Trolling In The Deep: Dealing with Online Harrassment as a Writer
September 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
Imagine you’re standing in front of a room of about seven million people but they’re completely hidden and can say whatever they want about you without fear of repercussion. That’s what posting on the internet is like.
The internet grants people an anonymity that can be dangerous and leads to the birth of trolls, which according to urbandictionary, is “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or messageboard with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.” Basically, they’re jerks who starts online argument that way too often lead to harassment.
This is something an aspiring writer needs to be aware of and prepared for. For example, last month I wrote a piece about bronies, adult fans of My Little Pony, and it was not handled well by the My Little Pony community. I was sent an assault of personal attacks, death threats, and, was faced with harsh and unfair criticism of my reporting and writing (which honestly stung the most). Online harassment is a serious issue that can discourage young writers from continuing but don’t let that get to you. Push on. Use this a fuel. Show them wrong and better yourself. You giving up is just what they want, don’t let that have that.
These trolls feed off attention and the controversy their comments cause, so ignore them and they’ll starve to death and wither away to pathetic obscurity.
Anita Sarkessian, creator of Feminist Frequency which is a web series that analyzes pop culture through a feminist lens, is the most recent example of online trolling going to new, terrifying extremes.
After a video where Sarkessian criticized misogyny in the video game industry, the threats that she got everyday got a lot more serious.
“The attacks were so menacing and so personal, Sarkeesian was forced to call the police and leave her home. Someone let her know they’d tracked down her home address and the names and address of her parents. The individual threatened to kill them, too” according to an article in the Washington Post.
This is not okay. Rational discussion and open conversation about the topics presented is encouraged and one of the goals of well-done journalism. But when this gets twisted into some sort of witchhunt, then it can overshadow the message your writing is trying to send.
So on the internet, you have to be careful, but be brave. Don’t censor yourself. Criticism is avoidable and some of it will help you grow and improve.
And don’t feed the trolls. They’re not worth your time. Flip your hair and walk away, you fabulous person.