23 November 2012

Don't Feed the Trolls

Ages ago, I used to post my writing on a writing website where other users could read your works, comment on them, and give them a rating out of 10. I quickly learned that many users on that site would get very angry if they received a rating lower than 10/10. I gave a piece 7/10 and the writer sent me a furious message, then rated all my works 1/10 in retaliation. I was stunned but I also found it laughably ridiculous. I was only nineteen or twenty, but I already knew that anything over 5/10 was a passing grade. I also saw the 10/10 as a rating that should be reserved for the best, most flawless pieces. My favourite pieces I rated 8/10 or 9/10.

I replied to the aforementioned angry writer explaining that I didn't give out perfect scores unless the piece was perfect. I pointed out his spelling and grammar errors and made suggestions to improve the flow of the piece. He wrote me back to thank me and asked me to read several of his other pieces. I felt that I had to agree, but I found his writing style to be awkward at best and his poems were too long. It was very difficult to read through them without zoning out.

When Facebook became a thing, this writer added me and then, when I joined Goodreads, I logged in with Facebook so I was automatically connected with him on there as well. Now, he has several ebooks that he self-published (probably without hiring an editor) and every time I log into Goodreads there's stuff on my homepage where someone gave one of his books a low rating and/or a bad review and he replies to their reviews, arguing with them. I had thought he had learned something way back when, but I guess not.

The worst part is that lately, there's another Goodreads user--I'll call him Troll--who replies to this oversensitive writer guy purposely trying to get a rise out of him. And it always works. He always defends himself. And I know that Troll is sitting at home laughing. Because that's what he wants. He grows stronger on every word.

Don't feed the Trolls you meet online or in real life. It only strengthens them while weakening you, and it makes you look foolish.

Do you agree? I'd love your thoughts or anecdotes.

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