Who’s afraid of the big bad troll? Grow up, you pathetic child!

As our lives increasingly take place online, we are more and more likely to encounter a troll.  For those not in the know, a troll is

someone who posts inflammatory,[2]extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion [from the Font Of All Human Knowledge, oops, I mean Wikipedia].

Note that: the troll’s primary motive is to get an emotional response or disrupt normal on-topic discussion.  He doesn’t know what colour you are, how much money you earn or if you’re an obese thirty-something who lives in his mom’s basement (unless you’ve already put that info out there for him to discover) – he’s just pushing buttons, hoping for an outraged reaction.

Trollface -this is what they look like. All of 'em, honest!

This is what pisses me off about the Patrice Muamba Twitter troll, When Liam Stacey made a nasty tweet about footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsing a match, he attracted a number of bad tweets himself – to which he reacted with a few more abusive messages.  Am I defending Stacey?  No.  I am defending his right to say what he said.  The fact he was jailed for those tweets is shocking, and does not bode well for those among us who dreamt fleetingly that the internet might be a last bastion for freedom of expression.

So how do we deal with trolls?  Wikihow’s somewhat aged advice  is  still valid: ignore the dickhead.  If no one had bothered with Stacey’s crap, he would’ve soon enough moved on to something else.  It’s only because Muamba’s faithful following leapt in to defend their idol that Stacey made his vulgar follow-up tweets.  Fer Krist’s sake, ain’t  you Muamba-lovers got anything better to do?  Ignore the dicks, they’ll go away soon enough.

Of course, some kinds of trolling are worse than others.  I’m thinking particularly about Facebook bullying. There’s a piece on Facebook bullying on www.bullying.co.uk. But we need to remember that bullying existed before the internet, and will no doubt continue to go on when human beings become extinct and dolphins on skateboards rule the earth.  I experienced bullying at school long before the World Wide Web came into being, and I was advised “Ignore it.”  Of course, I thought that was crap advice and used OTT violence instead.  But now I look back, I can see that ignoring the bullies did help somewhat.  So come on, FFS – stop throwing fuel on the fire.  And grow up!

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6 Responses to Who’s afraid of the big bad troll? Grow up, you pathetic child!

  1. Stephanie says:

    Good definition of a troll. Perhaps you should send it to the Liam Stacey trial judge who seemed to have no understanding of Twitter.

    Also, send it to the “defence” team, who gave Liam Stacey absolutely dreadful advice and did not oppose the jail term “in principle”.

    I feel so sorry for Liam Stacey, and so angry at the judiciary.

    The same appeal judge reduced the jail term of a rapist and a paedophile, yet sends Liam Stacey back to prison

    Speech crime appears to be the new capital offence!

    Thanks for this sensible post.

  2. anonymous says:

    You’ve no idea how hypocritical you sound.

  3. guest says:

    if anyone should grow up, it’s you and the trolls. if you ask me, trolling is fuckin’ childish. and it comes from dumb asses livin’ in their parents’ basements without jobs. it’s a damn shame that they can’t get out the hell outta those places and get some real jobs.

    in other words, trolling is a waste of time. doin’ that could cause other people to have their asses handed to them. let’s say you troll someone and both of you later find out that that the same victim you trolled. he or she might beat the hell outta you.

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