Why are people nasty online and how to stop them

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The truth about internet trolls and hate comments 

  • You might just read this out of interest and wonder who does such a thing and why. 
  • Or are you thinking about saying something humiliating, degrading, nasty or hateful? 
  • Or you might be reading this because you manage your own website and have received a hateful comment on your site. 
  • Or you might be at the very beginning of your blogging journey and you’re worried about receiving a hateful comment on your website one day. 

These are all very valid reasons. And if you have received one on your website or blog then I’m very sorry, however please read on because once you know why someone does this you will realise that you have no reason to lose any sleep over it, how that troll (that’s what they’re called, more about that below) is feeling and what you should and shouldn’t do now

If you don’t have time to read the full article and you just take one thing away from it, please let it be this:

To be successful in any business you have to be different, you have to step out there. You will challenge others with your boldness of going out there and some people react to a challenge by trying to destroy you.

Often because they envy you, they are not as successful as you or just can’t pull it off as well as you do.


If you find the small snippet above encouraging, would you mind to share it with your network? Yes, it’ll mean a lot to me. However, sharing helpful content on social media will benefit you too. People will realise you are someone to go to for great information. Just one click:

To be successful in any business you have to be different, others will envy you, they won't be as successful or just can't pull it off as well as you do. Don't let trolls defeat you, find out yourself what you can do Click To Tweet

Internet trolls – haters and their comments – what’s the reason? 

Well, let’s have a look first what actually is an internet troll and why are they haters. This is Wikipedia’s description of it.

‘Do not feed the trolls’ with attribution: By Sam Fentress (traced to SVG by James Hales)

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts flame wars or intentionally upsets people on the Internet by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses and normalising tangential discussion, either for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment.

Picture ‘Do not feed the trolls’ with attribution: By Sam Fentress (traced to SVG by James Hales)

Tom Postmes, a professor of social and organisational psychology at the universities of Exeter, England, and Groningen, The Netherlands, and the author of Individuality and the Group, who has studied online behaviour for 20 years explains their behaviour as follows.

“Trolls aspire to violence, to the level of trouble they can cause in an environment. They want it to kick off. They want to promote antipathetic emotions of disgust and outrage, which morbidly gives them a sense of pleasure.” 

The worst thing you can do to trolls is just not reacting to their comments – to not give them the pleasure of being upset about what they say. Ignore & delete! 


Who are these internet trolls?

Most haters hide behind anonymous accounts and often fake usernames. Trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and machiavellianism. Trolls take pleasure from causing pain. Their ability to upset or harm gives them a feeling of power.

Source https://psychcentral.com/blog/coping-with-internet-trolls/

internet trolls and haters - why are they miserable?
Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

Often they say something insulting out of content such as ‘Get a life loser’, ‘Nobody cares what you say’, ‘Kill yourself’, ‘This is all crap, your information is all lies’. As they are anonymous, and there is no way of tracing them, they can post very inflammatory content without repercussion.

Usually, their comments are just hateful, without any proof or benefit to anybody else, they just want to show how they can destroy someone or make someone’s life miserable. Some trolls actually perform psychological harassment across various message boards, just to be hateful. But why???

How do hateful comments affect us – will and should they hold me back?

I’ve been working daily with internet users, people who manage their own business website, for over ten years (mostly business owners, self-employed, artists or employees who take care of the online world for their company) and I have never met anybody who does anything online to encourage trolls.

I think that 99.9% (including myself) are actually terrified of being the target of an internet troll one day – and that’s exactly why I’m writing this post. It’s something which honestly always held me back a bit in regards to writing posts and sharing (personal) content – up to now.

I’ve been blogging since 2007 but usually I try to stay somewhat anonymous, I often ‘hide’ behind the username of the company, the organisation or association. It feels to me a bit like “you might know me on the internet but you don’t know who I am, I might be your neighbour”. We might discuss an article someone wrote but you don’t know that it was me.

Why do I dare to get out there now and why should you? 

why do internet trolls leave nasty comments - haters think you're better than them

One of my favourite parts of my job as a WordPress trainer is when I have students who want to start something new in their life, who often have a (full-time) job, but really want to start a blog and small website about their passion. They could be artists or hobbyists – people like you and me, often in their main job for about 20 years or so, and now finally ready to start this ‘side business’, because that’s what they love to do.

Bloggers don’t want to do any harm or ask for negative non-constructive comments, they want to connect with like-minded people, share their knowledge, help others with their experience and then down the line make some money with their blog and passion.

So for me, it’s really important to speak about internet trolls, who nobody wants or needs, who just try to destroy you and your business, just because they’re miserable.  

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One negative comment outweighs a hundred positive ones

Nobody says these nasty things to us in person, but when we get them anonymously they hurt. Even when others tell us to ignore them, it’s very difficult to do. We are confused why people do this and we start to doubt ourselves. Strangely, even when we get hundreds of positive, thankful and encouraging comments, and then one really nasty one – logically the positive ones far outweigh the negatives ones, but for some reason, the negative one sticks with us. It doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the same for all of us.

Negative comments can have a very profound effect on us, on our work, our business and especially on our mental wellbeing. So it’s really important to understand the trolls, so that they can’t harm us anymore. 

Understand why trolls want to harm us

Let’s have a look at why haters want to be hateful.

This is a very interesting podcast by Pat Flynn, about ‘Why people really hate us’. It’s almost an hour long, but well worth listing to. 

This episode is about what to do if you’re on the receiving end of hate online: why people do it and how you can move past it. If you don’t have time to listen to the full podcast (yet), you can read my summary below.

He starts by saying ‘this will happen to you too’. I hate the thought of that – my blog is my home and I don’t need this in my home.

I’d really recommend anybody who has been attacked online or is planning to build an online life to listen to this podcast first. I find it really powerful and encouraging. 

At the very beginning of this podcast, Pat explains something very important: ‘You should be aware of when you’re starting out doing something new, something unique, or different, that someone is going to resent you for it. It’s human nature.’

If we find yourself on the receiving end of a hateful comment, it’s usually because we have done something great – something somebody else is envious of. 

Every second you waste on this person, you take time away from all the people who care about you and find your content useful. 

To summarise the main reasons discussed in this podcast, why people leave hurtful comments on social media, blogs and streaming sites:

Three main points why people leave hate comments:

Because you’re different

You can only become successful online if you stop letting these hateful comments hurt you and it’s only when you learn where they come from, that you can do that.

To be successful in any business you have to be different, you have to step out there. You will challenge others with your boldness of going out there and some people react to a challenge by trying to destroy you.

Anonymous cowards

They only dare to challenge you, because they can’t be identified. It’s anonymous, they would never be brave enough to say anything like to that to anybody’s face. They are cowards.

A place of hurt

These comments are not about you, they are about something that happened in the troll’s life in the past. It’s not because of you that you’re receiving this. It’s because of the things that are happening in that person’s life. They are sad. Something in their life had happened once to give them the notion that putting this on you is okay. It always comes from a place of hurt.

Often because they envy you, they are not as successful as you or just can’t pull it off as well as you do.

What to do when you receive a hate comment?

Hurt people hurt people. People hurt others as a result of their own inner strife and pain.

Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.

Will Bowen (Author and speaker)

Have you ever tried to forget but feel that you can’t forgive? Unhealed wounds create bitterness below the surface, this affects those around us. 


I think the psychotherapist Rachel Lee Glass sums it up nicely:

Most [internet trolls] are sad, disconnected, bitter people who feel a need for, yet lack, social influence. No surprise there considering they are never well-liked people or strong contributors to society. [source]

Childhood bullies typically pick on weaker or somehow defenceless peers. They may also select victims they feel jealous of or perceive as different from them. Most bullies outgrow these behaviours as they develop character and compassion. However, some clearly do not and the internet provides the perfect outlet for them. 

Very important for you to remember:

Trolls are not super villains, but rather broken individuals. Don’t feel angry with them, but rather sad for them. If they did not envy you or feel that you are impactful then they would not be reacting to you.

Psychotherapist Rachel Lee Glass

Sorry Rachel for copying quite a few lines of your article, but I really think you summed it up very nicely, I couldn’t write it better and everybody should be aware of this before they get attacked. 

I encourage everyone who has, or plans, an internet presence to read her full article every time you fell harassed by ‘some ugly soul living under a dank bridge, while you and your internet presence are living in the light of day’.

If you receive a hate comment, don’t give them the pleasure and reply to them trying to defend yourself, just delete and ignore it.


If you are enjoying this post so far, would you mind to share it with your network? Yes, it’ll mean a lot to me. However, sharing helpful content on social media will benefit you too. People will realise you are someone to go to for great information. Just one click:

If you receive a hate comment, don’t give them the pleasure and reply to them trying to defend yourself, just delete and ignore it. Find out why trolls want to harm us and what you can do! Click To Tweet

For us to remember

They are out there, but don’t let them stop us. You have full control over your website and social media accounts, if someone leaves a nasty comment, don’t give them the pleasure and reply to them trying to defend yourself, just delete and ignore it.

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Enjoy creating content. Enlighten, inform and entertain your readers – happy blogging!

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

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