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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

This author has written 3446 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about tigtog »

17 responses to “How I minimise the online abuse I receive”

  1. Jennifer

    I do several of these already and highly support this post. Especially no trackbacks and no easily found e-mail. That last one REALLY helps.

  2. tigtog

    Just correcting a typo: at #5 where I wrote ‘Remove the comment form from your blog’ that should have read ‘Remove the CONTACT form from your blog’.

    Have corrected the post. Oops.

  3. Jason

    I’d just like to say that the way you keep the signal-to-noise ratio up here is superb — it makes me happy to share posts with others knowing that they won’t have to see bigoted ranting that’ll ruin their day (because it really does, you know), and it’s why I look here first for “101″ links to share with people (non-trollish people, anyway). Maybe that’s not reason #1 for doing this, but it’s a good side effect.

    Why would anyone go to the trouble of carefully crafting a piece on an issue that is complex, subtle, volatile, emotionally charged… and then stage the view of some idiot who only read the first sentence and wants to pick a fight? Or has the same damn thing to say as we’ve heard a thousand times before?

    One thing you left out* is that if the discussion heads off the rails a bit it’s worth explicitly saying “enough of that now, move it along,” before it turns into a circus. Otherwise you can end up with trollish comments from serious commentators, and what’s the difference? Especially to other trolls? I admit that I’ve been guilty of acting like a pompous arse on here before, and one such comment has saved me from looking like more of a fool… so, um… thanks… and sorry…

    (*…probably because it’s less to do with prevention of out-and-out abuse, but it’s still a good idea…)

  4. The Amazing Kim

    I hope this post isn’t prompted by anything in particular. Moderation has to be one tough gig.

    Not much of a suggestion, but: maybe have different handles for your online activities. One for the blogosphere, one for online shopping, one for work-related forums, one for email etc. That way, if someone gets really narky, they can’t mess up your customer ratings, or reach you by sending an email to “yourhandle@whatever.com”.

  5. tigtog

    @Jason, thanks for the compliment. We have discussed some of those other goals of moderation in terms of shaping discussions in previous posts over the years about the sort of space we see Hoyden as – since the focus of this post is on blocking out abuse I didn’t go into that this time around, but the occasional admonishment to nudge folks away from derails is part of it, definitely.

    @The Amazing Kim, there’s nothing in particular happening here to prompt it. I’ve just read a lot of posts this year about other bloggers who have suddenly come to the attention of the flocks of flying monkeys and who have felt overwhelmed by what’s appearing in their moderation queue and in their inbox. Many seem to feel some obligation to keep a count of what they receive, or at least some sort of monitoring, and they seem very reluctant to just get out the banhammer on these jerks. I’m trying to encourage people to be less reluctant about that, because I think they’ll be much happier.

    I disabled pingbacks about a year ago after reading some web purist thing dissing them to hell and back (can’t find it now). Don’t get them, don’t send them. I have no idea what other bloggers are saying about me going by what I see in my admin dashboard, and I’ve come to really like it that way. I highly recommend it.

  6. Profligate Promiscous Strumpet

    As a very new blogger, I haven’t encountered anywhere near enough traffic to attract the haters, yet. But this is a very informative and easy to follow post that I will bookmark and comeback to, should the need every eventuate. Thanks tigtog.

  7. Lexi

    Hey cyberbullies…eff you! You can’t silence us!

  8. tigtog

    @Lexi, that is exactly what they want to do. Seeing as technology is what lets them intrude so closely in the first place, I reckon using technology to block them out is the way to go.

  9. Olle

    Banhammer… Lovely word! I’ll add it to my vocabulary!

    Lots of good advice too! Came here by following a link from Geekfeminism.

  10. bug_girl

    One thing that was a huge help to me in managing both spam and nasty comments was to close commenting on posts after 100 days.

    That way, I don’t have to deal with someone discovering a post from 2007 and going ballistic over something that I’ve moved on from.

  11. tigtog

    Welcome to our readers via geekfeminism!

    @bug_girl, I’d forgotten to include that one about closing comments after a particular interval. We’ve had that operating here for a while.

    WordPress also has a separate option (in the Akismet settings) for auto-discarding comments flagged as spam on posts older than 30 days, which I highly recommend.

  12. Helen

    WordPress also has a separate option (in the Akismet settings) for auto-discarding comments flagged as spam on posts older than 30 days, which I highly recommend.

    Highly recommended – I used to have to go through posts periodically and turn comments off manually on each one.

  13. RM

    I do some of these and am torn about some of the others, but just seeing this post makes me feel way better. Because I do stand up to the bullies and have for years and years and it has never done anything than made a few other bullied people feel better and gotten me more harassment.

    I have, sort of philosophically, in the past always allowed the nasty nasty comments to post because I’ve wanted people to see what’s out there, what the cost is of being outstpoken and proud on the Internet. But I am slowly switching over to a “beneath my notice” mindset, even if I do still feel the need to be somewhat aware of what’s up because I have received threats in the past.

  14. tigtog

    What any bullied person truly wants is for the bully to just go away. The moral-victory narrative of all those “just stand up to them” stories would be very satisfying if it actually worked as it’s supposed to, but as you say: it doesn’t work that way. In cyberspace at least technology can make that just-going-away happen.

    I too have had a past philosophy of posting the nasty stuff, at least some of it (although usually disemvoweled) just to show others what’s happening behind the curtain. I still monitor some of it, but I use my filters to send it to subfolders where I view that at my time of choosing, when I’m in the mood to analyse the crap, rather than being confronted by it at the cyberbully’s chosen time. What I’ve found since I’ve cut myself off from the toxic stuff is that I feel the need to view those folders less and less often, because I’m just not thinking about it hardly at all. When I do go there these days, I don’t find much either. When they don’t get a reaction, they do get bored and go away, at least in my case.

  15. tigtog

    P.S. Caveat on the above: I’ve never yet received what I consider to be a credible meatspace threat from a cyberbully. I have no doubt that I would monitor my toxic folders more closely if I had.

  16. Jennifer

    I gotta say, tigtog; your moderation policy is one of the primary reasons this is one of the few blogs I really hang out at these days, and certainly why I agreed to join the roster (I will get around to posting soon! Slight case of moving and floods got in the way /o\). I’ve still had the odd uncomfortable conversation around here, but it’s less frequent and I’m less likely to just shut down emotionally than I have been in other spaces.

    I have to say, it’s the ‘supressing free speech’ that always makes me chuckle (aside from the commenter at a previous blog I contributed to who accused me of being a Maoist, which made me want to punch things for obvious-to-peope-who-know-my-background reasons).

    @RM: Sometimes, the knowledge that standing up to certain bullies will make other bullied people feel better and safer is enough to tip the balance in favour of doing do, but it’s always a thing I weigh up on a case by case basis. Certainly if we’re talking about a space like my LJ/DW, and I haven’t been able to be there in time to keep the bullies from harassing my friends, I will stand up to them in the first instance do people can see quite clearly what I will/won’t put up with in spaces I mostly control.

  17. tigtog

    I’ve just opted out of our default closing-comments period for this post, because I’ve just linked to it on a post discussing the many skeptic women bloggers who are being targeted by flying monkey squadrons at the moment, so some new readers might like to ask questions.

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