Unfortunately I get my fair share of haters online and as my readership grows, so does my “hatership”. My skin has grown pretty thick over the last two years and I can handle most things in stride and take it with a grain of salt, but recently I had some interactions with animal activists and that was a whole new world for me. I couldn’t control them, they came in droves and I spent way too much time at my computer trying to moderate my blog comments AND moderate my Facebook page.
I’m a pretty darn tolerant person, I usually give a person a few chances before I block them from commenting on my blog or ban them from my Facebook page. Until recently I only had six people banned since the birth of my blog’s Facebook. I blocked 44 people in 1 day because of repeated bullying, name-calling and spamming my Facebook page with link after link after link. I got called intolerant for banning people, and I get that…sort of. But? I have a comment policy that carries over to my Facebook page. No personal attacks, no swearing, keep it on topic, no repetitive link-sharing and really—just be kind. We can all have different opinions on things and still respect each other (so I thought, anyway).
There are exceptions to every rule, and to help me save my sanity and so I don’t let my online life consume me and distract me from my family, I’ve followed these rules and used these tricks.
1. Turn Off Phone Notifications
I have actually been following this rule for a long time and I don’t know how I did it before I implemented this rule. No red notifications are on my phone anymore other than for texts and emails. I check my Twitter, Facebook and Instagrams more than I should anyway, so I see my notifications when I check those apps. You’ll thank me for suggesting this, even if you aren’t a blogger. I find it helps me to be in the moment more if I don’t see those nagging red circles!
2. Turn off Blog Email Notifications
This is actually a new trick I learned from Jenny at AgChat this past fall. Whenever I know a post of mine is going live, especially of the controversial nature, I used to be on eggshells all day and avoid seeing new blog post comment email notifications pop up, especially if I was out and about trying to enjoy my day. Nothing used to make my mood turn sour so fast as reading a hateful blog comment that I couldn’t take the time to respond to and defend myself. Now I check my blog comments on my desktop, once a day or less and this has helped my psyche tremendously.
3. Turn Off Blog Comments When Necessary
I have only ever had to do this on two posts in my life: a post asking for questions about GMOs (my first-ever that got attacked by activists) and a recent one about diet preaching when I anticipated a lot of hate comments from vegan activists. I prophylactically turned off the comments on the latter post as we were going on vacation and I didn’t want a slew of hate mail on vacation or when I got home. You can do this, it’s your blog and you have that right. On my IntenseDebate platform there’s an option that’s really easy to access. When a vegan activists asks his cronies to “check out this trash article” you know that no good can come of it 🙂 I also love this platform because as long as you are logged into it, right in the comments section you can easily select “Block IP” or “delete” the comment very easily.
4. Moderate Facebook Users at Your Discretion
Have a comment policy (even just a few sentences) in your Facebook “about” description that lets your page users know that you don’t tolerate certain words/dialogue, etc. on your page and that if they do not follow your rules their comments will be deleted and/or they will be banned. I also found that a very valuable tool, if you don’t want to imply the “ban hammer” immediately is to hide comments on Facebook:
As you can see, Eddie here violated my comment policy by using foul language AND name-calling. Simply hover over the little ‘x’ in the top right hand corner, click “Hide” and…
Voila! Bye bye, Eddie! He and his friends can see, but I haven’t deleted or banned his comment (yet). I call this my 3-strike rule. Maybe you had a bad morning? Maybe you’re just an awful person? I don’t know…so I’ll give you 3 strikes and then you’re out.
5. Adjust Facebook Page Settings as Necessary
I had to adjust my settings temporarily after the invasion of the animal activists. I like to be an approachable person so I open up my Facebook wall for comments for readers to ask questions, share links, share photos and I also allow people to send me private messages on my Facebook page…until I started getting spammed. To change these settings, click settings on your Facebook page and you can changed them for “Posting Ability” and “Messages”.
I also turned off the ability for people to share pictures in the comments because I was sick of seeing meme after meme after meme. I might keep this one off. Another trick, if one post and one post only is giving you grief is to hide the post from your page. This allows the people who shared your post to still host it on their pages, but it hides it from people visiting your page (in hopes of deterring constant spam and hate):
I used to feel guilty and ashamed if I banned people from my Facebook page or from commenting, but when repeat offenders constantly challenge you, not to learn or have a respectful debate, but to purposefully be a thorn in your side? Ain’t nobody got time for that…at least I don’t! My time is valuable, my sanity is even more precious and I’ll moderate my pages as I see fit. If you don’t like? You certainly don’t have to agree or visit my web spaces.
I hope these tips help!