A friend recently had the recurrence of an internet troll, and was somewhat disturbed by it. Fortunately other friends skilled in social media counselled that it was much better to block the nuisance than to react, and this was done. There should be less distress felt in the future.
That advice was good, and has been with me for nearly all my life…but I did not recognise the value of it when young. In those days there was no internet…the only computer we had ever heard of was Univac and it was on television quiz shows. The idea that we would be using a personal one to communicate with people who were going to be unpleasant would have been inconceivable. We got bullied in person, and ignoring the bullies was a physical process. It was probably more effective than I realised at the time against individual offenders, though the fact that there were different cliques and groups of tormentors made it seem as though the business was never-ending.
The current term ” internet trolling ” seems to be a number of aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviours that hearken back to playground bullying. The irritating part for many is the fact that, to the perpetrator, the whole thing is an amusement rather than an offense. It is an important thing for the victim, and they are even more distressed to realise that their plight is belittled. It is never improved when the bully tries the old trick of saying ” Can’t you take a joke? ” because this is just shifting target for another attack.
Blocking or ignoring the troll is the idea, and many do by utilising the social network settings to stop direct contact. Unfortunately there are other pathways for the aggressor to operate through mutual net acquaintances. Unless they are prepared to entirely remove themselves from otherwise useful social communication systems, the victims are still open to attack.
Here is where the advice of The Guild comes in. And tomorrow the second part of this article will detail this. Those of a nervous disposition would do well to read it with the lights on and a strong cup of tea.