Update - 8/15
Please check out the comment below from a staff writer for the site on which the comic is found. He's assured me the piece was meant as satire and that they are not a site of trolls. The nature of that webcomic is like the tone of The Onion. It's meant to be over-the-top. So, while I'll still say that the particular strip about GeekGirlCon was not for me and rubbed me the wrong way, there are other things on the site (podcasts, comics, etc) created by other people that I shouldn't have wrapped up into a blanket statement.
If you've been around the internet for a while, something's probably pissed you off. Maybe things, plural. It's so easy to let articles or comments or tweets or general dbag-ness (yeah, I like making up words) get under your skin. The best course of action is usually not to react. I know this. Very little is worth getting your knickers in a twist. But I can't always help myself. I've written a couple of rants here. Two that come to mind are my responses to the New York Times Game of Thrones reviews. They were sexist, misguided, and crappy. And I had a few points to make. The downside is that I had to mention their reviews, pull quotes, and link to them... so ultimately, I was giving them traffic.
Linkbait is a tricky thing. So are trolls who want attention and hits (the clicky sort not punches in the face).
It especially got under my skin because in a small way, comics like this are why the convention exists. This sentiment, these stereotypes, this singular way of thinking - it's just the antithesis of what GeekGirlCon is about. No, I've never been, but I've heard amazing stories from friends and read inspiring posts about the convention. That someone would dare to defile it this way, well, it makes me angry. And that feeling leads to some strong knee jerk reactions.
I posted about the comic on Twitter with a link. I know it sends traffic to their site, and I know that's what they want... but that doesn't mean such a piece of crap should be ignored. Hence my conundrum. Notice how I'm not linking to it now. If you really want to see it, you can check out a clip of it posted here (not the website for the comic).
After looking a little more closely at "This Just In," it seems that being tools is their modus operandi. They offend, people are enraged, everyone clicks over to see the horrible thing for themselves. Many of the jokes on the other comic strips are just as trite. They utilize stereotypes and call it humor. I don't want to feed the trolls and fuel traffic to their website that ultimately could lead to ad revenue for them... but how do you just not speak about something like that? I think we have to call people out.
Yeah, I gave them traffic. That part blows. But because I posted about it, some people know to avoid that site now. I'll be staying away in the future. And The One True B!x made a really good point:
Yeah, I'm giving them a little attention, but it's to let people know they suck. In the long run it might mean that less people will visit their site. I think that it's important and okay to show the world when someone's being an insensitive idgit. It's sort of a public service. Point out the trolls, don't give them dinner.
How do you handle situations like these?