Hurtful trolls '“ with dismal grammar '“ are just cruel

I have been astounded, on frequent occasions recently, by how incredibly rude and obnoxious some online readers can be to columnists.

Saturday, 3rd December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:19 pm
Keyboard warriors can be cruel

Personally, I’ve been fortunate. I rarely look at comments that have been made on my work and there are few anyway. That is unless I write about Brexit, which always has a ‘wind them up and watch them go’ effect.

It would appear it’s okay for people on one side of the argument to be offensive, ranting on about their point of view, but dare to politely provide a logical and well-structured argument of your own and they simply can’t bear it.

I tend instead to focus on the letters that people send in.

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Firstly, these aren’t anonymous, thereby garnering more respect, but also they are well-written and well-argued, and they aren’t abusive. People of intellect are usually more than happy to engage in meaningful debate, and if you’re putting your name to something, then you obviously feel secure in our views.

A far cry from the anonymous troll, hiding behind their avatar and dismal grammar.

There is one particular columnist in The News, whom I do not know personally, but who I hope does not read the comments made on their writing.

Mainly because they are vile; highly abusive, hurtful and anonymous.

I cannot imagine how their family feel, if they have the misfortune to read them. Having seen some of the comments on this contributor’s column, I felt compelled to say something, because it is, at best, cruel.

If you do not like a column, then do not read it. The News employs various columnists, the aim of which is to appeal to a wide range of readers.

Not everybody wants to read a serious piece of op-ed.

Some, depending on age and taste, want to read frivolity.

Others may wish to read thought-provoking prose, and others still may want to simply be distracted from 
their bus ride home by reading about what somebody else is doing for Christmas.

You do not need to be rude. You do not need to bully.

Just turn the page instead.


It is always tempting to look back on our childhoods with nostalgia and a romantic view of the world.

However, I am sure that it is not rose-tinted spectacles that lead me to recall days 
of playing out in the streets and walking to the bus 
stop, and then school, on my own.

And all an age at which I would never allow my own children to do so now.

Was the world a safer place, or was it always as dangerous but not publicised as being so?

Or, is not actually so dangerous at all but we, as parents, simply worry that it is?

And are we breeding kids who aren’t street savvy at all as a result?


as a teacher, I am immersed in education. However, I rather miss it myself.

I have various qualifications and much training behind me, all of which were stressful at times, but I think I’d like to have some of it still in front of me.

I can’t help but think that occasionally, education is wasted on us when we are younger. How can we, as 15-year-olds, ever have been expected to respond and react to Wuthering Heights or Romeo and Juliet?

When you have little experience of the world, and little scope for true empathy or recognition of emotions that you’ve never felt, how can you truly be expected to comment upon and enjoy and appreciate such texts?