The topic of trolling is a hot one at moment. By now most of us have a pretty good idea what constitutes trolling, however the best to deal with trolls is a whole other issue. And it is an issue everyone seems to have an opinion on. Whilst some experts recommend ignoring online trolls or reporting them to authorities, others (cough cough… Charlotte Dawson) encourage us to fight back and hold trolls accountable.
The most affective approach probably depends on what you are seeking to achieve. Here at In a Troll Troll World we do not advocate one approach over another. We are here to spread awareness, lend advice and provide a forum for you to vent your spleen. Let us assess a few approaches you could consider when dealing with trolls.
The most simple (and probably most rational) solution would be to ignore trolls altogether. People who direct cruel, vicious or abusive tweets, comments or messages to others are usually seeking a reaction. If this is the case retaliating will most likely only exacerbate the issue. Conclusion: Don’t feed the trolls or they will bite.
Although quite a drastic measure, disabling your social media profile (whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Bebo, Google +…. the list goes on) may be in some instances the best option. Every situation is going to be different. It is important that you consider both the extent of the trolling and your ability to handle this type of abuse. Once a Queen of the social networking site Twitter, Charlotte Dawson is one prominent example of a user who was unable to disengage with the attacks of trolls. Hospitalised after a torrent of abuse got the better of her Charlotte has since pulled the plug on her account. Conclusion: Know your limits.
Within the twittersphere the retweet is a popular means of standing up to trolls. During her reign Charlotte Dawson was a strong advocate for the retweet. For those of you unfamiliar with the practice it simply involves retweeting vicious, cruel or abusive tweets that are directed your way. This ‘naming and shaming’ style approach is only somewhat effective. Although retweeting offensive comments is effective in outing trolls on Twitter it does not hold actual users accountable in real life. Furthermore retweeting is a form of engagement, by engaging with trolls you are simply giving them the attention they crave. Conclusion: If you take away the fuel there is no fire. Hence retweeting is probably not your best bet.
As previously mentioned your approach depends on the seriousness of the situation. This is where you need to bring your personal judgement into call. If you believe a comment made against you to be threatening in nature than you should consider taking more serious action. All social networking sites will allow you to delete comments and block or report users. If you believe threats made by a person to be serious you should consider keeping a record and taking it to the police. Making threats against people even by way of social media is a criminal offence. Conclusion: An extreme but completely valid measure.
Hopefully you will never fall victim to the torment of trolls. If in the unfortunate circumstance you do I hope the above advice will help guide you in making an informed decision.
*image by wallyg from Flickr.com*