The first rule of social media – and practically the internet – is that you shouldn’t feed the trolls.
Quickly, if you don’t know what a troll is: it’s someone who intentionally pisses you off or says something vile to kick start a reaction. They gain pleasure from knowing that they annoyed you. “Feeding” the trolls basically means that you’re reacting and that is what they want, so they’ve achieved something!
Getting the police involved is a pathetic measure. These days what happens online barely leads to action happening offline. By this, I’m implying that unless any damage or threat is posed for OFFLINE safety; there’s little to be done.
Trolls often start their accounts as an anonymous bit of fun. You can block them to ignore them, but as soon as you do, more arrive.
Twitter collects no details whatsoever (aside from the email address that has most-probably been set up for the purpose of trolling) and so because of this one simple fact; there’s really no easy and effective way to find the person behind the keyboard. You could utilize the police forces’ ability to trace an IP address to the location of the suspect – but again, this is not a fault proof option with many people using proxies such as TOR to their advantage.
We also have to remember that if harassment on Twitter is to land somebody in jail – how exactly would it be if we took the internet out of the equation?
If I go up to a random civilian and say “you’re a pathetic loser” then chances are I will be shunned and any crowds surrounding me would tell me to go away. Right, now let’s think about what would happen if the police were called. Was I posing any physical threat? Well, no. Was I abusing someone with more than just my words? No. Hmm… Not sure the court would spend very long on cautioning me off for wasting time and trying to irritate people.
Over the past few weeks in Australia a headline has been floating about these so-called “trolls” attacking celebrities. Charlotte Dawson – for whom I have little interest in what she’s actually “famous” for – was subjected to a selection of tweets which had supposedly helped her have a nervous breakdown.
Online community manager Laurel Papworth said it best:
“You never give bullies oxygen and you never feed the trolls,”
“By simply retweeting every negative tweet that comes along, you’re training your community: to get Charlotte’s attention, be mean to her … I don’t think you should reward trolls with that sort of attention … She got herself into a corner.”
Often, the bully has far fewer followers than their target and, by responding to, or retweeting, their tweets, the victim immediately notifies all of their followers about the attacker’s tweet.
Papworth noted what many newspapers didn’t – that Dawson had called her attackers names such as “attention whore” and by doing so created an onslaught of onlookers that was attracted to that sort of commentary.
Another celebrity, Rugby player Robbie Farah, had been sent a disgusting anger-provoking tweet which forced him to get politicians on his side. Plenty has been said about the tricky situation but what did the tweet actually say?
“@maxpower118: @robbiefarah I’d still fuck your mum, I will have to wear a gas mask to help with the smell of decomposing flesh, but I’d fuck her hard”
Robbie Farah’s mum passed away this year so this troll knew exactly how to hit the sensitive spot. The twitter user “maxpower118” has since deleted his account.
I share no sympathy for the troll, but it’s sometimes best to ignore comments of such stupidity. Think of it the way it probably is: the idiot’s either a 30 year old virgin living at home with his mum or he’s a little shite who was using Twitter way past his bed time.
I can understand why Robbie Farah was hurt and angered by the remarks but giving them attention and making a huge deal about it all is often far worse. Especially when you reply using a violent manner.
I’ll say it again: The reaction they get out of you is their success. If you ignore the troll then they will return to their little lives and feel entirely insignificant with the belief that you never saw the tweet anyway. If you reply to them, giving them news coverage and trying to scare them, then they won.
At the end of the day the internet and the world is full of absolute douchebags. It’s how you make their miserable shitty lives significant that causes trouble. Don’t feed the trolls!