There has been increasing conversation regarding 'trolling' in the last few weeks after some Australian public figures received threats via Twitter. Thus, several news outlets began campaigns to Stop the Trolls which has taken the conversation offline and into the mainstream. The term 'trolling' is used to represent faceless, anonymous bullies who set up accounts on social media sites solely to find targets and attack them, which isn't necessarily the definition that is known by online communities. Trolling usually refers to playing a bit of a joke on someone, being a prankster as it were and not maliciously attacking people.
Definitions aside, there may be times when you come across people in online communities and social networks who will relentlessly attack without logic or reason and who it's not possible to engage with in a conversation. There is a simple mantra when dealing with these people, 'don't feed the trolls'.
- Do not reply, it just gives satisfaction and additional ammunition
- Block and report. If they make a new account, block and report again
- Take a screen shot of the tweet, message or reply and keep it as a record if it's needed
There's a great quote, 'the internet has given us the ability to be anyone we want to be, it's a pity so many people choose to be stupid'. The reality is that there is a minority of people who enjoy causing hurt or humiliation to others these people exist in real life just as readily as they exist online.
Instead of adding to the issue simply don't let the conversation even start.
Ellison Bloomfield is a Digital Content Developer at Deloitte. Her blog – Humane Resource has received world-wide attention and Ellison is frequently quoted as a thought leader on HR issues both within Australian and international publications. She can be found on twitter @EllisonAmy