As many of you know, this blog is an experiment of mine that has lasted nearly two years, and it is also a hobby of mine, an outlet for both my interests and my peeves, and it has been both educational and an enormous amount of fun to boot.
I’m hugely grateful for all the people and good friends I’ve met and learned from because of it, and that they actually give a crap about what I post. Thanks, guys (both sexes), you’re amazing!
Over time, I’ve picked up the occasional detractor, and this too has been a good learning experience.
But this is also my readers’ blog, and my friends sometimes read my entries and post comments, to let me know if I made a mistake or if they happen to like what I post.
I marvel over the seemingly inexhaustible patience of guys like Steve Novella, Mike Shermer, and “Tom” Bridgman, who regularly deal with some rather vociferous and downright nasty critics on their own sites.
But I’m not them, and my level of nonsense tolerance is not what it could be with those who engage not only in mere crankery, but also resort to insults and personal attacks in comments about other readers.
This is particularly so when my friends are the target and their enjoyment in participating in the ongoing evolution of this site is lessened by the occurrence of such annoyances.
Over time, I’ve tried a number of my own approaches to dealing with such persons in my comment responses, starting with the “brad” incident from last year — he, whoever he really is (the complete username is lifted from someone else, and the lowercase spelling is his own), was a pseudoscience believer who came off like an arrogant d**k in his first comment and kept it up until I banned him.
I dislike people trying to lord it over me on my own blog. *kitteh growl*
I’ve had few such individuals post comments since then, but thought it would be a good idea for me to check out the blogs of others who’ve been at this skeptic thing longer than me for tips on how they deal with people like that.
I’ve found on Skepticat’s cool blog — not to be confused for the equally cool blog of my friend, =^skeptic cat^= — that there are other skeptics who seem to have little patience with trollish types on their own sites, almost as little as I do, particularly when friends and loved ones are involved.
Rule #1 of commenting: No matter how thick-skinned the blogger, never insult or threaten their friends or spouse in the comment threads…that WILL get you banned!
What I found there (check out the page titled “Trolls” to see what I mean) is something that made me think, “Now, why didn’t I think of that?” and I believe that the answer is something like, “Because she’s been at this longer than me, and really knows her stuff.”
I don’t like banning people — it just doesn’t sit well with me emotionally — but those who cannot be reasonable are not going to become that when dealt with politely — they invariably take this as a sign of weakness and press the attack — particularly those whose pet doctrines have been made light of as they occasionally deserve.
THIS. IS. A. SKEPTICAL. BLOG.
I don’t by any means expect people to email me before posting comments, but if they don’t like what’s posted on this blog by me or regular commenters, then they shouldn’t be reading it.
They have that choice. And even if they choose not to make it, they’ve still made a choice.
To be honest, I have better things to do with my blogging time than flame trolls, so I have already banned one such individual for pissing off those more worthy than herself, and am preparing a page for this site that shows not only the whos, but the whys and wherefores of all those who get banned for their asshattery, in glorious and horrific detail for all to see.
Jebus Freakin’ Happycat, I don’t know why it took so long for me to get this through my head, but I’m sick of people who can’t even act an age or an IQ more than the shoe-size of an undersized ballerina slipper, and it’s time to use what works instead of what’s congenial — after all, nice-guys finish last — and nobody pisses off my readers and gets away with it. *kitteh snarl*