Once again the great troll debate airs it’s ugly head as an NRL footballer who recently lost his mother was sent derogatory comments about her. This follows quickly behind the recent troll war which left celebrity Charlotte Dawson in hospital and cries from many quarters for “accountability” for the actions many faceless people take when they subject not only celebrities and sporting people but the average Joe to harassment and abuse.
Firstly, let’s dissect exactly what a troll is……a troll is a person who either doesn’t like something you say, doesn’t like your achievements or simply wants to get noticed so says something totally stupid to get a reaction….generally they will have a faceless account on either twitter or facebook and use that account to post hurtful and hateful messages to people for no apparent reason other than “because they can” Other titles include keyboard warriors, faceless people, gutless wonders.
So how do you STOP trolls? Here’s a few tips which will help.
1. Do not feed the trolls…..the purpose of a troll is to get attention and illicit a response…when you don’t give one they stop…(yes it’s that simple)
2. Report and block the troll….don’t argue with them…don’t tell them…I’m going to block you! Just do it. Announcing you are going to do it only infuriates the troll more.
3. If you are on twitter and one of your followers leaps to your defense send them a DM telling them “I’ve got this” having multiple people arguing only creates a mob mentality.
4. Step away from the computer…have a nice cup of tea and watch a bit of telly. It’s amazing how quickly things cool down when you aren’t there to keep them going.
Another thing people do with trolls is they name and shame….for example retweeting the comment for all their followers to see (eg.Charlotte Dawson) in the hope it will shame the person into shutting up….this rarely works as it’s a bit like poking a beehive and hoping the bees will stay inside and just let the honey pour out. Plus it’s exactly the reaction the troll wants.
Charlotte for instance, went from being told to go hang herself to having photos of pills, dismembered bodies and nooses sent to her…all because she went on TV and exposed the trolls. This went on for over 48 hours and it was RELENTLESS . The more TV appearances she made the more trolls who came out to play. It was a lose-lose situation.
So what accountability is there….are there are “real” laws to protect us from text on a computer screen? When nameless people attack us by insulting our mother or our children or our lifestyle does that warrant legal action? In my opinion No. See, I believe as adults we have the choice of how we deal with trolls. The bottom line is don’t feed them. Don’t give them the oxygen they need to fuel the flames.
Consider the alternative….where someone else decides what is acceptable for you to say and see and type and read. Where is the line in the sand drawn? Who decides what’s acceptable and what’s not. I’m thinking death threats would be a good line to draw. But then again I’m thick skinned
When I started using the internet we didn’t even have web browsers….we used something called Fido Net and it was more message board based, the arguments back then were called flame wars…because people fanned the flames by giving their two cents worth. I learnt long ago to not fan the flames.