What Internet Troll is and How to Handle One
You’re in an Internet chat room or on an Internet message board having a great time. You’re minding your own business and behaving like a responsible adult. Suddenly, there’s someone there attacking you, being downright rude and insulting. Did you do something wrong? If you didn’t do anything wrong, chances are you’ve just been the victim of an Internet troll.
What’s an Internet Troll?
Internet trolls are people who become very, very nasty for no other reason than to stir up a mess. Almost every chat room and message board has an Internet troll at one time or another. I used to be involved with an animal welfare organization and even the group message board for that organization had an Internet troll who would throw lies and insults around the board to purposely stir up trouble for the other members of the board.
What To Do When an Internet Troll is Attacking You?
You’ll know the moment an Internet troll attacks you. There’s nothing subtle about the way in which they do it. If an Internet troll starts attacking you, don’t even respond. They feed on the fire that spreads when arguments erupt in a chat or message board environment. If you don’t give them fuel for their fire, they’ll eventually grow bored and disappear. Hence the saying “Don’t feed the trolls.”
When it Gets Ugly
Internet trolls have been known to turn into Internet stalkers in rare cases. When a troll goes from being annoying to being harassing, it’s time to call in reinforcements. There are ways to stop an Internet troll when they cross that line. First and foremost, you will want to file a police report. Hopefully, that alone will scare the Internet troll into behaving. If not, a restraining order may be called for. It is possible to get a restraining order against an Internet troll, even if they live out of state.
Stay Above it All
Just remember, as tempting as it is to give into an Internet troll and lash back when they lash out at you, the safest and wisest course of action is to ignore the troll and wait for them to go on their way.