Troll Control

I’m writing on InvestmentZen today. Click over to read about the different phases of personal finance. Or, read about my battles with trolls first.

You know when a post is popular because the haters come out of the swamps. This happened with one that I wrote for Budgets are Sexy last week. Business Insider and MSN republished it and Harvey didn’t like my words at all:





I’m no longer offended by nasty comments. Folks like Hater Harvey usually have bad stuff going on in their own lives. Leaving nasty comments gives them a feeling of control and relief. I feel bad for trolls more than anything else. When someone throws hate my way, I either ignore it or have some fun. I decided on the latter this time:

And if Harvey thinks my posts are awful, he should see what the first couple of drafts look like…


Writing is Hard

Writing is a lot of work and doesn’t come easy. I enjoy it, but I’m not a natural. Often I think that I have a great idea, but then 200 words in, it fizzles out. Instead of sending the post to the trash bin, I save it, hoping that I’ll figure out the other part someday. I have no shortage of orphaned, half-baked posts:

One in a while, I’ll figure out how to finish a post. This happened with one I worked on recently. I wrote about the different phases of personal finance and it was incredibly boring. I saved it, hoping that I’d come up with an idea to improve it. A couple months later, I was watching a SpaceX launch (I watch every single one) and then:


No, the rocket didn’t blow up. The launch was perfect. The second stage successfully deployed the satellite while the first stage successfully landed. Amazing.

The boom! came from realizing that the rocket launch would make a fun addition to my post about the phases of personal finance. It completed the post. I wrote this one for InvestmentZen, so check it out over there.

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36 Responses to Troll Control

  1. I think it’s actually a good sign when the haters come out because it means your blog has gotten big enough to be on Hater Radar.

    Besides there’s always a slim chance a hater will eventually be converted. 🙂
    Mr. Freaky Frugal recently posted…The shocking Rule of 25My Profile

  2. Alliteration is a known troll killer. “Verbal Vomit”!? Excellent!

  3. Kyle says:

    Your more of a natural writer than many. I need to work on that entertaining writing skill.
    I knew what you meant with that sentence.
    Easy as in mostly forced to be frugal, but I’m always surprised what people scraping by will spend money on that i wouldn’t.
    I’m all set to volunteer at the great American beer festival. See if we can’t get a frugal hangout going.

    • Thanks for the kind comment Kyle! What session or sessions are you volunteering for? We have to talk soon.

      • Kyle says:

        My best friend and I are doing setup, so that I can fully enjoy the festival. I’ll be going all three days but the early Saturday event I’m planning on going to is semi closed to the public. I just hope I can pace myself, but when there are so many amazing beers, just seems impossible. Hoping we have some extra time on this trip.
        Kyle recently posted…Losing 30 Pounds and Building WealthMy Profile

  4. Trolls gotta troll!

    In the end, you are doing great work, and people like to read what you write. For those who don’t, they don’t have to read it. They have that power as well.

    Keep doing a good job

  5. MrWow says:

    They always say hate isn’t the opposite of love. Apathy is. Hate still requires effort.

    Can’t please everyone, but at least you’re causing them to think.

    We want our own troll. Damn it!!! That means you’ve truly made it.

  6. J. Money says:

    I don’t think Harvey reads much 🙂

  7. Maybe that was Harvey Dent and he just happened to be reading the post with the ugly half of his face.

    Next time, maybe he’ll use the not-scarred up half and leave nothing but pleasantries.


  8. I have to say I hate your writing as well hence why I take the time to read all of your posts and comment (sark mark). On a side note I am having withdrawls from SpaceX launches. The next launch can’t come fast enough. It looks like next launch might be Aug 24… Boo

  9. Methinks that Trolls and Haters are just a sign of a successful blog. If you don’t have any, then not enough people are reading you. Once you get them, you have to learn to deal with the initial shock, realizing that you should pay as much credence and attention as they did to write it, and then move forward knowing that you actually reached someone who spent enough time to post the drivel comment. All publicity is good publicity I guess. Just forces a much more thick skin on the original author.

    Welcome to the club, Carl! You are now a successful blogger if you are on the hater’s radar.

  10. Mrs. BITA says:

    I can’t remember which famous writer said this about writing:

    “Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until a drop of blood forms on your forehead.”

    Some days the words flow easily. On other days it would be easier to have a root canal.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…Free is Fabulous (and where to find it)My Profile

  11. Steveark says:

    It makes you wonder if trolls are good people having a horrible day or horrible people having a good day. I can imagine someone who is really down in the dumps, completely broke, eating noodles or mac and cheese for the fourth day in a row thinking, “This doesn’t feel easy to me!” Then being irritated that someone who is clearly winning in life like you finds being frugal “interesting”. I think that what you said is extremely thought provoking and well appreciated by someone like me who has achieved FIRE. But just the fact that we are winning is going to be unbearable to many who feel they’ve lost or are losing. It doesn’t excuse trolling but it might help explain it. I love your posts, even the doltish ones!

    • Beth says:

      See, the thing about the internet is it’s easy to see what you want to see. If you’re having a bad day, it’s easy to take someone’s words the wrong way and respond in a way that you wouldn’t in person.

      But I don’t think it’s as simple as “good” or “bad”. I also used to do community management at a large company and sometimes people aren’t well. Unless someone explains their behaviour – which they seldom do, even when you repeatedly have to ban them from an online community – you can’t tell if someone’s just having a bad day, if they genuinely are an asshole or if there’s a mental or physical illness involved.

  12. I have yet to “arrive”. I attract no trolls. Maybe throw a dog (lizard) a bone and say something nasty to me?
    Financial Velociraptor recently posted…Four New Options TradesMy Profile

    • Steveark says:

      Why how dare you even submit a comment to someone as accomplished as Mr. 1500? Shame on you! Such hubris! Feel better now?

  13. Mr. Tako says:

    Sorry to hear about your troll problems Carl.

    It’s important to remember that trolls live under bridges for a reason… because they’re completely broke. You on the other hand have plenty of dinero! Thus all the jealousy.

    You’re actually a great writer, so don’t worry about those stupid trolls!
    Mr. Tako recently posted…Traveling After Financial IndependenceMy Profile

  14. Holy catfish, Carl! That is a lot of ideas dormant in the bucket. I thought I was bad at 50. I started a policy of deleting one for every new idea once I broke 50 as a way to keep my sanity.

    Don’t worry about Harvey. He just wanted to see his name in print. You know it’s hard as heck to get published online. Gotta take every opportunity.

  15. Mrs.Wow says:

    I was thinking this troll might look more like the ones from the movie. I’d be unhappy too if I had straight-up neon hair that bigger than my entire body.

    In the words of Taylor Swift “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate”
    Mrs.Wow recently posted…Not all Debt is BadMy Profile

  16. Team CF says:

    I love it when you play around with troll comments, makes for great reading. In those 321 drafts of yours, there has to be more troll comment and funny reply summaries, right? If not, that’s draft 322 for ya 😉
    Team CF recently posted…June 2017 Options Trading UpdateMy Profile

  17. It is not what anybody says that counts but how you respond to their comments. Everyone is entitled to his comments. Stay focused!

  18. Beth says:

    I think one of the hardest things online – and in life – is to remember that other people’s bad behaviour is usually a reflection on them, not on you. (However, how you respond is a reflection on you).

    I’ve been facing this in real life with a coworker who has been attacking others in meetings. It’s difficult to experience, but at the end of the meeting everyone is saying “wow, that person is out of line” – not agreeing with their attacks.

  19. Bahaha! I love it. Sorry about the trolls. It’s weird–I went through a period where I had a few and they slowly petered back into their dark holes in the corners of the Internet. Huh. I just refuse to engage with them and delete any comments that are just outright rude. People stop goading you if they don’t get a reaction, because that’s all they want.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…7 Things You Can Give Up While Paying off DebtMy Profile

  20. I love your doltish posts, I mean I feel the need to learn through other’s stupidity and yours is just fantastically entertaining. Let’s be honest people these days are offended by everything so for someone to troll it doesn’t take a whole lot. I could say the sky is blue and someone would point out it’s cloudy and that it’s not completely blue so I’m also doltish. Keep up the great writing!

  21. What a great response! Shows your intelligence far outweighs his insults. There is nothing wrong with a differing opinion, or even careful construction criticism, but trolls just offer negativity and insult without any intellect. Like you said, you know you’ve made a bit of celebrity status when the trolls come out.

    I love this quote…

    “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbarb
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…Girls Gone WildMy Profile

  22. It takes maturity to empathize with the trolls’ personal problems as you have done Carl. Maturity and a great sense of humor, as you have, in handling them. This is why I keep coming back to this blog!
    Ten Factorial Rocks recently posted…Cost of Consensus in Financial IndependenceMy Profile

  23. I used to get trolled on Seeking Alpha a lot. I got tired of it and stopped posting my articles on the site. I wasn’t getting enough meaningful traffic from SA, so I chose to stop. I should’ve just ignored it, but I did something about it. Trolls drive me nuts.
    Investment Hunting recently posted…Qualcomm Option UpdateMy Profile

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