A few days ago, I posted this as my response to the events in Boston…or, more accurately, a response to some of the responses to the tragedy I saw on Facebook, news sites, etc. This was my way of processing the whole thing and, to a degree, venting a little over how some people were reacting. Emotional event or no, I always prefer rational responses to irrational ones. It’s what separates us from the animals.
That and our ability to wear yoga pants with SASSY written across the butt in rhinestones. I’m not saying that makes us better than animals…
Anyway, before long I had a couple of responses, some from friends, and some from an individual I’ve come to know well, after a fashion.
This fellow has commented on my blog several times, e-mailed me, forwarded news stories to me — and almost never under his real name. He likes to make up e-mail addresses (or, when he’s feeling lazy, sends me stuff as “email@example.com”) that cleverly disguise his identity…at least until I check his IP address and see that they’re all coming from the same place. It helps to know a lot of tech nerds who can teach me some very useful tricks.
I know who he is, and he knows I know, but that doesn’t stop him. He is what is known in Internet parlance as a “troll,” an individual who posts spiteful, childish, confrontational things simply to provoke a reaction. Sometimes this is simply a highly opinionated person who thinks the best way to communicate his thought is by expressing them in the most belligerent, insulting, patronizing way possible (the “Limbaugh”). Sometimes a troll is someone trying to convince everyone he’s the smartest person in the room, which he accomplishes by trying to make everyone else feel rock-stupid. Sometimes it’s just a straight-up bully.
My not-so-mysterious serial commenter falls within the latter category, although he sucks at it. His comments often involve calling me bald, which is about as effective as calling me a nearsighted white guy who rarely shaves. Yeah, sick burn there, dude, let me go ice my wounded ego.
Here’s the thing: I know that I will every so often post something that provokes a response. Great, that’s kind of the point of this blog — and if you’ll recall the epic post from a few years back that garnered more than 50 responses from pro-gun nutters (who differ from gun enthusiasts because gun enthusiasts are reasonable people with whom you can have an adult discussion), you’ll know I can take the heat.
And I love it when people try to engage in an honest debate, a sincere exchange of ideas and viewpoints. Sometimes you learn something. Maybe that something is “Oh my god this person is BUGNUTS CRAZY!!!” but hey, learnin’ is learnin’.
But when people just poke at me with a virtual stick? Yeah, not going to happen.
Blocking this individual is easy enough, but I’m going to take another approach. Whenever he posts one of his dry bon mots, I’m going to change it to words of praise. You’ll know these creatively amended posts by the asterisk I will add to the poster’s pseudonym du jour. Go ahead and look around at some stuff that’s been posted this week, you’ll see them.
That’s the big perk of running your own playground: you get to set the rules, and my rule number one is “no trolls allowed.”