Rant: Troll

I do not understand Internet trolling. I do not understand why you would visit someone’s blog (in this case) and call her names and belittle her — especially if the post in question is about trying to bring joy to sick kids.

It’s one thing to be mean on a news site or call fellow commenters on those sites names. I can understand a difference of opinion. Although when it gets to the level of flaming, hate-filled speech it should just stop. People certainly have big cojones on the Internet, I’ll give them that.

I have never posted anonymously on any site anywhere. (Well, okay, when Niobe has her confessions, I have commented anonymously there; it’s the rule.) Even when I have disagreed with a blog author, I have simply stated my opinion, without calling anyone names, and without hiding behind the “anonymous” button on the comment page.

I also have never had a troll. I am a little, itty bitty mostly-mommy blog. I probably know (virtually or otherwise) everyone who stops by for a visit. I am sure that my daily stats are a mere fraction of Ginny’s. And I’m okay with that. I do this thing for me.

When I was talking to my husband about this last night, he said two things that hit home. One, about the nature of the comments from “UPMSee”, was, “Sounds personal.”

Sounds personal. Someone with a mean streak who doesn’t like Ginny. Coming to her site and making trouble because he/she doesn’t like Ginny, or her husband, or maybe her family. Maybe it’s jealousy; maybe it’s one of the many Pittsburgh people Ginny has — non-anonymously — lambasted on her personal blog. Mayor Lukey? Skippy Skeeve? Probably not one of the big dogs; after all, to be a big dog a certain amount of skin thickener needs to be applied. So, probably a little dog.

A little, mean-tempered dog.

The other thing Dan said that gave me pause was: “Why doesn’t she just delete the comments?”

I think I stuttered something about ‘censorship’ and ‘being fair’ but he just kind of snorted at me. “Come on,” he said. “It’s a personal blog. If someone came to your blog and said something rude about one of our children, you would delete it.”

He turned back to the Penguins’ game. “You media-types,” he said. “You’re too quick to call censorship. When someone’s being nasty [on a blog], you have the right to stop them. Screw ’em.”

I have to say, I agree with Dan on this one. Here’s why:

1. He’s right; it’s not censorship. “Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor.”

That’s Church is a personal blog — a very entertaining, funny, and sometimes touching personal blog, in my opinion. It’s not exactly a hotbed of government or media communication. (I hope Ginny doesn’t take offense to that.)

2. As in the case of many trolls, the comments are not this person’s opinion. They are mean, nasty, name-calling comments. Whoever this person is, he/she does not like Ginny, does not like That’s Church, and he/she feels the compulsion to disparage Ginny and her blog and, for some reason, her effort to give something fun to sick kids.

3. The presence of a troll brings everyone else down. While trying to chant the mantra “Don’t feed the troll” sometimes the compulsion to name-call right back is… well, it’s hard to overcome. I am guilty of feeding the troll. Not often, and not a lot. But I have done it. And you know what? The troll likes to be fed.

Here’s what to remember about trolls from classic and popular literature: They are loud, dumb, and smelly. They come to bad ends.

I know that, really, this is none of my business. Whether or not Ginny decides to delete her troll’s comments is completely up to her. But I would love for Ginny to toss out the meanest of UPMSee’s comments, keep the one where he/she promises to give $100 to the fundraiser Ginny has organized for the kids, and get the number of comments on that post to 100. Which will probably happen by the time I post this.

And remember: Don’t feed the troll.