I’ve written a lot about how blog and comment trolls make blogging miserable, even to the point where we becoming over-sensitive and frustrated with blogging because of the amount of negativity and angst that comes with opening yourself up to the world of opinion through your blog.
I blog across many different blogs and participate in a wide variety of social media services and microblogs. Twitter and similar “follow” and “friend” networks are interesting as they help you get to know people beyond direct interaction. You get to watch how they behave and learn more about who they are as a person and a blogger through their interactions with others.
Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of watching someone go “off” on Twitter over a non-event. They lost their temper, said vicious things, even to the point of bigotry and prejudice. Very racial slurs. I was stunned to see such language on a public forum. I watched those directly involved handle his out-of-control and inappropriate rant professionally and skillfully, which earned my respect, and I made a point of noting the name and blog of this person, adding it to my list of those I do not wish to be involved with. Trouble like him nobody needs.
Two days later, this person left a comment on one of my blogs.
The person’s comment is innocuous. However, I know this person’s history – and trust me, I’m not judging them by a single event. I watched him rant off numerous times before the latest ugly exchange. I don’t want this person’s comment on my blog.
If it sits there, by association, I’m violating my personal decision not to have any connections with this person with a reputation for ugliness.
If I delete it, even though the comment is not offensive, what’s my justification? Because I know he has a history of being a troll on the web? He hasn’t proven that history on my blog, but I know he has the capacity to bring down his troll ways to my blog. If I delete it, I could be throwing gas on the fire.
Easton Ellsworth recently offered The 7 Most Vexing Would You Rather Questions for Bloggers, and this one could be on the list. It’s most vexing.
Should I delete the comment and stick with my wish for non-association with the troll blogger, thus possibly igniting a negative response and more nastiness, or would I rather leave it there and suffer the sick feeling in my stomach knowing I allowed a known troll to occupy space on my blog?
Have you been in this spot before? How did you handle it? What worked for you? I believe in taking the higher ground, but this one is a tough one. What would you do?
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.