Since the dawn of the internet, there has been a select group of people we have collectively come to know as “trolls.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re either a Luddite, or a grandparent, and either way, this website is not for your demographic. Trolls are an odd species of humans. They thrive off of raising the ire of normal people for reasons that are unknown to all but them. They run in packs, like I assume real trolls probably did back in fairy tail days, and they feed on the indignation of the masses.
Before we talk about how to handle trolls, let’s investigate the various kinds:
The Blatant Racist/Misogynist/Homophobe
They are what they sound like. Whatever forum or social media platform you’re on, they’re there solely to spread their weird, mostly incoherent message of hate. Their currency is in the ability craft increasingly ridiculous ways of integrating slurs, and just generally bringing down specific types of human beings.
The Serial Insulter
They prey on the famous, or at least those with any sort of online profile. There’s no point in fucking with average joes, there’s no profile in it. But if you look in the @ replies of anyone with a decent number of Twitter followers, you’ll find several people saying varying versions of “you’re a garbage human being.”
The Cool Guy Persona
They want everyone to think that they’re the coolest. Anything that someone writes, they’ve done better, or they don’t think it’s impressive at all. They get to live in the luxury of anonymity where no one can prove that they reside in their aunt’s back house, and work at Petco for a living.
“Some men just want to watch the world burn.” This is like half the population of 4chan. They’re mostly kids who are taking their frustrations of being insignificant at their high school, and adults who still haven’t gotten over being insignificant at their high school. They love destroying things with technology, playing mean spirited internet pranks, and wearing Guy Fawkes masks that don’t cover their fat faces.
So, where does that leave us? Well, it depends on how you look at it. Many people look at trolls and bemoan how the Internet has ruined us. That anonymity is somehow causing us to lose our humanity. Which is absurd. The internet is a platform for idiocy, not a creator of it. You hear celebrities talk every day about how hurtful it is when people just constantly shit on them. Hell, even comedians, whose stock-in-trade is in being “above it all” seem to have trouble dealing with the angry rabble of dissatisfied people taking it out on anyone who presents themselves as a target. Seriously, it’s absurd how many professional comedians don’t seem to be able to emotionally handle trolling (NSFW language).
That’s what it comes down to. There are all sorts of reasons people have given to quit feeding the trolls. That it somehow emboldens them, or creates more of them to wreak havoc on the world. That’s not it. The reason is because it makes you a target. In order to do anything with any real success, you have to have a thick skin. You get butthurt, then you only serve to make the trolls smile, and continue to pester you. So you should ignore them, right?
If you want to live your life on easy mode, yes. People think that ignoring trolls means they’ll all move on. Maybe, maybe not. But where the old ones leave, new ones come. The key to not feeding the trolls is to not give them what they want, which is the satisfaction of your anger. So what do you do if you not only want to take the wind out of the troll ship sails? You engage. That’s right. You do the exact opposite of ignoring them. Don’t argue with them, don’t get mad at them, and for the love of god, don’t try to reason with them. They’re animals, there’s no reasoning with them. What you do is speak their language. How did ol’ Alfred finally track down that dude in his way-too-relevant anecdote in “The Dark Knight?” Him and his buddies burned the forest down.
Troll the trolls, people. Take to the streets (or…information superhighways?). Find the people trolling celebs and athletes, and fuck with them. Make fun of their haircut. Point out all of their grammatical errors. Insult them about things you don’t even know to be true. If someone talks shit to you, retweet them. Or better yet, quote their tweet AND compliment them on their above average insult skills. Get hyperbolic on them. Tell them to fight you one v. one, IRL bro. I’m talking scorched earth, motherfucker.
Just don’t let them hurt your feelings. That just means you’re weak..