For years, Internet users have been dealing with “trolls,” people who deliberately derail online conversations by writing cruel, crude, off-topic, and/or mean-spirited posts. Different trolls have different motivations, but generally the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them — thus the Internet saying, “Please do not feed the trolls.”
But what happens when someone engages in “live-trolling”? For example, a male student showed up in one of my older sister’s college classes wearing a t-shirt that read “I [heart] vaginas.” This is a great example of live trolling — derailing a live conversation (in this case, a college class) with a t-shirt slogan that is obviously intended to piss people off, and distract them from the work of the class. You can read how Jean handled this situation on her blog.
Trolls are not very intelligent life forms, and need to be hit upside the head with a big stick in order to get their attention. When trolls appear on this blog (as has happened once or twice), I usually call them out, give them one chance to apologize, and then when they don’t apologize (trolls are notorious for acting hurt and misunderstood when someone calls them out), I delete their comments — there is no better way to stop the feeding of trolls than to remove their posts. I’m sorry that Jean is not able to treat live-trolls in her classroom the way I treat online trolls in this blog. She does not get paid enough.
Thanks Dan. If Mr. Student shows up in class again with a stupid shirt, I’m going to make him put his head on the desk for the rest of the class. I mean, you act like a second grader, I’ll treat you like one.
Interesting. I wouldn’t say all trolls are unintelligent. I’ve known (and befriended) a few that were pretty smart. But youtube trolls, they’re probably some of the most unintelligent trolls out there.