Trolls

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that readers take time to visit and to read my blog. My happiness and love only increases when people take time to comment. It is an honor and a privilege to have readers, and I am thankful for all of you.

I generally do not screen all the comments. I’m not saying it’s the best policy. It’s just the one that I use because I simply do not have time to read all of them (especially in the longer threads), and I do not want to turn off the comments altogether.

I have noticed a few things that are making my brain feel itchy.  Some write as if it doesn’t matter how they speak so long as what they speak is right (or at least “right” in their own eyes). Of course, we are all tempted to speak carelessly from time to time, especially when we feel like our cause is just or when we feel like we’ve been wronged.
People tend to understand that in polite conversation some things just ought not be said. In face to face encounters when there’s disagreement, we know that a certain sense of propriety ought to govern what we say and how we say it. Yet this is often forgotten in online interactions. For some reason, people feel free to let loose online with things they would never say in person. This is a hopeless hypocrisy, yet there it is.

The goal of this post is a very practical one. I want us all to consider how we might disagree without being disagreeable. In short, how can we be Christlike in controversy?
Before offering my advice, let me make a confession I am a sinner and I have made more than my fair share of mistakes.  I have spent the better part of a decade trying to set things right and getting my self square with my Heavenly Parents. Even through my repentance and working towards a better way I am not perfect, and neither is my blog. I have made it my voice and whether it comes from my lips or finger tips I always tell the truth.
If you don't agree with me, that is of course your right.  And you are invited to feel free to go find another blog whose writer's view is similar to your own.
I have discovered over the past few weeks that I have my very own set of Blog Trolls.
So here’s my advice on responding to blog trolls.

1. Do not fail to recognize a blog troll when he or she appears. A blog troll is someone who makes outlandish, rude, and offensive comments. A blog troll is not someone who simply disagrees with you. In fact, you might even find yourself involved in a thread in which the troll agrees with your point of view! The issue here has less to do with the substance of a debate than it does with the tone. Blog trolls are often prone to unqualified hyperbole, name-calling, caricature, and insults. In short, the blog troll fits the profile of the Proverbial “fool” who is not able to control his tongue.
Proverbs 18:2 – “A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.”
Proverbs 12:18 – “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Proverbs 15:2, 4 – “2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly…4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.”
2. Do not respond in kind to a blog troll. Blog trolls feed on arousing the ire of their targets. If you feed a blog troll by equaling his vitriol, then he will come back for more. Instead, think of ways to speak kind words in all your communication with a blog troll.
Proverbs 26:4 – “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.”
Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”
3. Do not expect a blog troll to receive correction. The Proverbs teach that “fools” are very limited in their ability to receive correction. This is not to say that you should never engage a troll. It is to say that you need to be careful before casting your pearls before swine.
Proverbs 17:10 – “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding Than a hundred blows into a fool.”
Proverbs 27:22 – “Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him.”
Along with this, do not demand apologies from a troll. This tactic generally encourages him to dig in and to defend the righteousness of his cause all the more. This leads to more rude and caustic commentary, and the cycle starts all over again.
Proverbs 12:15 – “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.”
4. Do not attempt to rebuke the blog troll in a public forum. That only leads to more nasty conflict. If you feel that you have been wronged, then the private confrontation of Matthew 18:15 may be the best way forward. Try to get the blog troll’s e-mail address, and resolve the matter there. Sometimes you can accomplish more in private where folks tend to feel less of a need to save face. If the troll responds nastily to private correction, you and everyone else can be thankful that the outburst took place out of public view.
Matthew 18:15 – “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”
5. Do not acknowledge the comments of an unrepentant blog troll. If the blog troll is unresponsive to your private efforts to get him to play nice, you should ignore his comments thence forward. Once again, do not feed a blog troll. It only makes him bigger. If everyone will simply pay no attention to blog troll comments, the blog troll will eventually go away.
6. Do not be a blog troll. Instead, aspire to this:
Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”
I'm sure that there is more that could be said on this topic, but perhaps this post will give us enough food for thought so that our online interaction might be elevated to another level. It’s much better to moderate our own comments than to have someone else do it for us.

You know I love you and always will, trolls and all.
God Bless ya!

3 comments:

  1. Wow... Really...

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Mary" I deleted your comment because you are completely out of line. If you double check the dates, my post is from November 2011, the blog you claim I plagiarized posted theirs in January 2012. Which would mean someone else copied me. So who looks stupid now. Make sure your "detectives" know how to read dates before making assumptions.
    Don't assume I am the one who is lying and making up stories. And don't pretend that you know anything about me. Also you could not possibly know "that family" better than I do. I have been in and around them for 13 years. You have been married since what?.... September 2011? Marrying into a family, really does not make you an expert on them. You really don't know anyone when you are just getting started. It isn't until you get divorced that everyone's true colors come out.
    When they run off and steal one of your children, then please feel free to share your opinion of them with me. And that is not "my opinion" those are the facts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow...I read that response she left, before you got rid of it. If their family are such great detectives, how come they couldn't read the blindingly obvious date stamp. I wonder if they've even bothered to do a background check on themselves. I also wonder if they have even read a copy of your divorce decree. I think that might be fairly illuminating for them. I wonder if they know what "illuminating" means. :)

    (And for those that don't know, here is what it means)

    illuminating
    adjective
    - informative, revealing, enlightening, helpful, explanatory, instructive "It's illuminating to compare press coverage of the story."

    Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

    ReplyDelete