit of internet vermin, a real troll! And an anonymous revisiting troll, at that! (Those, I am told, are the pinnacle of trolldom, the ones who love you so much they keep coming back and are too shy…or cowardly…to reveal themselves, preferring to remain secret admirers.)

It is my own fault, of course, for not using the simplest of internet prophylaxis, disabling anonymous comments. And I may have to eventually go that route to prevent the troll from getting out of hand…they are not known for their wisdom or circumspection, after all. But if I do that, I’ll leave a dedicated email address for anonymous comments…and then I’ll be able to trace my little troglodyte admirer back to her cave and thank her for making my day.

Troll photo by Patsemchism, Flickr


  1. Congratulations, your very first troll!

    I don't suppose your troll was kind enough to link to her blog or a sample of her writing skills so that you might also critique her?

  2. Apparently not known for writing themselves either. A "you can't write" with no content. Who can't write?

    Trolls aren't known for their inintelligenceTrolls are ugly, nasty creatures and they are only good for making sure the billy goats don't cross the bridge. They can't even do that right though. Mama must be prproud

  3. RF, sadly, she didn't post a link or offer a sample. I would like to think that her writing is so much better than mine that mine looks like adolescent gibberish by comparison, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is actually the other way 'round.

    But I have my very own troll now!! I just think that's so cool! Imagine all the blog posts I can get out of this, going forward!!

  4. Congratulations! you must be a really good blog for a troll to spend time coming here reading your blog and then taking the time to comment ;)

    woo hoo!!!!!!!!

  5. How do you know its a she? I can think of a couple of BC members who think very highly of their own writing skills and are "he's". I think you know who I am referring to.

  6. Well, ST, I do know who you mean...but men tend to hammer you with logic whereas women tend to use more psychological trying to attack a person's self esteem.

    It could very well be a man and if so, he can revisit and clarify. For now, however, I'm betting it's a female...

  7. The very essence of a troll is a *person* (using the world generously) that seeks to incite and flame without provocation or sound reason.

    I would actually be flattered, Violet--you know what they say, "as long as they are talking about you, you're doing something right!"

    And you just have to feel sorry for people who have absolutely nothing better to do. Must be a rather sad life, really.


  8. I think you write quite well. It's a reason I follow your blog. Remember--those who can, do. Those who can't, become a troll!

  9. Are congratulations in order? I had my own troll last year but I guess he/she got tired that I didn't allow his/hers nasty comments to be published. I wonder if your troll is going to comment on this post ;-)

  10. I love the poise and eloquence with which you express yourself and rebuff attacks. I'm afraid no squirmy troll is a match for that. And incidentally, how does one open up one's blog to anonymous comments? I hate to deprive myself of the opportunity of getting a troll of my own.

  11. As I have posted a comment policy on my blogs, the nature of comments I will not post to my blogs is stated in it. I do not post off topic comments, or comments that containing personal attacks as they venture into the inflammaroty and defamatory realm. Everything that's posted on a blog becomes part of that blogs brand and I do not pollute my brand by posting inflammatory and/or defamatory rubbish on my blogs.

    I use Defensio on my self hosted wordpress blog and Akismet on my blog. On both blogs I have the ability to blacklist trollish comments I receive by enetering in all their persoanl information, so if they keep sending me trollish, harassing off-topic comments they automatically end up the either the Defensio or Akismet spam filter.

    As you are an articulate and very skilled writer and the troll is certainly not I'm laughing out loud at the comments you received from her.

  12. Well, in light of your good attitude I will say congratulations on your first troll. I have had several over the course of years (one a relative) and when those comments come in they can be hurtful and unsettling.

    I hope your troll is revealed..... people with nothing better to do should find something better to do. It sounds as if you know who it might be, and if it is a BC'er it makes me even more glad that I have taken a step back from the goings-on there of late.

  13. Unfortunately the world - and blogosphere - has people who for no reason whatever, think sport is slamming people. Your attitude is to be commended tho I am so sorry you have had this experience.

  14. Aah my dear. I have been there and took a similar approach as you.

    I enjoy your writing and suspect that troll simply doesn't understand most of what you say.

    What a creepy thing to do. Be an adult troll show your face. You are seeking attention aren't you?

  15. Don't you just love the internet, a place where manners take a backseat to the ways of polite society. Where any kiddie can come and spread their foul natures just for their own sic sport. As my Daddy used to tell me, and I'm sure it's very old hat by now, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. Congratulations on your first, and let's hope, only troll. Your blog, and writing deserves only the best, not the trolls of the internet.


Your comments welcome! Anonymous comments are enabled as a courtesy for people who are not members of Blogger. They are not enabled to allow people to leave gratuitously rude comments, and such comments will not be published. Disagreement will not sink your comment, but disagreeable disagreement will.