There are people who will create fake internet identities (sign up for an email account under a false name) with the sole purpose of commenting on blogs. Generally, these people are called trolls. They want to stir up emotions and provoke arguments. The most dedicated trolls (probably the ones who in real life have the most cats) will create dual identities so they can make their identities ARGUE with each other in the comments section.
I definitely have been duped by some of them. They submit fawning comments and then critical ones, just to prove to themselves that I am a hypocrite who only posts complimentary remarks. I love a compliment. I am not only a girl, I am a writer.
I’m wary of these people, but I certainly cannot spot them all. My troll “Alexandria” outed herself accidentally when she submitted all manner of nice things, but then one time slipped and posted on a very old post that I was a “kunt.” When I pointed out to this commenter, who had contributed to many discussions on my blog, that she had posted before condemning any and all name-calling, she not only VEHEMENTLY denied EVER writing such a thing, she apologized profusely that I even had to read such vileness. Thing is, the IP addresses on the comments matched, as did the email address submitted, so there was no question it came from the same computer. My theory is that somebody threw back a few too many Bud Limes or Coors Lites one night, reread my Kelle Hampton post for the twentieth time and got fired up enough to forget to create a new identity for the new comment. Whoopsie.
When I snidely mentioned the IP address/email thing, I never heard from her again. Not under that alias anyway. Give someone enough rope and she’ll hang herself.
Before I had a blog, I didn’t know that people create multiple fake identities, maybe even go so far as to make sure they use different computers, in order to go on blogs and say nasty things to hurt, or nice things to mock.
I have created a fake identity to blog, but I have legitimate reasons for that. I am not the first writer to use a nom de plume. Nobody accuses Samuel Clemens or Charles Dodgson of being “cowards who can’t use their real names.”
It’s part of the game, and I’m not complaining about it. Just writing about it. Commenting on it. Doing what I do. Internet wisdom says “don’t feed the trolls.” This likens them to brutes who linger under bridges and prevent access to goats. I always thought it was a verb as in “trolling” where you throw out bait to catch fish. Afterall, a person who submits these comments is expecting a response. She is acting as a catalyst to try to make something happen. Her bridge-minding duties are outside of the scope of this discussion.
A few weeks back, the famous Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com actually fed a troll. She gave that bitch a five-course meal. Dooce tweeted about this troll, drove traffic to her website, and even had her husband blog about her. Wow! That’s like winning the Troll Olympics!
Dooce is no fool. She is a smart, savvy, clever woman. She is a target for criticism of everything she does primarily because she is so successful (some reports have her bringing in $40,000 a month). Normally, she does not engage these critics (except in her blog where she lampoons them). She “takes the high road.” Her tweets revealed that she found the air is too thin up there on the high road, and a bit of hypoxia may have caused her to lose her shit.
You see, Dooce went to Bangladesh with Christy Turlington for a good cause. It changed her life. Someone had the nerve to exercise her right to free speech and characterized Dooce’s trip as “poverty tourism.” Imagine having someone take the most meaningful act of charity you have ever embarked upon, and call it a “stunt.” Ouch, right?
Dooce and her husband raked this lady over the coals for daring to criticize something so meaningful and life-changing and sincere. While I understand why she was hurt and why he leaped to her defense (if I allowed Odie, he would answer every one of my trolls with some very choice words), I disagreed with their argument. Both claimed in essence that some things are sacred and shouldn’t be questioned or mocked. I disagree. NOTHING is sacred. Everything can be turned into criticism and/or commentary. Will it be popular? No. Will it be funny? Not necessarily. To some people: never. Is it off-limits? Absolutely not.
Back in the day, when I was taking heat for my criticism of Kelle Hampton, I ignored most of it, and then someone found my button. She wrote that I was jealous of Kelle Hampton because my kid was ugly. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s pretty much what she said. Understandably, not used to this kind of attention, I freaked out and went on the offensive. I’d like to think I’ve grown a thicker skin since then. I haven’t, but I’ve definitely become less impulsive. That’s also not true. I have less time to get to the computer because I’m constantly breastfeeding, so by the time I get here to write a response, I’m not mad anymore.
I think Dooce would have done well to have a breastfeeding child, thus avoiding that whole kerfuffle. Live and learn. I don’t hold it against her. I still hate her as I always have for the original reason: being a great writer who is
rich a job creator.
I’m happy to have my trolls. Part of any writer’s popularity is the attention of her detractors. And any of you who know me know I’ve always wanted to be popular.
Who the hell has the time to sign on as 2 different people, to post 2 different opinions? I barely have time each day when I go on to check email, to see what my favorite bloggers are up to. Half the time I love what they have written and don’t even have time to post a comment about it.
I believe that might be called having a life..
Either way keep writing, I enjoy your perspective and wit. (Even when none of my many internet identities has time to tell you so.)
I have a formspring account because I am trying to learn about teen life (I have one teen male, an almost teen female and another son and daughter). I try to stay upbeat and cheery in all posts as I am not judging, just trying to learn. Still I got people leaving me ugly messages. I couldn’t figure out why as I was always positive so I at length defended myself only to be immediately complimented by “another” poster. It never occured to me until this post of yours that they could be the same person, and as I read this post, in hind sight I think the writing style was the same and the timing was perfection. Hmmmmm…I need to be more devious in my old self.
For the record I long ago stopped indulging the ugly comments, I just tell the poster I am sorry their day has gone so badly that they need to vent about me.
4 years ago I had a blog for my wedding because it was a destination wedding and my guests needed information. Some random person posted in my guestbook “Your ugly and your wedding sux ugly bitch bride.” I swear, people just randomly do this stuff. My friend had the same thing with her dogs where someone posted on her blog how her dogs should be shot. Dave Chapelle once said if the internet were a real place, none of us would want to go there.
Well you and your friend surely knew those were trouble individuals looking for attention…ugh.
I concur with Dave Chapelle!
In the early days of the internet, I used to troll because it was a thrill: “Wow! I can be a bitch and no one knows it’s me!” Now – I think it’s a huge waste of time and it’s something I kind of feel guilty about. Not that I told anyone their kid was ugly – it was more of a “If you vote for that guy, you’re a moron” kind of thing. I don’t have the balls to go further – I still believe there’s internet police waiting to bust me for being mean.
PS – I changed blog hosts and blog titles. It’s more fitting with my current lifestyle.
I just wanted to point out that the one blogger has a history of hostile antagonistic behavior. Not just targeting Dooce, but general bad behavior. Since I’ve seen her antics in other venues, I doubt that her intent was an intelligent discussion on poverty tourism. It was a thinly veiled dig and bunch of shit stirring.