Monday, May 19, 2008

A Poem for Trolls

Trolls, This is Just to Say

I have enabled
the comment moderation
that comes
as part of Blogger

and which
you were probably
being off

Forgive me
I was lazy
and tired
of having stupid conversations.

As for all you serious-minded readers, I hope a short wait between pressing 'publish' and seeing your comment appear won't deter you from adding your thoughts. I anticipate being able to turn off moderation again as soon as the siege on some of my favorite feminist sites has subsided, and the nasty commenters quit following us home. I will try to find time tonight or tomorrow to write a commenting policy that explains that, while we appreciate informed debate, we are not going to be a haven for bigotry. I know I'm hardly the first feminist blogger to explain this distinction. So, if you have a favorite commenting policy from the feminist blogosphere, one that eloquently explains why we won't let our site be overrun by mean-spirited idiots... leave a link in the comments! I'll be sure to give credit to those fearless troll warriors that came before whenever I incorporate their ideas.

(art via Life Under the Log)


Amelia said...

I feel as if my post about how I handle comments (in order to have in writing, a rebuttal against all those who claimed we were merely silencing the opposition) invited a lot of animosity to my blog, and now we've had to enable comment moderation because of one user spamming us with over 1000 comments (all the same) within a matter of minutes.

It's frustrating. We used to get so many comments, and they seem to have died down.

Sorry if you've had to deal with any of the same.

Dee said...

I understand completely. I have been moderating from the beginning. Every now and then I let through a wacky comment though, just to keep things spicy but a haven for bigotry is not what this should be about.

La Pobre Habladora said...

The great thing about comment moderation is that it can be switched on and off at will. So when troll breeding season is over, we'll all just switch it off again if we want.

I really love your blog, and hope that a few bad eggs won't sour you on writing. If anything, these crazies just show how important women writing in defense of women - FEMINISM - is.

Lindsay said...

I have a tendency to (want to) be snarky in my own comments, so one thing I've been trying to do is cut back on the sarcasm and instead give comments that strictly address the issues. Otherwise I feel there's a double standard if I allow myself to be sarcastic and snarky but view someone else using the same tactics as offensive. It could be that I'm conditioned to automatically go on the defense when someone disagrees and I view their same sarcasm as hostility.

Anyway, lots of trolls. gross.

FeministGal said...

i think there's something in the water this week :( lol
good luck and stay strong!!!!! :)

Amelia said...

I just realized a huge typo in my first comment. 1000 should read "100." hahha. My bad.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Dee, your idea about 'keeping things spicy' struck me as funny. You've all noticed, I'm sure, that people who have been lurking for months will post a comment - or several- if they feel like feminism is under attack, but go back to lurking when the troll is gone. I bet trolls wouldn't post at all if they realized what they did for traffic - everyone loves a show-down.

You let the trolls have too much power, though, and they just poop all over everything meaningful and turn the site into a stinking swamp of stoopid.

Anyway, I'm glad to see these guys haven't shut anyone down- despite the spamming.

Amelia said...

Um La Pobre Habladora, in my moderation list, Coyote Skinhead just said: "Hehe guess what hon.

You just won La Pobre Habladora a free pass for some emailing spamming.

See ya. :P "

So I am very very very very very sorry about him. I refused to let him bully me. He posted a link to my profile on his site, which I felt was inappropriate, and I confronted him about it, and he got all mad saying how he is being abused and disrespected because of a comment that you left on my blog that I didn't delete.

So that is his justification for spamming you: I didn't delete one of your comments, after he spammed me and you said something not nice about him. Personally, I think he deserved to be called out for being a jerk and spamming my blog. So I didn't delete your post. But he is trying to bully me by spamming you.


La Pobre Habladora said...

Hummm... that's odd - I don't remember ever calling anyone by name in any comments on your blog. Your trolls must be very sensitive types.

It sounds to me like you are getting harassed. I'm sure that lots of the bigger feminist blogs have had to go through some of this too - do a search and see if they have written about it, and what they did. If nothing useful pops up, write some of them. No matter what, though, keep writing about the same things you always would - don't let someone else determine the content of your blog.

Oh, and feel free to delete any comments of mine you want, if it saves you a headache. I'm not (generally) too touchy about this sort of thing. And upgrade your Site Meter ASAP, if you haven't already.

Amelia said...

I refuse to let him change how I operate my blog. My personal lack of posting is because finals are coming up and I have projects/papers to work on. But he said that he had sent you 347 messages and signed you up for a bunch of newsletters.

He also deleted his blog.

So I am apologizing for him, because he would never dream of doing something like that.

How do you mean upgrade my sitemeter? I'll look into it, anyway, although I'm not quite sure what you mean.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Don't apologize for someone else's actions, and certainly don't apologize for being harassed!

Also, don't get too involved with someone who is antagonizing you. If some troll is sending you lots of mail, here is what I recommend (although I'm no expert):
-have an email posted for your blog that is not your main email. It takes about 3 seconds to delete any messages that slip through gmail's spam filter, and one second to get rid of the rest.
-keep one or two emails, as documentation of the harassment. In the (hopefully) unlikely event that someone annoying becomes threating, you'll want documentation that shows the pattern of harassment and threats.
-pay the few bucks for the premium Site Meter, so if threats are made and police do get called in, they can track your harasser down via the IP address.
-other than that, you don't have to read emails from known harassers and trolls, and certainly shouldn't respond to them.
OK- I've got to do some work in the 'real world,' but know that there are very few trolls out there and tons more rational readers - keep doing what you do best and have fun with the nice, empowering feminist blogging community that reads your words in order to think about them, not in order to shut your voice down.

natalie said...

Feminism 101 links to some good commenting policies in called The Keeping and Feeding of Trolls (or not). Hope it helps!

Dee said...

I am going to read natalie's link. I see my commenter David is back. He left another comment and I am thinking of just ignoring him after this.

I had done a post about him to which he did not respond and an anonymous poster gave him a good bashing so I'll just let it go and move on. Jeez.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Even the introductory paragraph of the Feminism 101 post is pretty good - I particularly liked this line:

"It’s worth reflecting on how to distinguish between the sincerely curious and the saboteurs, and how to deal with the vexatious disrupters without making comments threads such hostile places that other readers are repelled or intimidated."

I guess that's what I was trying to express before - I'll be open to the genuinely curious who merely haven't thought about women's issues and experiences that much, but I don't want someone to distract from the real conversation - particularly not to the point where the conversation becomes hostile.

Dee said...

How interesting that you have drawn my attention to this issue at this time.

You are right and as the Feminism 101 post continued they have no interest in real debate. Today my troll left two more comments on my blog which I promptly rejected because 1. he responded to nothing I posted instead he sought to engage in a brawl with the anonymous basher and 2. He (can you believe this??!!) copied and pasted his original post.

So I left my own comment explaining that I had rejected his posts and why and that I was no longer accepting comments on that issue.

La Pobre Habladora said...

He tried to post the same long rant? Now, that's just funny!

I think your way of handling the situation is pretty classy, actually. Don't post the stupid comment, but leave a little note explaining why if you feel like it merits acknowledgment. A little trip to Feminism 101 might be in order for this guy too. I like page and plan to use it with future trolls.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Oops - I mean this page for trolls.