“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato
I’m sure you know some people who aren’t very kind. Maybe you work with them, go to school with them, or maybe… they’re in your family and you really can’t get away from them. These real-life trolls are bad…
but this post is about Internet trolls. They strike under the veil of anonymity, so it’s likely that if you met them in real life, they’d never admit to the heinous things they say online.
The best way to defend yourself from an Internet troll is not to take the bait. Don’t argue with trolls. It’s a waste of time. Remember that the troll does not know you personally. They don’t want to help you. They just want to get a rise out of you.
For example… I was looking through some posts in a fiction writing community on LiveJournal. Someone had posted that they were going through a period of writers’ block and wanted some advice on how to get out of it. I was going to leave my two cents, but I saw that the comment thread had been poisoned by a troll.
Basically, what the troll said was that the writer was lazy and was making excuses not to write. The tone of the comment was patronizing. And the writer did the worst possible thing: argued with the troll.
As Plato says, be kind. Be helpful. You don’t know anything about what that person might be facing to cause writer’s block. Don’t assume. Don’t give harsh criticism unless it’s openly asked for. Basically…
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Ever had an experience with a troll?