How to Deal With Message Board Criticism

Online message board communities can be a tough and unforgiving place to expose one's inner-self. Follow these steps in order to maintain your cool and assert your communicative dominance over those would-be bullies (known as Trolls) prowling the Internet message boards and forums.


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    Remain calm and logical. Never take a personal attack (especially on an anonymous Internet message board) personally. Trolls, and their associated blathering, are only looking to provoke an emotional response for the trolls' entertainment. Don't fall for it!
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    Be able to identify the difference between a responder that is attacking the topic (logically valid) and one that is attacking the poster (logically invalid). This is known as ad hominem and is a logical fallacy and probably one of the most frequently used tactics on the Internet of distracting readers from the original topic or of attempting to discredit the poster. If the responder is employing ad hominem, then they have already gone a long way to losing all credibility to those that frequent the message board and understand even the most rudimentary processes of social discourse.
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    Read the critique several times to make sure you completely understand the language and position of the responder and that you didn't miss critical connecting words that many times change the structure and meaning of a statement. Remember, written communication is highly ineffective at conveying nonverbal communication such as tone, inflection, body language, etc. There are few things more embarrassing than crafting a scathing response just to realize you misinterpreted the responders intention. But after reading this, you wouldn't do that anyway, right?
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    Do NOT stoop to their level! If you determine that the criticism is ad hominem, no response is necessary on your part. If you do respond, it may be only to point out their transgression of logical reasoning. It may be tempting to employ ad hominem of your own, but by doing so (no matter how well employed), you have just joined them as bottom feeders.
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    Post a reply only if they have not committed any logical fallacies. If they have, do not respond OR respond only to point out how and why their assertions are invalid.


  • No reason exists that supports you staying on a message board you hate just for the sake of letting the members of the board know that you hate them. That is a petty reason to stay. Go elsewhere and find happiness.
  • If you and another poster are in a true debate and just can't seem to persuade one another to change viewpoints... just agree to disagree and move on with your lives.
  • Yes, some people ARE criticizing you personally. You can usually tell when they seem to be making references to your personal appearance, lifestyle, or family members. Report such message board users to the board's administrators.
  • There are millions of different message boards on the internet. If you do not like the one you are on because people criticize everything you say, GO TO ANOTHER BOARD.
  • There many logical fallacies. ad hominem is but one of them. As mentioned above, it's mostly because it is the type of logical fallacy that we tend to associate with 'criticism' and the type used (directly or indirectly) most everyday. Use your favorite search engine and do a search for 'Logical Fallacy'. Remember, you can't fight logic, you can only employ it.
  • If the board's admin is the one saying awful, personal verbal insults to you, feel free to express your anger in an intelligent way, and then never bother visiting that board again. In any case, you won't be able to visit because you've now been banned.


  • Following these tips may actually help to alleviate online stress.
  • If you are an internet troll, this whole section was useless to you. Your main intention is to get emotionally charged about everything and make every post an insult. Feel free to ignore this.

Things You'll Need

  • A message board to which you are registered.
  • Lots of free time.
  • A computer.
  • An Internet connection.

Article Info

Categories: Internet Forums and Message Boards