9 Odd ways to deal with online toxicity and trolls

[Editor: Firstly I gotta admit that the reason behind this article is personal. I feel that in my little corner of the internet, that there has been a general uptick in the amount of online negativity and toxic behaviour. Maybe due to a global pandemic or maybe something else entirely? But I wanted to learn more about it and specifically how to deal with it. So I asked the following question to a few artist, who have a large online audience …]

While 99% of comments are positive and feedback is generally uplifting and useful. Sometimes, one negative comment just seems to stick. Human nature being what it is, we often only remember the negative criticism.

So what strategies have you developed to deal with online toxicity and trolls?

Hainbach

As my channel grew, so grew the influx of ill-spirited comments. At some point the anxiety I got from these was so great, that I had to do something: I needed to turn them into art. So I started taking screen shots of the comments. Instead of getting a ‘fight or flight’ response every time a mean, sexist or fascist statement came in, I felt joy – it was like a game of shitty Pokemon. I asked other creators to join in – Red Means Recording, Noir et Blanc Vie and Simon the Magpie also collected and then read their hate comments on video. I created a tape loop collage out of the collected hate and destroyed that slowly over time, using sandpaper and knives applied to the magnetic tape loop. Hate Loops, which you can find as a video on my channel, was truly cathartic. Ever since then I feel the freedom to react in whatever way I want to with trolling or simply hateful replies – laugh, sticky, repost to Twitter or simply ban.

https://www.youtube.com/hainbach101


Aldo Is Taken

I’m in a « choose love » kind of mindset where I try to refrain from typing that sick comeback line I’ve been mentally working on for 20 minutes. I often feel the urge to justify myself or to attack the Hater, because I know this will provide some instant satisfaction, but ultimately it can only lead to more toxic interactions, so I take a deep breath and I keep on scrolling. Sometimes I will even heart the comment, that’s how hard I’m choosing love. Once I have completed this cycle I’m usually alright and ready to get emotionally destroyed by the next comment <3 

https://www.youtube.com/c/AldoIsTaken/


R Beny

One thing I try to do is think about why the person wrote what they did. I imagine most of the time, they are projecting some other issue or feeling onto you. That helps me not take the words to heart so much. I’m a sensitive person and don’t really think I have a thick skin, so I find approaching these things from an empathetic or humorous perspective alleviates some of the negative feelings that I might initially feel.

https://www.youtube.com/c/rbeny


Mylar Melodies

The more extreme the comment, usually the less offensive it actually is, as it heads into absurdity. For the worst, sometimes leaving the comment for others to see and judge, is its own punishment to the person who wrote it. I suppose it’s the ones that play on your own fears and doubts that stick in your mind. But I really have learned from valid negative feedback, even though it hurt to hear, as it has unquestionably helped me improve things. Unjustified praise can make you complacent, and sometimes the negative person has a point, or part of one. But also, you have to acknowledge the universal truth that not EVERYONE will love everything you do all of the time, and so take comfort in that receiving negativity (along with the positives) means that your videos are being found, and watched. “Let the dogs bark, Sancho, for it means we are moving forward.”

One further thought – YouTube’s recommendation algorithm favours videos with high engagement, which includes comments. The reality, both sadly and happily, is that negative comments and ensuing arguments and discussions help your video rank higher. This of course leads to creators who may wish to create negative videos in order to stir up comments, and get views. It’s no different to any other medium in that regard, the choice of how to respond to controversy (namely, whether or not to encourage it) is yours. Either way, it will help you.

https://www.youtube.com/c/mylarmelodies


[Editor: This article will be updated whenever new answers find their way to my inbox… Also if you, dear reader, happen to have a way of dealing with internet trolls, then please leave a comment below]

Aldo is Taken – Groovy LiveLooper

1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?

That’s a cool one! I really like the tone pot on my Stratocaster, it makes everything I play sound like silk.

Strat Knobs

2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?

I think it would be the Empress Effects ZOIA, it’s just so fun to use and so powerful. Also I like tiny stuff because I don’t have much space. I just wish it had more CPU so I could go even more crazy with it.

Empress Zoia

3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?

On holiday I just take my laptop to organize stuff and finish what I haven’t finished yet. And I don’t tour!

Macbook

4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?

Having Max MSP in a hardware format would be pretty neat. Don’t know about the other way, I’m really not into softwares!

5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?

Hmmm, not really a regret but I deeply miss my MPC 2000XL. It was my first piece of gear ever and I really enjoyed it. It was just a bit too old school and limiting for me, I sold it to fund other music stuff so yeah no regrets!

6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?

Probably the Digitakt! It’s just super fast and clear, nothing gets in the way once I’ve got an idea.

Digitakt

7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?

Can I say the Digitakt again? It can do so much!

8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?

That’s easy! I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with the TC Electronic Ditto X4. It’s the cheapest looper pedal with a proper MIDI implementation, but oh my god it’s so unreliable. It crashed on me several times and you need some weird workaround to sync it. But yeah I can’t afford any other options at the moment so I still use it all the time.

Ditto Looper X4

9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?

You can run audio into almost any input of the Make Noise 0-Coast, even the CV inputs! Each circuit will transform your signal into something weird, I really like it with my guitar.

Make Noise 0-Coast

Artist or Band name?

Aldo

Genre?

Not sure, mostly hip-hop I guess.

Selfie?

Where are you from?

France!

How did you get into music?

A friend of mine taught me some guitar chords when I was 13.

What still drives you to make music?

Spiritual freedom and hopefully financial freedom one day.

How do you most often start a new track?

By listening to another track. I often catch a vibe in a song and bring that vibe into my next track. I think.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I already started the next track and just want to get rid of this one!

Show us your current studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard

« Sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something. » – Jake the Dog

Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.

Whatever is on my Youtube channel right now : https://www.youtube.com/aldoistaken

[Editor: Do you have any of the gear in this article? Then why not share a tip or trick? Leave a comment below]