Just about every Nerd Girl I know, once she says something on the internet in anything like a public way, will suffer an influx of trolls. If you look back at the earlier entries on the WordPress site, you can still a see a bunch of my trolls of several flavors. In particular whenever I mention Penny Arcade, you can pretty much use the comments to illustrate Derailing for Dummies. You know, I’m not going to list the different types of trolls, because I’m sure you’re all familiar.
I do want to talk about the different things I’ve done to fumigate against the trolls, and I think I’ve been fairly successful in that very few even try anymore.
Step 1. Post a moderation policy. If you look to the top of the page, you will see the Draconian Moderation Policy link. Now, it isn’t particularly draconian, not really. It just says that I find pathetic attempt to intimidate me hilarious, and I will only let them through to mock them. I also moderate heavily for hate speech and threats.
Step 2. Put all comments on Moderation. I know, I know it’s a giant pain in the ass if you have a really active commentariat, and if you don’t have the time to deal with them immediately can kind of quash discourse on your site, sadly. But, trust me. Worth it as far as not having to go in and delete shit later, and then have a whole bunch of comments that make no sense because what they were replying to is gone. Plus, in my case, most of my regular commenters know where else to find me on the web, and we talk there.
Step 3. Talk widely about these two facts. Be exceptionally open about the fact that you will not tolerate their bullshit, and not only that, but it will never see the light of day, unless, like me, you decide to post it only to mock it.
Trolls count on being able to preach to your choir, to upset not just you but whoever else reads your blog. When you deny them the ability to do that, they generally fuck off.
Other things that you can do to support yourself during a particularly nasty influx. Because sometimes they’ll keep trying even without success, because reasons.
1. Take time away from the computer.
2. Enlist friends or partners to deal with the upsetting shit in your queue and email for you.
3. Gun range. Seriously, find whatever it takes you to blow off some steam, go shoot guns, do archery, hit a punching bag. You’re going to have a lot of anger and you need to vent it at something. Hell, beat rugs, blow up aliens, write violent stories. Throw a tennis ball at your garage, skip rocks on a lake or pond, go kayaking and paddle the fuck out of that water. Whatever works for you.
I add that last one, because while we (including me) talk about all the other self care stuff you can do, very rarely do people mention coping with the anger. They talk about the fear and the sadness, but our society is very invested in women not being allowed to be angry.
Be angry. But vent it in ways that don’t hurt you or your relationships.
And above all, remember, these guys are fucking cowards. In all the years I have done this blog, I have not once been approached by one of the douchelords in public. I post where I’ll be, what panels I’m doing, and all that, and not once has anyone come up to say shit to me.
Now, I have a lot of folks who once they find out who I am get all happy, which blows me the fuck away every single time it happens. Not as much as when parents say, “Oh, my daughters read your blog!”
ME: “What? How old are they? I say fuck a lot!!!”
Anyway, those three things up there are very important to dealing with the jerk off, scumbags of the world, at least on your blog. I’m a little bummed because I can’t approve comments as often as I’d like, and that does stifle them a bit. But it is infinitely preferable to dealing with months upon months of rape and death threats.
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