The internet is a revolution. We can all connect and communicate with each other now in ways that are totally unprecedented.
However, anyone who has tried to make a presence for themselves online knows fully well that the internet is populated by more than a few bottom feeders. (No insult to catfish intended).
At one time, I received a lot of trollish comments on this blogs. Almost always, they were pieces I’d written up to several years ago, and I often didn’t have the material fresh in my mind. Also, I’d often changed my mind by the time the trolls got to it. I do change my mind. When I get convincing enough evidence, I do change my mind, and I don’t like being in the spot of defending something I no longer believe.
So I solved this problem by setting the blog to close all comments on posts after they are 30 days old.
That has taken care of my troll problem.
At least on this space.
However, more than one or two people do read this blog, and this has made me a target. I actually don’t care about most of them. I’ll even link to a post very critical of me and what I’ve written about red wolves. I still have the same view on red wolves, not because I cherry-pick studies. It’s because the data used to prove they are a species, just isn’t as good as that which shows they are hybrids.
But that’s very different from others who have built their audience simply by trolling. I must confess that I once was deeply admiring of a certain blog, and I even came to defense of the blogger in question when that person was attacked for being a bully on other forums.
That’s because, in my naivete, I assumed that these were just people overreacting. I discovered I was wrong when I became a target of this person.
You should not assume that its someone with whom you’d think I’d have fundamental disagreements. In fact, I’d say we disagree on one issue alone, but that this disagreement became insoluble. I’d let this be a warning to you who would write about dogs or politics or anything else where there might be a controversy. Do not assume that those who agree with you are your friends. They might be. Or they might see you as competition and go to great lengths trashing you.
I responded to this by offering critiques of the troll’s misinformed pieces, including ones I had simply overlooked.
It didn’t work. It just made more drama. I lost my temper. You can only be called stupid, incompetent, or “not a hunter” so many times before I responded.
It actually ended with some sort of gentlemen’s agreement that I delete all my posts that critiqued this person.
Some of you probably know who this person is. That’s not important.
What I’ve come to realize is that this person is just a high profile troll, who drives traffic by being controversial regardless of what the facts are.
The best way to deal with this person is to unsubbed, ignore, and NEVER link to anything this person has written, even if you agree with it. It’s a shame, but when you realize the game that is being played, then you realize that Jesus himself couldn’t solve this problem. This person would bitch Jesus right off the cross for a few more hits to the blog.
So that’s my advice, and I’d say that should be the way we police these assholes online. I once thought I would do Youtube videos with commentaries, but I was advised against it because Youtube is a morass filled with high profile trolls and trolls who want to be high profile.
I also realize that it’s a bad thing when I wasted so much space on that site for that hater. It may have garnered me a few hits, strengthened my expose to other audiences, and given me subscribers that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise. But I’m sure it also drove away people who read both blogs and preferred that one over this one, which is okay. I’m also sure it drove away people who just don’t like conflict.
When I was younger and more brash, I liked conflict more. I really don’t now. People are outraged too much online about all sorts of things. Maybe people just want to read about gray foxes or something esoteric. I’m done with fighting with idiots, especially idiots who have an audience based largely upon their nastiness.
If we all shunned these people, I think we’d clean up the internet, but I know the public won’t shun them. People want to see a Rush Limbaugh or a Bill Maher, even if all we’re talking about is dogs.
But I know that not everyone does, which is why I’m going to keep on writing here, even if the amount of stuff I write about that includes domestic dogs is much less than it did.
I think the purebred dog reform movement has made some tactical errors in promoting certain personalities, because these personalities– for better or worse– do reflect a certain way upon the movement. It’s one reason I think I can say that I am pretty much done with it. Not because I don’t agree with its aims, but because I think the tactics and personalities involved ultimately don’t result an anything but a lot of fighting online.
And online isn’t where this stuff gets fixed anyway. I am happy that I’ve been able to work with some wonderful writers who are publishing or have published some important work on fixing the problems in the dog world.
And that’s all that matters.
So if you find yourself dealing with one of these high profile trolls, unsub, ignore, and shun.
It’s really all you can do. Don’t wade into the mud and filth with them. If only I’d recognized it earlier.