A View on Commenting on Blogs or Are You a Troll?

I don't know if children today even know about trolls that live under bridges and grow warts on their noses and chins. When I was a child I actually did not like going over bridges because I feared those creatures.

As it turns out, even at my age I find trolls lurking between the lines of blogs and in the comments and I am still afraid of those creatures. They are very frightening because 1) they are mean spirited and hateful and 2) they usually post anonymously because they are cowards. So there you have it.

No, I have not had a troll comment on this blog for quite a while. The Frugal Traveler for the New York Time called me amateurish a long time ago but that really doesn't count. He didn't do it here on my blog anyway...he did it in the NYT's so I don't know if that counts.

It was on a fellow blogger's comment section when I saw something that made me a little sick. RJ over at RJs Corner wrote a blog post called Inside The Loony Bin – The Beltway Baiters about the tactics cable news used the involves baiting politicians during interviews to start a discussion that draws people in and sells airtime. He suggested that we be very careful to keep our view of the world balanced. The suggestion was that we avoid both the extremely conservative channel as well as the liberal news networks. Here is what Jan Bo (no link available so anonymous) said in her comment and my response:

Personally, I think the only thing on your list we should pay attention to is ISIS (and maybe North Korea). If we are willing to let our soldiers (someone else’s son or daughter) be killed for the “good of the country” we should be very aware. To me those are the things we should be discussing- how to disengage from war.
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  • Jan, I really don’t know how you arrived at this point of view but I will tell you that RJ gives the most balanced and rational view of anyone I know. If you don’t agree, move on or add to the discussion in a civil tone. Don’t “troll” a blogger that is stating what they believe in their own space. It is unbecoming and mean spirited…period.

I don't think I misread the tone of her comment at all although I suppose that is possible. Whether or not, I had to let RJ know that her attitude is not one shared by his readers.

Any thoughts? I would love it hear what you think.

b+

Please go over and read this article. I especially found information about the FCC rule involving equal time in political discussions that was repealed under the Reagan administration. It was called the "Fairness Doctrine."

Comments

  1. I will go read that article. In the meantime, I hope you are not overthinking it. You are entitled to your opinion and your blog is YOURS for that purpose. Just delete any negative comments - most people don't want any more negativity in their lives anyway. This entire political arena amazes me how twisted thoughts have become. Hold your head up high and keep up the good work.

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    1. Thank you Carole. You are probably right. The reality is, we will always have people disagree with us. That is not the point. There is a big difference between disagreeing and "trolling". Trolling changes the conversation and is mean spirited attitude. That needs to be seen and pointed out for what it is. Wouldn't you agree?

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  2. Great post! I actually got my first jerky comment yesterday. I actually deleted it. I figure why give a jerk-butt a platform on MY blog that I'm paying for. Am I wrong? Further, my blog is about lifestyle stuff and not as relevant (in the same way) as a political blog.

    Anyway, I love your answer and the integrity in which you offered it.

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    1. Thank you for your support. I am just curious...did the person that commented post anonymously?

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  3. I have vowed to no longer post anything political, but I find that sometimes even the most bland topic can elicit an angry or sarcastic political opinion, often not from trolls, but very nice people.

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    1. I think you are wise. However, I will miss your political posts...a lot!

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  4. I began to be trolled so long ago, 2004, that I didn't realize you could delete comments that were crude, lewd or nasty. Then i was a founder of a political blog where other members lived to see me trolled. I left, and became involved in disability. I facilitated groups that all the good women left and many of the men wanted to virtually kill people. Unfortunately I wasn't the founder of the largest group. The founder misunderstood the First Amendment (not American) and thought people could be as nasty as they wanted to be. It took a man telling me to go away, "everyone hates you" to make her act and ban people. I should have left earlier but felt a responsibility to the people who belonged. I do believe that I was a much saner nicer person before assuming these roles. also a much better writer. But....

    i don't see anything wrong with jan Bo's comment. She (assume a female) is picking up one point that RJ wrote and expanding upon it by telling her POV. he or others could expand upon that or just give their opinion as long as it doesn't veer too much from the discussion.
    But I'm a New Yorker and that's what we do in NY.

    I tend to lurk as my comments can be very long and I just don't have the time, energy or will to comment anymore. I think FB has taken the place of the blog comments and like that much more as many more people comment. I had no idea that my college roomie couldn't follow directions; that a man who was very close in one way when we were young and is very close to me in other ways has no idea how to do the same medical test--well I realized a long time ago he's brilliant but.....While FB isn't intimate, the comments can be as personal or not as people want, and many people want to be personal, or if you're very good (and this person and I am) give the impression of being very personal while leaving much out.

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    1. You may be right...what we hear in our head is not generally what the writer of words intended. But RJ's post was not about ISIS or anything else related to it nor was it about children dying wars. That is where the conversation was changed and had nothing to do with what he wrote.

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  5. I have to say that reading the comment out of context here in your blog post, it did not strike me as mean spirited or personally insulting. It seemed to me that the commenter was offering a different opinion of news coverage. Perhaps if I read the article and put the comment in context, it would seem more so. Whether or not it would, your own reaction shows that we all see things in our own way. I'm sure RJ appreciated your defense of his point. And I certainly agree with you that malicious, anonymous attacks serve no purpose and are only a disservice to the free exchange of ideas and opinions.

    When we post on certain topics, we invite people to express opinions and they might not agree with ours. I was in a position not long ago where someone in a comment went off on a political tangent that was not the point of my post. However, even though I disagreed (strongly) with the comment, I posted it because I thought it was more important to allow open discussion, especially because the post was about having dialogue with people you disagree with--ha! (Also, it was not an anonymous comment, but rather from someone who often comments on my blog.)

    Regardless, I appreciate your point about trolling versus respectfully disagreeing. I have comment moderation on my blog, mostly to block spam, and I have on rare occasions blocked an anonymous comment that was gratuitously insulting and offered nothing to the conversation.

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    1. Reading the article does make a difference. I appreciate your insight Galen.

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  6. I went to look at the comment in the original setting. I think you may have misread it, I think they were just responding to the first commenter, who gave a list of things that upset her on the news, not cutting down RJ's article (which I did like).

    PS - I'm actually impressed that a NY Times blogger noticed you enough to criticize. I'm pretty sure I am not on the radar of anyone nearly as fancy. Way to go! :)

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    1. You have made me feel better. Thank you.

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  7. While I disagree about the the tone of the original comment, I know what you mean about trolls. They are frightening. they are a new character in our reality them seem to be creatures from our childhood.
    Beth

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    1. well, Trolls (with a capital letter) are not new. Back in the day when we blogged as individuals with no followers or even agenda, Trolls could make the online world a miserable place just for the fun of it. After reading all of the comments above I think I over reacted but who knows. RJ says he is OK with it. We all have differing views but all I ask is that a civil tone is maintained.

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  8. I didn't think Jan Bo's comment was so offensive, just a little off topic. Anyway, thanks for referring me over to RJ's blog which I enjoyed very much -- I always like to see and read a new (to me) voice.

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    1. There you are Tom. I am writing this the day AFTER I posted the blog. The words look and sound different to me today. I should have waited to post. Darn!

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I hope that Janette didn't remove her blog because she was differing with my opinion. It is OK because I am very often wrong or almost wrong. Life goes on. :)

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  10. You have actually read my blog for several years and I have responded to yours. I choose not to link my blog because my blog rarely touches on such things AND I tend to be far more conservative then almost any blog I read (which, lately, brings on more heat then my PTSD can stand). I actually agree with RJ on war and the children I was referring to were my military adult children and their friends.
    Did you know that your link on his blog is actually to your old blog? JanBo (Anonymous in this case)

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    1. The blog you see is connected to my Wordpress blog. I do not write on that blog very often.

      I apologize to you for my comments. Because of the position of your comment under RJ's comment I read your words as being addressed to him. I don't know if that makes any difference.

      I will continue to read your blog. I don't want to be isolated in my little liberal world at all. I learn new things that make sense to me all the time.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      b+

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  11. Forgot to add- Bonnie was correct, "I went to look at the comment in the original setting. I think you may have misread it, I think they were just responding to the first commenter, who gave a list of things that upset her on the news, not cutting down RJ's article (which I did like)." I liked RJs writing as well. JanBo

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    1. You are right. Thank you for pointing that out to me.

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  12. Well I followed the link over to here and I am the first commenter on RJ's blog and I do believe Jan Bo was commenting on my list. At least it seems that way to me. I saw nothing wrong with her post. My goodness I feel I started all this because I simply listed some news topics that I either get tired of hearing about over and over and some things like ISIS and N Korea that frighten me. I am against war and agree with RJ and Jan Bo that we need to find a way to stop this madness. Sorry if I started all this controversy.

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    1. There is no need to be sorry...you are absolutely right. We do need to stop this madness but we also need to realize the this madness is nothing new and will never be solved completely as long as humans remain human.

      Having said that I am going to agree that I misread the post comment because the reply to your comment was not put under your comment if that makes sense. I read the comment as being addressed to RJ and not you. It was my mistake.

      But isn't interesting that a little controversy brings us all out to have a say. It is good I think and I do appreciate everyone's input. :)

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  13. Boy, you have been busy here :) Thanks for coming to my defense, even if I didn't really need it in this particular post. It tells me you appreciate what I post and isn't that what blogging is all about. It is nice to be appreciated...

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