Dealing with trolls

I have developed a fondness for Tessa Coates’ and Stevie Martin’s podcast, Nobody Panic! 

It doesn’t matter whether the topic interests me or not, I press play and instantly am engrossed. It’s one of the rare instances where I find myself chuckling out loud, as though I’m listening to a couple of old friends have a rant.

Fun fact: Did you know “trolling” is a fishing term for throwing out multiple lines and seeing what works? Whereas we always picture trolls living under bridges and eating children.

A couple of pointers from their latest podcast, “How to Deal with Online Harassment”:

  • Look at the good comments – Isn’t it a shame that the 0.2% of comments that burn you are the ones you remember word for word? Stevie and Tessa question whether this stems from the principals of survival of the fittest. Evolutionarily, we have progressed as a species by being aware of any criticism and making improvements. However, in this day and age, nobody needs to be told to “get your clam out you whore” in order to be a better person ever.
  • Kill it with comedy – After receiving a derogatory (Brit-style) tweet, ordering Tessa to “Get your drawers [underwear] out”. Using comedy, she sent a picture back of a set of wooden drawers with the caption “right here”. The amount of “haha” reactions made her feel so much satisfied. Comedy completely disarms people. How do you respond to a picture of drawers? — On the flip side, why do we have to make a joke about it or entertain the troller?
  • Screenshot it and scrap it – Rather than replying back with rage, try typing out exactly what you would have replied, and then instead of hitting send just take a screenshot. You experience the same feeling of release seeing your words next to their name as if you had actually sent it.
  • Pull a Sarah Silverman – After receiving a malicious comment, take a chance to acknowledge that the person trolling was probably coming from a place of pain. Like Sarah Silverman did to an angry tweeter who called her the C-word, take a look at their profile and find a point of common interest. By saying something along the lines of, “Sorry you feel that way, but I see we both like X. I’m sure we’d have a lot more in common than you realise” you avoid the common mistake of fighting hate with hate. Plus, you will always feel better leaving a measured comment.

Anyone can fall victim to online harassment, whether by followers, complete strangers, or toxic relationships. If there is something taking place in a visible forum, you should rely on your close friends on your profile to report them. Form a little army because there is still a total grey area of prosecution of online trolling. Most criminal charges occur when the complaint has been filed several times over.

See what I mean though? Even the heaviest of topics have light-hearted reactions and hilarious anecdotes tied in. You go, Tessa & Stevie!





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