How to deal with Trolls
I was reading a blog post by Jim C. Hines via Writer Beware. He was having a devil of a time with an individual(s) of questionable credentials and manners. Which led me to John Scalzi‘s blog post ‘The Kitten Setting’. Leading me to the ultimate question – how do you deal with internet trolls (If you have had the good fortune of never being subjected to a troll, you have my congratulations and keep doing what you’re doing)?
For those who have been living under a rock for the last decade or so, an internet troll is:
‘a person who sows discord on the Internet by trying to start arguments and upset people.. They may do this by posting deliberately inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the result of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.’ definition courtesy of Wikipedia
Just for the record, trollish behavior is not limited to the internet. Unfortunately, there is a perceived notion of anonymity on the internet seems to give these individuals the chutzpah to engage.
I’ve not had to deal with many trolls in the years I’ve been blogging. When they have appeared, my method of dealing with them has been to flag them as spam and move on with my life. Of course, I’m a very small fish in a gigantic ocean. There might come a time where WriteAmI becomes an super active hive of conversation, then I might have to reconsider my method.
The extreme methods of dealing with trolls span John Scalzi’s ‘Mallet of Loving Correction’ method – mash the troll into pulp before they can get traction. OR, you can, using Jenny Lawson‘s ‘Kitten Setting’ and love the troll into oblivion. To me, either method involves more energy than I’m willing to give someone who chooses to be obnoxious.
I’m all for the expression of opinion. Heck, I live in a country where freedom of expression is a constitutional right. BUT, taking joy in being obstreperous and intractable in a setting that is designed for an open and honest discussion is rude. Also, this need to ruin lives and reputations through the decimation of half-truths and lies is unconscionable. I do believe these kind of people will eventually weed themselves out of the gene-pool, but not without leaving their spores of malice to grow malignancy in another individual.
Trolls walk among us, we really can’t identify them until they slip up. One of the most effective way of dealing with these creatures is to have a strong group of people who have already formed a community. In that community there is an agreed upon code of conduct. It’s up to us to put a stop to this aberrant behavior. Like trolls of legend, trolls are turned to statuary when exposed to the light of truth.
Simple rule to remember – DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!