The word troll would take you back to fairyland where trolls would be hiding under the bridge waiting to catch you unaware or sneaking behind your plant waiting to pluck and spoil your just weeded garden. Here, we are not talking about the fairyland trolls. These trolls are online trolls, who do just about the same thing: they try to spoil things and hurt people.
Online trolls are anonymous trolls who wait to disrupt someone’s reputation, start fight between friends or even strangers, harass the ones who are already insecure about themselves, poke fun at someone’s loss and even post offensive messages on people’s page who are no more. These trolls make merry by spreading unhappiness and discomfort amongst others. Sadists by nature, they are forever looking for opportunities to target the weak spot of a person. A majority of times, celebrities are their target.
Who or What Are Trolls?
Trolls are regular people who indulge in the world of anonymity. The opportunity of being anonymous lures then to taunt people online letting the sad side of them flow in full form. They are primarily cyberbullies.
If you are one to spend time online, you possibly would have met a troll and been appalled at the obnoxious behavior. Cajoling them, being polite while trying to make them understand or even being stern wouldn’t have worked to stop them from being highly abusive.
What trolls are looking for mostly is a victim who will get easily infuriated. They are on the search for possible weak audience and a focus that is most sensitive to the person. This place could be anywhere on a blog site, games website, music forum, social network sites, news sites, forums containing teenage members and such kinds. Unless there is a strong moderator on these forums who can control their behavior, trolls make the best use of the opportunity.
How do you handle such revolting behavior?
Unfortunately you are not in a position to control not being a troll’s target, but you definitely are capable of choosing to not become a victim. Since all that a troll is looking for is to hurt, embarrass and provoke a person, ensuring that you do not feel any of these, or at least by never showing it plays a huge role in not becoming a victim.
Follow selective Ignorance: A lot of people suggest ignoring the troll, but that would mean giving the troll the power to silence you. Rather than ignoring the troll, chose which troll’s response is worth ignoring. If the comment is something trivial and does not harm you and your reputation in anyway, then you can ignore it.
But if the comment is something that will lead to an entire group’s outrage or something that is going to harm you or your company’s reputation then you could address the troll, but not directly. Acknowledge that you are aware of a troll’s intrusion among the conversation and further pay no heed to the troll’s comments. By doing this, you are hinting at the other members to not bother thereby killing the troll’s purpose.
Freedom of Speech: In order to curb the troll menace, victims and supports suggested anonymous posting to be banned. But the First Amendment of the US constitution protects free speech. Since being anonymous fits into the free speech definition, this could not be banned. Trolling is used in a very broad perspective. It can be an offensive, nasty comment or even a post made by disgruntled customer. So ignoring and treating trolls the right way should be done carefully.
Disinhibition and Boredom: Experts still haven’t found out the exact reasons for trolling. “Online people feel anonymous and disinhibited,” says Prof Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University. “They lower their emotional guard and in the heat of the moment may troll either reactively or proactively.” He also says that trolling is usually carried out by young adult males for amusement, boredom and revenge.
We all have the capacity of being trolls ourselves. A comment or a post against our beliefs can trigger us to say abusive things impulsively. When our emotion is triggered, we tend to get caught with the moment. Hence, we all have to be careful of what we say when and to whom, especially online.