• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Meta Questions for Trolls

Questions for some commenters.


May 17, 2015

I know why I am on this blog:

1. I fit the demographic; I am a mama with a PhD.
2. I enjoy exploring, through writing, issues that engage me, and discussing them with intelligent, thoughtful people.
3. I'm getting paid.

I also know why I frequent some other blogs:

1. I'm interested in other writers' thoughts and experiences.
2. I can learn both from those I agree with and those I don't.

And I know why I don't visit certain blogs:

1. I find the concept and/or the execution weak or offensive.
2. I'm not learning anything worthwhile.

Here is what I don't understand:

1. Why, if you feel nothing but contempt for a blogger, do you waste your time reading her work and insulting her in the comments?
2. Given that you do get something out of this activity, why not go for the big fish? There are so many prominent feminist bloggers out there—why troll a small niche blogger with a limited readership? Why expend that kind of energy, in other words, if the world isn't watching to applaud your genius?

Please note:

1. I'm not talking about people who disagree with what I say, or who offer factual corrections. I am grateful for those commenters. Like most humans, I make mistakes in both fact and judgment, and although I never knowingly make a false statement, we don't have access to the Washington Post's fact checking department, and errors and misstatements slip through.
I'm referring to those who come on just to tell me that my writing, thinking and/or general attitude are garbage; those who object to things I've said or sources I've posted on the grounds that they are "stupid" or "offensive," and when I ask for clarification, tell me I'm dense or disingenuous for asking; those who are convinced I am trying to "sell" them some nefarious agenda (why would I? Why would I care what some random anonymous internet person thinks?); and those who accuse me of "trawling for attention" (well, yes. My job here is to write pieces that others with an interest in issues affecting mothers with advanced degrees will want to read. So by definition my posts are attention seeking. Again, why are you here?).
2. I'm not particularly outraged by any of this, and this isn't a plea for you to stop. I wouldn't invite someone who spoke to me (or to anyone) that way IRL into my home, but I don't mind engaging here sometimes. I can always click the x. I am just genuinely curious about what draws or compels you to this seemingly unrewarding activity when there are so many interesting things going on in the world.
(Looking particularly at you, Art Deco, since you seem to be my most dedicated hater, but I'm also interested in Tauroctoner, who came out with this gem last week: "I refuse to read this sort of 'article' as the author, evidently, failed to use the 'edit' button. What a waste of space and time and money" (and while you are enlightening me about why you took the time to comment on such a waste of time, please share with all of us how you managed to understand that it wasn't worth reading without, you know, reading it?) as well as anyone else, troll or regular reader, who has any thoughts to share.)

Thanks in advance for your time and cooperation


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