How to Play With Trolls
Remember in how in school, there was always an asshole (or five). The ones that would do and say stuff just to get the teacher(s) amped up, to piss off other kids, to push others around … remember those asshats? Those were bullies. Bullies come with every endeavor we make into the public sphere — one might go as far as to say that bullies are a part of the world or bullies make you strong or bullies give you reasons to push back, to stand up.
At the core of a bully is someone who gets off on pushing other people’s buttons, either psychologically or physically. When put like that, bullies are literally everywhere. President Trump is a bully, but this is already long in the tooth (along with bozo and punk). Much of the government consists of bullies — DAPL being the foremost example, but any video of black folks encountering a police officer in every US city almost always ends up with some form of bullying. The ultimate story arc of white privilege is when folks call Trump a bully like he is the first one to take a government office. History reveals/reminds that the United States government has been a 200+ years escapade of bullying with the rich and the white as masters of the bullying machine, establishing a pecking order where people of color are always at the bottom with the next tier up being anyone denying the definition of “normal”. Trump is nothing more than another thread in a government that pushes people around and builds its successes upon that. Folks need to come to terms with that concept or be just another foot imprint in The Life of Reason.
The differences between a troll and a bully:
a troll will do or say anything to detract one from a destination or idea usually by way of offense or threat
a bully will do or say anything to get one to act in accordance with their wish which is often a form of humiliation
The OED is less succinct in its scope:
troll — a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post.
bully — a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
It’s important to know this difference because the only “new” thing about the Trump administration (a White House of assholes; incompetence; hatred politics; etc. are nothing new), is that Americans are experiencing their first troll president (Russia has had this pleasure for the last 12 years, as have many other countries). It’s fitting that America has a troll for a president given the rise of the nonsensical internet and the growing infiltration and subjugation of mainstream American internet discourses by the 3rd internet (where there is the internet for regular things like CNN and Facebook; where there is the so called ‘darknet’ built on the onion protocol; where there is an alt-rite internet that mostly talks in circles to itself).
Question: How many guides does the internet need for dealing with, living under, or resisting a troll president?
Answer: As many guides have to be written until every pissed American starts reading the using the strategies within and building upon those ideas to enhance and create newer, better strategies.
How to Play with Troll by Ddong Today
- Don’t Feed the Troll — Trolls live for conflict (especially violence or its little sister, high school drama); not feeding the troll is internet debate 101, but IRL (in real life), folks seem to have both forgotten this basic rule or don’t know they’ve encountered a troll. The Billy Goats Gruff ultimately solved their troll problem with violence by chucking the troll into the stream where it, presumably, drowned. The key point of the story is that the first two goats got across by tricking the troll. That should be the take away. Tricking trolls is pretty easy, on and off line, because trolls are more focused on the disruption and destruction of a message that they’re able to be caught and called out on their BS. Call out each instance of troll BS to the troll’s face and the world. Trolls are so goal-oriented and their need for troll-success so deep that they would rather abort one failed trolling to get to another one that they can troll successfully to feel good about themselves and their trolling. Call that shit out, every time.
- Don’t Ignore the Troll — It takes more effort to ignore a troll than it does to call one out and trolls know that, so the amount of time and energy being expelled makes the troll happy. One needs only to look at any Trump twitter fiasco to catch mental imagery of Narcissus gleaming because he is the most talked about girl in the strip mall. The troll love for attention deepens with every act of “inattention”. See the troll, name the troll.
- Don’t Try to Argue with the Troll — Trolls will use illogic against your logic and logic against your illogic and school you for being illogical, and if you’ve got an exceptionally feisty troll, school you on debate tactics. Talking with a troll is nothing like talking with a skilled spin-tactician like Kellyanne Conway, so one can expect what seems like chaos at every talkback. But remember that a troll will do anything to get one “off-message”, so all tools of trolldom and debate are put to use. The use of every tool in the shed usually leads to contradictory statements and positioning — the goals of disruption don’t allow one to also protect any one stance; troll hypocrisy is exceptional rife given enough time. So the key is to keep the trolling talking. Don’t let the troll think it has a trollvictory or it will stop engaging, instead give the troll things to talk about and let the troll talk. Soon the troll will expose itself to #1.