So to preface this, this would be my first MyTake on Gag and I wanted to make it something that not only had my attention and people could relate to, but something I felt I could speak about in depth. After narrowing it down, I decided to go with this topic since it is something we all have to deal with on the site here- and that is trolls.
What is a Troll? An Internet Troll is defined as an individual who posts inflammatory, insincere, digressive, extraneous, or off topic messages in an online community such as social media, forum, chat room, blog, video, etc. with the sole intent to trigger emotional responses from people who are passionate about the topic they choose to poke at- a good example here being the Society and Politics tab. Anyone here on GaG is familiar with specific users that do this, but a lot of them also go under an anon guise, which honestly makes no sense because you are already anonymous with your username to begin with, at that point it is just a way to save face and keeping an established credibility that has already been formed, but that is another topic for another day.
Now unfortunately for us, these annoying little weevils multiply and keep coming back like an aggressive bout of herpes. Like an itch, the more you scratch it the more it'll continue. The commonality is attention. If you ignore these individuals and not give them the time of day, then in theory they fail. You give them attention, you end up giving them the satisfaction that they provoked you to say something to begin with, doesn't matter if it is good or bad, just saying something back in general tends to be the goal. They can't win a duel if they can't get a rise out of you. You beat them in this case by not taking what they give you, which is bait. Don't take the bait.
Now, since trolls are something we have to deal with and we can only control how we respond, what do we do? We have a couple of options to choose from and this will be dependent on you as an individual.
1.) Block known users and limit responses to non-anon users.
GaG fortunately gives us a method to mitigate this to a degree. We are able to block people who are masters at this and whose sole purpose is to start shit by going into our settings and putting in a user's name. This blocks their questions from coming on your feed and it also keeps them from commenting on your posts as well. Probably the best option if you are easily triggered or find yourself tempted to respond to the chode of the day.
2.) Ignore the user and the posts.
Now if you happen to have more restraint and can spot the bullshit in advance, you can easily use this step as your preferred option. So long as you don't comment on known users or anon questions designed to specifically start a problem, you'll be fine. If the users in turn try to come after you from comments you post or questions you ask, you are able to implement option one via block.
3.) Troll Back.
Now this is a double-edged sword. If you simply do not care and have a sense of humor with a skill of manipulation or are very cunning, you may be able to get a rise out of the troll who started the remark to begin with. This is not recommended in my eyes because this does two things. One, it gives them the attention they crave, and secondly, you are condoning it by playing into the game as well. I will admit I am guilty of playing along to a degree by taking bait on some of these questions I see on the site here, examples recently being me calling anon users Timmy and doing the agree and amplify technique to whatever question they ask.
As long as the online realm keeps us connected, there will be clashing views on topics and differences of opinion, and the unfortunate trolls to go with it. This is not me asking for trolling to stop, nor is it me saying that it needs to end. What my goal with this MyTake outside of trying to give a level of humor, knowledge and personal experiences of the subject at hand, I want accountability to be had. Mind you when I say accountability, I mean personal ownership of how you respond to the fuckery that this brings. If you choose to partake in trolling, fine. If you wish to ignore it and let the little turds starve, do so. At the end of the day, personal fallout from your decisions will come pending what you choose to do.
The world is already divided enough as is and a lot of it stems from people being unable to be rational or afraid of confrontation and conflict. You have the ability to react or respond and devote time and energy to. Do you want to waste your time with someone purposely trying to cause you problems for kicks from the other side of the world in the middle of nowhere or do you wish to maintain frame and power over your tormentors?
Furthermore, take a step back and think about a troll when they make a post. Ask yourself this. Are they are just miserable and only get joy out of others suffering? Would they even think twice about saying this to someone's face in public without the shield of anonymity to do so? Perhaps they are just lonely? Who knows? Bottom line, should you come across one of these individuals during your daily peruse of online content, exercise restraint and think about how you want to respond should you choose to engage. Don't react. Respond.