Feeding the trolls

Not a big fan of fantasy, nonetheless as a child I knew what a troll was, a short ugly mythical character with a nasty disposition who usually was up to no good. The trolls of my acquaintance resided in fairy tales.

Half a century later I tangled with my first xnxx. It wasn’t a fairy tale.

This troll probably isn’t short or ugly. He most certainly isn’t youporn. He is very real and nasty, He is not part of a role-playing or fantasy game on my computer, someone to do battle against and win.

An internet definition of a troll is that of an individual who usually spreads falsehoods in order to get individuals to respond so he/she can bait, taunt, flame, frustrate or annoy them.

Often the initial encounters are innocuous enough. After my personal experience with the videos porno, I am inclined to equate trolls with abuse in the real world. The abuser is charming and friendly but can turn on a dime and become vicious. And the internet troll is just as abusive, the effect to the victim similar.

A troll’s nationality or location is of no consequence, the goal is the same and master trolls can be found where there are game rooms or chat rooms or blogs or newsgroups, in any language 24 hours a day.

Trolls are basically bully’s who use words to intimidate people. The troll I battled was someone I had watched post comments on blogs. I did not have a lot of respect for this individual, however people are entitled to their opinion and the whole point of a comment section or forum is to express different points of view. This person’s humour had an edge to it. One had the sense that he lurked, waiting for certain individuals to post so he could shoot them down. Behind the scenes his emails could be quite nasty. Since this individual headed a portal (a website that leads into a number of other sites), they could and did control the content of the front page of the portal. Control is the operative word.

My mistake was questioning an article he had posted on that front page. It was a rambling and tedious personal opinion about a subject that was best placed on individual blogs on the portal. Obviously this troll wanted the attention his inappropriate article would generate. I bit.

One of the best techniques in dealing with difficult people (or your elected political representative J) is to ask questions, the harder the better. So I asked why he felt it was appropriate to post his personal opinion on the front page where people could not comment and visitors to the site could be offended. Why had he not put the article on his own site?

He flew back at me in an email, questioning my values for not believing his point of view as being totally correct. Because this is a religious portal, he used scripture and God to set me straight.

I persisted. He came back immediately. It got uglier. Way too many emails later, he entered the portal and pulled a comment from one of the blogs I had posted on.

This is the part I am ashamed of. I was so angry I was shaking. I flew back at him with more questions, like why he felt it was appropriate to raid a comment section and track me (I had used a pseudonym when I had posted that comment, he is a technician and had no trouble finding it).

I informed him I was not impressed with his raid of the comment section. That was just what he had been waiting for all day. He send a fast reply telling me that I had to prove he had traced me, told me to cease and desist or he would prosecute to the full extent of the law.

At that point I snapped out of the headspace I had been dwelling in all day, stopped the battle and blocked him. In hindsight should I have sent my full name and address and told him to go ahead and sue me? You can’t get blood from a stone. That was what I dearly wanted to do, but that is my point exactly, I would have continued to play into his controlling little hands. I also told him to leave God out of it. All day he had whacked me over the head with scripture and God, and while my faith is important to me, I don’t shove it down other people’s throats. I tried dragging other people into the fray, hoping to get some support. Wise to the troll, they backed off. Again in hindsight I should have recognized it was a battle that should not have been fought.

Trolls infuriate me. I thought I was a reasonably intelligent individual who could hold their own. Guess not. What about children and young people in game chats? There are plenty of trusting individuals for trolls to pick off, like a hyena after a wildebeest.

I won’t be a wildebeest again. (Real life translation – don’t be a victim).

Cricket’s Rules for Dealing with Trolls

1. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. If you suspect someone is baiting you in a comment section, a forum, or via email, try not to bite. (Obviously I need to take my own advice here J)

2. If a troll comes after you, block them. Most chats have a block feature. You can also block their emails or use a program such as mailwasher to bounce the email back to them without having to view it.

3. If a troll threatens you, contact the police. Consider dialogue with a cyberangel to get the emotional and practical support you might need.

4. Remember the golden rule? Trolls don’t adhere to the golden rule or any rule, so ignore it. Be kind, considerate and gracious once. Then drop it and walk away.

5. Trolls have to be in control. A blocked or ignored troll is an unhappy troll.

6. Be prepared for the long haul. Some trolls won’t quit. The troll I know has followed one individual from comment section to comment section, blog to blog, knocking them down. The person isn’t biting, and the troll looks like the fool he is. His behaviour is accelerating. (See point 7)

7. Remember that the world is not always a safe place. People have mental illnesses and may not be able to control their impulse to hurt others. Words do wound.

8. Educate yourself! Ask questions if you are not sure. Remember what your mom always says? There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Stay safe out there. Cricket