Cyberbullying / Abusive Comments - What Can a Blogger Do About Them?
There is a lot of discussion going around about cyberbullying and abusive commentators. Most of us have had experience with trolls who have nothing better to do than leave nasty comments, but some of them are now even making death threats.
Everyone it seems has an opinion about how to solve the problem — everything from just deleting the inflammatory comments to calls for a “Blogger Code of Conduct” and a Stop Cyberbullying Day.
Why I don’t think these will work:
Case in point. The Bloke has at least one troll that likes to periodically make ignorant comments under “anonymous“. Just recently there was another infraction by anonymous (hereby dubbed “chickenshit“) that I was able to nip in the bud once I tracked down the IP address.
When their anonymous cover is blown the gutless cowards will usually disappear back into the cracks from whence they came.
A free tracking service that I use is StatCounter. Once you’ve isolated who the offender is, it has an option where you can add a memorable name to the IP address abusive-comments-what-can-bloggers-dofor future reference. You can also download the logs to your hard drive as well. Nice.
Another idea that is floating around the blogosphere is a ”Blogger Code of Conduct”. I myself once advocated the idea, but the problem is it will only work so long as everyone is forced to opt in. And I can’t see how that could even be made possible, enforced or even monitored for that matter.
There will always be rogues out there who will find ways to slip under the radar to do their dirty deeds.
Here’s What I Recommend:
You can’t leave it up to others to do it out for you. You have to take the initiative to protect yourself and your blog.
Make sure that your blog is set to automatically email you a copy of all your blog comments. Track down the perpetrator’s IP address and give it to the Police for investigation if it is a serious enough offense. Publishing the IP address of the perpetrator in the comments thread will also help deter further violations just like I did.
After you have their IP address and a copy of the comment on your hard drive, you can delete the unsavory comments off your blog. You could also decide to not allow anonymous commentators on your blog, but the problem with that idea is they can just create bogus accounts with false information.
Consider also blogging anonymously like I do. Most importantly, never (ever) give out your private information on the web such as your home street address, where you work, where you are going to hang out this evening, etc.
Transparency as a blogger can be a good thing but not with your personal information, and always assume there are lurkers out there who are up to no good.
What are your experiences dealing with abusive commentators?