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Writing Online; Tips for Newbies Part II

Updated on May 25, 2022

Facing The Public

In the first part of this series I mentioned the types of sites, the reason one networks, giving an overview of the terrain.

I did not mention the 'fauna', that is, Trolls and Comment Trolls, among other invertebrates.

These are to online writing what dog poo is to a meadow. Identifying them immediately will protect you.

Too often a newbie, posting that first article, ego rather fragile, can be run off the Internet when beset by a Repulsion of Trolls, or only one pseudo-intellectual.

To know that these creatures exist is the first bit of armor. To know how to deal with them is to make you almost impregnable.


Newbie has posted her first article. It is a well researched piece on the first television serial. She's proud of it and has spent two hours Networking it. Now comes the reactions of her readers in the Comment Section.

Skunkpants on Reddit says;

"This must have been written by
a six year old!"

Squidward agrees;

"This is such pathetic crap!"

Beneath the article, amid, "Good work!" "Interesting treatment" is the;

" Fools like you should be barred from the Internet.
The first Television serial was actually....."

(and proceeds to describe something Newbie never heard of which doesn't seem to be a serial at all).

Newbie feels sad.

This is because Newbie does not know Skunkpants and Squidward are Comment Trolls. The poster who left the 'expert' advice is politely called a 'psuedo-intellectual' but is a Comment Troll who has a better vocabulary.

In some cases they are acting on their own; in others, they are tools of the Owner or Administrator who wants to run Newbie off the site.

The Comment Troll

Trolls have a particular pathology. As online writing has become so prevalent they no longer spend their days infesting Message Boards and Fora, but have migrated to the balmly climes of Networking sites.

They can be found anywhere an author does not have the authority to delete comments.

As most writing sites give the author control over which comments are published and which are deleted those which do not grant the authority become the Troll's natural habitat.

Many users will delete the 'comment' section to avoid the slightest disruption in their tranquility.

In Dealing with Trolls the only method of value is to Not Feed Them. Any remark, any notice of their existence is food to them. Further, remember in the 'Agreement' you 'signed' on joining the site, the Admin can throw you off and confiscate your work, and earnings, by claiming your response is the attack.

Hence; Ignore Trolls.

How To Know?

Take Normal. Normal sees an article. Normal begins to read the article. Maybe the style, maybe the way the topic is treated, loses Normal's interest so he stops reading, moves on.

This is because Normal is normal.

A normal person doesn't get any pleasure out of insulting strangers who write articles they don't care for. A normal person doesn't vote down an article, can't be bothered.

Only if Normal likes the article will an up vote or comment will be made. Only if something is actually incorrect in the article will Normal take the time to advise.

Hence Normal who sees Newbie's article might put in..."The children's program, Howdy Doody actually began in 1947, where the Texaco Star Theater did not begin until 1948"

Normal is not posting to prove superiority or attack Newbie, but making a useful submission.

Judge by common standards. If a normal person thought an article badly written or crap would they continue to read it, would they take the time to compose a comment?


Only a Comment Troll would do that.

How To Respond...Not

As I've said before...the only way to deal with a Troll, whether he's writing as if he's Einstein or if he's typing with his toes, is NOT.

Do not respond to anything they write. Do not refer to them, do not answer them, even if they send PMs Ignore them.

When you are more experienced you will be able to manipulate them so as to get hundreds of hits for your articles, but as a newbie you haven't the street cred to face them.

Another reader might take them on, and you might be able to have a running commentary with that other reader.

Eventually the Troll will go somewhere else thinking that you are too stupid to respond. Unless he is the dual of the Admin, focused on getting you kicked off the site so as to abscond with your earnings.

Don't Be Discouraged

A famous author, to test the waters, posted a short story on a publishing site, then Networked it on Reddit. There were slurries of attacks, down votes within a very short time.

Subsequently, he deleted the article, sent it to his publisher, it came out in Hardcopy and went flying off the shelves.

This is ample proof, if you need more. Recently, I posted an article on a 'writing' site which the Editor, (a Troll) rejected. It was claimed I had 7 misspellings.

The poor thing doesn't know there is a difference between British and American spelling. And I am not being paid to teach him. I'll post it elsewhere.


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