Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hating Life

I'd normally say that I hate to mention another online writer more than once in the same week, but when it's Mary Beth Williams I'll make an exception. Her piece running over at Salon right now on dealing with negative comments from trolls is pretty good stuff. It's especially timely reading for yours truly given the amount of righteous indignation I've been on the receiving end of from people I don't know over the past couple of days.

Writing about negative feedback is tough only because by mentioning at all you're giving the trolls what they want (attention) and by writing about how it affects you you're really giving them what they want (the satisfaction of knowing they can get to you). No, I've never worried about whether people love or hate me since I always assumed, as with most internet endeavors, there would be an equal helping of each. The only advice I ever received on dealing with the assholes came from Drew Curtis, who told me after the first couple of times I was published over at Fark, "Don't read the comment from the Farkers."

And that's kind of what Mary Beth's piece is about today -- her decision to stop reading the comments from her own peanut gallery. Yeah, I occasionally revel in people's hilarious and often "gramatically creative" screeds against me, but I also confess that I'm not typically the target of very personal attacks (which isn't to say they haven't ever happened, since they have). Mary Beth, I know, has really been beat up on, often by a rotating cast of regulars who exemplify the standard troll archetype.

Anyway, take a look. It's worth your time.

Salon: I'm Never Reading the Comments Again/10.25.12

By the way, anyone who's read this site consistently for the past several years knows that I myself used to pick on Mary Beth quite a bit. I considered her part of the stable of catty New York-Centric liberal neo-feminists that Salon once cultivated to obnoxious effect. But when she was diagnosed with cancer, I wrote a very sincere little piece asking readers to keep her in their thoughts, because even though I didn't agree with her on everything, I read her regularly and wouldn't in a million years want to see her suffer. She wrote to me, telling me how much she appreciated the sentiment, especially coming from a "critic." We became friends. Good friends. While I wasn't too harsh on her early on, I still feel kind of bad because I was wrong about her. She's become one of my favorite people -- someone I love dearly. I'm glad she survived. The world's a better place with her in it.


Anonymous said...

There's a lot wrong in the rant above, don't you think? You equate "hating" with "trolling", you say whoever writes negative feedback is trolling you (as if you always get it right, mr pretentious), you call "assholes" anyone who comes from a different POV. Trolling is seeding hate or negativity for fun, and for fun only, just to watch the world burn. If you need an example of someone who's not a troll, consider me: I'm not here to troll, I'm here to point out that your view on different ideas is extremely unreasonable (from this text alone). Not every negative feedback is trolling - actually, probably most of the negative feedback is just another POV and/or pointing out how obtuse you (or anyone else, for that matter) can be in situation.

Anonymous said...

In other words, leave her the fuck alone.
You're gettin' soft, Pazienza.
Good for you.

CNNfan said...

I'll redact my comments to show sensitivity.
I would say, "It's M★ry B★th's blog, she can do
what she wants." except ignoring all comments
may disqualify S★lon as a blog. It's like getting
an email from a no-reply email address. For all
intensive purposes, S★lon becomes static.

S★lon may go the way of R★ck's L★st.
Occasionally I tend to get on Chez' nerves...
But rather than trolling, it probably stems from
the fact that, well, I really don't like him that much.

Yet when Chez moderates me, I don't say,
"It's Chez' blog, he can do what he wants."
because Chez is a serious talent, so his
moderation adds quality.

Hehehe! Just kidding in the middle paragraph, Chez!

Mary Beth Williams said...

Love you

Chez said...

You're the best, hon. Anytime. : )

JohnF said...

Please make Anonymous posters come up with a handle of some sort. They'll irritate the hell out of me, regardless, but a little less anonymity is what the situation demands.

Chez said...

Anon 6:56 -- I should've been more clear. I obviously have no problem with negative feedback. But trust me, I've had my fair share of name calling, threats (I've deleted those), and general abuse by career trolls. It's far different than someone simply offering a dissenting opinion.

CNNfan said...

Hey Chez, that "Love you" was meant for me.

Go get your own "Love you" comments.

Alan F said...

"Intents and purposes", not "intensive purposes".

You're welcome CNNFan.

Chez said...


CNNfan said...

"intensive purposes", not "intents and purposes".
So, it's: Your welcome, Alan F. Not mine unless
I thank you first.

The purpose of comments is intensive,
concentrated on the single subject,
"Trolling" and in this case even a
single area, the "Comments Section".

Not to mention that "intents" is
synonym of "purposes", which makes it
redundant. Since you felt so strongly
I should have used old cliché from the
1500s, allow me to oblige you with this

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur
adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor
incididunt ut labore et dolore magna
aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis
nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris
nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo

@Alan F:
Despite the prevailing circumstances, I appreciate your reply

Chez said...

You are genuinely insane, Tom. I can't even imagine what it's like having that mess inside your head.

CNNfan said...

Chez, it is NOT a mess! It is Latin for,
"This page is available, however,
but because occasionally circumstances
occur in which toil and pain can procure
him some great. To take a trivial example,
which of us ever undertakes laborious
physical exercise, except to obtain some
advantage from it."
which as you can see
is on topic and easily verifiable online
using Google Translate.

CNNfan said...

Oh Gosh... Hehehe!
I guess my little trolling
experiment may have worked
too well. Sorry 'bout that!

Chez just threatened me by
email, not getting that I
was just staying on topic
by pretend "Trolling".

As proof that I was joking,
I was building a comedian
robot at:
So, I have a good alibi.

Please let me know what you
think about my original art
illustration and my 2 week
old software development.

Examples of use:

Just type:

Tell me a funny joke about

("dancing" or something else.)

Or just type the punchline
and press the SEND button.

There are no advertisements
so this can not be spam.
Rather, it is an entry to
the: Funniest Computer Ever
Robot Contest being held on
November 1st, internationally.

Thanks for helping me prep
for the contest.