It’s 2017, and we have more ways to access the Internet now than we do to cook rice, and if there is one thing anyone can attest to when they are on forums or social media is that dealing with Internet trolls is one of the most mentally exhausting tasks to handle, and not many are prepared to handle this evolving threat. Today, we are going to try and alleviate that issue with some ways to deal with these virtual intruders.
Before we get to the solution, let’s take a look at the problem, what is an Internet troll?. An internet troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels among users, and communities by either posting inflammatory remarks, extraneous topics or off-topic comments. Of late, trolling has been considered a form of online harassment and has even escalated to real life repercussions on individuals. See swatting.
Usually, trolls are just individuals who are looking for attention, which is why they always require a topic that can get out of hand with topics such as political divisiveness or racial issues. Thus, the first line of defence is to ignore trolls. Knowing when to ignore these trolls is important as the more you feed them, the harder it gets to control. Usually, this notion is hard to apply as social media comment boxes are usually replied to by more than one individual, thus fanning the flames is easier than putting them out. However, on the first contact, if the topic is ignored, usually it is left to dry out quickly, thus keeping it under the lid.
But for the benefit of the doubt, the troll succeeds and there is a flame to put out, what can one do to prevent disaster?. Often times, you can use witty remarks to steer the conversation away while making light of their remarks. This is a classic way to defuse the situation, as it controls the dialogue and pushes it in a more meaningful direction.
One of the more prominent icons in anti-troll defusals is J.K Rowling, author of Harry Potter and Troll-slayer extraordinaire.
Another weakness of internet trolls would be their need to remain anonymous. The power that they feel they have is veil thin, as once they are unmasked, they are more likely than not to leave their usual haunts. An example, if you have someone commenting on your language mastery on Facebook, they could very well have mistakes of their own as well, use it against them to destabilize their legitimacy. Instead of being the victim, play the charitable one instead.
For those who govern forums, trolls are common, and controlling them is arduous, but with moderators, you can keep them in check. Sensitive topics should have comments turned off while other topics should be constantly monitored. The ban hammer can be a very powerful tool within forums for de-escalating situations.
More often than not, the ultimate way to finish off internet trolls is with the use of facts. Most trolls come in lambasting your work or comment on your performance but usually, they have very little facts to back up their comments. With sufficient knowledge, just use what you already know about them, and they would disappear just as fast.
So if you have been having trouble with trolls online, try implementing some of these tips to deal with them. Sure some of them are resilient, but with enough experience, you can find the right tools for dealing with this online nuisance in no time.