Defeating trolls

By Ciara Conley - [email protected]

In every article I write, I try to be ‘sunshine and rainbows,’ but lately, that’s been really hard for me to do, thanks to Internet Trolls.

You’ve probably encountered an internet troll, without even realizing it. In internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

The word “trolling” actually comes from a fishing technique in which one casts out bait to catch fish—and that’s exactly what internet trolls do. They use rude statements and other techniques to try to “lure” you into getting angry or responding. Their only goal is to get you angry—just like your sibling used to do when they’d poke you or repeat everything you said. Often, they latch onto powerful individuals, in order to feel more powerful themselves.

As a journalist, I find a lot of these people working their way into my life and sometimes it’s hard to dismiss their comments.

People ‘troll’ because it’s easy. In an online setting, it’s so easy to just sit behind your keyboard and comment whatever you want, and not even consider the person on the other side. Frankly, I’ve stopped reading the comments, I don’t have to give in to these people, I don’t have to please everyone, and I’ve realized that I’m not the problem. If you’ve found yourself in this same situation, here are some tips I use to avoid feeling beat-down by people who are hide behind their keyboards and waste your time.

First and foremost, don’t feed the trolls.

Avoidance is and has always been the best course of action, hands down. The majority of trolls thrive on the confrontation—after all, their singular goal is to get attention—so the more you ignore them, the better. Don’t respond to them, not even to call them out as a troll, and they’ll go away. Even a simple comment like “please stop” or “go away, troll” can bring attention to their comments. If a troll returns to their computer with zero replies, however, or if their comment just floats to the bottom of the thread, they’ll go looking somewhere else for the attention they crave.

Second, they’re attacking boredom, not you.

You just can’t reason with these people. The rules of logic don’t apply. Trolls will lash out and be purposely offensive to draw you in, rather than actually saying something of value. In their statements, you’ll see a very “I’m right and everyone else here is wrong” attitude. If there isn’t anything of value in their statement, then you shouldn’t be putting any weight on it. Don’t let the haters affect you; they’re hating because they’re bored, not because you’ve necessarily done anything poorly.

And lastly, it’s just not worth the energy.

In a nutshell, you only have so much emotion to go around. It should be spent on people who value it, who value you, not some sad, bored person that has nothing better to do than wait around and comment on something just to spread negativity. There are way too many incredible people in this world that are worth your time. Furthermore, time spent worrying about what trolls thing is time you could have spent on the people that actually matter. Do you really want to drain your energy on something that isn’t worthwhile?

By Ciara Conley

[email protected]

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