What’s a troll?
If you’re online long enough, especially if you actually voice your own opinion, you will eventually attract the attention of a Troll or two.
People who have different definitions of what constitutes a Troll.
For me, it’s people who don’t engage in any sort of debate but just repeat the same simplistic view in a thousand variations, often accompanied by personal invective of the type which would involve immediate police action in the real world.
The insults tend to be either grossly offensive – of the type that would make a misogynistic caveman blush – or libellous, claiming that you are a Zionist/Jihadist/Member of the Klan, in the pay of Big Tobacco etc.
If you look at a Troll’s account profile, you will inevitably find that they are anonymous, have no photo and, frequently, have not been tweeting/posting from that account long – that’s because they’ve had to close previous accounts.
Dealing with trolls
If you are trolled, I recommend a straightforward two step approach:
Step 1 – Step away from the troll
Unfollow on Twitter, then Block if they persist.
If they are posting comments on your blog/website, simply delete them.
Just because they keep bugging you doesn’t mean you have to listen.
Step 2 – Never feed a troll
It’s natural to respond to unfounded personal attacks.
Ignoring a troll (unlike most problems in life) is almost always the most effective response.
Going the extra mile
However, although disengagement + ignoring is the most effective approach, some people have gone the extra mile in dealing with their trolls.
Here are a couple of examples which I’ve sent to friends who have been trolled as a virtual pick-me-up.
It’s a knockout
Curtis Woodhouse, an English boxer, recently lost a title fight and had to put up with an obnoxious troll who repeatedly harassed him on Twitter.
Tired of this cowardly tirade, Woodhouse tweeted out a request to his followers offering £1,000 to anyone who could supply the troll’s address so that he could confront him face to face.
Soon enough, Woodhouse had been told the road the troll lived on and tweeted a picture of the street sign.
Cue some very worried and apologetic tweets from the troll who has since maintained Twitter silence.
Thank you hater!
If you ever need to cheer up a friend who’s been trolled, I strongly recommend this fabulous spoof put together by Clever Pie and Isabel Fey which is, deservedly, closing in on 1 million views.