Even if you’re not in parts of the world where bloggers have been killed because of their posts, you can still get people who hate you for your blog. It’s an occupational hazard you must anticipate and be prepared for, even if you write about seemingly innocuous topics.
With the millions of blogs on the internet, you’d think attracting a hater is a remote possibility. And if your articles are on social media, like Facebook or Twitter, the chances of them being read by more users, and gaining haters, increase. Still, it’s always in your best interest to be ready for any danger that may arise related to your blogging.
Users who put you down by posting mean comments on your blog may be annoying, like flies in a picnic, but cause no grave harm other than online bashing. These are the trolls who have nothing better to do. At the extreme end of the spectrum are the serious haters. These psychopaths go beyond the online sphere and take their grievances to the real world. If you come across haters who persistently pursue you with their negativity, to the point where you feel your safety is threatened even in your physical surroundings, a firmer approach is necessary. Don’t dismiss them lightly. Act before it gets out of hand.
Here are tips on how to handle your blog haters:
For mild hate posters
- Ignore them. Many haters remain anonymous, hiding being fake names and email addresses. The lack of an authentic identity gives them permission to spew their vitriol and make nasty comments to their hearts’ content, even if they are irrelevant to your post. But anonymous or not, their rage can unnerve you. For the most part, nameless haters are dealing with their own internal conflicts and derive pleasure from your reply, especially if you come off as defensive.
As the blog post writer, you will be tempted to retaliate with equal venom. If you do, you are actually fulfilling the hater’s goal, which is to provoke you into anger. And the exchange won’t stop. It is more prudent to hold your tongue (or your fingers, in this case) and hope that eventually, they will leave.
- Filter comments. Blogging platforms provide a comment moderation service for its blog owners. WordPress, for instance, gives you the option for manual approval of all comments, or identifying certain moderation keys to hold comments, such as swear words or the number of hyperlinks. By the same token, you can also block and ban these haters. Blog hosting platforms have an option for blocking and blacklisting comments from your haters. But a determined user can just as easily make up a new account and email address.
- Learn to discern legitimate criticism from trolling. A reader may have an opposing point of view. This does not make that person a hater. On the other hand, trolls are rude for the sake of rudeness and take pleasure in making repulsive comments about your post.
Take an objective approach and reply where appropriate without resorting to offensive and vulgar language. Being open to others’ opinions and having a healthy and informative exchange will broaden your mind.
For the lunatic hater
Try to determine the identity of the person. This entails a bit of sleuthing on your part, since many online haters hide behind anonymity. Here’s how you can uncover information about them:
Some haters-turned stalkers may go beyond the internet and harass you with telephone calls. There are excellent tools for a reverse phone lookup on the web. They will provide the name and physical address of the caller. Some of these sites go beyond the basic information and give you arrest and criminal records, including sex offender status.
For online posts, keep the actual digital copy from your blog or on social media, and all email addresses used. A reasonably techie person can obtain the IP address of the hater and his location. It may not reveal other vital information but knowing that the hate post is coming from the other side of the globe will give you some sort of a sense of safety.
If you are suspicious of an unknown call that you have deleted and can remember only a few digits, a phone number search with the area code and state can still yield useful information in identifying the caller.
If you have become paranoid and are constantly looking over your shoulder to check if someone’s following you, report the matter to the authorities and bring a copy of the evidence with you. Law agencies can ask social media sites and telecommunications companies to divulge otherwise confidential information with a court order.