How to Handle Trolling

How to Handle Trolling

It is important to know how to handle trolling on the internet. Civility on social media has been lacking for a while. Social media has always been a way to connect ideals. However, it has been divisive instead. Between the complicated relationship between free speech and social media and the bias on these sites, it is hard to communicate anymore. Yet, there is another issue that is now being used for an agenda. The troll. Trolls have been on the internet for a while. So, it is essential to understand what a troll is, how to recognize one, how trolls are being used for political agenda, and how to handle them.

What is a Troll?

One of the way people delegitimize arguments is by calling people trolls. Sometimes people are. Sometimes they are not. But it is important to understand what a troll is and what type of behavior is associated with them? That way you can understand if you are one or not.

Trolls are individuals who want to provoke/upset people for their amusement. They get this reaction through inflammatory, rude, or upsetting statements. These trolls want a strong emotional response or steer conversations off-topic. While amusement is what most trolls want, they can use trolling for specific agendas. Before, trolling on the internet was like teasing. Like confusing new members with inside jokes. It was much more playful. However, trolls have become more malicious in the modern-day.

Trolling is similar to cyberbullying. Yet, it is distinct. While cyberbullying targets one individual, trolling does not have a specific target. Although they can use private messages, trolls are mostly found on message boards, Twitter, and comment sections. However, knowing what a troll is does not help you identify them. That is why we need to look at the telltale signs of a troll.

Identifying a Troll

People always have tells. In-person, they are easier to see. Someone could mess with their hair. Another person’s voice could raise when they are nervous. However, the internet is essentially a mask. It hides most people’s identities. However, you can find signs of a troll on the internet. So, how can you tell between someone want to honestly argue or a troll? Here are a few key signs:

  • Off-Topic Remarks
  • Will Not Acknowledge Evidence
  • Dismissive/Condescending
  • Being Obvious  

While these are not all the signs, these can be indicators. And because of the political climate, trolls are starting to push their own agendas.

Trolls and Political Agenda

The combination of the political climate and ongoing pandemic has given trolls more power. After all, we live in uncertain times. With all the negativity around, it makes trolling easy. However, we need to distinguish between trolls and trolls with a political agenda. Because of the nature of social media, most users have engaged in some form of trolling. However, trolling with a political agenda always is malicious and deceitful. It happens on both sides. These trolls post misinformation and remarks to aggravate individuals to respond.

How to Handle Trolling?

Social media is one of the loudest things in the modern era. And the volume is not going down anytime soon. Neither are the trolls. So, how to handle trolling? Do Not Feed Them. Trolls thrive on your reactions, to make people angry or upset. In addition, they can use their own reactions to make things worse. There is no civil discourse on the internet and that needs to change. You can do that by actually engaging with people who want to debate. The most important part is not to react to trolls. Because regardless of what side you are on the political compass, trolls will always try to find a way for you to feed them.

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