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Feed a Human, Starve a Troll

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If you spend much time online,

especially on social networking sites,

you’ll get a chance to meet a troll.

Okay, not a “real” troll.  But in truth,

you may never get to know their real

identity, because trolls like to hide in

the dark a lot. Evidently coming out

into the light is what kills them.

Fairy Tale Trolls

For a long time, the only trolls I knew

about were from an old fairy tale I’d

read as a child called The Three Billy

Goats Gruff.  As you know, the things

in fairy tales are never what they seem.

Everything means something else.

Trolls Symbolize Trouble

I found this written about the meaning of the

troll in Uncle Thor’s Magazine:

Trolls symbolize trouble. They are lurking

troubles that appear unexpectedly. A troll

can turn otherwise safe circumstances into

danger. Most trolls are brutal and stupid,

like a blind force or random event.

A troll portends unexpected trouble.’

Online Trolls

On the internet, a troll is someone who starts

arguments or posts things to be deliberately

disruptive, inflammatory, or harassing.

The intent of the troll under the bridge in the

fairy tale was clear. He said he was going to

“gobble up” the goats.

The intent of the online troll may not always

be clear, but it is to gobble up any chance

for intelligent discussion, sticking to the

topic at hand, and feeling respected, safe,

and secure on the internet.

Brutal and Smart

Unlike the description of the fairy tale troll

as “brutal and stupid,” sometimes the online

troll is brutal and smart. They can be intelligent,

shrewd, resourceful, with an uncanny ability

to know exactly what to say to “get your goat,

so to speak.

The Troll’s Food Source

Trolls are so crafty and have an almost

inexhaustible amount of energy to cause

chaos.  Well, actually, it is exhaustible.

They feed on attention. Your attention.

Once it becomes clear through interacting

with someone online that the person is

less interested in hearing what you have to

say and responding to it, but rather more

interested in baiting you and escalating the

discussion to the point of ridiculousness,

you have identified a troll and you must

starve it.  Immediately.

How To Starve A Troll

Cut off all contact. Do not respond to

any more (probably inflammatory and

accusatory) requests for contact.

One of two things will happen when you

starve a troll.

Either it will weaken and go away for

awhile or possibly forever (unlikely that).

Or it will get so hungry for attention, it

will come out into the light and die.

Online trolls who don’t get attention

eventually need it so much they risk

being seen for who they truly are

and in doing so, commit online suicide.

You can sit back and watch it happen,

although it’s kind of gruesome and very

sad, actually, I’m not going to lie.

Troll = Never Having to Say “I’m Sorry”

Real human beings aren’t perfect. They sometimes

offend without meaning to, and when informed

of this respectfully, they will respond by apologizing

and saying they didn’t mean to and they’ll certainly

try not to do that in the future.

Trolls won’t. Trolls will tell you that they weren’t

being offensive, if you were offended it is because

of some major flaw you own, and they’ll never,

ever say they are sorry for anything.

Please Feed The Humans!

Don’t let the fact that there are some

trolls out there on the internet deter you

from interacting with the great human beings

with whom you can have wonderful, intelligent,

respectful, safe interactions.

It can be difficult sometimes to bridge the

chasm between genders, cultures, races,

religious beliefs, sexual orientations, and

a host of other ways we are different from

each other.

But human beings can do this.

Trolls are not interested in bridging the gap.

They want to knock you off of the bridge.

Stand strong.

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