I was recently notified that I’d been trolled on G+ — which made me laugh like the little girl that troller was. I mean, seriously, who trolls G+? It’s like trolling the middle of the ocean. I laughed until I peed some, then I realized that some people might actually take that shit seriously.
Since I don’t have anything better to write about, I thought we’d talk about giving the smack down to internet trolls. Believe it or not, YouGov has done a survey on trolling behaviors and discovered some interesting things: 78 percent of the American adults surveyed had never posted a comment to a blog, but a whopping five percent of that remaining 22 percent (meaning a 1.1 percent of the total people surveyed) are complete assholes who have admitted to “deliberately making inflammatory statements” in comment sections, in chatrooms or in social media.
They may only be the one percent, but man, are they loud.
The Profile of a Troll
According to that same survey, the majority of trolls are 18 to 34 year old males living in the Midwest or South, with some college or a 2 year degree and living in a childless domestic partnership, making at least $40k a year and spending their free time on Tumblr. This would be your fuckhead of a upstairs neighbor who smokes on his balcony, flicks his cigarettes into your plants and refuses to marry his longtime girlfriend (or boyfriend) because he’s keeping his options open. He may or may not wear a wife beater, depending on how deep into the South you live.
The least common trolls are 55+ year old women in the Northeast with no more than a High School degree, divorced with kids, making under $40k a year and spending her online time on Facebook. So, basically, your grandmother and her pals who share blurry photos of the grand kids on the Internet. She probably recently baked you a pie or knitted you something.
Now that we know who the enemy is, we can defeat him. Or at least, handle him somehow. How is the question, though, isn’t it?
Dealing with Squeaky Wheels
Interestingly enough, over 37 percent of the respondents to that same survey above concluded it by saying that they believed the best way to deal with trolls was to ignore them. Only a sad 14 percent said there was no way to stop a troll. Oh, ye of little faith.
Another study, this one on internet posting behavior and performed by Canadian researchers Erin E. Buckels, Paul D. Trapnell and Delroy L. Paulhus revealed a relationship between trolling behaviors and what these shy, gentle Candians called the “Dark Triad of personality”: sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. They said it comes down to this: Internet trolls are expressing their sadistic sides online. Yay.
Hey, I’m not without mercy or regret that certain people are afflicted with conditions like this, but since those motherfuckers don’t care about me, I certainly don’t give two fucks about them. Out of curiosity, though, I googled around looking for some professional advice for dealing with what the researchers from the Frozen North called “everyday sadism.”
As it turns out, even professional psychologists say “Fuck those guys.” Though, not in so many words. I’m also reminded of the wise words of a long-ago newspaper editor. I was told long ago after an article that got some rather angry responses that if people weren’t bitching, they weren’t reading. So, if you’re having the Hell trolled out of your page, you can safely assume that you’re either an asshole yourself or you’re secretly popular as fuck.
I always assume the second thing.
Now, for handling trolls. One simple word: Don’t.
Ignore those cretinous motherfuckers and move on with you life.