How to avoid being an internet troll

How to avoid being an internet troll

Social media is an awesome tool. As someone that has made a career out of using the internet to spread messages I care about, I’ll be the first to explain the benefits. The ability to publish content without gatekeepers blocking stories they find inconvenient, the chance to connect with people you might never have otherwise met, and the tools to broadcast important information wider than you might previously have been able to are invaluable. However, it’s become obvious of the many negative consequences of a prolific presence on social media, not only for society, but also personally.

Frankly, people can be real jerks online. I’m not immune to this by any stretch of the imagination. I’m still struggle to refrain from making snide remarks, nasty quips, and the like. But over the last year I’ve made a concerted effort to be a better person on the internet, especially on Twitter. Here are the five strategies I’ve incorporated.

Reflect before you post

Internet culture, especially Twitter, rewards immediacy. To quote legendary NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” We’ve internalized this maxim online, striving to be the first to come up with the best takedown. We retweet and promote reactions that go to the extreme, not calls for caution and patience while we get more context.

We saw the race to be first as pundits, reporters, politicians, and celebrities raced to condemn the students from Covington Catholic. They dug up old stories about the school, griped about Catholicism in general, and made declarations about the high school kids intentions, motivations, and priorities from just a few seconds of a video clip.

Right away, people were calling to destroy the lives of Nicholas Sandmann and the other assembled students, even sending death threats to the school and parents of the kids. But as video came out of the incident, the truth finally became apparent. Sandmann and the students were confronted, no the other way around. Yet, the damage was done in many ways. These students had been defamed, attacked, and dragged through the mud. Now Sandmann brought lawsuits against his abusers.

Now, you’re unlikely to receive a quarter billion dollar lawsuit for anything you say online, but it’s worth reflecting on the consequences of what you are saying. Will this be something you agree with in a month? A year? Do you really need to rush to press “send tweet” before anyone else, or would waiting be prudent? Take a moment to think before you post.

Imagine saying this in real life

It’s easier to be mean to someone online than it is in real life.The digital divide dehumanizes. In person, you can hear the tone of their voice, see the facial expressions, and feel more empathy for someone, even if you disagree profoundly on an important subject. When that same conversation happens via 280 character bursts, you don’t get the same inputs humans have relied upon for our entire history.

When you’re writing that comment or angry reply email, imagine sitting in front of the recipient and actually saying what you’re typing to their face. Would you really use that kind of language if you had to look the other person in the eyes? Try reading your comment out loud before you post it, which can serve as a reminder that these words are actually coming from your mouth. Being forced to actually hear yourself say something will improve your arguments and push you away from unnecessary nastiness.

Finally, remember your post will lack context. This is all important in human communication. You wouldn’t communicate with your boss and your best friend in the same way. You probably wouldn’t talk about the same things at work as you would at a bar. Unfortunately, all context is lost on the internet. If you tweet a joke that might be more at home in a late night comedy club, realize that it’s going to be read by someone sitting in their office in the middle of a workday. The context and intention you had when you sent it is lost.

So imagine not only saying this in real life, but also imagine how it can be received. Don’t forget to consider the varying positions of your audience and how that affects how people will view what you say.

Read what you posted last year

As soon as we press send on that tweet or post that Facebook status, we largely forget about it. Message sent, it’s out in the world, and we aren’t going to read it again next month. But we should. Reading your old posts can put things into perspective. Was that controversy actually as important as it seemed at the time? Was your “hot take” too hot? Were you wrong? Looking back on your past statements can help put things in perspective today.

Reflecting doesn’t end after you post something. There are great free tools you can use to review your old social media posts and reflect on them. Facebook’s Memories feature is a great way to review your past Facebook posts. Memories shows you everything you posted each day you have been on the platform. Just by checking Memories once a day, you can review your entire history on the platform, and maybe delete some of those pictures of you at parties in college. Twitter’s Advanced Search allows you to search date ranges for specific accounts. I review my tweets one month at a time, but you can do so at your own pace.

Create real world consequences

The best thing to ever happen to my “internet career”? My pastor followed me on Twitter. And not only does he follow me, he routinely talks to me about things I tweet in real life, often as he greets congregants leaving the sanctuary. He chided me when I used vulgar language and laughed at some of my better jokes (especially the punny ones). In many ways, I know I’m accountable for my online behaviour, because someone I trust and respect is paying attention. There are real world consequences if I’m a jerk online.

Unfortunately for most people, they don’t have these intermediate social consequences like a pastor chiding you, instead they suffer more drastic consequences. Read the story of Justine Sacco . How easily could your life be impacted because of a tweet you shouldn’t have sent?

Don’t let yourself be corrected by disaster. Instead design real world consequences. Hopefully, the same people that keep you accountable online can hold you accountable in the real world. Use these reactions like guardrails that protect you from driving off a cliff.

Keep Social Media in perspective

The internet cartoon strip xkcd has the perhaps the best:

How to avoid being an internet troll

When what’s happening online begins to distort and take over your offline life, things have gone too far. We have a saying we bring up in many of our campaign trainings: Organize Online for Offline Action. Sure, you can sometimes convince people, change minds, and win arguments online, but what is it really doing in the real world?

Your time is best spent when it’s directed towards constructive action that results in real world outcomes. Clicks, impressions, retweets, and the like all have their place, but man cannot live on retweets alone. To be successful and change policy and affect political change, your actions have to translate beyond the computer screen.

Spend your time online wisely, and don’t become the troll!

Find yourself dealing with an excessive number of internet trolls? Worry no more, you can easily defeat them with these methods.

By Kayla Morosco, Chatham University

Culture x February 7, 2018

How to avoid being an internet troll

5 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Internet Trolls

Find yourself dealing with an excessive number of internet trolls? Worry no more, you can easily defeat them with these methods.

By Kayla Morosco, Chatham University

No one can deny that the internet has changed lives from the way people think to the way they act. Letters no longer take months to cross the ocean, and people living on opposite side of the globe can see each other’s faces on a daily basis with the help of video conference.

In other words, internet has redefined connection. With Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, acquaintances are only a touch — or a click — away. However, when your friends and family can easily get to you, haters can do so just as easily.

In the darkest corners of the Internet lurks a dangerous problem: the internet troll. Internet trolls invaded nearly every online platform, spewing hatred for everyone and everything through multiple accounts that guarantee to completely overwhelm their victims.

A casual scroll into a comment section of any online post, whether it be personal blogs or magazine articles, reveals how these trolls set out to attack other users. Their comments are off topic, their language is either clownish or vulgar, but their goal is clear: they simply wish to create anger and discourse for the sake of it.

Internet trolls are commenters who seek to spark outrage in a person, sometimes for no reason at all (remember that time when you saw a derogatory comment on your Instagram whose author you didn’t even know?). Instinctively, you take to defend yourself without knowing that you are feeding those trolls what they crave the most: a battle. Unfortunately, an internet troll cannot be reasoned with; they cannot be understood and anything you say or do will only ensure that they can continue to harm you.

Frustration can easily set in as websites do not always have proper tools to remove such trolls. This frustration can be overwhelming and infuriating, even to the point that you vow to leave the internet all together. Here are some ways to beat a troll at their own game.

1. Don’t Instigate

A super effective way to beat these harmful trolls is not to instigate. Leaving comments online can put you at risk of trolls; therefore, the less comments you leave, the fewer trolls you will have to face.

Now, this does not mean you should refrain totally from responding to others online. Rather, you should be on the lookout for the comment sections that are known breeding grounds for trolls, such as that of a political story. These trolls write various awful things in order to get people to interact. The best way to beat them is to not respond to their nonsense.

2. Mute/Block/BlackList

Another great way to beat an internet troll is to hide them from your sight. Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr have great blocking features, which mainly function as a blinder or filter to those trolls — they hide your content from those you don’t want to see. All one has to do is click on the appropriate button and the internet troll is gone from your life.

This is especially helpful if you find yourself overly upset at the trolling comments from certain persons. Out of sight, out of mind. Once the troll comments are gone from your sight, you will have an online experience with more peace and clarity.

It also beats the troll as well, since what a troll loves the most is to continue the fight and feed off of your anger and aggression towards them. When you cut this off, they tend to move on to their next victim and leave you in peace.

3. Turn off Messages/Set Account to Private

Another way to fight back is to either turn your messages off or set your account to private so that only a few accounts of your choice will be able to see your content and contact you through that medium. This tool is available in most popular social media, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and is very easy to use. Toggle with your account setting and you will be able to turn your account to private within seconds.

This step should be preceded with caution though and only done if one is being utterly infested with internet trolls. If you are quick to turn your account on private, you may miss out on the online fun. But if you need a nuclear option for a drastic problem with trolls, this is the one to go with. Once the trolls see they can no longer bother you, they will leave you alone.

4. Don’t Scroll Down

This one is tricky and requires proper judgment to avoid missing out on any interesting and helpful conversations. If the social media content you are viewing is controversial in any way, it might be best to skip the comments. But since trolls seek a fight for absolute no reasons at all, even less controversial topics may turn out to be filled with trolling comments.

After trolls hook you into a fight, there is no end in sight. So if you are the type of person that knows they are easily upset with these types of troll comments, you may want to skip the comments section on certain sites.

5. Ignore

And finally, and the most obvious and important one, ignore the internet trolls. This seems to be a simple method, but its practice takes true willpower. Internet trolls feed on one thing: your involvement.

If you ignore them, they will eventually disappear, and you win by default. When you see a comment from a troll, don’t respond. The troll will eventually figure out that you are not someone easily tricked into getting emotional.

How to avoid being an internet troll

With the advent of internet, has also risen the irritating group of internet trolls. These people do not have any shallower purpose to exist for in the internet than floating muck in a lotus pond. Their sole motivation is to upset, annoy and to simply ruin people’s days. One needs to realize that they aren’t required to stare at rocks when they come in the path, but simply dodge them and move ahead. Internet trolls require no different treatment. In the list below, we have curated some of the ways by which you can avoid an internet troll from making you their primary attack. Take a look below:

Stay Clear of Extremities

  • How to avoid being an internet trollscoopwhoop

Make sure to be always aware of what the hot topic of the day is. Stay clear of sharing any extreme views on the internet if internet trolling is something you would prefer to live life without. They wait for every opportunity to pounce at you. Any extreme behavior will be a direct invitation to hoard in and flock your profile with some of the meanest things which you may have read in a very long while. Therefore, avoid any views which can make you a slice of prime rib steak for the internet trolls to gorge on for the day.

Post Things with a Good Vibe

Every post consists of a few elements which makes it easier for the troll to be able to take it down with their verbose filth. Make sure that you are posting and putting up stuff on your profile which consists of the good vibes. This way, it will make the job of any internet troll painstakingly hard to come up and abuse that post. Talk about stuff which literally cannot be hunkered down by any means of offence or trolling. It truly will be a troll’s nightmare!

Stay Away from Spam

Internet is a spot which leaves trails wherever you go. Almost all the websites today which we interact with are trying to get something out of us, even be it as simple as our email addresses. Make sure that you leave any of your details only with trusted and reliable websites. If you will be all over the place, the internet trolls would not take a lot of time to hunt you down and get to business. Therefore, make sure that you are very careful with where you leave you information and are sure about how it is going to get used. Trolls are constantly sniffing around to pick up new profiles to rip into. Steer clear of the menace!

There you have it! Internet trolling certainly is one of the drawbacks of this digital age. Trolling although isn’t something which the internet has given birth to. The challenge simply is to steer clear of the people who won’t add any value to your experience while on the internet. Following the above tips will help you stay away from the internet trolls for sure.

It’s September of an election year, and people are drawing lines, taking stands, and proclaiming their political beliefs. Even the lurkers, who brag that they “never post political stuff on Facebook” find their trigger fingers twitching over the “share” button. The internet is a battlefield, and you simply can’t get around online without being drawn into a shootout from time to time. When that happens, these tips will keep you knocking down opponents without losing your cool or becoming a troll.

Don’t Use Metaphors

If you find yourself typing out the words, “It’s kinda like if…” then stop immediately and delete what you’ve written. The silence of your non-response is going to carry much more weight than your argument. Metaphors—comparing the situation you’re debating to a different situation—are the cyanide of online arguments.

What’s wrong with metaphors?

Metaphors are a teaching method and work wonderfully when your audience is on your side. When someone is on your side, they mentally find the comparison points and use them to enrich their understanding of what you’re saying. When they’re against you, they focus solely on the differences between your case and the example case. As soon as they do, you’re no longer debating about the original point. A second debate thread has been created, and now you’re debating whether or not your point is comparable to X. Getting back to your original argument is nearly impossible.

Additionally, metaphors can easily offend. Remember that on the internet, people are desperate to take anything personally. Once they do, the debate will be completely derailed and centered around whether or not you think they’re a dog, child, Hitler, or whatever other foolish thing you compared them to.

Look at these two statements and determine which one is stronger:

“What you’re doing is kinda like asking me to come pick you up when your car is out of gas, and then complaining about how long it took me to show up.”

“What you’re doing is selfish.”

Don’t Post Links

Only a few of the links you post in a regular, friendly conversation with all parties in agreement actually get clicked and read by your audience. If someone’s ass is completely chapped over your opinion, imagine how much less they’re going to care about which blog posts have moved you.

People don’t involve themselves in online arguments because they want to click around and “read more internet.” They’ve been doing that already, and they’ve finally read enough to form an opinion. They’re ready to test it out by fighting over it, and that’s how you got involved. They’re not going to read the link.

Do Post an Occasional Quote

An occasional quote from an intelligent person is great for bringing in a bit of ammunition, especially when they say it better than you can. But keep it short. If your opponent sees a quote mark followed by a pile of sentences, they’re just going to skip it. Be careful about quoting people who are themselves debatable. If you’re quoting Ayn Rand or Karl Marx, be prepared to start a new debate about Ayn Rand or Karl Marx.

Deal With Petty Insults Effectively

Did they call you an idiot, or a child, or a Nazi? Good, that means you’ve almost won. At this point, you have two choices: Deliver the finishing blow or get upset about their insult. There are two typical responses to being insulted, both bad:

Flipping shit: Petty insults persist as a strategy because sometimes people get trolled by them, and when they do, the ensuing firestorm makes everyone look bad. The offender knows they have lost, so they take one last chance of bringing the winner down to a tie. Don’t fall for it.

Describing at length why you’re not what they said you were: Have you ever noticed that when you’re truly sick, and you call in to work, you just groan out that “I’m really sick.” But when “sick” means your buddies want you to head to the beach, you find yourself on the phone describing the exact times you vomited last night and this morning, the consistency and make-up of your bowel movements, and how you’ve never felt quite like this before? That’s because truth often needs no explaining.

If you’re not an idiot, simply say you’re not. When you get insulted, start by destroying any real arguments they made in their comment, then briefly deny the insult and patronize them for it: “And I’m not an idiot, don’t talk to me like that.”

Don’t Ask Questions

You should never ask someone a question in a debate. When you do, you are ceding the podium to them and welcoming them onstage. Your question allows them to discuss their arguments from basically any angle they want as long as they loosely use your question as a point of departure.

Just like with metaphors, both the allure and the problem of questioning is that we are trying to be our opponent’s teacher. We feel they are ignorant (and they are, dammit!) and we want to educate them. But if you’ve ever been in an 8th grade biology class with a substitute teacher, you know that a defiant and uninterested student cannot be taught. Any question the teacher asks them will be flipped into something sarcastic or off-topic. Questions don’t work, but they can be outsmarted and defeated by superior wit and skillful retorts.

Never say, “Don’t you think you’re being a little hypocritical after what you did last week?” They won’t say yes. Instead, turn your question into a statement, “After what you did last week, this is completely hypocritical.”

Don’t Be Led By Questions

Any question someone asks you in a debate is a trap: They want to position themselves as the teacher (authoritative and wise) and you as the student (subservient and inexperienced). Often, they want you to state their point for them, or at least introduce it. At the very least, they are using you to help finish their sentences. If you allow this to happen, you unwittingly become an accomplice to their point, making it much more difficult to argue against.

Just say, “I’m listening if you want to make a point: there’s no need to frame it as a question.”

Don’t Use Annoying Buzz Phrases

Telling someone to “stop drinking the kool-aid,” or calling people “sheeple” doesn’t do anything to increase your legitimacy. It just makes it sound like you’ve copied your arguments from a radical pundit on AM radio or cable news. Also, don’t call people “folks.” Folks is an irritating word used by the elite in politics, business, and media to sound humble and connected. The reality is you sound like a jackass, and imitating jackasses is no way to win.

Any buzz phrase can easily be stated in a much more convincing fashion. Instead of telling someone to “stop drinking the kool-aid,” say something like, “You’re just repeating the stumping points of [political party]. They haven’t been able to back them with convincing evidence, and neither have you.”

Do a Quick Structure Check

Since an online post is usually just a quick statement, rather than being a researched, outlined and revised research article, it’s often the case that someone will start writing hesitantly and gradually work their way up into a strong point. Before you post, look and see if your first few sentences were just a warm up. Can they be cut? Also check to see if you started with a conclusion, then figured out a good way to explain it. In that case, your first few sentences might work best at the end. Check for dangling arguments that are off point (and could start a second debate thread) along with removing metaphors and questions.

Jesse Nivens was a varsity (though never a master) debater in high school. He is currently a designer , game developer , writer, and self-proclaimed expert of internet argumentation living in Springfield, Missouri. Follow @jessenivens on Twitter.

How to avoid being an internet troll

Social media is an awesome tool. As someone that has made a career out of using the internet to spread messages I care about, I’ll be the first to explain the benefits. The ability to publish content without gatekeepers blocking stories they find inconvenient, the chance to connect with people you might never have otherwise met, and the tools to broadcast important information wider than you might previously have been able to are invaluable. However, it’s become obvious of the many negative consequences of a prolific presence on social media, not only for society, but also personally.

Frankly, people can be real jerks online. I’m not immune to this by any stretch of the imagination. I’m still struggle to refrain from making snide remarks, nasty quips, and the like. But over the last year I’ve made a concerted effort to be a better person on the internet, especially on Twitter. Here are the five strategies I’ve incorporated.

Reflect before you post

Internet culture, especially Twitter, rewards immediacy. To quote legendary NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” We’ve internalized this maxim online, striving to be the first to come up with the best takedown. We retweet and promote reactions that go to the extreme, not calls for caution and patience while we get more context.

We saw the race to be first as pundits, reporters, politicians, and celebrities raced to condemn the students from Covington Catholic. They dug up old stories about the school, griped about Catholicism in general, and made declarations about the high school kids intentions, motivations, and priorities from just a few seconds of a video clip.

Right away, people were calling to destroy the lives of Nicholas Sandmann and the other assembled students, even sending death threats to the school and parents of the kids. But as video came out of the incident, the truth finally became apparent. Sandmann and the students were confronted, no the other way around. Yet, the damage was done in many ways. These students had been defamed, attacked, and dragged through the mud. Now Sandmann brought lawsuits against his abusers.

Now, you’re unlikely to receive a quarter billion dollar lawsuit for anything you say online, but it’s worth reflecting on the consequences of what you are saying. Will this be something you agree with in a month? A year? Do you really need to rush to press “send tweet” before anyone else, or would waiting be prudent? Take a moment to think before you post.

Imagine saying this in real life

It’s easier to be mean to someone online than it is in real life.The digital divide dehumanizes. In person, you can hear the tone of their voice, see the facial expressions, and feel more empathy for someone, even if you disagree profoundly on an important subject. When that same conversation happens via 280 character bursts, you don’t get the same inputs humans have relied upon for our entire history.

When you’re writing that comment or angry reply email, imagine sitting in front of the recipient and actually saying what you’re typing to their face. Would you really use that kind of language if you had to look the other person in the eyes? Try reading your comment out loud before you post it, which can serve as a reminder that these words are actually coming from your mouth. Being forced to actually hear yourself say something will improve your arguments and push you away from unnecessary nastiness.

Finally, remember your post will lack context. This is all important in human communication. You wouldn’t communicate with your boss and your best friend in the same way. You probably wouldn’t talk about the same things at work as you would at a bar. Unfortunately, all context is lost on the internet. If you tweet a joke that might be more at home in a late night comedy club, realize that it’s going to be read by someone sitting in their office in the middle of a workday. The context and intention you had when you sent it is lost.

So imagine not only saying this in real life, but also imagine how it can be received. Don’t forget to consider the varying positions of your audience and how that affects how people will view what you say.

Read what you posted last year

As soon as we press send on that tweet or post that Facebook status, we largely forget about it. Message sent, it’s out in the world, and we aren’t going to read it again next month. But we should. Reading your old posts can put things into perspective. Was that controversy actually as important as it seemed at the time? Was your “hot take” too hot? Were you wrong? Looking back on your past statements can help put things in perspective today.

Reflecting doesn’t end after you post something. There are great free tools you can use to review your old social media posts and reflect on them. Facebook’s Memories feature is a great way to review your past Facebook posts. Memories shows you everything you posted each day you have been on the platform. Just by checking Memories once a day, you can review your entire history on the platform, and maybe delete some of those pictures of you at parties in college. Twitter’s Advanced Search allows you to search date ranges for specific accounts. I review my tweets one month at a time, but you can do so at your own pace.

Create real world consequences

The best thing to ever happen to my “internet career”? My pastor followed me on Twitter. And not only does he follow me, he routinely talks to me about things I tweet in real life, often as he greets congregants leaving the sanctuary. He chided me when I used vulgar language and laughed at some of my better jokes (especially the punny ones). In many ways, I know I’m accountable for my online behaviour, because someone I trust and respect is paying attention. There are real world consequences if I’m a jerk online.

Unfortunately for most people, they don’t have these intermediate social consequences like a pastor chiding you, instead they suffer more drastic consequences. Read the story of Justine Sacco . How easily could your life be impacted because of a tweet you shouldn’t have sent?

Don’t let yourself be corrected by disaster. Instead design real world consequences. Hopefully, the same people that keep you accountable online can hold you accountable in the real world. Use these reactions like guardrails that protect you from driving off a cliff.

Keep Social Media in perspective

The internet cartoon strip xkcd has the perhaps the best:

How to avoid being an internet troll

When what’s happening online begins to distort and take over your offline life, things have gone too far. We have a saying we bring up in many of our campaign trainings: Organize Online for Offline Action. Sure, you can sometimes convince people, change minds, and win arguments online, but what is it really doing in the real world?

Your time is best spent when it’s directed towards constructive action that results in real world outcomes. Clicks, impressions, retweets, and the like all have their place, but man cannot live on retweets alone. To be successful and change policy and affect political change, your actions have to translate beyond the computer screen.

Spend your time online wisely, and don’t become the troll!

“People have been mean since the beginning of time. It’s not new.” – A comment left on a YouTube vlog about Ashley Judd’s TED Talk “How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control”.

Last year was a year of many firsts for Eco Warrior Princess. Some of these ‘firsts’ were exciting, like how we reached 30,000 unique visitors in a month, and the first time partnering with a vehicle manufacturer (Toyota) to promote an eco-friendly car (Camry Hybrid). And then there were the ‘firsts’ that weren’t so good: multiple internet troll comments on our website.

I launched Eco Warrior Princess in 2010 and aside from comments marked SPAM, had been fortunate not to have to moderate hate speech or abusive comments. A frequent reader of other news sites like nytimes.com and viewer of YouTube videos, I am aware just how ugly and poisonous comment sections can be.

After reading awful ‘discussion’ threads (I use this term loosely as discussion should not be taken to mean civilised discourse) often thought how better behaved the EWP community is. Until we received two comments awaiting moderation that were so horrible that I was left with no other course of action but to delete them.

How to avoid being an internet trollAs someone who believes in free speech, you’d think the decision to delete would have been more difficult. In fact it wasn’t. The two comments were so inappropriate, irrelevant and offensive, I refused to subject the authors to them. No good would have come from approving these comments. These weren’t just comments from people who were publicly disagreeing, or being insulting or even rude. These comments were filled with so much profanity and hate as to constitute verbal abuse. As far as I could discern, the comments were not written to advance the discussion but to specifically get a rise from the authors. The decision to delete was a straightforward one.

People are entitled to free speech, but targets of online abuse also have rights. Preventing harm and ensuring that the community is protected from harassment and malicious intent is why we moderate at Eco Warrior Princess.”

Cyber-bullying, intimidation and threats.

Online bullying can take many forms, from abusive status updates, comments and emails, continuous harassment, spreading rumours on social media or fake videos and images designed to humiliate an individual.

Social media discussion threads too are often rife with vitriolic and disgusting messages and rarely are the comments moderated. One only needs to follow a thread on Twitter to understand the human capacity to spread hate speech and promote violence.

Non-profit organisation Feminist Frequency founded by Anita Sarkeesian which calls out sexual assault and harassment, racism and bigotry, received these threatening and disgusting tweets on Twitter (warning: violent language may be disturbing to some):

How to avoid being an internet troll

How to avoid being an internet troll

Actress Ashley Judd, a rape survivor and victim of sexual harassment and online threats took to the TED stage in 2016 to deliver a powerful talk revealing her ongoing experience of verbal abuse on social media.

That Judd continues to be the recipient of online hate attacks and the subject of further ridicule in YouTube vlogs reveals the extent of the trolling and cyber bullying problem.

How to avoid being an internet trollOn a YouTube video “Ashley Judd: Posterchild for Feminist Failure”

While some people will say “don’t feed the trolls” and “ignore the bullies” it’s easier said than done. NoBullying.com received 9.3 million visits in 2016 from people seeking help with bullying, cyberbullying and online safety. The scale of the problem is huge.

” ‘Don’t feed the trolls’ frames conversations about aggressive online behaviours solely in terms of the aggressor. Even if a person avoids feeding the trolls (and/or the person accused of trolling), he or she is still playing into the aggressor’s hands.” Dr Whitney Philips, a communication lecturer at Humboldt State University, writes in The Daily Dot.

Bullying has moved from the physical realm to the online realm, and is no less sinister in its intent. Even with educational resources at our fingertips, avoiding and overcoming the harmful effects of bullying is difficult. The resulting psychological harm can lead to someone taking their own life.

Ryan Halligan a victim of continuous bullying and cyber bullying by his class mates could no longer deal with the abuse. He committed suicide at just age of 13. And it’s not just young people being taken as casualties. New Zealand and Australian TV personality Charlotte Dawson who battled depression and was also the victim of cyber bullying eventually took her own life in 2014. She was 47 years old.

How to avoid being an internet troll

Steps you can take if you are being attacked, intimidated or harassed online.

People write things online they would never dare say to you in person. The anonymity of the internet and lack of accountability and negative consequences encourages abusive behaviour. Could you imagine if these individuals harassed and intimidated people in real life as they do on the net? They would be reported to the police, perhaps served restraining orders and face other forms of punishment.

If you find yourself the target of internet trolls and online bullies (note: not to be confused with people who engage in civilised disagreement with your viewpoint) here’s what you can do:

  • disengage from any further online communication so as not to add ‘fuel to the fire’ so to speak
  • flag the comment as ‘abusive’ and report the account/individual to the social media platform (if you’re unsure how to do this, this article will help you through it)
  • adjust your privacy settings so as to limit who can comment on your posts and send you direct messages
  • block the account/person
  • take screen shots of threatening or intimidating messages and report to the police
  • share your feelings and concerns with people you trust to get the emotional support you need
  • contact a support line or seek therapy if you need to

How to avoid being an internet troll

For further reading on this subject matter, these resources may help:

Have you ever been the target of cyber bullying and constant harassment and trolling? Have any tips that may help others deal with this trauma? Feel free to share your stories. Let’s not pretend this doesn’t exist or sweep it under the carpet because where one troll or bully exists, we can be sure there’s many more where they came from.

A long, long time ago in 1999, James Charles was born. And although no one could’ve predicted it at the time, he was destined for greatness.

In the two decades following his birth, Charles found massive success as a YouTube beauty guru. He achieved an estimated net worth of US $12 million and received 1.8 billion views on his channel. He attended red carpet events collaborated with the Kardashian/Jenner sisters. A young multi-millionaire with a massive following, James Charles was on top of the world.

Then, in May 2019, he set a YouTube record by losing over 1 million followers in less than 24 hours. After a few days, he’d lost 3 million.

The incident came about when fellow beauty guru and former friend Tati Westbrook took Charles to task in a scathing video titled “Bye Sister” that will live on in YouTube infamy. She accused him of unprofessional, immature and predatory behaviour. Following the video, the beauty community turned on Charles, and many celebrities he’d collaborated with unfollowed him on social media.

The drama made headlines across the internet. Fellow beauty gurus weighed in. Sides were taken. Pitchforks were raised. I heard about these people for the first time in my life because of it. So, you know it was a big deal.

What is cancel culture?

You can be forgiven for not realizing the significance of an online fight between a 20-year-old man and his 37-year-old mother figure. But for internet historians, it was a conflict for the books — not only was it one of the biggest “cancellings” of 2019, it became the defining case study for cancel culture.

The term “cancel culture” may not be one everyone is familiar with, but most people have seen it in action. It’s a phenomenon combining celebrity gossip, vigilantism and mass hysteria. If the internet was a medieval village, cancelling would be like when a mob gets together and accuses someone of practicing witchcraft. The James Charles incident was unique in its scale and impact, but it was only one of countless public outcries to cancel someone last year.

Being cancelled, summed up.

Social media has allowed people like James Charles to make lucrative careers for themselves, but it also comes with risks: the bigger your audience, the more closely you will be monitored under the internet’s microscope. Cancelling has become the internet’s call to arms — a deliberate attempt by the public to strip problematic figures of their power and influence. As a content creator or brand doing business online, that can have devastating consequences, both financially and personally.

Cancel culture might run its course in time, but for now, it’s still a thing. And from seeing cancellings playing out on social media on a weekly basis, I’ve come up with three rules for navigating the world of social networks as a brand or creator looking to build an audience.

1. Be careful weighing in on social or political issues

The reality of the internet in 2020 is that pushy marketing is out and authenticity is in. Taking a public stance on certain issues of the day can build trust between a brand and its audience. But when weighing in on an issue that doesn’t come from a genuine or personal place, the narrative can come across as pandering.

For example, remember Starbucks’ #RaceTogether campaign? If not, a recap: Starbucks decided to start a conversation on America’s race relations by having baristas write #RaceTogether on customers’ cups. Which sounds great, in theory… until you realize that only 15% of Starbucks’ upper management at the time were people of colour (which, concerningly, was still more than the percentage of PoC models used in the promo images).

People felt that Starbucks was suddenly concerned about racism for its own economic gain. The company received a ton of social media backlash. Fortunately, Starbucks took this mistake to heart and its more recent efforts at social change have been better received.

When it comes down to it, yes, Starbucks had a good message. But it didn’t line up with anything else they were doing at the time, so the campaign quickly shifted from an authentic effort to an opportunistic cash-grab. If your brand is thinking about tackling an important issue, make sure it fits with everything else you’re doing to make sure you’re sending the message you want to send.

2. Watch how you use humour

As someone who communicates almost exclusively in sarcasm and detached irony, I’m well aware of how easily humour can misfire — especially without non-verbal cues. Things like parody, sarcasm and satire become especially difficult to convey when it’s through text. Tone and body language, which would normally tell us how to interpret a statement, are completely absent.

The subject matter of humour can also raise ire in some instances. DiGiorno Pizza’s Twitter account caught flack when they appeared to make light of domestic abuse by seizing on the trending hashtag #WhyIStayed. Amid disturbing accounts of domestic violence from Twitter users, DiGiorno implied, intentionally or not, that someone would stay in an abusive relationship for the promise of pizza, a cheeky tweet that rubbed a lot of users the wrong way.

Sure, you can argue that dark humour has its place in the world. But as a brand, joking about sensitive topics — even with the best intentions — is likely to backfire.

3. Don’t rely on influencers to save you

Traditional marketing is changing, and audiences are putting more trust in influencers with similar values than brands themselves. If people have to be advertised to, they appreciate a sales pitch that feels more personally catered to them. But even the most carefully curated influencer strategy can’t protect you if you’re not honest about the product.

The iconic Fyre Festival disaster is the perfect example: with a brilliant influencer strategy, the world’s top influencers and the trip of a lifetime on offer, it should have been pretty hard to mess up. But they did. Big time. Like, two competing documentaries about the event big.

Fyre Festival left people questioning the role Instagram’s influencers played in the failed music festival and what responsibility they had to their audience. The controversy even led the Advertising Standards Authority to tighten their rules and regulations on influencers.

There are plenty of examples of influencers who failed to uphold their end of the bargain with their audiences by promoting inferior, shoddy or unethical products or experiences. Careless promotions can erode trust between an audience and their brand.

No matter how careful you are on social media, at the end of the day, marketing still comes down to what it always has: your product. If it’s not something worth selling, all the Instagram models in the world can’t make people buy it — or, at least, not without demanding a refund after they do.

Conclusion

At its core, cancelling probably has some good intentions. People don’t get cancelled for having bad hair or preferring pineapple on their pizza, but because they’ve done or said something problematic.

If you use common sense and keep it friendly, your brand should be able to navigate social media unscathed. And if you ever do make a mistake, use it as an opportunity to learn about your audience and better your brand for the future.

The Internet is prone to disagreements, but a flame war actually sows hate and discord. We explain about flame wars on the Internet, and the ways to avoid them.

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How to avoid being an internet troll

The Internet is prone to disagreements, but a flame war actually sows hate and discord. We explain about flame wars on the Internet, and the ways to avoid them.

Did You Know?

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a renowned physicist, started a flame war after posting a controversial tweet on December 25 about Christianity.

Would you like to write for us? Well, we’re looking for good writers who want to spread the word. Get in touch with us and we’ll talk.

Wars are pretty much distasteful, with the losses piling on both sides. But verbal wars are not far behind, since what’s said once can’t be taken back. A few disagreements here and there, and it erupts from some misunderstanding into an intense ‘yo mama’ battle. The same can be said for the Internet.

The Internet is a vast sea of information, with each channel having murkier visitors than the last. Some people come online for information, some for fun, while others come for getting their jollies by seeing a verbal dispute erupt on their computer screen. Since the Internet provides a sense of anonymity, some users take advantage of this fact to create disruption.

Online forums are filled with haters, griefers, and trolls, lurking around every chat room, waiting for a new user to fall for the bait, goad him into it, and thus make t he matter escalate into a full-blown flame war.

What are Internet Flame Wars?

A flame war is a heated exchange of words between users on online forums that are off-topic or controversial. Flame wars are started by trolls, who lurk the Internet to start a disagreement or war, by posting inflammatory posts (or flames) on websites, YouTube comment sections, chat rooms, and blogs.

Flame wars can be started with the most mundane topics, varying from your favorite colors to your favorite character in Game of Thrones. In recent years, these have been linked to cyber terrorism as well as online harassment. Flame wars have even fought by the US government against jihadists to dissuade to-be-terrorists.

Godwin’s law is applicable in this case, which states that, the longer an Internet discussion takes place, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis increases. The most famous flame wars include Mac Vs. PC, PlayStation 4 Vs. Xbox One, Windows Vs. Linux, to name a few.

Trolling

The origins of trolling claim to have come from Usenet chat forums, where veteran users would post already discussed questions. This would help identify novice users, who would immediately respond to the post, while the experienced users would stay away from it since they knew it was already discussed earlier, and the post would be prone to spam and spiteful taunts by trolls.

Since trolls can disrupt these forums and discourage new users from asking any naive questions, websites ask users to register their names and e-mail addresses.

Would you like to write for us? Well, we’re looking for good writers who want to spread the word. Get in touch with us and we’ll talk.

Novice users are always admonished with a ‘Don’t feed the trolls’ meme to stop them from indulging in trolling, and thus, flame wars in general.

How to Avoid Flame Wars

●Avoid commenting on any message that goads you to speak out, and respond to all questions politely.

●Before responding to any comment, make sure to get a knack of the situation by asking trusted members of your online forum.

●State your case thoroughly, with facts and evidence to back it up, and avoid any sort of sarcasm.

●If after all that the troll still doesn’t stop with the profanities and trash talk, the final call would be to send a message to the moderators complaining about the behavior. This can end up getting his IP (Internet Protocol) address blocked, or getting kicked out of the online forum completely.

Although flame wars have long been associated with online harassment, some sites encourage it to get a different perspective on an already exhausted-to-the-bones topic. Plus, they add hilarity and fun to the subject, as evident by the memes floating around the Internet.

How to avoid being an internet troll

How to avoid being an internet troll

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