How I Almost Became a Troll

i am not a troll

I didn’t know what a troll was until one came to my site.

His strong negative reaction to a post was a dead give away. He implied I should be arrested. Wonderful.

To me, trolls were strange, little garden statues. Wait, that’s gnomes. Told you I didn’t know what they were.

Let’s try that again.

To me, Trolls was a bar in the basement of a building across the parking lot from my sorority house in college. Smelled like beer. Had foosball tables and booths. Became the second living room of the sisterhood. The one where alcohol and boys were allowed.

That was Trolls, until Mr. Meanie came a calling on my blog. I was crushed. I feared he would key Cranberry Mary. Stick pins in a voodoo doll of me. Or worse.

My husband, the calming force in our home, told me it would be okay. The comment wasn’t that bad.

You know, he’s right. I’m small change on the blogosphere. I have it easy. Upon further research, I discovered there are entire sites devoted to dissing other people’s sites. Meanies, every one.

i am not a troll

Who has time for this? I can barely keep the wheels on my own blog, much less create another one to ridicule, criticize, or spew at people.

Then last week, a twist. I’d been following this Blogger who shall remain nameless. That’s Blogger with a capital B.

Blogger enjoys an enormous following. I like Blogger, but Blogger writes things with which I disagree about topics that matter to me.

I first read Blogger when a friend sent me a link a few weeks ago. In response, I submitted my comment of respectful disagreement.

The next week, I visited Blogger’s site to be rankled by another post. I submitted my comment of respectful disagreement.

Then last week, I read a post by Blogger on a popular website. Blogger was once again wrong (surprise). I submitted my comment of respectful disagreement.

This time something went horribly awry. The captcha bit me. The queue malfunctioned. My comment appeared multiple times. Like a broken record. On a major site. In response to Blogger with a capital B.

Immediately, I contacted the site to correct the mistake. Prayed no one noticed the fumble from small change on the blogosphere.

That’s when it hit me. Each time I read Blogger’s work, I get upset enough to lodge a complaint. No matter how respectful I am, my response is still negative.

i am not a troll

This may be Blogger’s modus operandi. Stir the pot. Salt the wounds. Elicit a response. Spike the stats. Who knows? Doesn’t let me off the hook. I was becoming a troll.

If you come here to my itty bitty blog, and what you read repeatedly upsets you, gets your panties in a wad, sends your blood pressure soaring—well, against all blogging wisdom about building an audience, I would probably suggest you not come back.

Lively discussion in the comments is welcome. But I bristle at my blog being a source of upset for readers. Challenge, maybe. Upset, not so much.

Don’t know if I’ll continue to read Blogger. Sure Blogger has impressive stats. But Blogger brings out the troll in me. That’s not acceptable. Trolls in my life will best remain a memory of a bar in the basement of a building across the parking lot from my sorority house in college.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:8-9 NLT

Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep. What I Am by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians.

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Filed under blogging, humor

25 Responses to How I Almost Became a Troll

  1. Anita S

    That’s one of my favorite songs — What I Am — and the quote is very appropriate for this post.
    I had never thought of trolling in this light before. Perhaps I’ve been a troll sometimes too.

  2. love this post! You know I subscribe to the sentiment you mentioned above: if reading a blog makes me angry repeatedly, I’m finished. Even more so if it’s someone I don’t even know in real life.

  3. Diana Byrd

    Aimee, this is priceless, like you – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons (daughters) of God.” (Matthew 5:9 – parenthetical emphasis mine) Hugs to you today! (:

  4. Christel

    Great post Aimee! Keep up the good work!

  5. Amy Howard

    Trolls Bar is the only Troll you ever need! What a great place, thanks for reminding me of all the fun!

  6. Amy

    Weird that someone named Amy Howard wrote a comment up there, but it’s not me. In any case…drunk, happy trolls are so way better than mean trolls. You’re totally doing the right thing. Lively conversation doesn’t suck but negative energy does. Do what feels good.

    • That is weird. The Amy Howard above is one of my sorority sisters. Just realized you two have the same name. I still think of her by her unmarried name. Anyway, I’ve read mean trolls come with the territory when you blog, but I’d be fine if I never encountered one again in others or in myself!

  7. Shannon Schrader

    Okay… so I’m dying to know which of your posts would have possibly led someone to say that you should be arrested. Inquiring minds want to know!!

  8. Jenny

    First ammendment rights: you have the right to write what you believe. You don’t like it? Avert your eyes. Log on elsewhere. I like Howard Stern. You don’t like it? Turn the dial. Easy listen elsewhere.
    Why anyone would waste their time trying to change someone elses opinion baffles me. Live. Let live.
    Blog on, Aims!

  9. Ah internet trolling. I’ve been called that on ocassion – usually on sites with which for the most part I agree. I’m usually called a troll by others who don’t like my contrary position, even though it’s being done with a call for reflection… and regardless of the mountains of other comments I may leave which are positive and which they agree with. The other term that gets thrown my way sometimes is “moby”. The theory is that I’m just there to stir the pot, stir dissention and bring up a counter argument as the real argument.

    It’s a tricky road to walk. My addictive nature (we all have it to one degree or another) keeps me coming back to some of these sites (political). Eventually most people there get to know me, so they know it’s just that I’m taking the high road position and not just a liberal wolf in sheep’s clothing approach. I can back it up because all they have to do is visit my website and see that I’m trying to practice what I preach.

    But, alas, I have found that often many people will throw the words, “troll” and “moby” as epithets merely when they disagree with you, when you’ve called them to the carpet for blatant blind and emotional thinking. In the political realm, there are a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who speak first from the hip and maybe think later.

    i probably have had one true troll on my site once, a Muslim who posted a bunch of videos. I didn’t mind it the first time because I felt they actually hurt his cause. When he went for the repeat, I just deleted the comment.

    When dealing with real trolls, there are ways to deal with them… just don’t feed them. The problem is that, depending upon how big the site is and how many comments/commenters it gets, invariably one person will give in and feed the troll.

    Most trolls will not raise that big of a stink if you ignore/delete them, and even if they do, it says more about them then it does about you.

    You ain’t no troll… no, if you ran in some of the political circles I do online, you’d be called a moby like me. Silly because it’s incorrect, but that’s the sad state of affairs that is the online world and many people who profess to be Christians. They put their emotions and their politics ahead of their faith and don’t you dare disagree with them or chide them, even as sensibly as possible.

    So, “troll” and “moby” is the new “moron” and inables the accuser to mentally ignore you and what you have to say… and gets you lumped in with the legitimate trolls.

    So ends my monologue… sorry… my wordpress account had been acting up for a week or so, so things were kinda screwy – and evidently, just as it messed up out of no where, it fixed itself.

    • Maybe a troll launched a cyber attack on your WordPress :) Just kidding.

      WA, you have never been a troll here. I appreciate your comments and contrarianism. You make an interesting point I’ve wondered about. If we are trolls merely when we disagree with a blogger, won’t only people who agree with that blogger comment? And the natural succession would be that we only read writers we agree with. I’ve been restricting myself from reading Blogger because I don’t have time to get upset, lodge a counter argument, and then look like a troll. But who wins in that? Blogger doesn’t see the other side, and neither do I. So much for the marketplace of ideas…

  10. Trolls are not just on blogs or online comments. I have encountered my share of them on Twitter. I have finally decided to block them from my stream as they take too much of my energy and turn me into a negative, hot-headed grouch. Also, I will not convince them of anything…least of all to consider a different opinion. Kudos to you for encouraging discussion! Keep it up!!

    • So appreciate your comment on this, Debbie. I just joined Twitter a few months ago. It still seems a lot like an echo chamber to me, but I can see how it could easily become a troll magnet and platform. From the tone of some tweets I’ve seen, I may be unknowingly following a few trolls. Like you said, blocking them from the stream is really the only thing you can do. Even if the tweet isn’t aimed at me or I don’t retweet it, I still come away feeling like I’m covered with a film of negativity. Ick! Need to get that stuff outta there.

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