Every week (kinda) I reveal the Mark Ellis Reviews Troll of the Week on my Twitter feed.
It’s a bit of fun, but I’m making a relatively serious point by sharing these negative comments.
They are really, really silly.
I’m lucky; I don’t receive anywhere near the number of seriously nasty comments that some creators have to endure. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had a few, but I also have a relatively thick skin, and I can brush them off pretty easily.
If you’re about to embark on the wonderful journey of becoming a creator but you’re worried about receiving nasty comments, I think there are a few things I can tell you about trolls that should settle your mind.
1. There aren’t that many of them
Nine-nine percent of the comments I receive on YouTube, my website, and Medium are absolutely wonderful.
Honestly – some of the stuff people say on a daily basis number among the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. It’s humbling, and, sometimes, rather moving.
The bigger your channel becomes, the more these lovely comments will flood into your inbox. It’s a real pick-me-up during a bad day, and one of the best motivators available to any creator.
It also means that the very few comments you’ll receive from idiots will sink without trace. You may even miss them entirely among the weight of loveliness.
It’s important to remember that the emergence of your first troll is actually a pretty good sign. It means that your content is starting to spread far and wide.
Thankfully, you won’t encounter many of these people, which makes the process of blocking and reporting them pretty easy.
2. They’re incapable of respecting different opinions
This is the thing that disappoints me the most about trolls.
They cannot, for love nor money, find it within themselves to respect anyone else’s opinion.
I see this most commonly (and, unfathomably) in the headphone niche. If I sing the praises of a particular brand, I’ll always receive one or two idiotic comments from people who inform me that my opinion is incorrect and that I should be singing the praises of a different brand instead.
But… what if that’s my opinion? Oh, that’s irrelevant? Ok, then.
It’s a similar story in the Apple niche. I’ll sometimes receive comments from people who will tell me that, without question, buying an expensive laptop is a stupid decision. Those who do so, I’m informed, have more sense than money.
But, what if they just want to spend their hard-earned money on something they find desirable? I ask.
Nope. That’s wrong, too. According to Terry Troll, they’re still stupid consumers who should buy the cheaper, ‘better’ alternative from another brand.
The inability to respect someone else’s opinion, desire, or love for something when it differs from yours is one of the least palatable human traits.
Thankfully, it’s easy to ignore.
3. They apologise (sometimes)
This doesn’t happen a lot, but it never fails to surprise me when it does.
We’re led to believe that trolls are incapable of remorse. They sit there, behind their keyboards, bashing away hateful comment after hateful comment, without giving a moment’s thought to the trail of destruction left in their wake.
You see, I’ve had several instances where I’ve replied to a negative comment and the person behind it has held up their hands and apologised. One even edited his original comment to remove the nasty bit.
I’m not suggesting that you should reply to comments from trolls in the hope that they might see sense and say sorry. Indeed, the best advice is to just ignore them. But, personally, I like to get involved occasionally – particularly if I spot something which I feel needs addressing for the benefit of others watching from the sidelines.
No one’s perfect, and I suspect that of the trolls I’ve challenged – and who subsequently apologised – several had probably just had a bad day. It’s no excuse, but we are all human.
But, seriously, just ignore them – it’s not really worth expending time and energy on these people, and, in my experience, replying to them sometimes results in nothing more than a rather unpalatable exchange.
4. They have a sudden change of heart
YouTube sends an email notification whenever someone comments on one of your videos. This can be useful and, sometimes, fascinating.
I occasionally notice nasty comments within these notifications. I usually ignore them, but there have been a couple of occasions in the past where it has fired me up enough to click through and respond.
But, hold on… where’s the comment?
It’s gone. Not there. And it isn’t even in the ‘held for review’ section of YouTube Studio.
Although I have no way to confirm this, I suspect that, on those occasions, the person who left the comment decided to delete it. They had a sudden change of heart – a bout of remorse.
Clearly, some trolls do have a conscience.
5. They HATE the absence of the dislike counter
In 2021, YouTube decided to remove the dislike counter from videos. You can still dislike a video, but the only person who can see the impact of that is the creator.
There are lots of differing opinions on this. Some have championed the removal of the number of dislikes a video has, hailing it a small victory against trolls and dislike campaigns. Others have suggested that the absence of that number is detrimental to the user experience; after all, how are you supposed to gauge the quality of, say, a tutorial video if you can’t see an aggregated statistical opinion?
The absence of the dislike counter doesn’t bother me too much. I’ve never really paid much attention to it either as a creator or viewer. But I’ll tell you one thing – trolls absolutely hate the fact it is no longer there.
These people take great pleasure in hitting that thumbs-down button. Only, now, that has no measurable impact on anything (publicly).
To counter this, I’ve noticed that trolls have started informing me that they DISLIKE my video within their comment. It’ll go something like this:
This guy keeps making the same video about the same topic. DISLIKE.
They get very angry about it, trust me. The inability to publicly add another number to the dislike count infuriates them. So, they take matters into their own hands.
I even had one troll create his own dislike counter for me. Which was nice.
From memory, it read something like this:
Oh my god stop going on about how amazing these Sony headphones are. You must be paid by Sony. 1,918 DISLIKES.
If you’re laughing, so am I. It is poetic.
Trolls are idiots. You’re brilliant.
This is all you need to remember.
You’re putting yourself out there, on camera, for the world to see. They aren’t.
What you’re doing is damn hard. What they’re doing is easy, stupid, and ultimately pointless. More importantly, what you do looks great; what they do makes them look like a clown.
The above revelations may not surprise you but they should confirm that these people are an absolute waste of your time.
So, ignore the trolls and crack on.
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