8 Engagement Rules for Troll Non-Engagement
By Joseph F. Nacino
In today’s social media battlefield, it’s hard not to encounter trolls, the bane of free-wheeling expression and respectful discourse.
The first rule when dealing with trolls that invade your online space, of course, is “don’t feed the trolls.” You can ignore them, or block the bastards and delete their comments.
But sometimes, you just need to give trolls a taste of their own medicine but without stooping down to their level or using up all your swear words in your vocabulary.
The key element here is not to play into their hands: that means not answering their comments directly or letting yourself be affected.
So how do you troll a troll? Here are eight ways you can play with their heads:
1. The No Community
If you get a case of trollitis in your comment section, just tell ‘em: NO. This works better if your friends and family also chip in such that the troll faces a wall of NO whatever they say. Simple and sweet.
2. Cute Trump Trolls
Post cute cat pics or funny memes regardless of what the troll comments on your post. Flood ‘em with cuteness and don’t give ‘em the last word until they leave.
3. Geek Out with Your Friends
This works better if you have a friend or two willing to help. If your political posts are getting trolled, talk about how Marcos revisionism is a case of bad comic book retcon, or how Voldemort was really a good guy maligned by the “yellow” Dumbledore crew.
4. Anti-Troll Karaoke
Troll keeps bugging you with comments? Drown out whatever they’re saying by posting your favourite lyrics. As you type the lyrics, imagine you’re singing them right this moment and belt them out like a diva.
5. Poetic License to Kill
Similar to number #4, post appropriate poems/poetic responses, from Shakespearean insults like “Thou art like a toad; ugly and venomous!” to Marianne Moore’s poem “To Be Liked By You Would Be a Calamity.” Remember, words are weapons and you can excise troll stupidity with surgeon scalpel-like precision.
6. Classic Rickrolling
Keep a Rick Astley YouTube link of “Never Going to Give You Up” in a TinyUrl format handy and when you comment, tell the argumentative troll this link will answer all their points in one blow. Unfortunately, this works only once.
7. Steal This Pic!
If you catch a bastos troll messing on your wall, try to get their profile pic and Photoshop it with their misogynist comment. Use that to reply to the troll with the link to pertinent cyber/sexual harassment laws.
8. The Fallacy Referee
If you’re being bothered by a troll who thinks he or she can argue, keep a list of logical fallacies handy and start shooting each argument down. Don’t explain or elaborate, just cite the logical fallacies they’re using in every comment. For added bonus, give penalties.
Whether these trolls bothering you are doing it for pay or for kicks, these people don’t care if you’re answering logically with corresponding source links. Likewise, you can’t always come up with sharp, smart burn responses at a drop of the hat.
For once, blow them out of the (online) waters and watch them delete their comments in retreat.