Digg users are famously hostile. In fact you could say the internet in general has long had a reputation for being hostile. What can we do to avoid the worst? What can be done?
This post will probably kiss away any chance of me getting on the Digg homepage again but such is life.
I’m taking a break from my “Making Money” online business series to talk about this for two reasons. First I was discussing the issue with a couple of friends who had both been upset by nasty comments from Digg readers. They were both so upset with what was written they are avoiding reading Digg altogether. The second reason is I am sure you are getting sick of me writing on the money topic for the last week!
To be fair to Digg, there are a lot of intelligent and friendly users on there and Digg is not the only site these sorts of comments appear on. Some stories on social sites can be more valuable for the comment threads than the story itself sometimes, even if one or two idiots try to spoil the conversation.
Somehow though, and I am not sure why, Digg in particular has attracted a particularly nasty herd of trolls. There are a bunch of folks on there who write stuff purely intended to knock, diminish or otherwise upset.
I’m not sure what sport they get out of it. I can only think their fragile egos are tickled by the thought of making another person feel smaller. Whatever the reason, it is making a sour smell around the site for people who would otherwise enjoy it.
While even some of the worst threads I have seen also contain one or two glimmers of humanity, when being attacked it is often the worst that is remembered rather than the positive. The worst part though is they often do not leave their nastiness on Digg but actually follow the link to leave more garbage on the blogs comment area.
A community reflects its founders and managers. If Kevin Rose and co are not putting a curb on the sorts of insults and trolling we see then they are implicitly encouraging it, agree?
Fortunately these sorts of comments do not matter as much as we feel they do.
Do you really care what some random angry and frustrated teenager ranting from their parents basement thinks? Unless they are your most wanted audience I think it is safe to discount any or all of their opinions, don’t you?
The way I look at it is to treat it as pantomime. If you are prepared going in to see a load of superficial trash talk and know to discount those opinions as being the random barking of idiots then it doesn’t have the sting it would have.
Comment flames only hurt us if we choose to let them
You will find when you actually sort through the trash many of the flames have little to do with your article anyway. They call the author a spammer or attack Pavlov style any time they see the word “Blog” used. When you understand that most of the more vitriolic posters never even took the time to read your article you feel more pity than anger.
Let them rant. It could be good therapy for them 😉