I used to love getting the Treehugger newsletter but the increasingly troll like responses made me decide to stop subscribing. It just took the joy out of it. I rarely read comments on news stories anymore or if I do, I quickly scroll through the plethora of hateful, stunningly stupid and stereotypical ones looking for some grains of truth and wisdom.
Trolls, or hateful online persons who’s aim is only to fight, offend, hurt and spew toxic stupidity on everyone’s good time, are a real menace and drag. They make social media, being an activist or merely having an opinion a minefield of verbal attacks, mind numbingly stupid comments and debate and real, malicious, personal hate.
Trolls attack. Not your point or opinion other than dismissing them all as being “stupid”. Trolls attack you. According to my personal troll responses what is really wrong with me is: I’m kind, have humility (uncool, weak)I love animals (crazy, wrong, stupid, evil), I care about good people and their rights (immoral, communist), I’m highly intelligent (make no sense, grammer mistakes), courteous and civil (a joke), fair and truthful (racist) a Christian (stalker, evil), have a sense of humor, fun (stupid) and tweet, post and share comments that aren’t stereotypical left or right (crazy, evil, stupid, asleep). I also share comments that don’t agree with a post, tweet (stalker, loser).
Basically the truth is I’m an animal rights/eco/social activist who is caring and loves social media, understands the power of social media activism and doesn’t back down or dumb down to fit in or be popular. I don’t go out looking for fights or trouble but I will always share/ debate my point of view if possible and necessary. If not I will share my point of view on my own media and ignore/ block those looking for inane or wrong fights.
This is necessary in our online world where those you would never allow into your life, thoughts have full access to both online. It can be disheartening as it makes you wonder how and why some people can be so anti social, so wrong and so hateful. But like all abusers, and trolls are abusers, they just are and enjoy the power their hate gives them.
To not give trolls power, by keeping calm, ignoring them and carrying on, works. The path to serenity lies, as all 12 Step graduates know, in accepting what you can change and accepting that you cannot change. We cannot easily change trolls or trolling and we need to accept that. We can change the minds, hearts and votes of the majority who aren’t. Knowing this is the key to activist empowerment and changing the stress to serenity.
Changing the world matters, trolls don’t. The only way to end trolling culture and to keep the internet a pleasant, productive place for activists and all, is to get them to realize this.
This would require media and a culture that demands and tolerates only the civil, courteous, intelligent and correct. One that rewards originality, brilliance, goodness and greatness instead of the mindless following of media trends, base understanding of philosophical logic and ethics and fitting in. One that cherishes and upholds truth, virtue and values shared by all the religions and most activism philosophy as well.
A society that says no to the offensive, malicious, ignorant, profane, pornographic and hateful. Not a too difficult task it would seem and one we must, despite being labelled uncool, out of touch, old fashioned losers, do.