If woody had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened
In all the hubbub about the incidents with Chelsea Cain on her twitter page, I saw no one actually give advice on how to deal with a-holes on the internet. Everyone “raised awareness” but no one explained how to handle it when you run into a a-hole online. Which is information that is far more useful than whether the a-holes is a comic book fan or not. Right? Where the a-hole came from doesn’t matter. What people want to know is how to get rid of the a-hole. Well, The first step would be to stop reading her books…hahahahaha!
Okay, enough clowning around. Since none of those who were so crestfallen over such incidents bothered to use the opportunity to educate people, or help anyone who might go through the same thing to understand how to deal with online a-holes. …FINE, I’ll do it.
I will give you the simple steps to handling a-holes on your social media page. This is solid, practical, useful advice from someone who’s dealt with thousands of people online and works with others who deal with thousands of people online. You don’t have to like me or even admit you heard this advice from me. But do pay attention, because I know there are some bad people online and I know it sucks to become their target and I know how to get rid of them. Here is how you handle it.
You have a FB page or a twitter page or whatever and a trouble maker shows up. It could be threats, or harassment or “misogyny” or insults, criticism, or just general douchbaggery, doesn’t matter. Here’s what you do.
1-screen capture the comment (in case you need it for step 4)
2-delete the comment
3-block the person
4- (optional depending on the severity) report them.
That’s it. That is all you do, and you don’t do any more. It is as simple as that. I said “simple”, not “easy” because for some of you it won’t be easy. It will often be against your first instinct. People tend to want to cut others some slack, or don’t want to be mean, or aren’t used to being assertive, or they want to argue back/respond with equal venom, but those things are counterproductive to actually stopping the problem.
You do not have to warn the person, you do not have to justify it, and you defiantly do not have to engage the person. In fact you shouldn’t engage them. Screen capture, delete, block, report. the end.
It is not a public park, it is your page. You do not have to allow anyone on it that you don’t want on and you don’t even have to explain why. Look at it as though it is your home. If someone shows up and is rude, or gives you bad vibes, you don’t let them back in.
The closer you follow those three steps, the more pleasant your page will be.
This will be difficult for some of you. Some of you are not used to being assertive, it is a good skill to learn. It is your page. They are your guest, if they misbehave, that is on them. You make the rules, if anyone doesn’t like it, they have plenty of other pages to go to.
The biggest trouble makers are looking to fill a warped need for attention. It is based on an actual character disorder, and a common one, and make no mistake some of these people do not have the ability to understand boundaries or what isn’t appropriate, and some of them ARE dangerous .
If you engage them, it will spiral into a giant mess. Engaging in an argument on the internet is like dropping a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in front of a hoard of coach-roaches. Accept that as fact. It isn’t fair, but that is how it is. There is a never ending parade of a-holes on the internet who have nothing better to do than argue, and that is what they are looking to do. If you engage some a-hole it WILL spiral into a mess. AND, you have no way of knowing who is just a run of the mill a-hole and who is dangerous or mentally unsettled.
If someone makes a comment that you don’t appreciate, step 1, then step 2 then step 3. Do not acknowledge the comment, because that too is like dropping a PB and J sandwich, as it invites others to comment on the rightness or wrongness of it. Then others who seek attention will see the attention it generated and begin to cause trouble of their own. Capture, Delete, Block and behave as though it never happened and that person did not exist.
People who give you bad vibes don’t get less creepy the more you let them get away with. You know how you avoid having a paragraph of threats and insults posted on your page? You delete that person the first time they seem fishy. Sure, some people go batsh*t crazy on you right out of the box, but most of the time they work their way up to it. Threats, harassment, stalking…these things are not fun, I know this from personal experience. And most of the time it builds it’s way up to that. Better to block a semi rude commenter now, than to open your page in three weeks and go “what the Fu..?!”. I’ve been interacting with thousands of people on social media for a long time. You wanna know something I don’t recall ever thinking to myself? -” that person seemed off at first but now after weeks of interacting I’m glad I didn’t block him/her”…never. I HAVE however often thought “why didn’t I block that a-hole right from the start?” Go with your gut, if they seem like a trouble maker just block them. If you’re wrong, oh well…there are plenty of other people out there you can be friends with and that they can be friends with, you will both be fine. But…if you’re right…in three weeks you are enjoying your page while that person is sending a death threat/dick pic to some other poor bastard.
The troublemaker will always have more free time than you, will always have another reply. No amount of rebuke or humiliation will deter them because they are looking for attention and any kind of attention is as good as another. Block them, and they will go elsewhere. You may, in some cases, have to block them more than once. They will create another page, and another. Do not get upset. It only take a few clicks to block them again, no big deal, they will eventually find another target. DO NOT MENTION ON YOUR PAGE IT IS IT IS GOING ON. I cannot stress that enough. Any attention you provide will encourage him or her. DO NOT THINK THAT YOU CALLING THEM OUT WILL HELP OTHERS. It will only encourage him or her and they will simply make another identity that you have not warned others about.
Block them and ignore that it ever happened and ultimately it will end. Steps 1-2-3. Remember, it’s only a few clicks, it’s not causing you any more hassle than closing a bunch of pop up windows. Your greatest weapon is not letting any attention be given to the person. Engage them and it will never end…other trouble makers will scutter over and it will spiral out of control. It will get worse and worse until you finally do block them. and by that point there will be a whole pack of people you must block. If someone is not behaving in a way you appreciate, there is no upside to interacting with them.
I know the temptation is high to give them a piece of your mind, but this is not pragmatic. What do you care what they said? They are just some screwball on the internet. It is a waste of your time to analyze it, interpret it, respond to it, or for that matter to finish reading it. You aren’t obligated to read any further than ” I don’t like the way you (delete/block)” or “You shouldn’t have (delete/block)”. What do you care? That person could be a 55 year old man in Bangladesh for all you know.
And people will get the hint in a hurry. Most people push the line a little, if your line is at zero constantly you’re not going to have many problems. Most people look around a little to see what others have posted and what the general vibe is on the page before posting. If you block trouble makers at the drop of a hat, new people will see that there are no shenanigans going on on your page and most of them will stay above board with their behavior.
Now, my page has thousands of people on it I don’t know so if I block someone I’m probably not going to have to hear about it in real life. But if you have a page with people you know and you block someone, practice saying this “I have no interest in going over that.” or “this is a conversation that’s not worth having” and ” I didn’t like what was posted, I don’t want that on my page, the end.” Then change the subject. If the subject keeps going back to you blocking someone, that’s probably a red flag and you’re going to want to consider blocking them in real life. No adult with their head screwed on straight is going to give that much of a crap about your FB page. Stick to your guns, it’s FB…you didn’t ban them from the grocery store. You can both continue to have happy lives without being FB friends. If you get apologized/guilted into letting someone back on, remember this “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”
If you are a comic book professional or in some type of job that entails dealing with fans, readers, or the public, you may feel less inclined to have a quick trigger. But a quick trigger is what you must have, precisely because you are dealing with a lot of people you don’t know personally. Your page reaches far more people than the pages your followers have, and some will attempt to use your page as a platform for having their voice heard by more people than they could reach on theirs. If they are posting things you are okay with, great. If not, you need to shut that down fast, or your page will become an online billboard for a bunch of stuff you don’t agree with. No one expects you to be everyone’s best friend. You don’t have to make sure everyone loves you. People getting pissed off because you blocked them on social media is not going to ruin your career. If that was the case I would have been out of a job a long long long time ago. It is your job to create content, it is not your job to field complaints. If someone doesn’t like your work, they do not have to buy it.
The people paying you for content care about one thing- is your content making them money. They do not give a sh*t about who you blocked. for that matter they don’t give a sh*t what is going on, on your social media page. I know you think they do, but they don’t. And the higher up you get in your field, the less they care. In this day and age, you can say any crazy ass thing you want…and if 10,000 people hate you for it…then another 10,000 people probably love you for it. The people paying you know this. It is not worth their time to assess what is going on with your page. Are you making them money? Yes? Then the rest is not their concern or their responsibility and they don’t have time to care, even if they did care. Do what you like on your page, and if someone comes at you sideways step 1 then step 2 then step 3. It is a natural tendency for a creative type to think each person on the internet could be the one that makes or breaks them. That is NOT the case. If you pissed off a million people it would be one less bucket of water in the ocean. You blocking an a-hole occasionally is not going to matter. You’ll be fine. You’ll be much better off than if you didn’t block the a-hole and wasted time and effort dealing with his or her online bullsh*t instead of creating more content.
This advice may sound hypocritical coming from me, since my pages are often full of arguments. But, keep in mind, I am very comfortable arguing. I like hearing different opinions, even crazy ass opinions. It’s like a hobby to me. dealing with a page full that at times is full of loons is second nature to me, and I have learned how to guide the storm. But even in the clusterf*ck that is my FB page I have rules. It often appears that anyone can come on my page and say any abrasive comment they want…but If you look closer, you’ll see no homophobia, no racism, no comments demeaning anyone’s chosen religion, no threats…AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, you’ll see no one plugging any work that isn’t mine. heh. If you break the rules, I block you. I block a lot of people. I block more people than people realize, because 9 times out of 10 I don’t announce it (unless it’s going to be funny to do so). The comment is deleted and the person is blocked. Poof. Gone. Never happened.
The only time I engage in a comment I don’t appreciate, is when I am avoiding working. Because that is what we’re are doing. We are avoiding work, or actual life. Remain aware of that and you will have a quicker trigger and not find yourself in a giant, pointless, time wasting, online mess.
Now then, I am done being the grown up. you people can act, believe and proceed however the hell you like. Set yourselves on fire or tie plastic bags over your heads for all I care.
when Douglas isn’t complaining his work can be found here