How to handle tricky comments, trolls and tirades


It’s exciting to create a community where you and your readers connect. . . until the conversation goes south. May I share something with you?

It’s going to happen.

The larger the platform, the more vulnerable you are to trolls, tricky comments and tirades. A troll is a person who has one personality in real life and another online. Their words on social media are far from filtered. In fact, they are designed to instigate a good fight.

Tricky comments are those bigger than you know how to handle. Perhaps it’s a person who latches on. You are offering encouragement and it’s exactly what they want, except you are the focus rather than Jesus. They either need more from you than you can give, or they get angry when you try to help and it’s not what they want you to say.

Tricky comments can be those that mock your faith, mock you or even those you love the most. For example, one blogger recently received a public comment that suggested that she was not suitable to blog because of a mistake her grown child had made.

A tirade? It’s exactly what it suggests. Someone is angry and you (or your ministry) are the target of their very public anger. It may be on your site. It may be on theirs.

In today’s Tuesday Tip, we share 4 ways we can deal with trolls, tricky comments, and tirades.

1. Delete

You may want to defend your statement or your ministry. You feel that if you engage the troller they will come to your way of thinking.

Hit the delete key.

Without reservation or hesitation, let them go. It’s not that your opinion doesn’t matter, but it’s not your job to make every person who disagrees with you see it the way you do. Not only that, a true troll is itching for a fight. Don’t give them the opportunity.

2. Don’t run away

Tricky comments, trolls, and tirades are nothing new. If the hurtful comment makes you want to run away from social media or blogging, think again. Consider the crowds that followed Jesus. Some hung on every word. Others knelt at his feet in adoration. Some had questions and some where there to mock him. There were even people who followed him just to catch him in a mistake.

Why should we expect any different?

Not everyone is going to like what we say. Not everyone is going to fall at our feet (and we don’t want that anyway). Not everyone is going to have the best of intentions in their comments. It’s the privilege of ministry, walking like Jesus did. The crowds led Jesus to prayer, for that is where he filled back up.

Let these lead you in the same direction to refuel for ministry.

3. Don’t miss your assignment

Sometimes you will respond. There will be rare assignments among the tirades, tricky comments, and trolls. Last year I received a private message. A woman was angered because of something she read in my book.

She let me have it. As I read her message, I knew this was an assignment. I prayed and wrote a reply. I let it sit for 24 hours before hitting send. This woman and I corresponded for several weeks.

Her original words were harsh, but they weren’t a personal attack but rather anger over her feelings that God had abandoned her. We still stay in touch. About once a month, she shares how she is doing. She’s growing in her faith exponentially. I love that.

If you feel that tug that says, “This one is for you,” then prayerfully respond. If not, pray for them and move on.

4. Unpack truth

If you hear a comment consistently, pray about it.

Is there a nugget of truth in it and, if so, how will you grow in that area?

As you deal with trolls, tricky comments, and tirades, understand they come with the territory. If you are asking God for a larger platform, then ask Him for larger faith and wisdom to walk that path. He promises to help us.

Your Turn

Our downfall with trolls, tricky comments, and tirades is that we take them personally. What if we went into ministry knowing this is a messy part of a beautiful adventure? Instead of feeling wounded, we pray for that person and ask for wisdom and keeping going! Take a moment to pray for your ministry and your online community and share some encouragement with other writers in the comments section!

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Suzie Eller is a COMPEL mentor and Community Coordinator.

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  2. Suzie, thank you. Just starting out in the world of blogging and grateful for the wisdom. Especially liked..Consider the crowds that followed Jesus. Some hung on every word. Others knelt at his feet in adoration. Some had questions and some where there to mock him. There were even people who followed him just to catch him in a mistake.
    Thanks again!
    Diane

  3. Wow. This is a timely word! Yes I want to run and hide. However, I receive this message to NIT take it personal and by this advice understand the significance of not being alone in this experience!!!

  4. Talk about perfect timing. I just read today a comment (not on my post, but someone I am friends with un FB) starting with this: “I cuss like a sailor, and I love Jesus.”. I have been thinking today to ask her some questions because I honestly can’t comprehend that. I don’t even use bad words and my Scripture for this year (and last) is Eph4:29. And, as you suggested, I did think that maybe I should just pray for her and let it go. But I am honestly very curious why would someone that says love Jesus be apparently proud of such a thing. I kinda want to dig into her mind… 🙂
    Thank you for all the suggestions and yes…..I should pray first, then see where the Lord leads me.

  5. Nneka Joseph: May 23, 2019 at 10:08 am

    This is applicable in so many different areas. You can be a hero one minute and a zero the next based on what someone else is feeling. It’s important to remember that when we’re receiving a lot of praise. Opinions don’t define who we really are.

  6. Good words, Suzie, that I am soaking in like a sponge today. You are wise. We have the freedom to respond or not to respond. Thank you, God.

  7. Martha Reabold: May 21, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    I have to remember I’m writing with a purpose, and my goal is to honor God’s calling for my life. That helps me to re-focus and re-frame! The next step is to pray for the person who is criticizing. Only after reviewing my purpose and spending time in prayer am I able to determine my next steps. Maybe God wants me to respond in love, or possibly He wants me to move on and add this person to my prayer list!

  8. Leigh Cook White: May 21, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    I feel today’s topic is great advise for our everyday life as well as our callings. Thank you for giving us the list of options and examples so that we know we’re not along. I know there will be people out there that will think all of these things about me. And yes a lot of them will be friends and even family. I pray I have the self confidence to move forward, because I know even if I can help one person it will all be forth it. Even if that one person is me. Thanks again, Suzie for your encouragements.

  9. Great advice! I am praying for a larger platform, so I am taking these words to heart!

  10. Great words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing!