Dealing with Internet Trolls 101

So, you’ve been attacked by your first online troll! Congratulations!! You have officially arrived!  Haha!

Chances are, if you are on any type of social media platform, you have been the victim of online harrassment.  Be it a person leaving an unfriendly comment on your Instagram picture, or a Facebook frenemy leaving snarky comments on your wall, internet trolls are alive and well, wreaking havoc and ruining your day.

Before we look at how to deal with these miserable types who feel big and powerful hiding behind their keyboards, let’s define the term “internet troll”.

Ugly internet troll breakdown Style Domination Fashion blogger beauty blog

Not all trolls look like Golum. The average troll is your average person and is most likely those you’d never expect.

Internet Troll: An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

“You rich c*nt. So you have a Birkin. Who cares? F*ck you.” – actual comment left by Anonymous on a YouTube Birkin Bag review video.

Great examples – Jimmy Kimmel’s Celebrities Read Mean Tweets

I think I’m a strong person, but I’m a human being who deserves a little respect. Every now and then, someone will leave a nasty comment on one of my social media platforms and I usually laugh it off.  Sometimes though, an offensive comment will really get to me and frankly, ruin my day.  I think this is the goal of the internet troll…feeding off of someone’s insecurity, usually to feed their own insecurities by projecting their own negative feelings on others.

I am noticing a greater backlash against online bullying lately. Those who leave nasty comments online are usually attacked themselves by groups of positive people pointing out trollish behaviour. At the very extreme end, the troll is outed and can be the victim of online harrassment himself.

So, what can you do to properly deal with trolls?  First and foremost, take the high road. Keep your online reputation intact by not engaging (more on ignoring trolls below).  This is the single most important piece of advice I’ve received when it comes to trolls.  If the harassment really bothers you, block and report the offender.

Now – on with more tips!

1. Ignore Them

Trolls thrive on attention. Their goal is to anger, frustrate and make you feel uncomfortable. I know it’s hard, but simply ignoring trolls is normally your best weapon of defence. When you don’t engage, they don’t receive a response, and they’ll most likely (hopefully!) go away. Keep your good online reputation intact by not responding and most importantly, by not typing something that you’ll later regret.

2. Establish a User Comments Policy

Set some house rules!  When setting up your blog, one of your first steps should be establishing a policy for leaving comments. A comments policy should clearly outline what kind of comments are acceptable and allowed on your website and various social media accounts. Check out the Huffington Post’s Community Guidelines on Comments for a great example.

3. Use Moderators and Online Tools

Have a blog with a huge following and some cash to spare?  Consider stealth banning and/or comment ghosting. There are various types of software out there to battle the troll invasion.

Stealth banning is a practice used by some online community managers to block content added by spammers and Internet trolls. The practice involves making a user’s contributions invisible to all other users, but visible to themselves, making them less likely to create new accounts to add the same material. Often this blocks the problem user’s contributions while making it look like they were “lost” due to a website error, thereby enforcing the community best practice of “not feeding trolls.” It is used to lower the likelihood of trolls or malicious users from registering new accounts to continue trolling.

Comment ghosting is where an individual comment is rendered invisible to everyone except the poster in order to stop the disruption their negative comments may cause.

4. Get Rid of/Moderate Your Comments Section

If you have a particularly bad situation, or don’t really care for comments of any kind, you can opt to “switch off” your comments section.  That eliminates the problem altogehter, but I am not a fan of this solution as it can make growing your blog or website in the online community very difficult.

Also, moderate your comments section.  You don’t have to approve any comments you don’t like. Go ahead, delete and ban trolls altogether!

5. Make Light of the Situation

Humor is one of the best ways to handle trolls. A great example is when an English grocery chain used humor after an unsatisfied customer reported on Twitter that they had purchased chicken that tasted “like it was beaten to death by Hulk Hogan.” They replied with an apology and handled the situation brilliantly.

Ugly internet troll breakdown Style Domination Fashion blogger beauty blog Sainsbury Twitter

6. Expose the Troll

Many a troll thrive on anonymity.  Rip that away!  By taking away their cloak of anonymity, you are taking away their power and hopefully make them reconsider leaving any further nastiness on your accounts.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to post their name and address (don’t!), but do a little research on them.  Maybe they have a terrible, laughable blog and you could in turn, pity them.  Haha!

7. Create a Strong, Unified Online Community

Build a loyal following full of happy supporters. If you have a loyal online community, you may not have to worry much about trolls, as your totally awesome followers will take care of that for you. Want to see this in action? Tweet something negative to sweet, little Taylor Swift. I guarantee you that you will summarily get a swift online ass-kicking.

Taylor Swift Shake it Off Online trolls style Domination fashion blogger

Keep an eye on your army of loyal supporters though.  You don’t want it to get too out of hand.

8. Listen

Here is a basic, helpful tip.  Listen to the troll.  Maybe their insult says something about your “brand” and could be a form of constructive criticism. Did the troll post: “Your website SUCKS!!”.  Maybe it’s slow to load or it’s laid out badly. This is an opportunity to improve it.

Have an online store? Maybe the troll is simply an unhappy customer who just wants to be heard. If you answer their complaint with grace, they may just thank you publicly.

If a troll also points out mistakes on your website, blog, etc., take the time to correct the mistakes. They are doing you a favour (their delivery is terrible though – I know). When you are done correcting the error, take the time to respond and let him or her know what you did to correct the situation. They may appreciate hearing back from you.

9. Fight Back With Facts

If you find yourself the target of rumours or someone is spreading misinformation online, fight back with the truth and solid facts.

A great example is The Honest Company’s sunscreen debacle that unfolded at the beginning of August. Users of the sunscreen took to social media in droves to complain about the sunscreen’s apparent lousy protection and posted countless pictures of painful looking sunburns.

Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company, blogged about how terrible it was to read about this situation and posted test results of their product adhering to government regulations and requirements. She also tried to put a “human spin” on the problem by admitting that she used the sunscreen frequently on her own daughters without issue.

10. Reward Good Behaviour

Foster your online community into the type of online space you want it to be. Be positive, respond to your comments and thank everyone for commenting, supporting and encouraging you and spreading the word through their own online tools!

Try not to focus on battling a troll.  Always remember the great followers that take the time to spread their own positivity!

11. Take Time for Self-Care

Now, we all know that it’s the troll with the problem, not you. Knowing that doesn’t always make dealing with their nasty, hurtful words any easier. Online bullying and harassment is particularly dangerous because words can cause scars that take years to heal, if ever.

Take the time to take care of yourself and heal after a particularly nasty attack. Surround yourself with positivity – reach out to friends and family, and have them tell you over and over that nasty comments aren’t true, that you’re awesome and that a troll’s comments do not reflect on you.  Love yourself and keep in mind that the troll is a sad, little, jealous person projecting their own crap onto others.

Have any tips and tricks on how to deal with trolls?  Please share in the comments!


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  1. August 11, 2015 / 7:43 am

    D ……….. seriously brilliant ,.
    So Glad wrote this <3
    those trolls are one of the reasons i am not on fb xoxo
    wellllllllllllllllllllllll written xxxxxxxx

    • August 11, 2015 / 9:36 am

      Sorry to hear that, Cat. Trolls are a miserable bunch, aren’t they. When I first started on instagram, some stranger left such a vicious, racist insult on one of my pictures that I considered shutting my account down…but then he would have one. Thankfully, Instagram swooped in and shut him down.

      Online harassment isn’t cool, and I hope my post helps people deal with this problem. Thanks for reading, babe! xoxoxox

      • August 11, 2015 / 9:56 am

        it’s a great article and you know what – if i were you xo i know i come off as bossy cat xxx but it’s always amazed Cat xxx you should submit this article 🙂 You are a Great writer xxxxxxxxxxx i think we all get TROLLED ………
        it’s how we deal with it that says a whole bunch
        seriously this article will touch so many xo

        • August 11, 2015 / 11:03 am

          Thanks so much, Cat! Sorry – who should I submit it too? You’re the best. xoxoxo

          • August 11, 2015 / 11:23 am

            there are so many online site that would love this xxx seriously – i will do the research later this afternoon ok xo send me an email through my contact page and i will send you some links xo i’m just outside right now – but late afternoon i will be home xo LOVE XO

      • August 11, 2015 / 2:15 pm

        The tweet video was hilarious 🙂 !!

        • August 11, 2015 / 2:16 pm

          HAHA! I know, right! There are a bunch of them on YouTube! Thanks for watching and reading! xoxox

  2. August 11, 2015 / 2:15 pm

    This post is SUPERB! And the photos made me laugh! My experience so far *touch wood* was a ridiculous girl on my Facebook wall who was too chicken to write her own comment, so liked another comment that was nasty. Who does that?! Hahah! I am SO glad not to be in high school now though with the amount of cyber bullying. Xx

    • August 11, 2015 / 2:17 pm

      My friends and I were just talking about that…how lucky we were to get through our teenage years without social media (well, MySpace was popular when I was in highschool – I’m so old). Sorry about that negative FB experience. Some people are so dumb. Thanks for reading! xoxox

      • August 11, 2015 / 2:20 pm

        Oh absolutely! I wouldn’t want my kids to have Facebook these days. Bebo came into fashion when I was graduating, and Facebook when I was just starting college, but thankfully Myspace missed Ireland for the most part. MSN was my “social media”. Much to my parents anger when the internet bill would come in ? Xx

  3. August 11, 2015 / 6:19 pm

    Jealous bitches! You stay classy! 🙂 Great tips.

  4. August 12, 2015 / 6:15 pm

    Hey there! I nominated your blog for “A Really Neat Blog” award. Please check out my page, for the details.
    Thank you again for always posting great reads.

  5. August 13, 2015 / 10:26 am

    Such an important post! When I first started blogging back in February, I really struggled with trolls. Not on my blog (don’t think I’ve ever gotten a negative comment there), but on my Instagram, for sure. I always go out of my way to be nice, so it hurt me that someone could be so mean. They used to bother me a lot, but now I realize I have thousands of followers/supporters and their pathetic little troll butt created an account JUST to harass people, so I feel bad for them (and wish I had the kind of free time that they apparently have). 😛

    • August 13, 2015 / 11:18 am

      Hahaha! Good for you, Sarah! Sounds like you have developed a great outlook and thick skin. Don’t worry about the trolls – they are pathetic, like you pointed out. Glad you liked my post! Really appreciate you taking the time to read it!! xo

  6. August 13, 2015 / 3:55 pm

    hahaha this was so funny! Internet trolls are seriously the worse lol

  7. August 16, 2015 / 8:07 am

    FANTASTIC post and valuable advice! I could not agree more!!!!!
    THANK YOU!!!

    Vivienne X

    • August 16, 2015 / 10:30 am

      You’re welcome, Vivienne! Really glad you found it helpful! xo

  8. August 17, 2015 / 11:17 pm

    I’ve needed this one lately … THANK YOU!! 🙂

    And P.S. It doesn’t always seem like it at the time, but it’s really true: being a positive person is just plain more fun. 😉

    • August 18, 2015 / 10:30 am

      It really is – it’s also easier to be nice! LOL! So sorry that you are dealing with hideous trolls! Who on Earth would be mean to you…you are so nice!

      • August 18, 2015 / 1:17 pm

        Aw, thank you … That means a lot. Over the years I’ve learned that I’m not for everybody, & my gushy sweetness can come off as pretty obnoxious to some people. I’m generally okay with that, but it’s never fun to cross paths with a bully.

        Hope you never let unkind words get you down, lady. Your blog is so happy and fun. I love it here! 🙂

        • August 18, 2015 / 1:47 pm

          Kind words, as always. Hey – I’m human. When I first started my instagram account, this nasty jerk left a vicious racial slur on one of my pictures. Let me tell you – that ruined my whole week. I’m pretty sensitive, and I don’t deal well with that sort of thing at all. I’m trying to build a thick skin, but sigh…it takes time.

          Don’t ever change! We need way more gushy sweetness in the world! xo

          • August 18, 2015 / 7:16 pm

            ^ That story just blows my mind. So glad you kept going and didn’t let that comment stop you from becoming the amazing blogger you are! 🙂

          • August 18, 2015 / 10:20 pm

            Thanks! Frankly – I hate thinking about it. I’m glad I trucked on to. This blogger community has been nothing but awesome. Thanks for your encouragement! xoxo

          • August 20, 2015 / 11:22 pm

            Girl — I can’t imagine how that scenario wouldn’t get me down, too. Glad to hear you’ve gotten an awesome tribe surrounding you and encouraging you these days. I truly mean it when I say your blog just makes me happy … Keep writing!! 🙂

          • August 21, 2015 / 10:01 am

            Will do, Ashley! The “tribe” is the best and keeps me going. You too – reading your blog is calming and fun at the same time! xo

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