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?


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.


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 


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.


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.


[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]

Hainbach – Good 2 Have U HerrBach

[Editor: Hey! Look everybody… it’s Hainbach! Wuhu! – But seriously. It gives me great pleasure to present to you this interview with the wonderful artist and inspiration to so many a music gear junkie… Mr. Hainbach101 himself]

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

Genrad 1516. turn one knob and the other knob moves too. Magic!

Genrad 1516

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

Rohde und Schwarz UBM, best Bassdrum in the world. I only wish it was not 18KG.

Rohde und Schwarz UBM [Editor: Note the bend in the metal shelf!]

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

OP-1 for the longest time.

Teenage Engineering OP-1

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

Sonic Charge Permut8

Sonic Charge Permut8 should be a hardware box.
I am also working together with SonicLAB to turn an important piece of test equipment music into software. Fundamental it will be called, release is a few weeks away.

[Editor: This is a bit of an exclusive look at the upcoming VSTi. It has a lovely design and I really look forward to trying it out. Will stick a link here when it is released]

Hainbach & SonicLAB’s Fundamental VSTi

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

I wish I had kept my Roland SH2000, but I did not have the money to have it repaired then. Worst purchase was the Roland MC-303.

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

Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoquantus, the endless machine.

Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoquantus

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

Koma Elektronik Field Kit and Field Kit FX. These have everything to make a whole lot of music at a decent price.

Koma Elektronik Field Kit FX

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

Probably any computer I ever had.

Apple MacBook

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

Phasers are awesome drum machines.

Artist or Band name?

Hi, I am Hainbach, electro-acoustic composer from Berlin and I talk experimental music and gear on YouTube.


Experimental and ambient music.


Stefan aka. Hainbach

Where are you from?

Berlin, Germany.

How did you get into music?

I started with piano at age six and got hooked at 15 playing keys in a psychedelic rock band.

What still drives you to make music?

If I don’t make music I get withdrawal symptoms and get sad and grumpy.

How do you most often start a new track?

I write every day I can, starting with either a concrete idea or an experiment I set for myself.

How do you know when a track is finished?

A track is finished when I feel it does not want anything from me anymore, and vice versa.

Show us your current studio

Hainbach’s studio desk

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Best technical advice was three level technique for mixing, which I was introduced to by Tobias Levin. Basically by watching a peak/rms meter and grouping instruments into three level sets you can get a good mix going easily. Here is a video I made on that: https://youtu.be/FZ4XwbCI0Lw

Best Creative advice was a Little Plaque in my parents kitchen that read: the mind grows by what it feeds on. That had an impact on me as a kid, as corny as that phrase might be. It’s in this video: https://youtu.be/fCJdXA0wNTI

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

Check out my new album „Assertion“, wild oscillations and piano loops combining in a colourful world of hope against the the darkness of current events


[Editor: It’s a real treat to read Hainbach’s answers. He’s a super productive person and I for one really appreciate all the stuff he does, both musically and ‘tutorially’. If you have any fave Hainbach tips/tricks/videos?… then leave a comment below]