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Got Trolls? Cure Your Curse Now!

Do you get easily affected by petty nobodies putting you down? Want to know some ways which you may be able to overcome them? Have a read, and see if it helps!

At some point or another, when surfing, scrolling, cracking, twitching, playing, or using any form social media, you may have come across a less-than-savory character. This is someone who has dedicated their existence to exterminating happiness from everyone's life -- someone who puts themselves above everyone, and makes it known. You may know them as a troll or hater.

So how does one extinguish this character's flame? How can you overcome them? How do you beat a troll?

I'm going to take you through some ways to do just that. While these methods are not foolproof (nothing ever is), you may find that they work for you. Then you can go and spread your knowledge to others, and help with their troubles.

Remember that they are cowards hiding behind the wall of the Internet

Most trolls are hiding behind anonymity, and if you were to accidentally meet them in person, you would find them to be little more than a keyboard warrior (all bark, no bite). When brought out of their hidey holes, they will cower and run. Make sure you keep that in the back of your mind when someone insults your mother, or calls you something with SJW in it.

Also remember that they are bored and alone

I don't know if many people know this -- I suspect lots don't -- but these people (to be polite) are just bored and alone. They are unhappy and can't stand knowing that others are happy, so they go out their way to make it so that everyone is a miserable as they are. They're not having fun, so why should others?

Instead of getting annoyed at them, pity them. You can even tell them so, but I suggest you just pity them offline (in your head) for most situations.

What if I get hundreds of hate comments all at one time?

Ignore, ignore, ignore. The first step is just ignore them. Turn off notifications on your phone, email notifications, notifications everywhere else. Silence them, and they won't seem as important. That is if you can't help but reply. If you have the self control to just ignore them, even with notifications on, you can laugh at their stupidity and grammatical errors.

On the off chance silence fails, simply block them. Simple as that. You'll never hear from them again.

Alternatively, flag, flag, flag. Always flag if possible -- that's a number one rule. While you may think it's pointless because the system/company (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) doesn't really care, it just feels good to do it. And who knows, maybe companies will start having to care soon.

No one can get past this fallen tree. Be the tree!

Let's say they insult someone or something you love

This one is easy. Trolls sometimes attack things close to you in order to get under your skin. They don't really hate that person, because they don't know them and have never met them. They likely don't hate whatever or whoever it is they're talking about -- they just want a reaction. The solution is a simple one we've already covered: ignore them. Forget about them, because they forgot about you the moment they hit reply.

Remember that no one else but you can dictate how you feel.

This may sound weird, but it's true. Someone cannot simply tell you to be upset or to get angry at something. No one can tell you what to think, or feel, or how to react. By getting upset or angry at a faceless username or disembodied voice (if via voice chat), you are allowing them to tell you what to do. And you don't want some nobody to dictate what you feel, do you?

It's possibly the hardest thing to do, but by simply not allowing yourself to have either a defensive or aggressive response to something will make you happier. You will no longer get as upset at things that are fundamentally pointless, and so naturally that means you will happier. A happier you leads to a more productive you, a more productive you leads to richer you (and I'm not talking about money), a richer you means you have beaten the bully. And who doesn't want that?

Before you all shout at me, and ask how you do that, or shun it as some mumbo-jumbo hippy talk, I need to say one thing. You are not a robot, you do have emotions and you do react to things. I'm not saying you have to get rid of this, as it can be a good things. Getting angry at injustice against others or at someone insulting you is not inherently bad -- it is a natural response.

But why show the haters that you're angry? Make yourself happy. People will see that and will want it too.

Now, having said all that, how do you "turn off" your emotions?

The trick is that you don't. This may sound counterproductive, but you are human. Instead of thinking of it as turning off emotions, you think of it as blocking out negativity. Normally, if someone says something negative to you, what do you do? Respond negatively, right? Say you didn't. Say you react positively. Now, in one simple step you have turned something negative from someone else into something positive for you.

Let's look at an example. We will call the bully "Billy", because it's 1 letter different and it rhymes. (And definitely not because a kid called Billy was mean to me once...nope.)

Example 1:

Billy: "Go back into the kitchen b*tch!"

You: "Thanks! I can cook well."

Example 2:

Billy: "Your mum [... something something you know the drill]."

You: "My dad made a good choice then, thanks!"

You don't actually need to say anything, just thinking it is enough. If you are the type of person to shy away from conflict, this tactic  can help you be more confident, and fight the important battles you need to. As long as you believe the words you are hearing, the impact for you is the same whether they're out loud or in your head.

Be the meme!

The trolls are not in my head. I control what's in there!

It's amazing to think that not a year ago I was you, desperately looking for a way to stop letting everything get to me. While I know that my method will not work for everyone, I will tell you how I started my journey to freedom of internet haters, or dumb people.

It's simple really. I told myself that I control what I think. Much like with thinking positively, I didn't let the haters control what I felt. I'd tell myself that they were not really there, or they were just an angry person (depending on the situation). I then just stopped hating them. I learned that they were alone, and they hated the world for it. They blamed external factors, just like I was for my unhappiness. I was blaming them for making me feel bad, so I took responsibility for how I felt. I felt sorry for them.

Then I started to realize that I was making myself unhappy. I was dragging others down that path, so I stopped it. It wasn't instant, and I am still learning, but I'm getting there.

Blaming others for something you control is a waste of time, so I took responsibility for myself, and here I am (hopefully) helping you.

You can be the spoon too!

That's that. Simply by being a good person, ignoring the riff-raff, thinking positively, and ensuring you do something to silence the many nasty voices, you may find yourself to be far happier. You hopefully can go to YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, etc., and not worry about someone ruining your day by looking on the dark side of life. You can swap the way you think, by thinking on the bright side of life. 

In closing, I want to share a comment from one of our GameSkinny editors, QuintLyn:

When I worked in Community Management, I'd either laugh at them or reason them to death.

I mean. It's probably a bit more complicated than that, but I tend to find that if the trolls feel like they can't get to you, they go looking for something else to do to keep themselves entertained.

Make the trolls feel like you don't care. Simply because you don't.

One Warning...

Bear in mind that if things go further than the realm of the Internet, it is no longer a simple matter of just "dealing with it" or shrugging it off. At that point, it becomes a matter for law enforcement to handle. Get all the details you can about the person, or people, and send those on to the police. 

Let me know your good thoughts in the comments and share the positivity! And be sure to stay upbeat, always.

Published Jan. 13th 2016
  • Mathenaut
    "I mean. It's probably a bit more complicated than that, but I tend to find that if the trolls feel like they can't get to you, they go looking for something else to do to keep themselves entertained."

    I'll be frank, but this is probably the one really good piece of advice there is here. It makes sense, as community management actually needs a sort of method to work through an often hostile environment.

    The rest of this seems like somewhat wishful thinking at best, or severely underestimating what is behind people who insult you on the internet.

    Ultimately, yes, you do just need thicker skin. In certain roles and mediums (like community management, PR, open platforms, etc), it really does just come with the territory. Even worse, alot of times people have a seriously low bar for harassment/trolling. If you can't handle people saying things you don't like, then maybe the internet isn't the place for you.

    The realm of consistent personal attacks and other hyperbole is usually what is associated with trolling. The absolutely, positively, worst thing you can do is 'fire back' if you don't have sharp wit and real nerve. In other words, if trigger warnings are a thing for you, then confronting trolls is not your thing.
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    This field of study is very young currently. The research into the motivations and what is behind these sorts of people is still in very high debate. Honestly, it's mostly all speculation at this point. But this is what I found out with my research, I thought it backed up enough to see if I help others.

    It's possible this is just wishful thinking yes. But, wishful thinking made flight possible, it made the microchip, and fire. So maybe that's all some people need? I don't have all the answers, but I thought I would put down some that can be backed up with actual real world research, and some that I have come across.

    As for your last point, I totally agree with you, hence why I say a few times that you don't even need to say anything back.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment!
  • Mathenaut
    It's interesting to see what academia's approach to this will be, for sure.

    However, for practical approach, you're better off with advice from people who are involved in those communities and practices. Many are surprisingly candid regarding their desires/motivations. Asking the general public to take the academic approach has the problem that the general public aren't academics.

    On a side note, wishful thinking didn't make flight possible. That was alot of trial and error, work and heartbreak, and ultimately learning to accept failures and limitations in order to find ways forward. The practical element is key, otherwise you're just keeping your head in the clouds (or in the ground, take your pick).

    South Park actually did a surprisingly poignant spoof on the topic.
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    Oh yes of course the act of doing something made it happen. I was meaning more the, "what if we could fly." Wishful thinking, where someone thinks of something crazy and makes it happen.

    But I do see you're point!

    Again thanks for reading and commenting!

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