How to Deal with Online Drama

As HubPages staff, we get a lot of questions, and a surprising number of them have to do with online drama. Unfortunately, if you write online or are active on one or more social networks, it is likely that at some point you will become caught up in some sort of drama. In this week’s podcast (How to Deal with Online Drama), we share some advice on dealing with it in the most classy and effective manner possible.

Here are our basic tips:

  • In general, be careful how you word things online. If you are not very kind and courteous, people may misinterpret your behavior as hostile and lash back with a full out attack.
  • If someone insults, attacks, or criticizes you online in a way that bothers you, do not respond.
  • If someone leaves a comment on your writing that you find to be insulting or hurtful, feel free to delete it.
  • If you feel as though you MUST respond to someone who attacks or insults you online, kill them with kindness. Only say nice and mature things. That said, in the vast majority of cases (especially personal cases) any response at all is a very bad idea.
  • If someone insults, attacks, or criticizes someone very close to you, do not engage, and encourage that person to not respond, either.
  • Keep in mind that unkind words that someone says only have as much power as you give them.
  • The vast, vast majority of people (even very active ones) within a given online community will not give any credence to mean things someone else says about you. Try to remember that nobody cares.
  • When you feel yourself getting emotional, walk away from your computer, go for a walk, finish some chores, or do something nice for a friend. This will help you put everything into perspective.

Just remember this, Hubbers: Don’t feed the trolls!

16 thoughts on “How to Deal with Online Drama

  1. This is very helpful. I agree. At some point drama happens some way or another. It’s interesting because it’s usually women who instigate it not men. There is a lot more professionalism on this writing site than any other ones that I have come across. As far as nobody caring as to what others say about you, you may be right, but rumors do make people wonder. Even though many of us will probably never meet face to face, it’s important that we maintain a good and respectable image among the writers in the online community. I wasn’t aware that we could delete a comment if we didn’t like it. Thank you very much for sharing this useful information.

  2. I can tell an inexperienced writer just by leaving a comment. If they tell you that you are ignorant, suffer from ego problems or accuse you of being condescending when it comes to your comments on their work, this is a clue to leave them alone. The art of writing comes with a lot of rejection and disappointment, and not everyone is going to like what you write. It is not my job to teach or preach to beginning writers. Anytime you get pushed out of shape because someone somewhere doesn’t care for your writing or insulted you on the Forum, find a distraction and go after it. Better yet, sit down and write a Hub.

  3. Indeed, many need to follow this advice. I am always amazed how personally people take remarks and their online presence. I remember telling another Hubber not to add fuel to a fire. I care what people think about my writing and like constructive criticism, but let it go if people are rude. Their opinion about me personally has no affect on my life since they do not know me.
    This podcast is very important and needed. I hope many people pay attention.

  4. Excellent advise. Fortunately, I haven’t had any negative drama comments on my blogs or hubs nor towards any comments I’ve posted, however, i’m sure the time will come as we can’t always please everyone.

    I’m not sure if you want DRAMA, but if you do watch this YouTube clip for a pre-weekend giggle: http://bit.ly/IgGEBi (no marketing, affiliate links or anything of similar nature)

  5. Very good advice Simone! I used to be hyper sensitive when I first began writing online, but the last five years have seen me develop a really tough skin. I’ve given up looking for praise, I just write the best I can and leave it when I’m satisfied, the world can look after itself.

  6. Excellent advice! I’ve been a recipient of some pretty negative comments and I’ve been targeted by harassment and rumors. I’ve developed a very thick double layer of elephant skin.

  7. It always surprises me that people have no problem putting the most intimate things about their personal life online for the entire world to see. I don’t like arguing with my girlfriend in front of anyone, let alone infront of half the world (where the conversation never goes away).

  8. I’ve learned to just ignore any negative comments or delete them. People are unfortunately more apt to say things online that they wouldn’t dare say in person. I enjoy writing and refuse to allow one “bad egg” spoil it for me!

  9. Excellent advice, on or offline. If we write a lot we get your share of rejection and criticism. Sometimes it may feel nasty. Just don’t feed the trolls.

  10. This is great advice. I hope it brings some of the overly dramatic and stressed out hubbers back to Earth. It is easy to get caught up in drama if you don’t remember to take a step back and look at the situation rationally. It i such a shame that some people feel the need to be mean or think its ok. You don’t always have to be nice, but it is never ok to be mean!

  11. I’ve had a few comments on my hubs that were from people who disagreed with me. For the most part, they were simply statements of opinion, and I took it at that, thanked them for their time, and stated that we’d simply have to “agree to disagree.”
    However, there have been a few (very few, luckily) that really irked me. Two of them, I simply deleted, as they were nonsensical rants that made no sense–I will not engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
    The last one was from someone with no sense of humor who failed to see that there was sarcasm and satire included in the article. When my reply explained that, and I asked for him to please “lighten up,” because it was intended as humor, his response was to say that he was going to do just that by not following me any more. Oh well. Good riddance. I then deleted the entire exchange.
    It is, indeed, best not to engage with someone determined to be negative or bent on harrassment. Unfortunately, that is not always evident until an innocent response has been made to what at first seemed like a simple difference of opinion post.

  12. Good advice. I usually deal with drama by ignoring it. Drama queens are like trolls – they’re looking for something in particular. If you don’t provide it, they’ll go find someone who will and leave you alone. Add to that that it’s really important to have a turtle shell, take everything with a grain of salt, and keep in mind what you do, or don’t, know about the person trying to pick a fight. For example, I have a special needs child. You’d be amazed at how many high school drop outs want to tell me what he can and cannot do; but I take into account where it’s coming from and let it roll off my back like water on a duck. (I wonder if I can fit anymore euphemisms I can fit in here …. ). My point is, why do people care what someone they’ve never met thinks of them? If you don’t occasionally tick people off, you’re doing something wrong. You gotta stand for something … (another euphemism!).

  13. I’m more like the type to kill them with kindness type. When I was younger and less mature, I was very defensive and attacked without thinking on many occasion, only to feel very immature and childish afterwards.

    I feel very proud of myself for having learned humility and gained the strength required not to defend oneself.

  14. I agree online drama should be taken at face value, Most people who are lonely, or depressed with deliberately cause drama to be the center of attention, and the worse thing to do is put yourself into the middle of a drama crisis. You have to realize everyone is entitled to there own opinions even if they are bad or profane, the best thing to do is ignore it. Adding fuel to an already burning fire is NOT a good idea, Face Book has alot of drama on it and it is so irritating the people that cause it. the best thing to do is ignore it at all cost or politely send them an instant message that what they are doing or saying is inappropriate and they should stop before they get reported. trust me I’ve reported several people and unfriended about 20 people because of drama. Life is hard enough without that to deal with. : )

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