Tips for Dealing With Internet Trolls
We've all have had our run-ins with internet trolls on a variety of different platforms. Here are our tips on how to deal with internet trolls:
Are they really a troll?
Evaluate if someone is or is not an internet troll. If they are, you will usually know pretty quickly. However, just because someone does not support your issue or disagrees with you does not make them a troll. When people ask thoughtful questions even though I might disagree with them, I try and engage when I can, to have a constructive conversation.
If I get a bad feeling and feel threatened or taken advantage of I don't hesitate to block and report the interaction.
Better safe than sorry. This is not something to mess around with. Back in 2009, I had an anti-LGBTQ troll target me and I used it as an opportunity to raise money for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Today, I would probably just write a check, block and report the person. Why the change? 2009 Seems like a lifetime ago on the internet and folks have gotten a lot more aggressive online over the past few years.
Do quick research on the troll.
In the case of my troll there was a whole mini community around her that was organized and helpful. Chances are if they are really a troll you are not the first person they have harassed.
Remember don't poke the troll without knowing who you are dealing with.
Some trolls are harmless, some are not. If you feel unsafe after you have blocked and reported a troll - call the police. In some places like the U.K. laws have been passed to prevent trolls from bullying online. In the US cyberbullying law, as well as existing laws, have been used in both civil and criminal court.
Bottomline: Dealing with unstable folks is just risky business and not worth it. So be careful out there. Block and report should be your first steps if you feel at all threatened. Have questions about dealing with trolls or want to share a story? Drop us a note.
If you haven't already, check out our Complete Guide to Digital Advocacy in Trump's America