If you will indulge me…. I’d like to share my reply to a comment I read on another blog. The blog belongs to John Scalzi, the guy who wrote the book Redshirts (which I loved.)  In this particular post, he shared a video of a song by the Doubleclicks about internet trolls.  You should listen to the song – the lyrics are funny and poignant and smart.

The comment that bothered me:

The one time I was accused of being an internet troll, I thought I was being constructive, but the members of the “group”–nerdfighers–thought I wasn’t. So I stopped watching vlogbrothers videos, unsubscribed from John Green’s blog, and never looked back. By the way, I really don’t like the song–she’s cute, sings well, it’s okay–but the lyrics? Nope. Don’t like ‘em. Not that it matters. The way I handle comments now is that I never look at them again, so if someone thinks it’s trolling to say you don’t like something, well, I’ll never see your replies.  (by someone named Jude with no links to anything he himself has created)

This is what wrote:

It’s not that you aren’t allowed to dislike something – that isn’t why people hate trolls. People hate trolls for the same reason your mother told you: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” As they say in the song. What is the purpose of saying you don’t like something?  What are you trying to convey?  A negative opinion is worth exactly the same as no opinion, which is nothing.

Constructive criticism looks like this. “Wow, your voice is great.  I didn’t really like the song, I’m not sure the lyrics are all that relevant to my life, but that’s ok, I know you weren’t writing it just for me.  Keep up the great work. It is awesome that you have the talent to create and the guts to put it up there for all to see.”

My solution to the troll problem:  Only people who also create are allowed to comment on other’s creations.

Here is what else I might have said…

Hey Jude, I think for your own sanity, you really ought to unplug yourself from social media. We, the active participants in social media, the bloggers, the writers, the singers, the actors, we don’t need your ‘constructive’ criticism.  Really.  I’m sorry if you truly meant to be helpful, but it isn’t helping.  It’s just hurting.  So, just turn off your computer and go away.

Better yet – go create something.  Write a song, with better lyrics of course.  Or write a blog post – a careful dissection of the lyrics explaining exactly why you didn’t like them, and how they could be better, or a post on how trolls are helpful to social media. Make some art and post it on tumblr or behance.  Create something, anything, and it will stop you from hating the people who create.  Because then you will be one of us.  A part of the Creators Club.  Our work isn’t the greatest, but we put a lot of effort and love into it, and we are awfully proud of it.  You can do it. Everyone can do it.  And when we are all creators, then no one has to be a troll.

Here is what I didn’t say because I didn’t want to be a troll…

You mean to say the ‘one time’ you get slammed with negative comments, you gave up and walked away from all Nerdfighteria?  Well then, that tells me two things, one – you didn’t belong there in the first place and two – if the negative comments on your comment hurt your feelings so badly – I would think the song should resonate with you more than any one!

And lastly…

“she’s cute” Really?!?!?!?  – how does that have anything to do with the song?  ARG!

 

 

11 thoughts on “I read a comment on a blog…

  1. Well said. I think people who troll are secretly envious that they have nothing to offer the world, atleast the online world; besides being a fly in someones carefully crafted dessert, so to speak.

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    1. 🙂 no worries – I end up writing my comments elsewhere and then pasting them in these fussy, little boxes all the time!

      Your points are excellent!

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  2. Nice post. Thank you for sharing your process of how you think about trolls. To better understand people who are hurtful, like trolls, I try to think back to when I myself may have felt similarly, when I felt upset didn’t feel like being gentle with my words. When I do this I am reminded trolls might be speaking from a place of feeling like an outsider. When a social media site turns you inot a troll, it probably is best to walk away. Sometimes where our style tone doesn’t stand out and become offensive.

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  3. But isn’t negative criticism a form of constructive criticism? I mean, do we really only want to hear from people who like our work? Obviously people shouldn’t obsess over the negative, but there can often be some good points made about how we could improve.

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    1. Actually – the point I was really trying to make – and I don’t think I did a good job – is that yes – go ahead and criticize – but just be nice about it. A purely negative comment – written in a negative voice – has no value, because all it does is hurt – it doesn’t show the creator a different point of view or lend itself to a fruitful conversation.

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  4. I love when you post during my morning coffee time! Your last point is something I notice all the time, so frustrating. I need to think on the prerequisite of creating though. Rubs me a bit wrong, but I am not immediately sure why…

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    1. You are not the only one it rubbed the wrong way – and to be honest – I have rethought that opinion. It doesn’t seem right – or fair now.

      But why have I changed my mind? Because of the awesome discussion following my comment over on the other blog – follow the first link above to read it.

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