Ever gotten into an argument with someone online that doesn’t seem to know what they’re discussing but will gladly pick a fight with you regardless? Congratulations…kind of..you’ve just met an internet troll. If you don’t know already, and there’s not a lot of people left that don’t, an internet troll is for the most part an individual that will hop on the internet and find things and people to break down and talk about that will serve to irritate and aggravate others to the point that they will argue with the individual and in some cases dance to the troll’s tune since that’s really all the person is about.
Trolls might claim to be knowledgeable, they might claim that they have experience with whatever they’re talking about, but in truth it wouldn’t matter if they did. Confronting someone on the internet is like yelling at them on the phone long distance. Chances are you’ll never see each other and won’t be able to conclude the argument even if you did since the troll is doing this just to get a rise out of you.
There are ways you can deal with them however.
Don’t respond to them.
This can be harder than it sounds, especially if a troll finds something to nettle you with that might be more personal than they realize. This is one downfall of social media, that virtually anyone, anywhere, can find something on anyone and then use it in a manner they feel with get a response. Some people like to cause drama for some odd reason and will pick a person apart for nothing more than the sheer joy they feel when they do it.
Recognizing trolls takes a moment but when you do it’s best to ignore them if possible and just leave their thread of conversation alone. They might continue to dig, but on social media there is such a thing as banning someone from posting to your account. The only problem there is that sometimes the trolls count it as a win since they forced you to respond in one way or another. So honestly, ignore them and refuse to rise to the bait. It’s a little difficult at times, but it’s possible.
Expose them using their own methods against them.
This might seem a little petty and to be honest it shouldn’t be seen as your first line of defense. Those of us that like to attack once we’re slighted in any way might find it difficult to restrain ourselves, but the idea of going on the offensive right away is not always a good idea. However, if a troll continues to find ways to harass you and isn’t going away then it might be time to convince them in another way.
Do you know why trolls feel secure? They know that the person on the other end doesn’t have a chance in hell of finding them unless they happen to live in the same town. If they’re dumb enough to give out their personal information it still comes down to being able to call the cops if someone decides to threaten them. A lot of times internet trolls are cowards, or keyboard cowboys if you like that term, and will feel tough as long as they’re behind the monitor where people can’t see or get to them.
But exposing someone brings a bit of guilty pleasure since it means you’ve found something they didn’t want anyone seeing and can use it against them. It could just be a simple unmasking event, meaning that you call them out and embarrass them just enough to get them to go away. Those that want to take it further will need to exercise caution however since this can turn into harassment pretty quickly. But yes, exposing an internet troll as a coward that has to put others down to feel good about themselves does carry a certain level of satisfaction.
You can report them.
A lot of people might not do this because it feels too much like snitching, or tattling as it was done on the schoolyard. But if a troll really becomes a problem and starts getting aggressive with their taunts it might be time to report them to the site management. A lot of internet trolls will be a bother, a nuisance, and not much more than a trouble you can easily get rid of. But those that really dig in their heels and try to be as disruptive as possible are those that you might need help in getting rid of.
By contacting the site operators you can at least make it known that the person is giving you a hard time and that they might not be conforming to the rules of the site when it comes to respecting other users. It might feel like tattling but usually at this point it means things have gotten a little out of hand.
The internet is supposed to be an engaging and informative tool for everyone to use. Unfortunately trolls tend to see it as a platform for causing trouble.