It was an average Monday when I went to do a routine check on the Google Analytics running on my site when I was met with 18 comments waiting for my admin approval. While I was thrilled at my sudden rise to fame, I was quickly disappointed when the comment section was not populated by real people but rather by some very supportive, poetry-loving, bots. At least I think they’re bots, they could be a supportive individual who runs about 18 Russian Escort service websites that is leaving these comments, but I think they’re a bit too robotically insightful to be true. Since I have decided not to approve them onto my site- as their linked websites are not the type of content I would like to affiliate my site with I have included some of the comments for entertainment here.
“Can I simply just say what a comfort to uncover somebody who truly understands what theyre discussing on the web. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you arent more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.”
This one almost made it to the actual site just out of how much flattery Zie decided to write.
I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now 😉
The winky face throws me off a bit, but I appreciate how I have convinced someone in a very different line of work to apparently get their own blog now.
And while these examples may have been all positive, trolls on the internet and created bots with ill-intentioned coders are the plague of many online creators. Websites like Popular Science are going so far as to turn off comments on their site, as they find, “internet comments, particularly anonymous ones, undermine the integrity of science and lead to a culture of aggression and mockery that hinders substantive discourse (Konnikova 2013).” In plain-speak, having troll comments can make readers doubt the information, no matter how reputable the source.
The reason that I brought up my own comments relates to the impact of commentary on one’s mental health. For myself, the comments were positive, leaving behind a positive impact on my self-image and view of my created content. This is not the case for many other minorities who decide to publish themselves virtually though, with a study by the Guardian finding “that of the 10 most abused writers eight are women, and the two men are black (2016).” This disproportionate attack on minorities is continually found within the Guardians writers with hate spewing into the comment sections of journalists with specific religious, gender, and racial markers (Gardiner et al. 2016). This creates a dangerous crossover of a public platform and racists with hidden identities, a ground for hatred without clear consequence.
Personal mental health also takes a major blow from such online activity and the issue grows day by day. It’s also important to recognize that the internet wasn’t always like this, “in the early days of Twitter, it was … a place of radical de-shaming” a place where differences and obscurities were related to and supported (Ronson 2015). Times affirms such a “personality” of the internet, saying, “once it was a geek with lofty ideals about the free flow of information” but somewhat recently having turned into an entity that helps as much as harms (Stein 2016). Trolls can exhibit a range of habits from “clever pranks” to “harassment and violent threats” with the most dangerous idea being the lack of knowledge of how the internet could react (Stein 2016). Creators do understand that “you can’t exist .. for very long without learning that something you write is going to upset someone, sometime, somewhere,” however the response of disagreement should never be something of potent hatred or false accusation that trolls deliver with ease (Atwood 2022).
So whether it’s bot comments that sing your praises or hateful speech that makes you sick, it’s important to distance yourself from comments that are not from those whose opinions really matter.
Atwood, Margaret. “Your Feelings Are No Excuse.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 1 Apr. 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/books/archive/2022/04/margaret-atwood-hitchens-prize-speech/629443/.
Gardiner, Becky, et al. “The Dark Side of Guardian Comments.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 Apr. 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/12/the-dark-side-of-guardian-comments.
Konnikova, Maria. “The Psychology of Online Comments.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 23 Oct. 2013, https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-psychology-of-online-comments.
Ronson, Jon. “When Online Shaming Goes Too Far.” Jon Ronson: When Online Shaming Goes Too Far | TED Talk, TEDGlobalLondon, 20 July 2015, https://www.ted.com/talks/jon_ronson_when_online_shaming_goes_too_far/transcript?language=en.
Stein, Joel. “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet.” Time, Time, 18 Aug. 2016, https://time.com/4457110/internet-trolls/.