After I have been engaging on the internet for seventeen years, I have also been changing how I articulate myself to make it easier for people to understand.
Maybe you have been where I have been before. Maybe you were confused so you try to ask for a clarification because you thought you saw a contradiction in a user and you just wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt but instead they get defensive and get snarky with you for even asking. Maybe someone out of the blue has gotten angry with you and told you you provoke people and you were left in bewilderment. Maybe you have been called a troll from time to time and you are left confused why you would be targeted and randomly attacked. Maybe you have believed you had so many trolls who just liked to target you for some reason and you have been called paranoid or delusional.
I have gotten better at communicating more so I have noticed things have gotten easier online.
“I thought you love cats and now you are saying you don’t like cats?”
“I saw you wrote you love cats but on another forum you wrote how you would never own a cat or did someone just take your picture from here and put it in their avatar to use. I am just confused here.”
The first one comes off as an attack and as an accusation and most people do not respond well to personal attacks and to accusations. It just makes it look like you are targeting them so that was probably why you have gotten rude responses.
But when you phrase it the second way, it comes off as not an accusation and not as an attack. You are sticking to their exact wording you felt was a contradiction when they said they would never own a cat. Some people would just assume this person is a troll because of a contradiction they thought they saw than asking for clarification because what else could they be lying about? So just ask before you jump to any conclusions.
“You would be happier at Autism Speaks.”
“There is an Autism Speaks forum and there are many people there who would share your views, have you checked that place out?”
The first one just comes off very negative but the second one comes off as support.
“Is this a new place for you to give advice in?” as a joke in your response to someone.
“It’s great seeing you posting in this section now, do you plan on posting in even more other sections?”
The second one lets that person know you appreciate their posts on the forum and you are happy to see them contributing in another section and hope they contribute further on the forum. The first one could make the person think you are trolling and attacking them.
“Noise cancelling headphones, ear plugs?”
“Have you tried ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones?”
Honestly people thought the first one was fine and the person just wanted something to criticize so she took my comment and used it for something else and assumed the worst in my question. Even my online friend told me what this person did was very dirty and while he disagrees about people blocking others for things they say they don’t like, in this case, this is fine to block this person for this scenario. Sure I could wonder if I had asked it differently, maybe she wouldn’t have treated me so horrible. Story here.
But at the end it doesn’t matter so there is no use thinking about what I could have done different and if the person is unstable, thinking about how to ask this question differently is irrelevant because it is unlikely most people would take it that way. You just block negative people and move on.
2 and 3 actually happened to me on the same forum in 2010 and I got randomly attacked by the people I had responded too. I enjoyed both their posts on the forum but then after that, I never cared for them and didn’t like them anymore and I don’t miss them.
The first one was hypothetical but I really did ask a similar question that was NSFW. I phrased it the second way than the first way and yes he does post at both places and clarified some things I was lost about.
In the end, someone can still get offended or provoked and attack you so that is when you just block them and move on because you don’t need their negativity. No matter how you word things, someone can still misconstrue it and attack or give you a trollish response because some people have problems. Maybe you could have worded it differently but you just keep working on your communication.
On a forum I am on where incident 2 and 3 took place, someone made a appreciation thread on me and I got lot of nice comments. They said I say good things and that I am nice so that told me that I am not the most hated person there and I am not ignored (other members feel that way there too) and that showed me how much I have improved in my communication. I no longer come off as a troll or as provocative. It made my day.