So lately I’ve been encountering a lot of stupid people online. And I’m testing out different strategies for how to deal with them.
The intent of this post is to collect as many strategies and thoughts in one place about how to deal with stupid people online. Because there are plenty of them. And, because the more successful you become, the more of them you will encounter.
So what makes a stupid person?
As I use the term, a stupid person is a person who meets one or more of these characteristics:
- Rather than positively contribute to a community, they prefer to attack people who are smart and successful
- They have a hard time thinking outside of a binary mode (either you are for us or you’re against us)
- They are closed to complexities and possibilities that take a little brain work (i.e. stick to simple and obvious)
- They spend their lives wishing they were someone else (often letting jealousy take root)
- Instead of acting, they wish
Some examples of stupid people
In the last few months, I’ve been dealing with a lot of stupid people. One such person decided to accuse one of my writers of contributing blog spam. The fact of the matter is that this stupid person didn’t take the time to read the article. He read the headline, which was about pain medications, and using the principle of induction, assumed that the article was another instance of blog spam. In fact, the article was written by a professional psychiatrist who has a genuine interest in helping people with chronic pain. The principle of induction works a lot of the time, but stupid people use it all the time.
Another stupid person has been emailing me asking for a permanent link on the front page of College Startup for $80. That’s a permanent link…for the life of the site…for $80. I don’t think that I have to comment much on this to make the point. It is self-evidently stupid.
Another person emailed me asking for a link. When I made a counter-proposal, the dude accused me of being a little guy with a little penis. The working assumption was that he was doing me a favor by offering a reciprocal link exchange…that his site was more popular than my site. Seeing that my counter proposal had been made in full knowledge that my site was probably 10x more successful than his, and seeing that he proceeded to insult me…well, I take it as an act of stupidity (probably combined with ignorance).
Yet another person responded to a very specific ad that I posted for a writer. The position, admittedly, didn’t pay extremely well. However, my intention was to create an opportunity for someone who was looking to establish him or herself as an SEO expert. The person who contacted me has proceeded to go on a raging campaign against me telling lies about how I pay most of my writers. The fact is that most of my writers get paid very, very well. Most of the time, when I start a website, I take a financial hit for the first 6 months, for the sake of my writers. Instead of taking note of this glaring fact, this disgruntled individual has ignored the evidence and instead is taking a single advertised position out of context; a position for which she wasn’t even qualified, and now acts as if I treat my writers poorly. She tells others that I do this too. Stupid. Disgruntled stupidity.
So what’s the point
The point of all this is twofold. First, it should be clear that stupid people will ultimately fail. Stupid people either have nothing to offer others or they have more poison to offer than solid food. In either case, they will become isolated and alienated.
But the more important question that I’d like to address in the comment section is this: how should smart, friendly, good-willed people react to stupid, disgruntled, mean-spirited people?
Do you ignore? Do you engage? Do you insult (as in this post)?