Troll Feeder or Punching Bag?

For the purpose of the post, this is the definition of troll:

“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.” (source: wikipedia)

Ah, arguing on the internet: the amateur sport of my generation. Never before have we been able to launch flimsy rationales and insulting invectives across the globe in real-time. What progress we enjoy.

I try to avoid the arguing, I swear that I do. I’ve realized, as most normal people do, that fighting against someone looking for a battle only gives them validation and energy. Their purpose isn’t to examine their viewpoint, present their argument, and discuss it until a common understanding can be reached. The troll is already absolutely certain of their correctness, and their only aim is to provoke you into losing your temper. You see a lot of this in politically themed conversations.

And I’m all for letting a troll’s argument die due to lack of attention, but there is a point at which I wonder if I’m too passive. My mother warned me all throughout my childhood to “never be a punching bag” and to stand up for myself, so trying to back away from a conflict is  difficult. And if the troll is insulting and slandering people and ideals that I believe in, am I failing to support my ideals by staying silent?At what point does a strategic and tactical approach drift into cowardice? Then again, trying to refute their insulting claims is an exercise in futility.

And of course, my pride is involved in the whole mess as well. I don’t like even the implication of being on the wrong side of something. It’s also pride that insists that people need to know what my opinion is  on any given topic.


Published by Chris

I'm an author, freelance writer, dad, and civic busybody living in London, Ontario

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