The Trouble with Trolls

Divergent blue

Definitely struggling with kind at the moment. Really frustrated with an issue that is a reoccurrence in fandoms because some people simply refuse to use an ounce of common sense or try to, in even a tiny way, live by that above philosophy. (As a side note, if you haven’t read Divergent I highly recommend it – might be ‘teen fiction’ but some deep truths if you allow them to sink in. I’m way past being a teen and really liked the series!)

TROLLS! People on the internet that seem to go out of their way to cause issues, disrupt a forum or just spread nastiness. This is an issue that has been addressed many times in many places I’m sure, so I’ll add my voice to the chorus. Not because I think I can say it better or am any better than anyone else, but everyone thinks differently and I may give someone that ‘ah-ha!’ moment when others couldn’t.

Now in the spirit of full-disclosure, I stooped to being a troll once. For about 15 minutes. I probably shouldn’t have done it, but it effectively stopped nastiness against my fandom for about 48 hours on that particular poll. If anyone really wants that story I’ll tell it privately.

People that bring up a differing viewpoint and defend it in a discussion isn’t someone I have a problem with. That is what forums are for IMHO. To see and maybe understand another facet, a different viewpoint that is just as passionate as your own. MY issue comes from the people that are abusive. Bad language, name calling, denigration, rudeness, and shit stirring just to rile people rather than to make a valid point.

Most effective way to deal with these people is not to ‘feed’ them. Don’t give them attention as that is what they want. They want to get people riled up, they revel in chaos and bad feelings. Ignore them (as much as possible) and hopefully whatever forum you are in will have admins that can block them if enough people complain. Private forums and poll comments are one issue…..Twitter is another.

Twitter is so great and so bad for the same reason. Things can spread far and wide VERY quickly. For trying to get people to vote like we are doing right now for #AlphaMaleMadness – it’s a great thing! When it has something to do with a negative….well….it can make it much, much worse.

As I type this it is April 28, noonish. Early in my day on April 26, someone posted something that Sam Heughan responded to. To several of us this looked like an invasion of his privacy which made us see red and leap to his defense. The bigger problem is I’m still seeing retweets of some of the ‘conversation’ today.

A few thoughts about this particular instance and this problem in general. Sam is a braw and canny lad that can well defend himself if he needs it. However – if HE responds too much to anything it gets the issue to a much bigger audience. Rock – hard place. Most stars/celebrities may have very fine retorts but can’t or won’t use them on open forums. Good restraint (way better than I have). Often then, some well-meaning fans jump in and defend. I think this is fine, we just need to do it RIGHT!

The ‘person’ that started this mess back on 4/26 obviously MEANT to cause trouble. I say this because:
1) this person blocked one of Sam’s main supporters before ever starting the issue with him
2) deleted the initial tweets so they couldn’t be seen
3) had obviously ‘set up’ the account for this as there was no info, the ONE tweet that could be seen (and since Sam had responded to this person twice already there was more to the story) had 2 followers and zilch else and
4) I just checked and that account has disappeared. TROLL!

I saw some postings this morning about Sam and some lovely blonde lady on his own personal time trying to pry, again, into his personal life. Hence – you all get a blog so I can vent!

Here is the deal…..responding to and shutting these trolls down is all well and good….BUT….you have to remember that responses, tweets, retweets, etc. ALL have the troll’s tag in them – hence – attention. Often Sam (or whoever was the target) has their tag there also, so they get hit with all the mess too AND it spreads it to an even bigger audience.

Here are my thoughts on this issue. If they help, great. If not come up with your own common sense guidelines for dealing with these things to minimize negative impact not only for our favorite celebs, but for each of us in the fandom.

Personal life is that. PERSONAL. None of our damn business! Are we all curious about things that go on in our favorite celebs life? Of course. Will we eagerly enjoy any little tidbit they want to give us? Absolutely. Should we publicly speculate or question them about their private lives? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Now, I have another celeb that is my ‘first’ love in actors. He is ultra-talented, very sexy and more my age <g> My BFF and I discuss him a lot, his life, his loves, what he’s up to, etc…..in a PRIVATE instant message. Her and I and no one else. Period. We don’t even tell our guys most of what we discuss there, its girl talk <g> Twitter is a very public forum. I only have about 260 followers at this point and I’m amazed at where all some of the stuff I post ends up!

Don’t speculate on personal issues or spread rumors. This one is pretty common sense. If a public figure wants to give out some personal news – Awesome – share it! Just don’t spread stuff you don’t know to be true or could be potentially harmful. We don’t want someone like Sam to basically walk away from social media because of abuse. That would be sad for all concerned.

Pay attention to timeline! Look at what you are seeing. If it happened more than a few hours ago and its troll oriented….leave it alone. DM someone involved if you can if you feel you need more info, but to retweet things continues and spreads them when that may not be the best idea.

Don’t give the troll attention/shut them down. The best way I can think to do this (and if someone has better options PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share!) is to get the word out to as many people in the fandom as possible without giving the troll power or attention. Put a space in their tag when you identify them (i.e. @ JaneDoe rather than @JaneDoe) so people can see where the problem is without having it actually go back to the problem. I personally took Sam’s tags out very early on in this last situation so he wouldn’t have all that mess – but not all did and I’ve been educated that that little blue checkmark gives him more advanced screening options (thank god). BLOCK this person if you feel it appropriate – deny them the access and attention they want.

THINK! All this has potential for abuse. Just because someone disagrees doesn’t make them a troll. Use such steps wisely. Perhaps if enough people block someone for say 24 hours they will get the message – maybe not, but it will at least keep it off Twitter for that chunk of people for a little while.

RESPECT!!!!!  This is what it comes down to is: RESPECT. For the celebrity (in this case Sam) and for yourself as a human being and a ‘fan’ of something. In some ways I actually pity trolls….they must be very sad, pathetic people if they feel this is their best way of getting attention – by tearing down rather than building up.

Ok…..rant over. Hope this is helpful. Would love to get other thoughts and opinions! Discussion is GOOD!

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8 thoughts on “The Trouble with Trolls

  1. tealrose1 says:

    Once again, I agree entirely with your post. Trolls .. are nasty. As my grandson said when he was tiny ‘Trolls are nasty, and loud, and hurt people.’ Of course he was talking about the fairy story trolls but the same applies to those whom we call Trolls who frequent blogs, articles, Twitter, FaceBook etc etc … They are nasty with their language. They are LOUD and they hurt people. With their words. Not by accident. Not by explaining how they feel. But deliberately. They set out to cause mayhem and hurt people for the fun of it. As you said, they must be sad, miserable, pathetic souls who have nothing better to do than rile people up and sit back and laugh. Rather than go out, or write something that builds people up …

  2. My problem is that this: there are a couple of these tweeters who appear to be one thing – or started off as one thing – and have turned into something else. I understand that could be any one of us – but, there are a few who have gone way, way too far. It is very easy to be taken in by these types – especially if you are a generally nice and supportive type. So, a bit more caution will have to be on the docket for me. I hate to be that way, but I will have to be from now on. Great post. xx

    • rynawolfe says:

      Thanks Jen – I know I chose early on not to follow ‘everyone’ on Twitter. I pick and choose. Lord, if you were to follow anyone who is ‘in’ to Outlander, you’d see everything a dozen times and have a lot of people that just don’t agree with you on a day to day basis. I have no problem with differences of opinion and honest debate, but I don’t want to see things that make me cringe every time there is a new tweet to look at. People can follow me or not – that is their choice and I know I likely rub some people very much the wrong way! Thanks for the comment!

    • Deb Jensen says:

      Beth-hope your travels went well-u left me a DM last week I think-responding to post I left for u.I read & appreciate your blogs, that is why I contacted u, I apologize if not OK-please feel free to read my tweets,etc-on my twitter account-I’m not a nut or a stalker-I have accepted to the best of my ability some of things I spoke of-and have a few good fandom friends who have given me their time.Being blocked by a cast member because I joined in a convo-a funny one-no negatives-doesn’t make one feel good-a fact I can’t change.
      TY for your time
      Deb Jensen

      • rynawolfe says:

        Deb – I’m sorry I haven’t really gotten back to you. If you have noticed I haven’t been doing much online at all – bare minimum. My trip and private life have been a bit difficult and consuming my attention. I haven’t forgotten you, I just haven’t gotten to your request yet.

  3. Deb Jensen says:

    OMG I just lost my reply-long one don’t know where it went & don’t think I hit post-It’s 7/1 @ 11:37pm EST-reply about Trolls, fandom and respect-the 4/28 blog also started out by telling you what a big fan I am of you and your blogs-struggling with the repeated sexual gifs of Sam with motion while he performs oral acts on Clair-ep10-one of many, many like that as well as pics/comments about his body parts-I’m not a prude at all-as I said in earlier post-this shows such disrespect to Sam, as an actor and person. I posted a tweet about this and was blocked by a person whom I was just getting to know, the tweet was nicely put and no names were given. This brings me to the subject of blocking- I went over the blocking rules on twitter-and using the block in a knee jerk reaction because your mad at someone or don’t like what they say-isn’t listed as a reason for a block-I was recently blocked again by a person associated with the show, this really-well bothered me. I seldom join in on a tweet in progress-it was so funny and the 4 or 5 others having such fun also.The topic was about a french sweet-had no idea this other person was apart of tweet-but within a few hours I randomly found out-seems it isn’t ok to join in. Re:The contests- I take full part do whatever I’m asked and happy about it, a group forms soon after the start-and tents are set up for those who call the shots-thus begins tweets that come across as demanding with all caps used and repeated requests for RT-etc. Now is one fan more important as another? Am I working for these individuals or with them as a fan? As I said I’ve used your blog regarding trolls and twitter as my guide.I’m not a social media fan. In my time in the OL fandom on twitter- I do not use it as a political or religious platform. I have posted on three different subjects over last 4 mo. they were on-blocking-disrespectful posts regarding Sam and the bashing of U.S.A. I was not rude or aggressive- I have had to re-evaluate why I’m here-and decide how much time I want to be online with twitter- I rushed some, but really hope you can give my some advice-any at all-here or you can DM me-very grateful TY Deb Jensen

  4. Deb Jensen says:

    re reading this and using your blog I had referred to-I just need to accept, overlook and avoid my hot button issues-right? Either way-I’m open to whatever you have to say-appreciate your time!

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