Friday, January 25, 2008

blogocombat vs. email combat

Many times a century, I have tons of people, well, several people, two or three at least, who ask me:

"What's up Vaspers? Why don't you engage in angry email exchanges with those who oppose your ideology or aesthetic theories?"

You can debate people on your own blog, and if the argument seems to go on too long, without adding anything to the core topics of your blog, you can just Delete the entire conversation, like it never happened. There's nothing "sacred" about a blog post or comment. You don't need some obsessive "record" of what you said, and what a troll said, anyway.

Remember: trolls use your blog as a preaching pulpit, to advance their ideas or feelings. Their anonymous comments relieve them, they assume, of any accountability for their statements. Hit and run. Post a comment, then run away like a little sissy boy.

If you don't respond directly to their flames, they'll get really frustrated, and might start sending you emails. That's exactly what you want to lure them into doing, but more on this later. First, you have to understand it's not about winning or losing an argument. It's about the trolls need to attack others, so as to feel better about their own unfortunate suffering and self-inflicted miseries.

Trolls aren't trying to win an argument. They're just bored. Trolls find it fun, and un-threatening to them, to flame other people online, anonymously. Trolls never have their own blog, because they're approval addicts who can't handle any critique of their ideology or tastes.

So forget about winning and losing debates.

Focus, instead, on how their silly comments either do or do not contribute to the core conversation. If other blog readers can benefit from reading the volleys and parries, fine. If it's just the childish remarks of a player-hater, you may decide to force the troll to find some other safe, non-threatening forum for them to *anonymously* express themselves in.

Email is different.

Email can be Forwarded to a troll's employer and that usually ends the whole battle. That's why I advise you to lure them into emailing you. One way to do this is to post their flaming remarks, but not respond to them personally, even when you know who they really are. Just post their comments for a while, and aside from one or two brief statements, avoid getting tangled in long explanations or clarifications.

Here's why the email trap is so effective. If you can get them to email you, especially at your work email address, you'll gain a serious advantage.

Employers frown upon employees, even in their private off-hours time, stalking people in emails, and making insipid accusations, obviously trying to stir up trouble. It's generally not tolerated, and can be grounds for reprimands, demotion, and even termination of employment. Neat, huh?

See? Email combat is too problematic. Angry email exchanges often backfire, and you see your "private" email messages plastered all over the place, and there's nothing you can do about it. Because email is NOT a private communication channel, as some mistakenly believe.

Corporations routinely monitor and read employee emails, so if you send one to someone where they work, you've done a double screw-up. Never answer any emails from trolls who are trying to pick or continue fights. Just speak, if you wish, in general terms about the troll's stalking patterns.

There is a blogospheric forensics that can identify who posted a comment on your blog, but email forensics are even easier. The sender often uses a real email address that can be traced to their business or home address.

Thus, if you avoid email combat, you will not have such problems. Do your discussions on your personal blog, which is under your editorial control. If the cowardly anonymous trolls bitch about "deleting posts" and "losing" an argument, let them.

They're just angry that they don't have your blog to use anymore as their timid little forum. Pray for your enemies and do good to those who can't figure out how to push your buttons or guilt-trip you, for their little troll-mongering lives are not so perfect or exciting, eh? LOL


Yvonne said...

Does this mean if the "troll" freely identifies him or herself, but still comes very close to libel, with malicious, unfounded comments... they're not trolls? How do you manage that, Steve? How do you manage a focused attack on your integrity, your business, and yourself...from a self-centered bigot? Do you ignore it? Do you delete it?

This has happened to me and... I engaged in the conversation thinking I could help the "troll" see reason...but he merely cross-posted everything and brought his cronies (who know all about my scam business and what a terrible person I am, of course) and things got out of hand.

I stopped my share of the conversation. Just like the trolls you talk about, this guy was out to get traffic and benefit off my popularity. Unfortunately, he's a screen writer. He doesn't have an employer. I doubt the TV show he writes for cares if he picks on a little gal like me.

What then?

steven edward streight said...

Don't let trolls use your blog as a free advertising platform. Never publish troll comments.

Publish hateful, negative, destructive criticism from sincere or prominent adversaries (for your own SEO boost if nothing else, heh), but never remarks that are purely sadistic, unproductive, misanthropic, misogynist, racist, etc.

I will retaliate against him upon your command, for I love this blogocombat stuff.

I will demolish him completely in short order. Please? Let me at them. Team trolls are even easier to deconstruct and hystericize that single stalking predators acting alone.