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Handle Online Attacks Effectively

couple fighting A personal attack is committed when a person substitutes abusive remarks for evidence when attacking another person’s claim or claims. This line of “reasoning” is fallacious because the attack is directed at the person making the claim and not the claim itself.

If you’ve been  personally attacked online my advice is to consider failing to engage or delaying engagement.  If you must respond,  then do so calmly.  Take the time to  demonstrate there is no merit to statements made and others will think better of you for not losing your cool.

Hopefully you will never need have to deal with a serious attack  but if you do  and want to see it  removed, you need to contact whoever controls that content. Most often, this means that you need to contact the author and/or webmaster of the page and ask them to take down the content in question.

1. Consider the seriousness of the post/article/comment.

  • Does it distort the facts?
  • Does it libel you?
  • Is there any actual damage done?
  • Or does it merely hurt your ego?

2. Contact the author and politely ask  them to remove or modify the offending post/article/comment. If this happened on a Moderated board contact a Moderator.

3. If  the post/article/comment that the attack was made on accepts comments submit a civilized rebuttal and avoid the temptation to include a dig at the author.

4. If  the offending material is not removed and especially if the other party escalates, set up a separate free blog to counteract any erroneous  information about you.  Counteract it by publishing the truth about you and/or your company and/or cause. Keep it updated with fresh content because the more new content there is on your blog  the further down the offending comment will be pushed in Google search results.

5. Set up Google Alerts so you are aware of what’s being said about you, where and by whom. For managing your  online reputation, consider checking out these comment tracking services and tools:

6. If the offending material remains then contact the webmaster and request the removal or modification of it.

7. Type ” Google WebPage Removal Tool” into your Google searchbox and click. Sign in with your Google Account to submit a removal request.

Related posts found in this blog:
Basic Netiquette for Beginner Bloggers
How to remove data from Google’s cache
How to Become a Better Blogger 5: Your Online Presence
Blogging: Online presence and authenticity
Libel: Blogging Rights and Wrongs
How to handle negative comments

10 thoughts on “Handle Online Attacks Effectively

  1. Nice post, sometime I got annoying comments so as you said before I’am also using the comment blacklist. I’ve read a few blogs that discredit one of the parties and was read by many people. Some readers to make fans page on fb to boycott the blog. Do you think this an effective way?

    • I believe that one could use a Facebook fan page in the same way one could use a blog. Provided the use is focused on telling the truth and is not structured in a way as to provide a battleground for personalities it will be successful. The offended party simply needs to quote what the offending party states and then refute it point by point without becoming personal.

      The trouble most people have when they have been hurt is they become emotional and launch a counterattack that is just as offensive as the original attack. That’s where the walls fall down. If the party who does set up the blog or fan page to tell the truth and keeps it full of fresh content and does not do what the offender did then they will be successful. If not, and they stoop to affecting the same behavior as their abuser then they won’t be.

  2. This is an excellent reference for a distasteful topic — hopefully most of us won’t need it, but it is comforting to know where to go and what to do!

  3. I certainly hope that is something that I won’t have to deal with as I am not nearly as thick skinned as I should be.

    This is really good information to know in the circumstance when you do have to deal with personal attacks. The links that you listed on #5 are pretty amazing to me as I didn’t even know that they existed or that those capabilities were possible.

    Very helpful & wonderful information, as always, thank you TT! :)

    • @Bernadine
      I’m also not as thick skinned as others and I’ve had some experience dealing with trolls online. In fact one infamous drunken and drug addicted troll with a history of assault has been spamming my blogs for a couple of years now. I use the comment blacklist block function here > Settings > Discussion > Comment Blacklist > Save Changes. Then I feed all the personal data into Akismet on this blog and into Defensio on my other blog. Both spam filters catch up every comment the potpolitics troll submits and when he changes IP’s and I do it again.

      Re: (5 ) Comment tracking tools can be used to keep track of both your own comments and the comments made about you and your blog. They are very useful tools, especially for those who make a living online and whose ability to continue to make a living is threatened by malicious libelous statements either about them personally, or about their business, products and services.

  4. Great advice! I just found your site today and I am impressed. I hope your not dealing with any online attacks yourself. You’ve just become one of my favorite bloggers! I will be back often, it looks like there is a lot I can learn from you!

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