Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Trolls. Molls. More On What We Think

So we're talking about trolls. Should we put up our dukes? Or wave the white flag? 

To continue on our merry way, I've got two more thoughtful posts from two insanely hilarious and sage women. 

Rachael from Mogantosh:

My take is that I have a lot of respect for creators – those who spend time making something for others to enjoy. It’s a lot easier to surf and spectate than it is to make.  If something you see or read is not your thing, move on, sister. Work out your issues elsewhere! There’s a corner of the Internets for you too. 

In general I have been lucky to avoid major bitchiness. I’m not Internet-Famous enough. But when a magazine column of mine was printed online, I discovered a stream of haters. At first I was disconcerted, but soon I realised that the angry crowd featured the kind of humourless humans I try my best to avoid, and soon I found it funny. Also, it felt very therapeutic to write a post called ‘The Best Of The Angry Shriekers That Hate Me.’

I copied out their comments, one by one, and replied to them. I corrected some punctuation, I suggested some therapy, and I mused about whether or not ‘Rodney’ was wearing lacy women’s knickers under his safari suit. One commenter was livid that I had saddled my children with the names ‘Peanut’ and ‘T-Bone’ and I was pleased to introduce her to the ‘pseudonym’.

It was hugely amusing to me. Less funny was another incident when an anonymous person said that my daughter looked like Madeleine McCann. That made my blood run cold.

In life, both virtual and online, I  value kindness. It's a shame not everybody does. 

Jo Thornely of Jo Blogs (definitely one of the funniest women on the interwebz, right behind me *cough* of course)

How do you deal with trolls? (Not the ones under the bridge, leave them to the billygoats)

Although I don't get many trolls (I think sincerity attracts trolls and I am nothing if not insincere and flippant), but I ignore in 90 percent of cases. In the other 10 per cent, where temptation to bite back is too strong, it's usually because I have a red-hot zinger that I have to let out, lest it fester hotly in my breast without its deserved actualisation. Or I just feel like being a bitch. I then forget that that's what the trolls are waiting for, so when they use my response as a reason to spray further spittle all over my corner of the internet, I ignore again. And put a little tick on my tally sheet marked 'Failed Choice Burns'.

Why do you think people troll?

Trolling is for people who want their actions to have a visible effect without having to expend any effort, or do anything clever or creative. It's a way for people with limited influence or power in their real lives to exert a tiny, insignificant bit of power in their online lives. That's why not responding to them is, whilst sometimes difficult, also delicious, because it deprives them of the only thing of value to them - a reaction. Even retweeting them is like giving them a chocolate-coated unicorn kitten - it exposes them to a wider audience and probably gives them a raging boner. Probably makes a nice change for them from tentacle porn or having their mother make them a sandwich. I don't even block them any more, because that tells trolls that I've noticed that they exist, and I'd rather not.

Collectively, what can we do about trolls?

There will always be trolls, so we can't do much to stop them, but we can have a little giggle at them and their primary-school levels of low-effort id-satisfaction. Reacting strongly to them just fans their acne-riddled, musty-crotch smelling fire, so at most rolling our eyes at them, but at best ignoring the ever-loving bejeezus out of them is best.

I don't know about you, dear reader, but I'd love to have these two birds in my corner if there should be some online shenanigans.

Big thanks to those who have contributed to this series so far, I've got more up my sleeve, so giddy up.


Sam Stone said...

What lovely women!! Just like you LExi xo

BabyMacBlogBeth said...

Top birds those two. Great advice!

Margie said...

Oh yes such wise words! I too have not reached the dizzying heights of internet success that brings with it trolls, flaming and other immature behaviours... But I feel proud and very impressed that some of my fave bloggers deal with this so well.

Vivienne said...

I occasionally write posts for over sixties. Sniping, poor spelling and poor grammar is not confined to the young, believe me. It intrigues me that people don't read what is actually there but read what they think might be there and object to that.

Carly Findlay said...

I experienced trolls on reddit recently. It was ridiculing, vulgar and downright scary. I chose to respond to them calmly - educating them and the onlookers, directing them to my blog for some firsthand accounts of living with a visible difference. It worked. This response created awareness. People told me they came to ridicule but left educated. I also outed them, sharing the link. And then when it got too much for me - when some said 'I'd still fuck her' or 'kill her with fire' I had to ignore. My boy was moderating my comments on my blog as a few really nasty ones came through that I saw. They told me to kill myself and outed me as 'boring as cardboard'.
In the end, I was having a great night and also received so much positive exposure and support while these people were making fun of a stranger from their computer screen. I win.
Great post - thank you.