Blog Trolls: Where do they find the time?

Earlier this week, I woke up this morning to find that someone had tried to post well over 100 comments on The Fashion Police, all complaining about the choice of category I’d filed certain posts in. There were dozens and dozens of comments, all saying things like “This should be in the ‘catwalk fashion’ category!” and “This should be in ‘fashion news’”, interspersed with comments like “I have no idea why you’ve filed this here!” and “This entire category has too many posts in it!” Now, in some cases, the commenter had a point. The Fashion Police currently has well over 2000 posts in its archive, and yes, some of those have been miscategorized. Most of them hadn’t been, though: they were in the categories I wanted them to be in, it was just that this girl thought she knew better and wanted to correct me.
My first instinct was to laugh. It seemed ridiculous to me that someone would spend so much time (and it really must have taken her a LOT of time to post that many comments) getting wound up over the way some random stranger chose to organise her blog.
My second instinct was to be flattered. This girl obviously really cares about my blog to want to spend hours of her time commenting on it. Which, despite the rather obnoxious way she went about it, is flattering really.
My third instinct was just to shake my head and wonder where on earth these people find the energy and the motivation. I just can’t imagine caring so deeply about someone else’s website that I’d waste hours of my time picking holes in it. And even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have the time to do that. Just to make this particular case even stranger, the commenter in question was someone who had already been banned from the site for leaving abusive comments.
Every single one of her comments had gone straight to the spam folder – not one of them had actually appeared on the site, and I only noticed them because the spam folder seemed unusually full when I logged in. Either she didn’t notice that her comments weren’t appearing, or she just didn’t care, and went on and on finding fault with my site and commenting on it regardless. Which kind of blows me away, really. Sadly, this wasn’t an isolated incident. A couple of days earlier, I’d had to delete around 200 comments from someone who’d gone through the blog archive, leaving abusive comments on as many posts as she could manage. Again, this must have taken a good couple of hours to do: can you even imagine wanting to spend hours of your life trying to make a complete stranger feel bad? No, me neither. Those comments didn’t get stopped by the spam filter, but although it must have taken her a long time to write them all, it still only took me a matter of seconds to mass delete them. Another futile exercise on the part of the troll. I mention all of this, not because it surprises me: sadly, I’ve been blogging long enough (and living long enough, come to think of it) to know that there are an awful lot of people out there who just delight in being nasty. I don’t even try to find explanations for it any more beyond thinking the people who spend hours trying to make strangers feel bad must have small, small lives) but because itis becoming an increasing problem that I need to find a way to deal with, so any suggestions you may have on how to do that would be very welcome. I’d rather spend my time writing than moderating comments, but at the moment it’s just not working out like that at all. And it looks like I need to spend a bit of time looking at my category archives, too…

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