How (not) to treat an idiot

How do you treat a virtual idiot? Like a real idiot? No, far from it, is my experience. Ten to one that the idiot will retaliate, and you will end up looking like an even bigger idiot.

Okay Overdiek, define idiot:

A virtual idiot is someone who reacts on a blog, who doesn’t appreciate the response and who will keep attacking, spitting, turning arguments around, and who will come back fiercer than ever under an alias after being banned.

I’m sure all of you have someone in mind right now.

My personal idiot showed up in the response box under this article: Blogging has turned into serious shit.

Initially via email he attacked me from, what turned out to be, his well known little corner. A long held grudge against NOS, that he sees as a left-wing stallwart. He tried to trick me into acknowledging how leftie we apparently are. He tried to provoke me by blasting at my upbeat story about more transparency and dialogue.

So I sent him a polite message back.

Of course that led to an even longer deluge of criticism. In short: I was merely a propaganda puppet.

So I sent him another polite, but shorter message back.

He consequently put the whole private email exchange into the response box of the website that published my article and, not only continued but also inceased his ranting.

So I sent him this response: ‘Bravo for publishing private email. In America you’re out after three strikes. Sir, you’re out.’

He was not impressed.

After ignoring him since then, he sent me a Happy New Year’s wish. I did the same.

Lesson learned: Stay polite, always stay polite, but choose your moment to tune out. Always give people the space to scream. The louder they do, the harder it will be to be heard.

At least, that’s what I think. How do you deal with this?


2 Responses to “How (not) to treat an idiot”

  1. Paul Brannan Says:

    You could always revert to the marvellously ambiguous reply of Frank Muir, a former head of Light Entertainment at the BBC:

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your comments/suggestions. I shall lose no time in acting upon them.

    Yours etc

  2. overdiek Says:

    That’s a terrific response in 1854 (conveniently stored under F5, or didn’t they have computers in that century?)

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