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What to do about haters and trolls

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What you’ll learn

  1. You can’t control when and if you get a negative comment, but you can control your reaction.
  2. Sometimes the best course of action is no action at all.
  3. Community guidelines can help deter and manage unwanted behavior.
  4. Work with a trusted crew and join a community so you don’t have to battle the trolls alone.

No matter how kind, polite or popular you are, haters gonna hate and you may end up with a troll. A hater or troll is someone who makes intentionally inflammatory, rude, or upsetting statements to provoke a response. Sometimes it’s a single incident, while other times it’s multiple attacks across different platforms. Either way, it’s unpleasant and unwelcome behavior.

Encountering a hater is often a matter of when - not if. But don’t let online bullies prevent you from doing what you love. Instead, make a plan and prepare your community so that these naysayers don't get the best of you.

Be mindful about engaging

When someone online engages in a derogatory or hurtful manner, they're hoping for an equally visceral response. If you find yourself experiencing a surge of emotions from an online interaction, take a moment to process them. Come up with a plan to address inappropriate behavior that either deescalates or educates.

Create a catalog of prewritten responses that you can easily copy and paste to respond to haters. Or, simply delete the comment or block the user. Engaging with bad behavior can fuel it. Sometimes, the most powerful action you can take is no action at all.

Don’t blame yourself

This isn’t about you. Try to understand this type of behavior comes from within the provoker. You or your content just happen to cross their line of fire. Try not to take it personally. Use your time and energy on something that brings value to you.

Set community guidelines

Take the time to decide what you will and will not allow in your space - and remember, it is your space. Write up some guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable behavior, then post them so they are easily accessible to your community. You can point to these guidelines as justification when deleting a comment or banning a user. Refresh and update your guidelines as needed.

Recruit a group of trusted moderators

We all need a little help every once in a while. Recruit some of your loyal and trusted community members as moderators for your channels. Create a space for your moderation team to communicate, such a chat platform like Discord or Slack. There, you can have private conversations and create plans of action if someone engages negatively.

Join a supportive community

Remember, there are many more supportive and helpful humans than there are haters. You can find them in a community of other creators or by joining a group about community management. Creating or finding a supportive space gives you both people to lean on and the boost to brush off haters.