Just lately I have been the target of some pretty clumsy linkbait attempts. A couple of readers prompted me to look at one particular blog where the author on three separate occasions (that we know of) has goaded me to react.
First of all this makes me super grateful for my loyal readers. Not only did they notify me that this guy is trash-talking me, they also tried to stick up for me.
This particular guy has been pressing buttons, questioning my motives, implying I take part in cliques, and generally rubbishing my approach. You can see the instincts to defend myself are going to be pretty strong. As you build your reputation you find it harder and harder to resist fighting your corner to put things right.
The lesson I have learned though is if you pay them attention, even in comments, they find it as encouragement. They think their tactics are on the right track so continue. Who knows what they would have done if I had linked to the posts from here?
Random internet critics do not get any benefit from seeing others as having honest and valuable motives. They have to see their selves as the lone arbiter of righteousness. It’s a form of intellectual hubris and cognitive dissonance. Do try to quietly put them right if they criticize behavior but once it devolves into attacks on your person, by continuing to discuss you only end up being dragged down to their level.
It’s advice from the early days of the Internet but it is still as true as it was back then. Don’t feed the troll!