Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rising of the Trolls

To live is to war with trolls-- Ibsen

They have a cave troll-- Boromir, The Fellowship of the Ring

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may also refer to the provocative message itself, as in: "That was an excellent troll you posted."
 -- Wikipedia

I don't understand the desperate need of some people to comb websites looking for places to take a dump on someone. But they're out there, waiting to pounce. I found some.

When I was starting out in getting published, just over a year and a half ago, questions were raised on a writer-help website, Absolute Write, about the new publishing company Briona Glen, the one I'd agreed to publish with to get their business started. Legitimate questions were raised about an unknown, but got added to with a lot of unfounded conjecture, and assumptions. So I signed on, to post my experience, provide information, and hopefully clear things up.

What I found was the Internet equivalent of the Fox channel, where you go on, and everyone on the show tells you you're wrong if you don't agree with them, none of your experience is deemed relevant, and they denigrate and deny any evidence you provide. You espouse a multitude of approaches, and are accused of partisanship, while they refute things you never said.

Since I have no problem with a healthy debate, I laid out my reasons for the path I'd taken, saying that here was another method. You'd have thought I told them their children were ugly.

I tried to be civil and informative, really I did. But the responses went from snarky superiority to downright rude, to outright falsehoods. My loving mallet of correction (thank you, John Scalzi) went unheeded, as the discussion went further afield. Every word I put up was pulled apart, twisted, and flung back at me, while laughably incorrect statements on their part went completely unremarked upon, sliding through like a greased weasel. The one-sidedness was soon apparent.

It was as thought they couldn't parse simple paragraphs, and I got tired of making corrections. I realized I was in an echo chamber, where the whole intent was to bash a viewpoint they didn't agree with (while accusing me of being intractable and dogmatic). So I signed off, wishing them all well, and bade them adieu.

So what prompted this screed, after all this time? The publisher has undergone changes and changed their name, and the bored, under-employed trolls emerged from their caves to bash the long-dead horse yet again.

And one particularly odious, over-self-promoting twerp couldn't help taking a few swipes at me, giggling in their glee that I hadn't stuck around to be their pinata.

Well here's the lowdown, Sparky-- I have better things to do. Like write and publish.
Here's my priority list-- family, day job, writing, promotion.
You and your ilk of eternal argumenters don't even make the scale.
Most of those spending an inordinate amount time to tell me I didn't know what I was doing had posted thousands of times, on that site alone. Thousands.
The time they spent in their self-congratulating circle-jerk could have been spent writing ten books or more-- but they'd rather tell real writers why they're on the wrong path.
Yeah, way to prove your point.

Suppose they're right-- say I didn't know what I was doing, took the wrong path, and have ruined my writing career.
Then look at my publicity page:
And this year: acceptance into prestigious anthologies, including a "Best of."
A regular radio guest spot talking about writing (and do any of these turkeys have the sand to call in and tell me on air I don't know what I'm doing? Oh, please do. Heh-heh.)
Multiple signings and talks and shows featuring my published works.
Interviews on television, radio, newspaper, and Internet.
Voted as "One of 50 Great Authors You Should Be Reading."
And my professional brochure that I hand to bookstores, libraries, readers, with my 8 published books, really shows at a glance what a failure I've been.

Maybe they're right-- maybe I should have foregone all the cool stuff and publication and positive reader feedback, so I could have gone their path, and instead waited for my publishing lottery ticket to win, where the magical pub fairy would have descended from the heavens with a gentle anointment of popularity and wealth.

Nah. I live in the real world. They sneer at my path, but I believe I already have more published works than any of them. As the water on thier sinking ship wets them ever higher, I row by in my homemade boat, laughing my ass off. Whatever floats your boat.

It's fine if you researched a path and made a choice that benefitted you. But to tell other people they don't know what they're doing if they take another path is wrong, and that's what they did.
And no, I don't have time to go back on and engage in endless, meaningless debate with people of a locked mindset who won't listen.

They can post another five thousand remarks, while I publish another 5-10 books in the time they took to say why that wouldn't work.

For those who want to be tortured, here's the link-- and really, if you read the whole thing and tell me I was a complete, unschooled dick, please back it up with evidence, and I'll listen.

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