Greetings all, interesting discovery today. I witnessed the birth of a troll, granted the poor being only lived for 15 seconds but the “how it was created” left an impression on me, and maybe could be useful to you.
The birth started today when I was exchanging information with another author. I am about 1/3 of the way done through a book I am going to review, and saw one of my (I assume former) followers released a book that was floundering. It’s in a Genre I read, and I know some of the mistakes new authors make, having made them myself.
I contacted them, and after an exchange on their blog, my giving information that I had both learned and been told, we had emails addresses.
I posted an address to them, which forwards (when I set it to) to my real address. Keeps the bots from picking it up. So while waiting for them to tell me how to get a copy (they offered it for free, and I was careful to be sure it was something I would at least read, and had a chance to enjoy) I parked on their work on 2 locations, Smashwords and Amazon. I already noted a couple of things that could help them, items that could help them get attention pick up some steam, more than my reviews on both daily blogs, Facebook, Linked in and Google +.
And 2 emails later, I cracked a joke. I know I am not always funny, but I also know that I am almost never offensive. Apparently my humor was SO bad, that they send me a simple 9 word email “I don’t like your humor. Don’t contact me again”
WTF! I reviewed the email sent, [they asked what the next step was. I said ‘send me your CC, any internet porn you have and a list of your loose friends. Wait, you’re an author, your CC is maxed, and I don’t think I want to see your collection and your friends are probably as loose as mine.] I then went to the serious business at hand. Maybe it was funny, maybe not, but not worth the type of reaction that I got.
The ‘strange’ thing to me, was seeing my right hand turn green and grow a claw. Someone just slammed me, in a personal level, took offence over something I felt was ridiculous and over reacted.. All this while I was trying to help, and while I was parked on her book sites. There was a temptation, click on the buy, using a credit from the site that I will never actually get paid and slam her book, Teach this person not to be a rude whiny (expletive) .
Fear not, about 15 seconds after that thought, I hit the close button on the internet, and moved on with my day.
I realized that my actions would not be productive, not have any effect, not do anything but lower me to a level that I refuse to go to. Granted, I unfollowed this person, made sure to unfriended, unliked the page and honored the “Don’t contact me again” request to its logical extreme.
So the moral of this story is three part!
One: Some Trolls are human, you could be a troll, all someone has to do is piss you off far enough that your brain doesn’t have a chance to stop you before you hit that one star and type out a fast sentence “Needs better editing” “Dull to read” or “insert generic complaint with no details, that will hurt the book” even if you remove it 2 minutes later, the damage is done.
Two: if you are interacting with someone, and they do something offensive, work with them! If you say “that’s not funny” or “I don’t appreciate that type of statement/humor” and they get mad, while you could still end up with a troll, you will at least have a clean conscience about it. You tried and the problem is them. And be sure that if you are offended, evaluate one simple question: would everyone be offended by this, or did they hit a nerve? And if they hit a nerve were they aiming at it? Or was it an accident. If the answer is yes to both then you may already have a troll, but if the answer to either is “No” don’t do anything rash. One person I consider a ‘friend’, once offended me beyond all measure. What he said was common, a typical word that carries such a horrible meaning, especially to those of us that live close to condition. It took only a simple exchange telling them exactly what I objected to above “that’s not funny” and explained why. They sent me a quick and heartfelt apology later everything was fine.
Three: If you are going to start to review things, check your hands. If they are green and have 4 inch claws, or if your find yourself snarling and pounding the keys as opposed to typing. Check to see if you have become a troll. Be ready to walk away from your computer.
As a note, probably going not to be helpful, not till my humor is more ‘reliable’ and I am sure my inner troll is in check. And even then, we will have to see. I am unapologetically who I am! And if I crack a joke that is ‘offensive’ I can do apologies, but only if it’s a reasonable offense.