The Musings of an Elective Orphan

Sarah Brandis

Update on my internet troll

Internet-tough-guy-trollBullies and stalkers have it made now that the internet is so accessible to all.  No longer do they need to follow you home, hide in the bushes, or call your landline 257 times.  They can hide behind fake online profiles from the comfort of their own home, further facilitating their cowardice.

I had a guy being an utter nuisance on Facebook for quite some time, until I blocked him and sent him an email explaining that his presence in my life would no longer be tolerated. I was in the final stages of writing my memoirs at the time, and so my story about him was added to a late chapter, as it was of relevance (there have been many bullies in my life, and a couple more stalkers).  When I released my book, I of course put my personal thoughts out there into the public domain – so to be fair I was expecting some backlash.  ‘Facebook Stalker’ got wind of my book pretty quickly, and had apparently read it within two days (it is only 50,000 words, but still, he must have given up some sleep for that effort!).  A ‘review’ of my book popped-up on Amazon, entitled ‘Awful – not worth the money – avoid’, a one star berating from ‘Nononsense93’.  Now, I had to ask the following:

  • Who has an Amazon account name like ‘Nononsense93’, except from someone who only ever wants to write negative things?
  • Who sets up a brand new account, and posts a product review (for a product Amazon says is not a verified purchase) on the same day?
  • Who do I know that would be totally offended by a part of my book (because I call him out on being a troll – unnamed of course)?
  • Who do I know that would misspell ‘angsty’ (common UK spelling), as ‘anxty’?

Well, I think I know, so I commented on his ‘review’… “Hello ‘NoNonesence93’, this ‘review’ has been reported. A proper book review covers the content, pace and style of the book, and is meant to allow potential readers to come to their own decision about whether or not this book might interest them. (They can of course also use the ‘look inside’ feature to see for themselves if my writing is really ‘self indulgent’ and ‘insulting’.) A proper book review is not a personal attack on the author. Your attack says more about yourself then it does about me. I have to ask why you feel ‘insulted’ by my life story? It is my personal struggle, and not an insult to you, a stranger. Oh, unless behind your pseudo name and brand new account (never reviewed a book before on here, not a verified purchase either) you are someone that I knew, and perhaps wrote about? Hmmmmm.”

These little guys have had their name besmirched

These little guys have had their name besmirched

Ten days on there has been no response from this guy.  I reported it to Amazon, and although they did agree it looked like the work of a troll, and even offered me advise on dealing with a troll, they could not remove his ‘review’.  Doing so would go against their terms of service, as customers (even unverified purchases) are free to write whatever they want, so long as it is not of a violent or sexual nature etc.  Well, at first I was disappointed, until I saw the silver lining.  This character from my book had just made a public demonstration of how venomous and cowardly he is – calling my writing ‘insulting’ and ‘attention seeking’ from behind a pseudo name.  I have never had so many downloads of my book, or hits on my blog as I did the day he posted that!  People must have been curious to see why he was so offended by my book.  So, thank you troll, for pissing into the wind.  You boosted my audience by showing your true colours and bringing your character in my book into three-dimentional life!

So, ten days on, I choose to take this as a win.

This is my book’s page on Amazon – complete with my one star berating.

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This entry was posted on June 7, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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