We've all seen it, been a victim of it, or at least heard about it: Folk out in the digital world living for nothing more than the joy of ruffling peoples' feathers. Well not to worry dear reader, because I've compiled a survivor's guide on how to slay the beast of text pollution: le trolls!
Identify The Problem!
Being the level-headed fantastical artist that you are, when it comes to outrageous claims and aggravating comments regarding your work it seems like common sense for you to set the record straight and reply to these virtual text hoodlums. I mean why not? You poured your blood, sweat, and tears into that work, submitted it for feedback and now you've got some sourpuss raining on your parade. What's a tortured artist to do? Why, feed the trolls, of course! But alas, you must learn: DON'T DO IT! I know it may be tempting to react, but then you're playing directly into their hands. Trolls thrive on acknowledgement and live to make you rage quit!
The most important thing you can ever do when you realize you've encountered a troll is to just stop. It's a complex solution, I know. But seriously, that means stop talking to them. Stop all communications, put away that awesome comeback you were ready to fling at them and simply induct them into the harrowing hall of "Members Who No Longer Exist".
Block The Problem!
The blocking tool. Know it and love it (help.deviantart.com/96/). This handy dandy doohickey is the next step in making unwanted behavior on your page come to a screeching halt. Once a member is blocked, the user which you have listed won't be able to comment on your main page, journals, deviations, personal shoutbox (if subscriber) and personal forums (if subscriber) and will be unable to send any Notes to you. That's pretty dang efficient if you ask me! The blocking tool is very polite in that when you activate this method of mayhem it won't do anything obnoxious like, say, send the offending member a witty notice saying, 'You've been blocked, jerk!'. It simply happens. Whether or not the harassing member finds out is now their problem.
The block tool. It lets you keep it classy.
Let's be honest here, using the block tool should be the first step taken in most, if not all, cases of harassment. Too often members get a mean comment in their message center and run to the HelpDesk issuing reports of harassment. The solution we CEA members often give you first is to use the blocking tool. Frankly, it is simply the most efficient way to deal with trolling behavior. But hey, don't get upset that we aren't grinding these people into the ground with a ban hammer at the first sign of unpleasant behavior. More often than not when it comes to cases like this, using the tools provided to you totally does the trick and it helps make deviantART a more enjoyable experience for you!
But now that you've blocked your troll, what to do with the harassment that they've already posted? How does one deal with all those unsightly blemishes on a deviation, or worse yet, your profile? Fear not my fearless readers, this is where the comment hiding tool comes in! What? A comment hiding tool, you say? Well, dear reader, I do say so indeed. The option to hide a comment is located at the top right corner of the members comment (the pencil icon) via a dropdown menu. Yep, it's the perfect way to trim away the ugliness and keep your profile page looking fine!
Remember if you block someone, or if someone blocks you, that's it, show's over, that's all she wrote. This is critical, so pay attention: Regardless of how justified or well meaning your intentions may be, doing anything to get around that block is harassment, no ifs, ands, or buts! I cannot tell you how many reports I get of members who block someone, but are so peeved at what they said, they make a whole new account in order to give that troll a piece of their mind.
Problem is Ignored like WHOA!
So you've blocked your troll, and you've hidden their comments. What now? Well, break out the Cristal and start the party, because hopefully that's that. You simply move on with your internet life. Enjoy deviantART as it was intended to be enjoyed you little scamp! Do keep in mind that your peace relies on you following through and not engaging in any activity that would encourage further harassment. That means you don't write journals about your troll, do not submit deviations mocking them, and most importantly, do not get into public conversations high-fiving your friends over how dumb that troll was. It's a big no-no to encourage your friends to go harass this troll in your stead. Not only does this stir up unneeded drama, it also just shows trolls that they did get under your skin, so much so that you had to try and get back at them because you are so upset. This behavior is called "feeding the troll" and is bad business because it destroys all your previous efforts to solve the problem. It's like feeding a Gremlin after midnight. You just don't do it.
Remember, trolling and harassment needs attention to work. It needs to be acknowledged for it to grow and thrive, so tap into that inner Fonzie and be cool! The chill you exude will usually freeze any unwanted behavior. Everyone knows that harassing someone who doesn't pay any attention to them is just no fun.
...But What if it Doesn't Stop?
Now sometimes, despite your best efforts, there are just some people who can't let it go and will not give up being complete butt-munches. You've done your good deed, you've blocked them, you haven't spoken to (or about) them, and you've swaggered on to bigger and better things. Sadly, in spite of your goodwill, le troll has now begun employing whatever methods they can in order to get around your block. Lucky for you, this type of behavior has a helpful knack of being against the rules!
If you have blocked someone, hidden all their comments and made no efforts to talk to or about them but they are still finding ways to communicate with you on dA, then it is time to
contact deviantART staff for help. You can file a handy dandy HelpDesk ticket and include as much information you can. How long this situation has been going on? What kind of comments did they leave on your profile? How long have they been blocked for and so on. We realize dealing with this sort of thing can be really stressful and we understand if you get frustrated, but remember to stay calm! The more you stay calm and stick to the facts in your report, the faster we can get to the root of the problem and snuff it out.
So there you have it. The survival guide to dealing with harassment. Those deviants that help themselves first before anything else are not
only smart, but helping the community out, especially CEA staff. Cases
of harassment that are handled using dA's handy dandy tools and features
is a great way to cut down on tickets within our HelpDesk and allows us
to focus our attentions on more severe cases, such as that escalated
harassment issue. In many ways these tips are easy and commonly known, but as with any emotionally driven issue, doing what I've suggested can be tough. Words and online behavior CAN be hurtful and offensive at times and more often than not we don't have control over how we'll react to such things, but you do have control over yourself. Get up from the computer, take a moment if you need it so that when you come back you can STOP, BLOCK and ROCK!
Thanks a bunch for reading! This is kozispoon, signing off.