On Trolling

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I'm taking a little break from my regular blogging to talk about a not so pleasant subject that comes up once in while, and has personally affected friends, family members, fellow bloggers, and myself in various negative ways. It's called trolling.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term here's the official Wikipedia definition:

Troll (Internet)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtrl//ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[6]
This sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment. For example, mass media has used troll to describe "a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families."[7][8]

Now let me be clear that I am in no way writing this post to incite sympathy for myself. I understand, it takes a lot of chutzpa...or maybe just a bit of insanity...to put yourself out there and blog. And that will always come with the risk of facing negativity. The reason I felt this post was important was to bring awareness to those supposedly well-intentioned people who may not understand how detrimental a little troll comment can be.

In my opinion there are a few things going on when people leave such comments:

1. They usually have no idea how they sound or what is driving the comments, and don't realize the hurt and harm they can cause. It's really easy to say things online that aren't so easy to say face to face and lots of people just let it all loose with the tips of their fingers rather than with the lips of their mouth.

Which leads me to...

2. It's still loshon horah.  Even if what is being said is true, and even if you are anonymous. If it's negative and can negatively impact or embarrass the subject, it is straight up loshon horah. And you are never anonymous with G-d. We live in a new world, and internet bashing has not yet been appended to the Sefer Chafetz Chaim. But if speaking loshon horah to one person is a terrible sin, imagine how much that sin is multiplied when posted on the web for thousands of people to read. Add tagging your friends for support and the possibility for public humiliation goes through the roof. Whether the subject is a blogger, a celebrity, or a politician...the laws of loshon horah still apply.

3. People who troll are usually people who have underlying negative issues and are deceiving themselves into thinking they are "helping" when all they are really doing is transfering their misery onto others, and are clueless to how pathetic they appear to be. If someone truly wants to help or offer constructive criticism, it's just as easy to send a private message or email.

So based on these three ideas, I felt it was important to write this post so that those out there who are trying to "help" by posting their negative comments should truly understand clearly what they are doing and how they appear to the public.

But wait!  You have a constructive criticism or a disagreement that you feel you must share? Then, private message the person.

You dislike a blogger, instagrammer, Facebooker, politician or celebrity? Then stop following them. Unlike school or work, following blogs and social media is optional. If someone brings out the dark side of you and inspires anger or jealousy, unfriend, unlike, block, and look away.

Remember, we are all entitled to our opinions. Having different opinions and ways is what makes the mosaic of our world so colorful. The key is mutual respect.

You know how I say even one small positive action can change the world through a ripple effect? Unfortunately it can work the opposite way too.

It's very simple. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. At least not in public.

Wishing you all a wonderful day full of happiness!



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  1. I just delete the trolls and pay no attention. I think when you think too much about what they've said, you start to wonder about it or even believe it. Thankfully, I haven't had a lot of them, but friends have and they tend t just ignore or block them. I don't think they do it to just get at the person, they want the spiral affect that it can have. Sad lives they must lead to go to such troubles really. Better to spread kindness than try and tear others down :) xx

  2. ah, trolls are the worst. lucky that it has only happened a handfull of times..and I have learned to ignore and move on. Negative is NOT in my vocab!!

  3. Great post! I have a zero tolerance policy for ANY and ALL negative comments. DELETE. TRASH. SPAM.

  4. Essential advice, Nina, Carly and Dolls: delete and move on is very wise. If you are going to give them airspace it's in a broad sense like Fashion-Aisha has here...you can imagine how much thrill the troll has when people start their commentary around the remarks.
    I love the blogging community because of how much we all 'love ourselves!!!' ;D xxx

  5. Well said Sharon, while I will look up the term that you mentioned I agree. But funny enough I think I dare to say prefer a more abrupt troll bc one that is snide and passive aggressive seems to get under the skin a bit more...I do also have to remember that what one portrays to a stranger without context clue is hard too! X

  6. So glad that you posted this topic Sharon. Some people seem to think that it is alright to be less than humane online. Intelligent people can agree to disagree, however in a civil manner.

    Really aren't most of us looking for some positive reinforcement to get through the day!

    2014 Artists Series

  7. One thing that drives me crazy on any avenue of the internet - people who hide behind 'anonymous' signatures while they brazenly write destructive comments. We are all entitled to our opinion and it's ok to voice them - but the keyboard has given people a sense of freedom from politeness and respect. When people are rude it is their own self respect that is lost.

    I always work by the rule - if I don't like it - turn the page, shut off the TV, etc. It's really that simple.

    Sending you hugs......

  8. This is so well said! I seriously can't believe anyone would troll you - you are seriously the one of the sweetest and most well meaning women I've come across - but it's true you will get them if you put yourself out there at all. (I could tell you some comments I've gotten that would keep you up at night - honestly they kept me up at night until I realized that such is the internet.) Thank you for writing such a firm but lovely post about it. Don't ever let those comments get to you (I know... it's hard) - you are spreading so much light and beauty with what you do and we all love you so much!!!

  9. i just dont pay much attention to such
    great post dear
    keep intouch

  10. OH a favorite topic of ours Sharon! Troll is the best word for them. People seem to think that because we are taught that it is OK to have an "opinion", then it is ok if that opinion entails the defamation and humiliation of another person. We are on the internet, yes. But that does not mean people can become unhinged and uncivilized and speak like uneducated bitter individuals. Anyway I love your blogging, and I would rather be on the receiving end here with you, than on the other side as an ignorant troll.