“Don’t feed the trolls.” That is what most of us bloggers are told, that is what most of us bloggers do. Ignore them and they will go away. Do not engage.
And in the case of the “troll,” the anonymous troll who just stopped by from a Google search, they will do just that – drop a nasty rant and move on.
That is the nature of trolling — they slowly cruise through the internet, dropping their lines, hoping for a bite. But most of us don’t bite back. Because if it is true troll, it is generally transient, and even rather harmless. If they don’t find action at your blog, they just continue on for their next hit.
But, there are many bloggers who don’t have just “trolls” dropping by their sites, randomly leaving nasty, even ridiculous, comments. These bloggers have stalkers or “cyberbullies” — serious trolls focused on constantly tormenting certain bloggers.
A cyberbully is relentless — they follow bloggers from blog to blog, guest post to guest post. They spew their venom through whatever social media channels they can. They create websites solely dedicated to destroy.
I must say, I am confused about why they dedicate their lives to such negative energy — what good is this doing for their own spirit and life?
Trolls and cyberbullies are serious business. These social media offenders are as young as tweens and teens tormenting fellow teenagers, even to the point of suicide. And the grown up offenders are causing similar tragedies, ripping apart lives, hearts and blogs, with their lies and their bullying.
But, as if trolls and stalkers weren’t enough to make many bloggers shut down and move to a wifi-free wasteland, enter the extreme stalker/cyberbully who seems to be bordering on psychopath, (note: this is not a medical claim or accusation, but merely an observation about their behavior,) creating websites dedicated to disparaging and destroying the reputations, businesses, and lives of their victims.
These sites then incite readers to hate and they begin leaving nasty comments, allegedly even death threats.
And it all makes me sick.
The internet is my home. Seriously. Here I share my family, I build friendships, I find comfort and comfort others. There is SO much good in my world online and I so rarely ever see the undercurrent of evil.
But when it is brought to my attention, I want to scream. I want it out of my home.
But of course, that will never happen. The internet is powerful way to attack and destroy. And so it will go on. I wish there were a way that the police could issue internet restraining orders! But that would sure get tricky fast!
I don’t want anyone to suffer through internet bullying and internet terror. I want the madness to stop.
But, I suppose the only power we have to fight against it is to remember: there are trolls, stalkers, and perhaps even, psychopaths, out there trying to destroy fellow human beings.
When you read the slander, you can be the dead end. You can refuse to be taken into the lies and the drama. You can let the person’s true reputation stand and kick off the crap that enemies are hurling.
It is true that there are three versions behind every story. We may never know all three and we will rarely know the third – the truth – but I think we can give people the benefit of the doubt.
What frightens me most is how often we humans are able to jump to the worst conclusion. We can throw out years of evidence about a person’s character with one well hit rumor. And what about grace? Last time I checked, we all make some serious mistakes in life.
What do we do to protect ourselves or our friends when trolls and cyberbullies are attacking?
Cecily Kellogg has a helpful post with advice about Coping With Trolls, Griefers, and Cyberbullies that I recommend. I am not a lawyer, nor a police officer — but I would reach out to let the police know what danger you are in and report any death threats. I would also see a lawyer who specializes in social media and find out what rights you do have, if any.
In the past, I have always taught to ignore the trolls, but in certain cases, I might disagree. I am not sure. There are some cases where slander needs to be called out and the other side of the story deserves to be heard. That is dangerous territory though and I would talk to an attorney before posting anything.
A few weeks ago, Cecily Kellogg posted here at MomCrunch about Naomi Dunford’s post about receiving death threats from trolls and stalkers.
In a follow up, Sometimes the Bad Guys Win, Naomi published one of the most disturbing, tragic stories I have read online.
In the post, Naomi explains the family nightmares behind the origins of the Dave Navarro story — the online bullying that has now made Dave Navarro shut down his site and leave the internet.
Naomi revealed that the man behind the website Letters to Dave Navarro is Dave’s older brother, who is intent on his brother not committing “generational sin” and divorcing.
The horror behind this story, is that Dave’s mother was gunned down for leaving her husband, and that their father whom his brother Anthony admires so much, is serving a life sentence for conspiring to commit murder.
It is shocking and terrifying — no wonder Dave has been in hiding, fearing for his life! His father had his mother killed when she left their marriage.
People have always been hunted down for “sins,” tormented, and killed. But now that there is this new weapon, the internet, we all need to be aware of what can go on out here.
Some of the stuff you read online will be half-truths, allegations, and lies. Read with discernment. Toss out the garbage. Give people the benefit of the doubt — don’t delete years of credibility with anonymous slander.
Remember — you could be next. You might be the one praying that the truth will win and the hurt will end. So have compassion and send positive energy and support. The world, online and offline, can always use more!
What do YOU think?
What is the best way to deal with online stalkers and slanderers who are committed to destroying someone’s life and online credibility? When should someone end the silence and fight back as Naomi Dunford has done in her posts?