Brent: On Trolls and Booty-Holes
Today’s Terrible Tuesday editorial is a bit-of-nothing-special opinion piece on Internet Trolls, Flame Wars, Net-Stalking, and just plain Haterade.
My name is Brent. I don’t think I’m particularly controversial but there are a fair number of people of seem to hate my digital guts, sight unseen. Now, as a topic, “People That Profess to Hate Brent,” is fairly boring. After all, most of this audience is functional enough not to have strong opinions one way or another. It is like those personality quizzes you sometimes take…
You are never late for an appointment.
Yes: O No: O
You feel involved in watching TV Soap Operas.
Yes: O No: O
You hate Brent.
Yes: O No: O
You like to be involved in an active, engaging job.
Yes: O No: O
You really just can’t stand somebody you’ve never met.
Yes: O No: O
Brent is lines on your computer screen. Brent is your Empty Digital Headache. Brent may not exist, but if he did, he’d annoy you most every Tuesday.
Look folks, I could write on in this vein for awhile and the only person I’d be amusing is myself. The long and short of it is, I’m a fairly well-known Blogger who writes a weekly article for Bell of Lost Souls. Just like everybody else here. Much like people on Dakka Dakka or Warseer or any other blog or forum out there. Much like people who post videos on YouTube. No better, no worse. Sure, I may not be nearly as talented as Blogger X, but I have probably marketed myself better.
I do this because I love it. I fill my hobby space with models and pack them in boxes and drag them to the FLGS and try to get involved in the new games and paint at nights and on the weekends and generally derive a significant sense of fulfillment and happiness from playing with toys. Just like I did when I was a kid! My wife, she is long-suffering… but hey, she’s addicted to QVC, so fair is fair.
By now, you’re wondering, “What’s the point?”
I got this email from Big Red, the owner and editor of Bell of Lost Souls.
-Title: You Have a Stalker!
-The editor has now multi-banned an individual with 5 DISQUS accounts over the last 2-years. Every comment he has ever posted says how much BoLS and Brent totally suck! Yet, he just keeps coming back and reading week after week for 2-years.
-His latest account which (the editor) just killed was registered to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. One of his usernames was Jenny.
-I though you should know. I’m so proud of you. You spawned a hater! 🙂
If you’ve read any of my stuff, you know this just made my day!
I read all the comments for every article posted here on Bell of Lost Souls. That’s not always easy; after four years or so, I’ve written some real stinkers. One in particular was so awful, so poorly conceived, that the reaction from you, the audience, was overwhelmingly negative.
When I read it in the cold light of day and it was like a kick in the gut. It’s not that it was bad, it’s that it was soooo bad. That morning, I got an emergency email from Big Red saying, “Hey, call me. We need to do damage control.” I called him back and asked if he would just pull it, since that was much easier for me – and my ego – than owning it. He laughed, “Hell, no. We put it out there and we’ll stand by it. That’s just the way you do it.”
He was right, of course. I started replying to comments and apologizing for the turdlet I’d written. I couldn’t walk it back but I could own it. I could apologize. Which I did, in comment after comment. In the end, while that route was tougher it was better than pulling it entirely…
…though it sucked at the time. You can laugh off a negative comment or ten, but when every comment is scathing it just sucks. Because the truth is, none of us who write on Bell of Lost Souls or, I imagine, anywhere else, want to receive poor feedback. We write our little articles which are here today, gone tomorrow, and we move on in the hope the audience appreciated it, for whatever they may have received from it. Often, that’s probably a break from work!
Yeah, I care what you think. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t.
It really sucked to have written that article and disappointed you. But it’s very cool to write an article that gets great feedback. And it’s very, very cool to meet you folks at tournaments or Indy events and have you say you dig the work. I downplay it, but that’s just modesty. I love that kind of reinforcement; it keeps me grounded in the wargaming community I love.
My little stalker means nothing to me, except in the sense that it makes me happy someone stupid has a hobby, too.
This audience, however, means a great deal to me. It doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t like an article or editorial I posted – that’s never been the agreement! I respect your opinion and the time you’ve taken to read the post and comment on it. Many times over the years, I’ve responded to a negative comment and got great feedback. Quite often, a poster writes something like, “Hey, this one stinks but I still like your work.”
Then there are those of you who don’t generally like my articles but don’t take that out on me as a person. That’s okay, too.
The Trolls on the other hand… they can hate in ways that would surprise most of you. When my wife had a surgery for cancer, I got comments like, “I hope she dies.” There are other disgusting examples, but it’s not worth posting here; it just might feed their tiny egos. Instead, for those maladjusted miscreants, I leave you with this: Opinions are like booty-holes, ’cause everyone has one. Trolls are like booty-holes, ’cause they’re just assholes.
Enough said! Thoughts? Comments? Hugs and gropings?