Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A word on trolls

Today, I am plugging The Redneck Mommy, who I love to pieces. I'd really like to call her "my friend Tanis", but she's really more like someone I passively stalk. She's very cool, though. And wildly popular. I mean, she probably gets thousands of visitors a day.

Tanis is a mommy blogger of the finest variety. She's truly hilarious, always looking for and writing about the humour in her life. She spins her stories beautifully, and she'll make you laugh (and sometimes cry) with her. Something you should know: Tanis lost her youngest son a few short years ago, and she misses him deeply. And so birthdays and anniversaries are marked as she works to handle her grief as best she can, writing through her pain in poignant posts. She's not always funny (though humour is her norm), but you'll always feel like you're right beside her on whatever ride she's on. Yeah. She's that good.

Anyway, she's up for some bloggy award. Best Canadian Blogger or some such thing. Head on over to her site. Read. Laugh. Love. And then go and vote for her, because (as I'm sure you'll agree) she totally deserves it.

But that isn't really the point of this post.


Some creep had the audacity to troll Tanis. Not only did the person post disagreeable, anonymous, unjustifiable criticisms on Tanis's blog, but she did so on a post that commemorated Tanis's deceased son's birthday. As usual, Tanis handled herself with grace and dignity, and I applaud her for it. I chose not to get involved in the flame war in her comments section, because quite frankly, that would lend credence to the troll. Instead, I will post my thoughts over here. On my own blog. Where my thoughts belong.

We all have a right to our opinions. And we certainly have the right to express those opinions. But not in any forum of our choosing. So if you have something awful to say about a fellow blogger, please, by all means, say it. Trot on over to your own blog, write your terrible, derogatory post, slam that blogger as hard as you can, hit publish, and walk away. No one is going to take away your right to do so. But hurtful, spiteful, ridiculous comments do not belong in someone else's blog. Disagree with her if you like, but be respectful about it. (Also, if you're so ashamed of yourself that you have to post your diatribe anonymously, you probably shouldn't post it. Consider your embarassment to be an indicator.)

Hiding behind anonymity makes you a coward. Anonymously insulting a blogger on her own blog, on an emotionally charged entry, on a day that is clearly difficult for her, makes you an insensitive bully. Indicating in your comment that you know you will be attacked for saying what you are saying makes you foolhardy. Continuing to visit the offending blog makes you a glutton for punishment. Repeatedly checking the comments section to see the rebuttals to your offending comment makes you a publicity hound. Continuing to post more and more offensive comments in response to those rebuttals makes you a troublemaker. And, if you don't back-pedal with might and main when the errors of your ways are pointed out to you, preferring instead to try to use your own life experiences as some kind of twisted justification for your bad behaviour, that just makes you pathetic and sad (loser). No one is infallible. If you somehow believe you are, it is indicative of a lack of intelligence.

And on the subject of "a lack of intelligence", I present a few direct quotes from your comments on Tanis's post. Your greatest hits, if you will. These are my favourites!

"You remind us of your youngest son’s death, and then pimp for an award that will profit you even more than before."
(Note the phrase "pimp for an award". Remember it well.)

"If you don’t think anyone has the right to disagree then live the rest of your life without complaint to anyone - the gas station attendant, the dry cleaners, etc. because then no one has a right to complain or voice their opinion."
(Disagree all you like. But be diplomatic in voicing your opinion. And choose your forum appropriately. The words "know your audience" spring to mind.)

"I never implied pimping ..."
(True. No implication. You out and out said it. See your first comment. Oops.)

"This stepford wife is gone."
(But evidently not, because ...)

"It is stunning that I am labeled a troll after ONE dissenting comment on the web in my entire life. Welcome to Russia."
(Don't like the label? Don't troll. And ... RUSSIA?!)

Dear Troll, you owe Tanis an apology. Not for your opinion, which you have every right to express. But for the manner in which it was expressed, and for the forum in which it was expressed, and perhaps most importantly for expressing your (truly ridiculous) opinion in a comment on a post about her deceased son's birthday. That you refuse to apologize or even to acknowledge that an apology is owed, despite the numerous people who have pointed this out, makes you rude, obnoxious, and kind of an asshat. And perhaps that is the proper definition of an Internet troll anyway. In which case, I guess you're doing a great job.


Redneck Mommy said...

You can call me Tanis any time.

But my friends call me T. Which I hope will now include you.


And by the way, I like your rebuttal a whole lot more than my own. Well done.

♥georgie♥ said...

okay wow lots of stuff going on...i will go check out Tanis redneck mommy and well the only time anon comments are okay in my book are on the confessional....

Michelle said...

Holy crap. I didn't see that one (busy job hunting) but how obnoxious!

iMommy said...

That is truly terrible.... you said it exactly right. What an asshat!

So glad that you posted your thoughts here. It's nice to see friends standing up for friends.

goodfather said...

Holy cow! I agree with the Redneck Mommy herself, great rebuttal.

I don't get trolling, or asshattery in general. Seems like such a waste of time to me.

CK Lunchbox said...

Trolls are just little people in both class and understanding. They should be perched on the top of a pencil and twirled until their hair sticks strait up.

Sad that someone would do that to her on such a topic.

Momma Trish said...

RM - Hey! Thanks for stopping by! I didn't want to hijack your blog comments section with my diatribe, so thought I'd post it on over here to kind of make a point. Glad you enjoyoed it.

(If I call you "T", it might get confusing ... I go by "T" too. But I can call you Tn or something. Heh!)

georgie - Yeah, I'm not a fan of anonymous comments either. If you have no account or something, fine. But usually, anon posters hide for a reason.

Michelle - I hope the job hunting is going well.

iMommy - I can't stand seeing people get attacked on their own blogs. It's just ridiculous that folks think they're entitled to do that. No social grace at all.

goodfather - I'm with you; it really seems like a waste of time. I don't know why people do that.

CK Lunchbox - You're right about trolls. That's exactly what should happen to them. Nasty folk.