Tips on How to Deal With Nasty Trolls

Social Media | Advice | Negativity

Say the Magic Words

Photo by Bee Felten-Leidel on Unsplash

When I was growing up, a troll was someone that lived under a bridge or in a dank mountain cave. In fairy tales they were traditionally two faced and tended to enjoy creating chaos.

The Cambridge Dictionary online defines trolling as one who will: “try to catch fish by pulling a baited line through the water behind a boat”.

That sounds a lot like someone trolling on the internet today.

A troll tends to be someone who tries to start an argument online. Often they do that by posting a criticism on your article or by making controversial statements. Sometimes they will personally attack you.

My basic strategy includes the following Magic words:

Ignore — Document — Block — Report — Delete


The first rule is the hardest to follow. Don’t engage.

Just because someone comments on your article, it doesn’t mean you have to respond. What you wrote is your opinion. What they’re writing is theirs. You don’t have to agree.

They want you to respond. They want to engage you in an argument, as they insult you or your writing. Don’t rise to the bait.

But you don’t have to take shit from them either.


If the comment is offensive, insulting or otherwise disturbing, take a screenshot or print it. Put a date on it just in case you need it later.


I might give someone two chances, depending on the comment. If they do it twice, block their ass. Don’t hesitate. They can’t tell if they’ve been blocked. they just don’t see your writing anymore.


Medium provides several ways to report harassment or offensive comments.

To Report a user

Go to the profile page of the user you want to report.

Click the arrow down button next to the Follow button.

Click Report user.

To Report a private note

Open the note you wish to report.

Click Report.


Before you delete it, print it or take a screenshot first. Then go ahead and delete away.

Sometimes it’s easy to identify a troll. Sometimes it’s not.

If you just don’t want to see their content on your feed, another option is to mute the writer. Medium gives great instructions:

“Muting a writer or publication means their stories will no longer be visible in your home feed on the Web and in the app, or in Medium’s email digests.

To mute an author or publication from a story preview on iOS, Android, or Web, tap the overflow (…) icon and then mute this writer or mute this publication in the context menu.”

In the end, you’re in control of your content and the comments that appear there. Use the Magic words.

Don’t get drawn in. * Ignore Document Block Report Delete*

And then get back to writing.

— —

If you are a writer and want to join Medium, use this link to join me there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s