One Way to Handle Aggressive, Mean-Spirited and Divisive Comments
The Accidental Tourist vs. The Purposeful Hijacker
In just over twenty-two months at HubPages, I have come across several hubs and been disturbed by groups of lengthy comments posted by someone who clearly wanted to hijack a Hub and use it to support his/her own personal agenda and to gain attention. Some people like to make others angry and upset; psychologically, it a way to feel like one has power or control. But it is mean-spirited at best and downright malicious, at worst.
Recently a Hubber asked me what she should do because one of her Hubs had been taken over (hijacked) by two individuals who persisted in leaving very, very long, negative and inflammatory comments on her Hub. First, I went to the Hub in question, which was very well-written and addressed substantive and serious issues.
Author's Note: Please enjoy the photographs, but do not try to connect them to the Hub topic. I love planets, stars, and galaxies. They are infinitely amazing and mesmerizing all by themselves.
On second thought, if you detect an intellectual, spiritual, artistic, mythological, social, cultural, metaphorical, or political connection between the theme of this hub and the photographs ..... then yes, yes, you have discovered the deep connection and interpretation that I intended all along. (smile)
The Glory of the Heavens ~~ The Milky Way
A Serious Author Under Relentless Attack
There were a number of constructive comments and a good discussion had developed. Then two individuals decided to steer the discussion off on a personal tangent and use her Hub to advance their own personal agenda. To say the least, their lengthy (pages and pages) comments were rude, angry, irrational, biased, accusatory, and totally inappropriate.
This Hubber made every effort to respond in a courteous and thoughtful manner. She ignored the accusatory and inflammatory material and simply tried to re-explain the intent of her Hub, the rationale behind it. This resulted in numerous additional off topic and angry responses. I believe what they have done is hijack her topic, use her Hub to generate attention, and in the process have harassed her off and on for weeks. Here is my response to the Hubber’s questions:
Mysterious and Quiet Planet
Patience and Understanding for Genuine Inquiries
I have experienced similar “attacks,” several times and they are incredibly unpleasant and frustrating. They are mean-spirited, irrational, attention seeking “attacks.” They have reached the level of harassment. You and I both need to treat them for what they really are, even though that may seem hard to do.
I have infinite patience for someone who is confused, honestly seeking answers, or expresses a viewpoint from different perspective than mine. That always makes for a good discussion. Like you, I will spend a great deal of time and energy corresponding with those individuals. But after a few dreadful experiences, I have learned to handle these other attacks differently.
A Distant Color Enhanced Galaxy
Managing Inappropriate Comments
The Effective 1-2-3 System. Using this approach is not mean and it does not destroy honest discussion and debate; however, it prevents those who want to rant and rave and destroy reasonable conversation on your Hubs, from being successful. They are attempting to hijack your Hub and broadcast their own personal agenda, which they are perfectly free to do by writing their own Hub, not by invading and co-opting yours.
First. I assume everyone is sincere and that questions and comments are legitimate (even if strange, intense, or over the top) and I respond warmly and kindly, as best I can, ignoring the rude and irrelevant parts of their comment. I repeat what my Hub was about and encourage them to respond to what I actually wrote.
Another View of the Rings of Saturn
Sincere or Deliberately Off-Topic?
Second. When they comment again and continue with the same approach and even add crazy accusations and personal insults (to me or to another Hubber) or try to hold me personally responsible for everything America, Christians, or teachers have ever done wrong, I have had enough! I know they are not sincere and are determined to create conflict.
The real test of sincerity, which they fail, is that they have completely ignored whatever you wrote in your last response. They stay in irrational “attack and accuse” mode no matter what you say. They are not interested is a discussion, or fairness, or reasonable discourse. They want attention, they want to vent, and they want to use your Hub to do it! My reply is crisp and direct and I make it very clear what kinds of comments I will and will not tolerate on my Hub. I also encourage them to write their own Hub, since they are so passionate about their topic.
Scale is a Phenomenal Characteristic
Personal Agendas, Inflammatory Accusations
Third. If and when the third inappropriate comment arrives, deep – deep - sigh, and often it does, I delete all their inflammatory, off topic posts. Then I send them a courteous, but very clear response, and briefly explain why their posts were deleted and make it exceedingly clear that any all future comments in the same vein will also be deleted immediately. Then I delete them and I am consistent; if they keep posting inappropriate or hateful comments, I immediately delete them.
However, you should be prepared for some pushback and lots of criticism and not just from the “rude and angry ranters.” After I had to do this a couple of times, what amazed me is that several other-wise sensible Hubbers protested my deletions on the grounds of "freedom of speech." I was “guilty” of denying the out-of-control Hubber their freedom of speech. This does not disturb me in the least, because they have misunderstood and misinterpreted what our freedoms really are.
The Ringed Planet as if at Sunset
Defining and Understanding "Free Speech"
The “rude and angry ranter" has not been denied his or her “freedom of speech!” Although, they will claim they have and call you mean and unfair and afraid of the truth; best advice I can give you, ignore them. They can say what ever they want on their own hub, their own phone, or in their own house, or strolling through the local mall, if they want. That is the “freedom of speech” that we are guaranteed.
Nothing guarantees them the freedom to hijack another Hub and use it to broadcast their own agenda, their own biased opinions -- any more than they have the freedom to barge into your home uninvited and hijack the conversations there. They will attempt to guilt trip us into putting up with their nonsense. But it false guilt based on an illogical and twisted premise.
Although HubPages is a public platform, it is also a “private space” which is why we have individual Hubs. I am impervious to and ignore their false accusations. You should ignore them, too. You are not in the wrong, they are.
The Scarred Surface of an Empty Planet
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