RPG Blogging 101: You need to have a thick skin!

Troll In light of recent events I thought it would be a good idea to come back to my RPG blogging advice series. Whenever you post something on the internet you risk that someone might disagree with your opinion or even be offended. If this person is a nice and reasonable member of the human race this might not that much of an issue.

But especially the anonymity of the internet seems to bring out the worst in people. Especially when it comes to controversial topics you might attract what we usually call “a troll”.

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory[citation needed], extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[3] The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted”. While the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, media attention in recent years has made such labels subjective, with trolling describing intentionally provocative actions outside of an online context. For example, mass media uses troll to describe “a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families.”[4][5]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

Even without actual trolling, people might have heated discussion on your blog, post nasty things about you or your articles on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any other social network. Especially if your blog is getting some popularity this is most likely bound to happen sooner or later. So what can you do to defend against these attacks?

Of course you can try to avoid controversial topics like the D&D Edition Wars for example. But even your totally harmless post about the use of the knitting skill might attract the haters. Sometimes people just thinks its fun to ridicule you. And more often than not these attacks might get personal.

The only thing you actually can do is to have a thick skin. Moderating the comments of your blog might help, but in some cases this might even encourage the trolls. When you start to blog publicly you always have to steel yourself against attacks. Be prepared that it will happen some day and don’t let the attacks get to you. There’s an old saying: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen”.

This may sound harsh but alas that’s the best advice anyone can give you. As soon as you start blogging you make yourself a potential target. This is something you have to keep in the back of your head when you make the decision to start a RPG blog.

Luckily I haven’t had that many (if any) situations in my blogging career where I had to fend of the trolls. There were some heated discussions especially when D&D 4th Edition was concerned, but aside from that things have been pretty civil here at Stargazer’s World.

But I am sure some of my readers have a few stories to share. Aside from trying to grow a thick skin what would you advise? Are there any experiences you can share with us? Please post your comments below, every advice is highly appreciated.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

21 thoughts on “RPG Blogging 101: You need to have a thick skin!”

      1. No, no, no! You’re doing it wrong! That’s not how it goes. You’re supposed to say that it’s the future or better for X or Y or something. Is the D&D flamewar too difficult for you? Let’s choose something easier…

        Dungeonslayers is better than WR&M! 😛

        That should get you going.

  1. I have found moderation and banning to be the tools of the trade. People try to defend this by pointing at free speech, and my defense in this case is that their right to free speech does not imply that I have to listen to it. Let them run their own blog or forum.

    1. I am with you on this. There might be free speech out there but not on my blog/forum/etc.
      I run the place, so I make the rules. Luckily I haven’t had to use the banhammer here.

    2. I am absolutely with Alex on this one. I’ve only used the spam hammer, never had to ban anyone. Even after my mediocre-love review of Risus.

  2. The “RPG” bit is actually quite unnecessary: if you write for public, or even semi-public consumption, you need to have a thick skin. Blogs made that even more of a necessity.

    1. True, but this is a RPG blog and the series is meant mainly for RPG bloggers although a lot of the tips can be used by all kinds of bloggers.

  3. I dunno, maybe it’s because of low traffic, but my blog has never attracted a troll. Spammers are a much bigger problem.

  4. I’m in agreement with this. Sooner or later, somewhere in the internet someone is going to try and ruin your day. A good amount of self-control and the ability to shrug off immature comments and rude behavior is very important to any one with a blog nowadays.

  5. There’s thick skin, and then there’s threshold of tolerance. Do the RPG blogging thing for 15 years and see if the trolls don’t slowly grind you down over time. Even if it’s nothing more than a slow trickle of tiny poke-poke-poking, even if it’s background noise that you’re easily able to tune out, you can reach a point where the constant, albeit mild, annoyance is nerve-wracking and makes it just not worth the effort any more. Straws and camels’ backs.

  6. The particular trollish/attack blogger in question is very offensive, and is beyond the pale. On the other hand, Christian writes a great blog, and I’m glad he changed his mind, and came back.

  7. I agree… I have encountered a couple of trollish situations, not here in the blog but on social media websites, and I try not to get it get to me. It’s not always easy, but like in real life, don’t let them get to you.

  8. I am just starting my blog. It is a few weeks old. I have not had any trolls yet, but there has not been any controversial posts yet. I have been out of touch with the RPG scene for a while so I am not up on the wars.

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