Sometimes, I have to constantly remind myself not to feed the trolls. It may be a reason why I haven’t posted lately. I’m a little tired at the moment of getting frustrated and upset about the shenanigans going down in the government and in the media and not being able to do anything about it except vent. (Maybe it’s law school beating me down, but I’m feeling a little helpless.) Twitter makes it especially hard not to get angry, especially when people who are supposed to be your friends are calling you a racist for criticizing the President.
I’ve seen a lot of troll-feeding on blogs lately, too, and that drives me nuts. It doesn’t do any good to engage these people. Whether it’s a garden variety troll, a sockpuppet, or—my favorite—a concern troll, they’re there to disrupt conversation and/or make everyone in the thread look horrible. Yeah, it’s hard to look away from what they say sometimes (it’s like a train wreck!), but engaging them gives them the attention they want. And it just makes you, the engager angry, as well as responsible for keeping them on the thread longer than they need to be.
So don’t give them attention. By all means, if someone is obviously posting inappropriate comments, alert a mod, but don’t give their argument credence by rebutting it. It’s really not worth your time. Don’t focus on the trolls—focus on the people who are genuinely on the fence, apathetic, or just don’t know what’s going on because their exposure to current events is limited. Talk to them instead—you may actually make an impact on their beliefs. At the very least, you can help them be just a little more informed about issues and events.
Don’t forget: All trolls are idiots. But not all idiots are trolls. 😉