Online Harassment: Or, A Haters Gonna Hate

Why you hating on me??

We’ve all seen it happen before and since I started this blog, I realized that I opened myself up to be targeted by psychopathic, jealous trolls. The Internet brings out the worst in people, and people forget their manners and say things they would have never have said face-to-face. However, here’s my advice and tips on avoiding online harassment. Not to mention, some assurance that I won’t tolerate any type of harassment on this site (directed toward YOU or ME or any writer or contributor here).

I realize that I’m writing on a very personal matter here: religion. Not to mention, I’m openly discussing my experiences with ministry groups and public figures here. I’m the first and only blog that I know of to bring to the public the experiences people have faced in an abusive relationship with these prominent Christian ministries, and name them. Yes, it sounds egotistical, but I’m leading the way. Therefore, as a “whistle blower” of sorts, I take a pretty hard hit. I’ve wanted to give up. I’ve wanted to shut down this site. I haven’t told my readers all the stories, all the emails, all the text messages. And, I won’t.

Although I won’t publicly disclose them here, I keep track of them. Why? When you put yourself in a vulnerable position as a spokesperson for a group of victims, you can’t turn a blind eye to the harassment. They may be harmless threats, or just jealous retributive emails, but I take each one seriously. I record IP addresses, email address and theĀ identitiesĀ of those I know.

I keep a log of particular “stalkers” and “trolls” so that in the event their harassment turns to violence, there will be a paper trail and a report. I also think it’s important to share this with you, my readers, because I feel a sense of safety here. I feel like you all “have my back.” I’ve also contacted a lawyer regarding several issues related to recent online harassment I’ve received and it’s being dealt with. It may be the Internet, but there are still laws against blackmail and harassment.

See, it’s my first time “around the block” so to speak. My blog is new–about six months old. The amount of attention it’s garnered is something I never imagined it bringing in July when I started it. The evenings after work have been filled with me teaching myself technical aspects of running a website, forum, etc.; learning how to be a professional and reliable journalist; online etiquette and blogger-to-blogger “rules; and overall just running like a gazelle to keep up with the pace at which this entire project is growing.

It’s fun. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do, and would love to develop this into more of a group “voice” with stories, resources, etc. made available to my readers. Mine is just one story. My voice is just one voice. Writing has brought me so much happiness and liberty in my life. I feel healthy. I feel good. I hope each of you partakes in that same joy and knows that a troll is just a troll. Deep down, they’re just a hater. They’re filled with unhappiness and jealousy so deep that they try to derail my efforts and your efforts of making ourselves better here.

Call me naive, but I’m going to pretend they don’t exist. Because honestly, someone that low in life isn’t even worth a minute of our time.

So, together, let’s all say it: DFTT “Don’t Feed The Trolls!” =)