Christa’s Soap Box – How to Deal With the Trolls

It makes me very sad in the quilting community when I hear about nasty comments left for well-meaning bloggers and professionals in the community. I was recently discussing with a designer friend the impact that one hurtful email or thoughtless comment can have on a person. My response to her was “the upside of this means that you are now big enough and successful enough to be a target.” What is it about the internet community that allows us to easily say mean things online that we would never do face-to-face? (This is rhetorical – you don’t have to answer.)

I am definitely not immune to criticism either (yep – it’s true!), but I try to take it in stride when it happens. Here are a couple of tips on how I handle these situations when they occur.

  • Be professional – as much as I want to take the the internet to vent and call out the offending party, I don’t. What may be written as a response in the heat of passion will be there permanently for all to see. Instead, I try to analyze the comment or criticism and see if there’s anything I can learn from it. Usually it doesn’t call for a response. (At least not yet. Hopefully.)
  • Just delete it – if the comment is left in a public place like a blog, instagram or facebook, etc. it’s ok to delete. It really is! And in some cases, you can block a user from having access if needed. The way I look at it is that this is my sandbox, and you are coming over to my place to play. I won’t invite you back if you aren’t nice. 🙂
  • Let it go, let it goooo! (cue up the Disney soundtrack) – if you really do need to get it off your chest, vent to a friend, spouse, or partner in private and then let it go. The more you stir the pot, the thicker it will get! If you need to, you can always write a scathing response to get it out of your system, then immediately delete what you just wrote. Now, doesn’t that feel better?
  • Go make something – quilting really is good therapy. Whenever I’m having an off day, or if something gets to me, I really do feel better after a 15 minute sewing session. Strangely, blogging also has that same effect sometimes. If I can jot down a few random thoughts for a future blog post, it makes me feel more productive and vocal in my craft.

Here’s wishing you a very happy, productive, quilty day!

33 thoughts on “Christa’s Soap Box – How to Deal With the Trolls

  1. Joni says:

    Christa,
    Thank you for your beautiful inspiration. Love that you went all “frozen on us”….great, a nice ear worm for the rest of my day! ha ha ha
    I love your sandbox, your sage advice and your take on everything quilty.

  2. Val says:

    You in my opinion are great! I am so inspired and grateful! You do not have to blog and share and the fact that you do is such a gift to all of us. The trolls and mean spirited people should just leave your sandbox. They obviously get off on the anonymous factor …pretty lame if you ask me!!!…Val

  3. Mabel Goddard says:

    Unfortunately, there are people with small brains and very, very insecure. They must be ignored at all times. Well said, Christa.

  4. lori landenburger says:

    I have just been astounded at the uptick in negative remarks being left in comments, lately. I am so very sorry to hear it. I think it is also a leak over from facebook, where a whole generation of people (of all ages) seems to have let themselves forget how to behave with others. Let’s hope we can pull together and get the word out that trolling behavior is unacceptable. XX!

  5. LeeKavanaugh says:

    Well Said Christa. Thank you for having this blog, and sharing your lovely work and ideas. Don’t forget with the trolls come all the other people that enjoy, learn and look forward to your posts. Since only four or five people have ever commented on my blog, I might just kiss a troll! hehe.

  6. laurachaney83 says:

    How sad it is that people feel like it’s ok to write hurtful things. Although I do like your take that “You’re now big enough to be a target!”

  7. mudpiesandpins says:

    There are certainly plenty of trolls out there and I agree that the only way to deal with them is to ignore them completely. They are looking for any sort of intereaction or reaction so give them attention and they become more of a problem, leave them alone, delete them, and they will disappear. I think that in addition to trolls though, there are also a certain number of commenters whose comments come across all wrong because they are writing in a non native language, because they are using phrases that while in English may mean one thing where they come from but mean someting totally different in another country. Online interactions lack so many of the nuances of physical interactions so what one person may mean as a total harmless comment can come across as exceptionally offensive to the person reading it, sometihng I have seen happen countless times on various forums and social media groups I have joined. At the end of the day if it bothers you then walk away. Leave it be, don’t try to analyse or query. Get on with doing what you love doing and if it brings you joy then don’t let anyone take that from you beacuse that is all that matters at the end of the day.

  8. Karen says:

    Christa, thanks for reminding all of us that anyone can be the target of ill will or just plain meanness and for giving us some excellent and healthy suggestions for how to deal with them and take care of yourself at the same time. I especially like the “Go make something” idea!

  9. Andrea Kelter says:

    I do think nasty or hurtful comments are inappropriate in any public forum; but differing opinions on things are not. While there are undoubtedly some mean-spirited, and (let’s face it) just plain bitchy people out there, there are also bloggers who take any comment that does not wholeheartedly endorse their personal point of view as having come from “a troll”, which is neither fair nor correct. It is definitely “your sandbox”, and as a blogger, you should (and do) have control over who gets to play – but a blog (in my opinion) has to be more than just a “Rah! Rah! You’re so great!” place to chat, otherwise, it quickly loses information value (and followers). One quilter’s thoughts only…

  10. joan says:

    Amen! It never fails to surprise me, just what some can say to others. Hiding beind a computer screen is no excuse. I’m a firm believer that finding the positive in others, makes for a much better world for you too. We may or may not like everything we see in life, but taking the time to think about something nice to say about it, really does change your perspective on everything in life. None of us have been granted the responsibility to perpetuate any negativity towards anything! I’ll step off my soap box now! LOL!! Letting it go…let it go!
    🙂

  11. treadlemusic says:

    A difficult subject you have chosen to post about. The internet has given us all such wonderful venues to share and enrich others but it does come with the opportunity for abuse and we live in a sin-filled world. “Light” penetrates and dispels darkness so let’s keep spreading that light!!!!!! Hugs……………………..

  12. carol says:

    I don’t usually give my two cents worth but this post hit home. Although the majority of quilters are just happy, caring, giving, and sometimes a bit crazy in a good way…..Having raised a daughter that went through brain cancer and is left with disabilities, some visible and some not so visible, I can honestly say some people are just plain mean spirited. The internet allows them to feel invisible and protected while they hide at home behind their computers. I totally agree with #3 ~ Just cue your Disney music and keep on dancing:)

  13. Hedy says:

    I particularly liked your comment about it being your sandbox and if people don’t play nice…..I for one do not like rude people and I generally let them know it quietly and personally. I also write letters to vent and then destroy it afterwards, it just feels good to get out my pain and then I can let it go. Good Post today Christa

  14. Pat Sell says:

    Your post about trolls is very adult. Unfortunately not everyone is that grown-up — if they were, there wouldn’t be any trolls! I’m just glad some people’s mothers taught them well. Have a sunny, happy day! 🙂

  15. Nancy Dolch says:

    Well said. Glad that the unkind quilters are not the norm. I’m always encouraged by all the positive responses I see on the quilting and sewing blogs & groups.

  16. Kate coleman says:

    Great advice! You can’t control what other people do or say. You can only control yourself and how you react!

  17. Martha Cook says:

    I totally agree with you Christa. I was unprepared and aghast when I started to tweet and the responses I received and others as well. I commented about what happened to courtesy,politeness, hah! So needless to say, I have restricted my reponses .So sad. So sorry for your friend,mean

  18. Heather Wadsworth says:

    Wise words Christa. My mum brought me up with this saying “the spoken word is like an arrow spent” … You can never get them back, I think everyone should just think twice before committing words to paper.. Well to Internet!

  19. adaisygarden says:

    Usually, those who leave hurtful comments are themselves hurting, (I don’t mean to excuse their behavior)….that’s what I try to remind myself when people are unkind in person as well. I’ll never understand why some people feel compelled to say something when they don’t have to, but you gave some great tips on dealing with it and even made me laugh!

  20. julie says:

    1. Christa I think you are awesome and am so glad to have met you! 2. One thing I have especially learned from a local quilt group…some ppl are just hateful and mean….I think it’s their own insecurities. ..but it is really annoying. ..come on quilting talking about quilts, or anything quilty should always be a happy place! 🙂

  21. Becky says:

    Christa,
    You would be a good therapist because the let it go part is what mine has told me more than a few times. I was mad at one person, a professional, who was not acting professionally with me. So my therapist suggested just what you said about writing a “letter” which in the end you could actually send (which I didn’t) or delete. It was cathartic, and I took my business elsewhere. 🙂

  22. farmquilter says:

    I was always taught that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. If I don’t understand why someone does something a certain way, I’ll ask…I’m always willing to learn cuz I’ve figured out I don’t have all the answers or the “best” (easiest, better results) way to do everything. I appreciate how much information quilters are willing to put out there, for free!!! An amazing education that in so many other professions would be closely-held secrets, shared daily in blogs and on websites all over the place for our edification!!!

  23. Melissa Ryther says:

    I am so, so sorry! Why do people have to be negative? It’s really something going on in their lives and likely nothing to do with you. Small consolation, I know. But the rest of us LOVE you!

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