Online Safety

How to deal with an online troll

Aidan Kenealy
4 min readAug 13, 2019


I have a set of rules that now guide everything I do. They help me simplify how I work and ensure I’m consistent with both my opinions and actions, as a leader and a person. These rules*(see below for full list) were developed through my time running EMGN from dealing with real-world interactions like the one displayed here.

To quote Ben:

“Ben: You should be killed and your family should be burned alive.

EMGN: Hi Ben,

Thanks for getting in touch. A big part of what we want to do here at EMGN is engage with our readers to ensure we are providing the best service we can. With that in mind, we’d lover to know what has provoked this response from you?


Wow I didn’t ever expect to get a response and quite honestly I’m impressed. I apologize for saying that. I don’t even remember what article it was that made me say that. So I do apologize and you have a earned a new PROUD follower. Thanks for the response.”

In this case, we had a very angry fan suggesting that we should all be killed and that our families should be burned alive… We applied several of my rules in this case to both manage what seemed to be a very disgruntled person and to understand what we did to insight such a reaction. .

Rule 1: Respect everyone you interact with

All we knew about Ben was this one-line message. He could have been anyone and thus by default we must be respectful with how we interact with him.

Rule 3: Everything stems from a Mission & Why

Our mission at EMGN was “to provide a mental vacation for anyone, anywhere, at any time they wanted”. We didn’t like failing on this mission, even on the individual level.

We made sure Ben understood that we were concerned we had failed to provide a good service, and this helped him understand why we were asking him for feedback



Aidan Kenealy

Professional startup advisor for founders of high growth startups. More details @ https://aidankenealy.com/