Whenever I post something online I always leave the comments section open and even encourage feedback on my work. The reason been that I find it helpful when someone spots a problem with the work and I can work to avoid such errors in the future, or correct the current release of the work. Additionally it's also nice to hear what people think of what I've done - a positive comment really does make me happy, as it means I've achieved my target of making people happy through providing entertaining content for them to read/view and enjoy.
However on the other side of the equation you get the negative comments. There's a fine line between feedback and abuse, and I've found every person has their own opinion of the boundary between the two. To me, I define a negative comment as feedback if conclusive evidence of a fault in the work is given, while considering it to be abuse (or a 'flame') if no evidence of faults in the work is given. A third class is where circumstantial evidence of a fault in the work is given and ill talk about this as well.
I think it might be worth mentioning I was bullied a lot at school. I know what it's like feeling worthless and depressed, with almost constant verbal and physical abuse. However I survived. Despite how much people hated me, I kept on writing and drawing. In this article I'm basically trying to help people who are been bullied and picked on by Shitheads, Trolls, and other Morons. Firstly by identifying who are the bad ones, and then by dealing with them. And of course giving advice on how to avoid the trauma keeping you awake all night with worry.
So firstly, what evidence counts as conclusive, circumstantial or invalid? I tend to group them into the following...
- Conclusive - there is a problem that does exist in the work and can be repaired. Accurate Evidence must also be supplied to back up the claim of the problem. For example, quoting problematic text (spelling errors for example) or providing a reference (for errors in drawing). - Circumstantial - there is a problem that is claimed to exist in the work and can be repaired. Evidence supplied in this case tends to be one-sided and can be overruled if the claimed problem is a key part of the work. For example, an Out-of-character issue can be overridden if the author intended the work to be non-canonical, and different face designs can be approved if it is an original style. - Invalid - there is a problem that is claimed to exist in the work and cannot be repaired. Evidence supplied in this case have no relation to the work at all, and the problem does not exist or is legible. Examples include a work featuring themes the commentator does not like, and general dislike of the piece. Or the commentator is just been a prat, of course.
The first thing to know is that an artist/author/musician needs to learn to accept Conclusive Feedback (also known as "Constructive Criticism"). Circumstantial Feedback can be ignored if there is a good reason to, and Invalid Feedback can be ruled as bad. The main reason behind the thin boundary between Feedback and Abuse is due to one's consideration of the differences.
Now from experience, the majority of feedback I gain is positive. Only a small portion of comments I have received have been Invalid Feedback, but these tend to stick with you a lot. Think about it though - For every ten or so people who give positive or conclusive/circumstantial feedback, you get one who didn't.
Life Lesson #1: Bullies are a minority. They are outnumbered by us nice people, and mostly live in their parent's basements jerking off over underwear catalogues.
Of the invalid comments, I find many of them add personal insults or abusive language into it. And in many cases their language isn't of very high quality. In many cases, it seems that they don't have the intelligence to find evidence to back up their claims or use their language properly. Instead they just yell as many expletives as they can in a poor attempt to get their opinion across.
Life Lesson #2: Bullies are stupid. They have the intelligence of a cabbage, and have a comparable grasp of the English language.
Another major point I have found with the invalid comments is based on their idea of accuracy. To them, they think everything must be their way otherwise it's wrong. Usually this means the work has to be accurate to the source material or only include the themes they like to see, and they give no artistic licence or leeway. They don't have the ability to see that most work is fictional, as their concept of fantasy has been burned away from their minds by hours of moronic soap operas, talk shows, and other brain-dissolving things they see on their television.
Life Lesson #3: Bullies cannot accept diversity. They think that everything must conform to an existing canon or standard, and have no imagination at all. They only allow what they think alone.
So with all this considered, what can one do about the idiots? Well, there tends to be two major approaches to the issue - Fight or Flight - with a confrontation or non-confrontational approach to each.
- Fight Confrontational - Declare a flamewar and completely destroy every one of the loser's arguments. Completely demoralise them to the point they show how cowardly they are and run for cover rather than respond. However this approach may make you seem aggressive to others. - Fight Non-Confrontational - Delete all the comments and then report and block the loser. Works, but no good if they create sock puppet accounts. However I recommend this - Flight Confrontational - Delete all the comments then ignore the loser completely until they get bored and move on. Works, but slow. - Flight Non-Confrontational - Leave everything behind and leave the site where you are getting attacked, or move to a new account letting only key parties know. However this means having to start again and may end up losing you some friends. I do not recommend this.
Of the four, I usually pick Fight Confrontational. I do this as I consider Bullies to be the scum of the earth, and a total waste of flesh. Rather than let them remain as they are, I lock and load then blow their stupid selves far away from their nasty habits. And because Bullies are nothing but complete cowards, on discovering their arguments are worthless and they are a minority, they run away with a few more expletives and don't come back.
Life Lesson #4: Bullies are Cowards Their courage crumbles like a biscuit at the slightest threat, their willpower is as solid as jelly, and they are as pathetic as the unmeasurably small things in their underwear.
There is however one final point to go over before I end this article. The issue of the question. You have the right to question why the commentator made such a claim, and to ask for more evidence if what is given is Circumstantial or Invalid. An intelligent person will come up with evidence to support their claim as well as a more detailed explanation. A bully will just start ranting and raving with expletives as every other word. It takes one with intellect to ask questions and gives answers, and those unable to do so usually are lacking the brain capacity to do anything useful.
Life Lesson #5: Bullies hate been Questioned Question their intentions and the intellectual capacity of Bullies is reached. They are unable to think rationally, or even eat rationally, preferring Doner Kebabs to Discussions.
So I'll end this with a bit of advice for all of you out there who have been hit by Trolls, Shitheads and the like. Don't put up with the bullies - stare at their pathetic faces and deal with them. Remember - by been different you're been creative. And keep in mind that those ten people who liked your piece outweigh that one idiot who uses the Internet all day after they failed to get any qualifications at school, and are constantly unemployed.
Finally I found the best way to deal with nasty comments is by seeing how moronic they are. Some of the stuff I've seen has been so bad and so contradictory I can't help but laugh. That, and I tend to imagine the people writing them to be, quoting the FATAL review, "a drooling metalhead wannabe-rapist who's forced to get his jollies by masturbating over stat blocks involving sexual characteristics". Go figure.