Trolling The Owner

on February 22, 2014 in Media

Last May I had the pleasure to launch Stonewall Goes West at the 150th Anniversary reenactment of Chancellorsville. I met a lot of nice people, but also one not so nice fellow. He came over, chomped on a sandwich with his mouth so wide open as he spouted tinfoil hat theory that he dribbled and spat crumbs every which way, and generally made himself obnoxious.

I was a new, insecure author just a couple of weeks into having a book out, and initially I didn’t want to alienate a potential reader. That quickly faded, because I also have things like dignity, self-respect, and the gleeful willingness to physically confront people engendered by a couple of decades spent in and out of boxing gyms. I soon lost my patience, stepped out from around my table, and flatly told him to get lost.

Nowadays I have two lively Facebook groups, one for whiskey and one for my novel(s). A word of advice I have for anyone using social media — Facebook groups, forums, twitter, website comments, what have you — is not to neglect netiquette standards in the name of building an audience. I view my followers and members as my guests, and I don’t let one jerk abuse any of the others or myself in the name of keeping the one jerk.

Don’t shrink from banning a troll after a fair warning. It’s both good manners and good strategy.

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