There’s a moment in your life that you realize: I want to make videos and express myself to the world! And if you do some things right, you start to get a following from a bunch of people who think you’re amazing and await new videos every week. And you love interacting with those people in the comments. Most of them love you. Occasionally you might see something mildly off-putting. And then there’s the darker side: the trolls. Or there are people who have misunderstood your video so completely that they feel the need to be offensive in their comments. There is a way to deal with these trolls, however. You can have the upper hand.
Dealing with YouTube Trolls the Correct Way
One of the easy things to do is to simply ignore them. But what kind of fun is that? What I’ve found over time is that commenting back to these people can be fun. It’s like creating even more content for the channel. When a friend and I started a channel a few months ago, it was easy to get down when people spewed hatred at us. They didn’t get it. Or they misunderstood the intent. And we’d talk about it, and wonder how we could make those people change their minds.
In a couple of words, you can’t.
There’s a reason why there’s an expression called “Don’t feed the trolls.” And what that means is that when you fire back and let them know that in some way, what they said was able to hurt you, you have lost this war already. When people are either ignorant or hateful, you can’t do anything about it…except have fun with it.
Here are a few things to consider when interacting with trolls:
1. Never, ever say something hateful back.
Once you “come back” to somebody by saying something equally ignorant or stupid, then you’ve started a war that will likely never end. It becomes a boring war of words and it will likely involve your mom at some point. Coming back with negativity just means they got to you. Even if you have the best “cut down” in the world, it just means their intent to rattle you worked.
Trolls or hateful commenters are much like hecklers at a comedy show. Except there’s one difference: there isn’t any anonymity at a comedy show. A heckler can get cut down by a stand-up comic and the whole room will turn against that person, or he or she will get kicked out. It’s a little different on YouTube. It’s all anonymous people for the most part. People can say whatever they want and even if there’s a mound of hate coming towards that person, no one knows who they are.
2. Find a way to be funny without (obviously) cutting the other person down.
This is an art form. Because when you do this, you will still be cutting the other person down, but in a more clever, interesting way, and your followers will respect you for it.
In several videos where we were being willfully ignorant of facts, so willfully ignorant that any sane person would realize that we were joking, commenters have frequently come on to tell us, “Uuummmm, yeah…you got your facts wrong on this one.” And the best response to that is an incredulous, “What?!?!” That leaves some mystery in your comment. If people can’t detect sarcasm then that’s their fault. And what have you left the commenter with at that point? They either have that, “Ohhhhhhh” moment, or they continue living their lives with no sense of humor.
Either way, they won’t have a comeback, or will look stupid to everyone trying to make their case that you’re wrong. By the way, if they decide to take that course of action, you never, ever let on that you understand what they’re saying. You either don’t reply back to them a second time, or you continue to have fun with it and make them look silly. If they have the same remarks over and over, continue to play dumb like you have no idea what they mean.
3. Agree with them in a humorous way
Someone wrote something along the lines of “Your next video should be called, ‘I never get laid and I’m a stupid c***.'” or something along those lines. Let me tell you now: These comments are the absolute best, and I say that without sarcasm.
Because absolutely ignorant hate is easy to digest. They don’t know you. They just got so infuriated by your video that they thought, “Man, I’m going to hurt this person with my spew of hateful words!” You realize after awhile how silly these comments are, filled with filthy language, spelling errors, and incoherent thoughts. Like they are seeing a keyboard for the very first time and spelling words by feel rather than knowledge.
When I see a comment like this, I laugh now. At first, it was shockingly awful to my nervous system. But now, they’re hilarious. My response back to the comment above was, “Yes! I’ve been waiting for a long time to make a video about my love life! And I especially like the ‘c***’ part, can I steal that for my title?”
Believe me, there is nothing they can say back that will be funny or make them look good. When I see a comment like this and I have responded in this way, there’s a part of me that feels great. I’ve pretty much destroyed a person’s insult without saying one thing mean back. I have illustrated their stupidity without calling them stupid.
I said in the first step that comments will eventually involve your mom at some point if you feed the trolls. I had a comment come through once that said something to the effect of, “You should do a video about how ur mom’s a whore” or something to that effect. So I wrote back, “We’re doing that one in a few weeks, but we have to do a few other ones first before we get to that. Thanks for the input. We love our fans!”
4. Let your fans handle it.
If you pretty much have a good following, your videos get way more likes than dislikes, and for the most part, you have good feedback, many times they’ll deal with the troll. Although, many times, they deal with them in ways that do not follow the steps above. But, many times your fans will “down vote” stupid comments and make them go away, or attack that person with gusto.
On occasion, though, you’ll see a negative comment that is wrong or ignorant that is “up voted” several times and that can be annoying. Not to worry, you can follow the steps above, give an incisive comment back, and before you know it, that comment is being down-voted and responded to. Your community wants to fight for you and they will.
Comments Can Be Fun: Use Them For Good
It’s a known thing that commenting early on your videos after launch helps it in search. I think this is sort of a “signature” that helps the search engine realize you’re legit. And starting a conversation is a good way to interact with your fans, who are the first ones to watch your videos. You create a community with your channel by being accessible. And I know from personal experience that the way we’ve dealt with the trolls has been appealing to our followers: we diffuse situations rather than exacerbate them. We offer humorous “bonus” content with our comments, even when we respond to positive responses. We show that we are ever positive about ourselves, not negative.