Personal News · Uncategorized

Dealing With Harassment

This past weekend, I learned a number of important lessons.

  1. I can’t let my emotions control my actions.
  2. Leaping into someone else’s fight can be harmful.
  3. The way to deal with trolls is to NOT ENGAGE. No matter how much you may want to.
  4. You can decide whether something someone says affects you emotionally.
  5. Comma splicing is a serious issue.
  6. I have wonderful friends.

A fight I had IRL was taken to the Internet. I’m not going to air my dirty laundry here–it’s just between me and that person. But I figured other bloggers might have the same or a similar experience as I had: Internet harassment, whether it be on social media or on their blog. This was my first time experiencing Internet harassment, so all information compiled here is advice from my dad, my own experience, and what actions I’ve seen others take on the Internet.

 Rule Number 1: Do Not Engage.

This is the rule I have trouble with. I’m a little too eager to defend and fire back things that would make the problem worse. No matter what the troll says/comments/tweets to you, do not engage.

Instead, Block, Save, and Roll.

Block

Like “Stop, Drop, and Roll,” this helps put out the angry/hurt fire that the troll’s comments are trying to start. Find a way to block this person. If they’re a Twitter Troll, you can go to their profile and block them directly. On WordPress, however, it’s a little different. I took to the forums and asked for some advice.

Go to your dashboard. There’s a “People” category near the very bottom. If the troll follows your blog or is using their email to harass you in the comments, you can remove them from the follow list. Go to “Discussion,” where you’ll see, in red, REMOVE beside their name. This isn’t a permanent solution to the problem, as you’ll have to keep removing trolls and their emails if harassment persists, but it helps. Secondly, you can go to “Settings” at the very bottom of your control panel on the dashboard. There, you can set your blog to private, which makes it harder for the troll to see blog content without being approved.

Finally, there’s the Comments Blacklist. If you type in their url, email, or even username, their comments will be screened and automatically blacklisted. You shouldn’t see any of them. I suggest using all three of these to fully block a WordPress Troll.

Save

 Unfortunately, if this is an IRL person who is harassing you and who you know personally, it can get messy. Going to an authority figure sometimes isn’t handled very neatly. You might have to create a folder labeled “Harassment” if you get an email every time someone comments. Bullying WON’T be tolerated, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in the “he said, she said,” game, where the authority figure won’t believe one of you. Having evidence provides proof that yes, this really did happen, and yes, this person is a problem. Everything is evidence and evidence is everything.

…And Roll

This part can be hard or easy, depending on how quickly you acted on “Block.” Part of Block is not just a technology block but an emotion block, as in, repeating the mantra “This person’s comments don’t affect me. This person’s comments don’t affect me.”

“And Roll” is the part where we move on with our lives and keep doing what we’re doing because we love it and it’s OUR life. The words of one troll intending to hurt you don’t have power if you don’t give it to them. YOU are the ruler of your castle/fortress/evil lair-with-plenty-of-cookies. You decide who is welcome or who falls in the moat and gets eaten by piranhas.

It’s a bit of a shock, waking up and checking your blog to find a few hateful comments. This is when you grab a blanket, take a breath, and turn your castle into a fortress. Part of maintaining your fortress is distancing yourself from what you’ve Saved. Do NOT go back and read those comments. No matter what. Your goal is to keep on rolling.

Rule Number 2: You’re Not Alone

The blogging community is HERE for you. Find us on Twitter–there’s always someone who will listen and stand by you. I went to Nori (check out her blog–she’s got AMAZING posts) and she helped me sort through my emotions. She’s Blogger Mom for a reason, y’all, and she cares for every one of us.

My ears are open as well, for when you need someone to listen. Check out my contact page when you need me. Remember: you’re not alone. There is a community here who is willing to lend you some shields for your fortress and help you craft some stellar defenses. It’s the Internet–hard to be alone here.

Don’t hesitate to go to a parent or authority figure for help. Cyberbullying and harassment aren’t things you should have to put up with. My friends (IRL and online) were a HUGE help and I can’t thank them enough.

Rule Number 3: Death to Comma Splicing

Comma splicing is when a comma links two independent clauses.

For example:

The cat ate the shoe, the dog chewed my ear.

Editing is fun, it takes a long time though.

Comma splices are more of a stylistic error than anything else, but they’re one of my biggest grammatical pet peeves. SAVE THAT COMMA. DON’T SPLICE IT. Commas save lives, so don’t sacrifice theirs!

Thank you all SO much for being understanding while I had Pen In Hand on private. I needed some recovery time as well as a short break from blogging. It should be business as usual from now on!

Stay awesome and remember to keep on rolling 🙂

-Kaelyn

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