Writing Online; Tips For Newbies Part II
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, Trollsand 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 armour.
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
Skunkpants on Reddit says;
"This must have been written by
a six year old!"
"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.
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 Reddit and other 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 places like Reddit have become the Troll's natural habitat.
Many of Reddit Trolls satisfy themselves with downvoting everything they see. Comment Trolls go that step farther. They need to attack,demean, annoy, etc.
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.
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, but Normal 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 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 commntary with that other reader.
Eventually they will go somewhere else thinking that you are too stupid to respond.
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.