One year ago, I shared a post entitled “Trolls at my door” on this blog, discussing some of the challenges of being a female academic blogger. Just like so many other women with an online presence, I sometimes receive responses that are unpleasant, uninvited and occasionally downright sickening. Some of these messages I categorised in last year’s post as examples of “trolling”; other messages I described as less aggressive, but equally disturbing in the sense that they are completely off the point and irrelevant to what I have posted. Instead of entering into discussion with me, and hence responding to what I am in fact writing, they address my digital avatar, which the name and the picture on the blog give away as being female.
I ended the post with a short remark: “I know this post means trouble. I am bolting my door.” I meant that. I was worried that the post, which had a distinct feminist touch, would call out a couple of trolls from the digital woods. However, days went by and nothing happened. Or let me correct that: nothing new happened. It was business as usual. I received the typical notes from those who obviously see my blog as an invitation—the number of these notes always peaks after posting. A couple of guys found this the appropriate time to befriend me on Facebook—guys I have never met, with whom I have nothing in common, and with whom I share no common friends. Normality. Absurd online normality—well-known to so many women. But nothing unusual.