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How to deal with Trump, trolls and aggressively emotive untruths online

The Guardian – By Tom Chatfield – Tuesday 2 August 2016


As the past few decades have shown, the trolling mindset is awesomely well adapted to a digital age. It ignores rational argument. It ignores evidence. It misreads, deliberately. It uses anything and everything somebody says against them. To argue with trolls is to lose – to give them what they want. A troll is interested in impact to the exclusion of all else.

Trolls themselves are hairy Nordic creatures who live under bridges, but trolling doesn’t take its name from them. It comes from the Old French verb troller, meaning to hunt by wandering around in the hope of stumbling upon prey. The word made its way into English as a description of similar fishing tactics: slowly towing a lure in hope of a bite.

Then, in the early 1990s, a Usenet group took up the term to describe some users’ gleeful baiting of the naive: posting provocative comments in hope of attracting an outraged “bite”, then winding up their unwitting victim as thoroughly as possible.

Once again, impact is all. The total absence of knowledge or expertise is no barrier to bullshit. In fact, it helps. The artistry lies in knowing your audience, and saying whatever is needed in order to achieve a desired effect.


We need a new phrase for this kind of aggressively emotive untruth; though hardly a new human phenomenon, it wields particular power in an age of endlessly recycled outrage.

Then again, shutting up about Trump and all other professional trollshitters (a potty-mouthed portmanteau is the best I can do for now) might be a better tactic. Bullshit is a kind of conjurer’s incantation. Breaking its spell is a matter not so much of truth – however much we might like to believe it – as of disenchantment.

Like trolling, attention is its lifeblood: without a consenting audience, each withers. And the less time we waste on headlines and hand waving, the more we can focus on what’s actually going on.

Read entire article here

From The Reader’s Digest – Online bullies: what a troll is, and how to stop one:

In literature, a troll is generally a nasty piece of work, but at least when you put the book down, they will vanish from your mind. Online, a troll is a more persistent threat to your well-being.

What is a troll?

Using the broadest definition, an internet troll is someone who will take issue, or pick an argument, with something you post online. This abuse usually takes place on social media, be it in response to a forum post or a news story, or on a social media service like Twitter or Facebook.

Trolls particularly like engaging in political, personal or any subjective topic, but if they think they can upset someone, will comment on just about anything to try and annoy people. If you try to respond to the troll’s comment in a reasoned or logical way, they will usually try to lower any debate as rapidly as possible. They will quickly resort to offensive language, name calling, changing their argument or using absurd logic to defend their position.

Don’t feed the trolls

Their sole aim is usually to annoy, insult or wind you up. They could be carrying out dozens of troll attacks at the same time, and don’t care who they are annoying, as long as they gain some twisted satisfaction out of causing someone pain. Using the anonymity of the internet, they feel powerful and gain more power from the people that they hurt.

Therefore, the simplest way to defeat an internet troll is to ignore them, no matter how tempted you feel to correct them, challenge their absurd point or to defend your honour. If you fail to respond, they will soon move on to another target. If they do persist in stalking you (perhaps you post regularly on a forum or site), you can ask the moderators or site owners to ban them.

Facebook and Twitter have their own solutions, you can block or choose to ignore posts from particular people, and report them if they become abusive.

Read entire article here

PS Some trolls are subtle and act like they are your friend, especially on Facebook–they disagree with most of your posts or you find yourself defending your opinions over and over with these same people–those are also trolls–beware and do not feed.

Posted by Teri Perticone


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