troll dollAs writers, all too often we are met with folks who disagree with our opinions. They think what they think and vice versa, no matter how ridiculous, absurd, or completely sound. That’s just free speech.

For the most part, we value these differing opinions; what fun would writing be if everyone had the same take? But in the case of Internet trolls, those who comment regularly and without tact, that appreciation becomes far less welcome.

Why the Troll?

Practically the minute online commenting became available, trolls became a thing. They wrote mean, snide comments that often insulted others, whether it be the writer, other commenters, or an outside party. While no one knows why they troll, interaction with one or more of these commenters bound to come up in one’s career. But rather than adjusting one’s writing style to avoid (or provoke) them, it’s better to pretend as the trolls don’t exist. We should continue as if password protected bridges were no such thing.

How to React

However, when a troll does strike, it can be hard to know what steps to take next. Sure you want to protect your honor, but that’s not always the best method. An immediate reaction usually sounds defensive and makes the writer look like he or she can’t take criticism. If it helps, write out an equally insulting piece (for your eyes only), then once the anger has passed, delete it.

In more drastic cases, actual contact may be necessary. Because all comments are laced with an email address (even though it doesn’t show up on a web page), writers can directly reach each commenter, should the need arise. This allows a private conversation to take place, and hopefully a more professional one. However, when using this tactic, be aware that it may be a fake email account, or the troll may respond, this time with even angrier words.

So should you troll the trolls? Ultimately, it’s up to the writer, and not every situation will be the same. But either way, keep writing without the influence of what those online bullies mays say