Over my many years on the internet, I have become well acquainted with the "internet troll" and I have come to realize that the best way to deal with them is to know exactly how they think.
Now, this isn't too difficult of a task for me because I have, and I don't know how else to put this, a lot of experience trolling people on online settings (so much so that I would not be surprised if you were one of my victims in the past, and if so, sorry about that).
Regardless, I have decided to impart upon you my knowledge on this subject in order equip you with the tools (or weapons) needed to combat this growing online trend.
And, as is typical for most websites these days, I'll provide my suggestions in list form!
1. Don't Feed the Troll!
This is one of the most common phrases shouted by those looking to eliminate the influence of trolls online, and I must say that it is quite accurate. From a troll's perspective (and I know it well...), the worst possible outcome of our efforts is to get zero response from our "audience".
We get the most joy out of seeing people get angry, annoyed, combative, etc. The easiest way to therefore crush the spirits of an inexperienced troll is to not respond, or to call them out, laugh at them, and continue on with what you were doing.
Unfortunately, this step is ignored by 99% of all internet users.
2. When in Doubt, Troll the Troll.
The easiest way to catch an inexperienced troll off guard is to troll them back. This is one of my trump cards, and I've used this technique many times to quash trolls who are not familiar with the intricacies of the art.
|Real trolls dress in proper business attire before fighting on the internet.|
To utilize this technique, all you have to do is get the troll angry. Call out their technique, ridicule their trolling abilities, or do what I do on Xbox Live and don a British accent and start making fun of the fact that they are "stupid Americans" (the latter only works if you can speak proficient British, don't try it otherwise or you will give the opponent troll more ammunition to work with...).
But what happens you might ask, when you meet a troll of equal skill level to your own?
3. When you Can't Beat Them, Join Them!
If not feeding the troll doesn't end their tireless crusade to annoy you, and trolling the troll is ineffective due to your lack of creativity or their mastery of the art, the next best thing you can do is to join them in their efforts.
|Every internet-user knows that two trolls are better than one!|
Not only is this technique hilarious when utilized properly, joining in on someone's troll-in-progress makes your job easier. They've already warmed up the audience so to speak, leaving you with the opportunity to just waltz on in with your trolling act and get as many cheap laughs as necessary in order to make your life feel like it has some meaning.
But if you really don't want to troll anybody, you can always turn to the next technique...
4. Become a Spectator!
If you don't feel like joining in on the trolling action and really don't care to warn people to not "feed the troll," then sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. There's no point in getting angry at a troll when you are smart enough to realize what they are trying to do. Instead, just appreciate their abilities to incite internet rage amongst your contemporaries, and perhaps applaud them for their abilities if you are feeling generous.
|"This is much better than spying on the neighbors!"|
This is a slightly different technique from "not feeding the troll," which assumes that you are looking at the troll with disdain. In this case, you recognize the person is trolling, but choose to withhold that information from your fellows and instead take advantage of the hilarity that ensues.
Sure, you may not make any friends this way, but at least you weren't the one who fell for the troll.
5. Ignore/Mute/Ban the Troll
This is the most surefire way to end a troll's existence before they are able to do any real damage to your relatively healthy state of mind. In order for this to work though you must have a keen sense of who is trolling and who is not, else you may just be called out as someone who disagrees with any point of view or opinion other than your own.
Of course, this is the least fun way to go about dealing with a troll. Personally, I prefer going one on one with trolls and beating them at their own game, but if you don't have the time nor the sense of humor to accomplish this, a simple ignore/mute/ban on the troll will suffice.
6. Sometimes, You Can't Stop a Troll
Be aware though that some trolls have achieved a level of greatness so high that they are completely untouchable when practicing their art on the general web-surfing public. These are the most dangerous kinds of internet trolls, and they are often so effective at what they do that even I wouldn't try and stop them.
These trolls are so proficient at spreading despair for humor's sake across the World Wide Web that it is best to just accept your fate if you come across them. Though a fiery sense of rage will occupy your soul as these people are trolling you, your best option is to take it all in stride after the fact and laugh it off. It is the best way to keep your sanity, trust me.
|That's right. A good troll is just like MC Hammer.|
Even if you do not come across a Grand Master of Trolling, there is still a high chance that even a low level troll will get to you a few times. There is no way to completely block out their efforts, but with enough practice you will be able to recognize the general signs of a troll and can then utilize one of the techniques I've listed above to stymie them.
In closing, I hope that these tips and tricks make your time on the internet a more enjoyable experience in the future!
P.S. Haha, I just got you to read a sentence that means nothing!
P.S.S. (If you didn't get angry reading that then you've taken your first step towards conquering the ever present internet troll menace! Huzzah!)