Things were so simple then. Someone wrote a post, you comment, people responded to your comment and that was it. Friendships formed when you discovered that there were people that thought like you. It wasn’t a surprise, given the internet extends to the WHOLE.WIDE.WORLD, but it always tickled a little bit when that one person liked the Fleetwood Mac song you referenced. Or knew EXACTLY the scene from The Neverending Story you were talking about.
“The Nothing is coming!”
These occurrences were the reasons why we waited til midnight for new posts to drop. You wanted to get your comment in before the morning rush. You wanted to be part of the discussion. You wanted to debate your point with other people you vetted and found were as smart as you hoped they’d be. Even if you didn’t change any minds, it was still great to get your point across. Conversation was great, different perspectives were offered.
Then they came.
I mean, they were always there, but they lurked. They popped up every now and then when the topic was so juicy they just couldn’t stay away. But like that ugly black toenail on a beautiful supermodel, they just seemed to be an occupational hazard that came with choosing to have a blog or a forum where people can comment on what you have to say. The First Amendment told these people they could have an opinion, and for whatever reason (I think Entitlement Issues) they thought we needed to hear them.
troll: /trōl/ n:
Trolls seems to live for no other purpose than to cause complete sturm und drang among those trying to co-exist on these e-streets. Someone famous once said “Don’t say anything unless you can improve the silence.” I’m taking liberties with his quote but we can extend that policy to the internet. Why would you take the time to type out a comment on your first generation iPhone if you can’t add anything fruitful to the conversation? I want your life to be better. Take some time to smell some flowers and bring some peace to those around you.
However, because I like to get to the reasons of “why” I have done some thinking about why trolls are the way they are. Dave Chappelle once said “don’t call a person ‘crazy,’ its dismissive.” So before I say “you’re a punk” I would like to offer up some reasons to explain how a seemingly intelligent human has now become a troll.
*putts down tar and feathering materials.*
Now, I know times are hard. I understand you might’ve come from a tough background. Getting picked on for wearing Shaqs when Jordans were hot had to be rough. Being mad at your parents for buying you said sneakers MUST have hurt. But that didn’t mean they don’t love you. When you asked Jenny to homecoming and she said you looked like Napoleon Dynamite, I understand that stung. Passing along that anger to those just on the internet to have a good time is making you look bad. Why spread that negativity? Dear troll: your douchiness is showing, please tuck it back in.
2. They’ve never been beaten:
This is the only reason I can come up with as to why trolls think their behavior has no consequences. Whether or not it affects them directly. Whether a person has to delete their Twitter and or the admin at their favorite trolling site get pissed and shuts it down. (I always imagine someone is ONE comment away from saying “eff all this and eff you!”) This doesn’t help ANYONE! I really wish their parents would’ve beat them when they got out of line. Then this wouldn’t be happening. Nothing says “I love you” like a good old fashioned, Grade A butt whoopin.
Troll leaves comment on blog.
Don’t be a troll
3. No one taught them to fight fair.
Trolls don’t generally like what the writer of said blog post has to say, and that’s entirely their opinion. The difference is, instead of offering up something sensible to spark an exchange, they go below the belt. You might not like what I have to say, but you ain’t gotta talk about my momma and/or my offspring. How does that even make sense? Trolls are like the stinkbomb that someone drops in the middle of the house party. You just bring down the entire mood of the whole place. Don’t be a troll.
4. They were taught that angry=love.
Dear trolls: don’t be deceived. Negative reaction is NOT better than no reaction. Sometimes people get it twisted. They purposely do things to make people upset because their parents had them thinking anger = love. That is not the case. and let’s go one step further and say (for the sake of your relationships) that love isn’t supposed to hurt.
5. They REALLY think they have a valid point.
*shakes head* This CANNOT be it. I refuse to believe that anyone with all their faculties would leave the most blatantly rude and insulting comments that trolls leave. I’m always looking for the logic. Keyword here being logic. This is not my cry for you to silence an opposing viewpoint, but if I write something as simple as “I love a blue sky” a troll would most likely say something so off topic and weird that you wonder if their stash of bath salts got re-upped over the weekend.
Don’t be that person. If Mitt Romney has taught me anything it’s just because you have the right to free speech doesn’t mean you should always use it. This is just fact.
Don’t let your fingers move across the keys unless you can improve the conversation.I swear, sometimes trolls are more annoying that spam.
Don’t be a troll.
Peace and Love, Nick