I See You Trollin.
You Tryna Catch Me Writin’ Dirty!
– A Colby R Rice & Chamillionaire Collaboration.
With an apt re-appropriation of Chamillionaire’s lyrics and catchy beat, we delve into the dark realm of trollery. But never fear, good comrades, we doth not need stray into such a grim and treacherous journey alone. We have each other, my dear cheerful compatriots, as well as our shields of good humor, our pen-swords of justice, as well as ales of courage to make hearty our inner strengths!
No, but seriously, how DO you deal with trolls? First of all, before we go about describing how to slay a troll, let’s discuss what a troll actually is.
What’s a Troll?
Let’s start with the New Oxford American Dictionary definition:
Troll |trōl| noun: a mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.
Strangely, enough, although this definition reaches into the deep and dark warrens of antiquity, it is still a very apt description of what we understand a “troll” to be in modern times. Other kinds of terminologies, such as “hater”, “bug-a-boo”, “cynic”, “pessimist”, “loser”, “douche bag”, “petty VIP”, and a whole host of other very colorful but explicit monikers can be used to describe this creature in all its complexity and lol-inducing beauty.
The History of the Mighty Troll
Trolls have been around since the beginning of time. Even Jesus had to beat the trolls off. He will go down in history as one of the most famous troll hunters of all time, in fact, a martyr to the cause of goodness in a dark world. Trollery is a problem that humanity has had much trouble solving, as trolls are the most timeless and resilient creatures on the face of the planet. They’ve survived wars between Greek gods, the extinction of the dinosaurs, the bubonic plague, all forms of pestilence and woe, the advent of Raid— I mean, holy hell, these fuckers are nearly impossible to kill.
Trolls: A Darwinian Analysis
They also evolve extremely quickly. Whereas in medieval times, trolls were a bit more gangster and would come out of their caves to eat little children, trolls do understand that in modern times, people (and children especially) carry mace. So with the advent of modern technology, these creatures of the abyss have evolved. Somehow, thanks to capitalism (and partially due to Apple’s back-to-school discount programs), they all have gotten hold of Macbooks, tablets, and Android phones, and they have decided to bring their trollery into the 21st century with straight prejudice, telecommunicating their terror and angst from the safety of their caves. Their sole purpose is to destroy and devour everything. ANYTHING. And oftentimes, innocent civilians get caught in their paths of destruction (this is intentional on the part of the trolls, fyi).
Trolls: A Behavioral Analysis
Trolls tend to target people who they deem socially weak, undesirable, unlovable, or simply, they target people who are actually doing something positive and constructive in their lives. The last offense is the one most egregious and offensive to the troll and his stinkery. In truth, he hates his cave (or bridge, in other cases). He hates his life, his warts, his lack of success— he hates and doubts everything about himself (or herself), and he wants you to hate and doubt life too. So, he comes onto your webpage, your YouTube videos, your webinar (whatever he can get his grimy little fingers into without sliming his keyboard) and begins the volcanic eruption of his self-hatred all over your internet space. He writes insults, sexist or racist comments, poo-poos your ideas without any critical insight, or is generally just a hater who loves to criticize rather than critique.
How to Hunt and Expel Trolls
So getting to the point, how do we defeat this onslaught of trollery and negativity? Well, here are four old wives’ tricks and tips I’ve found helpful:
1. Be Smart!
Speak intellectually and logically. If a troll has something nasty to say, address it, don’t attack it. Ask them “how would you improve this product/book/your face?” Logically point out the weaknesses in his argument or critique, and request that the troll say something constructive. More often than not, this will kill trollery in its tracks. Why? Because trolls simply get perplexed by the idea of producing something positive or constructive. When challenged to do so, they will simply limp away from the confrontation confused, breathing morosely through their mouths and dragging their ugly knuckles behind them.
Or, in other cases, they will go into what I call “berserker troll” mode. As your intelligence has overloaded their tiny brains, they will need to let off pressure and emotion. The common troll knows no other way of doing this except to go berserker and “troll out”, which may be expressed by ranting, raging, becoming violent, drooling, and spouting nonsense. At this point, the only viable solution is to hit the “block” button or ignore them. They will go away eventually.
2. BE POSITIVE. Then, IGNORE and RELEASE.
I call this outpatient troll therapy. Sometimes, trolls just need to be disciplined and loved all at the same time. Being happy and upbeat will help these poor intellectually-disfigured creatures, and it will also help you look like a social media rockstar. You should even thank the troll for its contribution. Then, make sure you let the comment go. All too often, we allow our self-esteems to be deeply wounded by a wayward troll. We blame ourselves or we might even think our work and our voice isn’t good enough, so we stop climbing the ladder of success! Don’t stop. Instead, ignore and release this troll’s hateration. Always remember the natural instinct of this boggish creature: to spread cock-jerking negativity. It is a troll’s natural calling and pleasure to bring misery and woe, just like it is your natural calling and pleasure to be creative and be fabulous. Let nature, fair and foul, take its course. Release.
3. Continue being successful, and EMBRACE trolls as a sign of your success.
The only thing a troll invasion tells me— other than that a wave of cyberfunk has cast its shadow over my holy land— is that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do: being awesome as fuck.
The opposite of love is apathy, ladies and gentlemen, not hate. “Hate” is still a passion, and one that provides a troll’s intrinsic motivation to live. The troll can not live apathetically; he can only thrive where certain issues strike the chord of passion in him. He just chooses to channel his passion through his ass rather than through his heart. So, take it as a compliment.
The fact that someone is paying enough attention to you to even kick-off some troll shit on your page speaks volumes (positive volumes) about the quality of your work and about your success (or potential for success). Keep shining. The trolls will come, but keep shining nonetheless.
4. Please spay and neuter your stray trolls… by not becoming one.
Trolls aren’t like puppies and kittens, where people actually want them in their homes. So these unfortunate creatures roam the cyberstreets, pick a certain cyber-corner, and, instead of being cute and chasing its tail to catch the loving eyes and hearts of passersby, they attack the villagers. In their hearts, they understand that they are not lovable creatures, and this anger and frustration becomes vitriol that the troll ultimately vomits on the masses.
We need to reduce the troll population.
But how? Well, I already told you that they have survived Man’s worst plagues and pestilence, so “how” is a legitimate question.
Well here’s the key: you see, “trolldom” and “trollery” isn’t like going to the Land of freaking Mordor. There is no external physical journey to trolldom. Also, trolls, those sneaky bastards, are able to hide beneath human flesh! So really, probably about 1 in 100 people you pass on the street are actually trolls in hiding.
Trolldom is actually an infection of the soul, a disease of the inner being, a blight on one’s internal happiness and fulfillment. The sad fact is that 95% of trolls were not even born trolls. They actually became trolls through the poisoning of their happy spirits by other trolls (that I call “carrier trolls” or, in the cases where the trolls are actually parents, “progenitor trolls”). Some of these “carrier” trolls were bullies in high school, terrible parents, other bloggers who have an axe to grind, bad dentists, unpublished or unproduced creators who love to hate— I mean the list goes on and on. Therefore, it is our duty to spay and neuter trolls, and the only way we can really do that is to not become trolls ourselves. Stay positive and keep your head up, and you are just that much closer to reducing the size of the troll kingdom.
So these are MY four different ways to deal with and even slay trolls, but what are your ways? What kinds of situations have you faced wherein you’ve had to call in the troll-hunting calvary? Come forth, my mighty troll-hunters, and share Ye Oldest of Troll-Slaying Tales. And of course in the meantime, keep it badass.
From your fellow troll-hunter,
<3 Colby R Rice