“The Angry WordPress Troll” (Trolls vs. Cyber-bullies)


Somebody posted a comment on my blog that actually amused me, because it shows the lack of knowledge in many people in America and throughout the world. My account is purposely set not to put comments on my blog until they are approved by me. I logged on WordPress, marked it as spam and deleted it as soon as I received the notification email. The comment read “All Autistic people are out of control animals who should be euthanized”. I immediately deleted it. I’ve unapproved comments that have been written by people before, but nothing downright ignorant like this. I think it is very important to not only address this issue, but to be insightful about why people “troll” on internet forums.

I want to start off by explaining what a troll is. A troll is a person who posts provocative comments on a message board just for the sole purpose of making people angry.  Trolls mainly post on forum websites where people express their opinions about controversial issues. For example, If a gay or lesbian person person talks about their life, they post derogatory words like “fagot” or “dyke”. They judgmentally quote bible verses and tell them how much they feel the person’s life is an “abomination”. Every single troll is different. There are some who are very smart and others are not so smart. Very many of them use their personal experiences as an excuse to disrespect other people’s opinions on an issue. I look back and think about the person who posted the comment on my blog, and they may have experienced problems with a sibling or family member on the severe side of the spectrum. I’ve stated before that kids on the severe side of the Autistic Spectrum can be very difficult to deal with, especially when they are part of the family. Kids on the severe end of the Autistic Spectrum don’t know how to speak, therefore they don’t know how to express their emotions. They resort to screaming, yelling and throwing objects because they don’t know how express what is bothering them. I wrote a post a few weeks ago that talked about a controversial video by Autism Speaks. It was titled “Autism Every Day”. One of the mothers told a story about how her son ran out to the middle of a busy city street without a shirt or shoes on. She actually had to call the police to look for him. With that being said, I most certainly am not trying to claim that issues with an Autistic family member is a good excuse. It will only make the person look worse.

Now, I want to explain why I made the decision to delete the comment. Trolls are like bullies in some ways, but you really can’t confront them because they are on the internet. I’ve had discussions with many people who may think it is rude to delete a troll comment, because they feel the person is entitled to their own opinion. That statement may be true, but the comment is going to be read by a lot of people and it will definitely make other people angry. Don’t understand? I am going to use an off topic example to help you. You are at a family member’s birthday party, and you grab a box of matches for the candles. You get the match lit when all of a sudden you bump into something, then the match falls out of your hand and catches the curtains on fire. You would be surprised how many people would try to fight the fire instead of getting out of the house. A troll wants to see you “start a fire” by saying something disrespectful back to them.

There is one thing a person should also keep in mind before you delete a troll from your blog or forum page. Most of them usually go away after a few days, but there are a few who will keep making disrespectful comments until the person can’t take it anymore. They are definitely what I consider a cyber bully. I never received any more thoughtless comments from this person or anybody else. This is really the only time they should be reported to an administrator of the website you are using. These types of trolls are cyber bullies. Most of the forums and social networking sites I use have policies against this, and people who violate them should have their account permanently deactivated. You should not only keep tabs of what the person said, but you should also keep tabs of the date and time it was written. If reporting the user to an administrator does not work, then local law enforcement should be contacted. This is especially true if the comments are of a threatening nature. Even if it is something as simple as “I’ll kick your butt!” Every computer is equipped with something called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. Law enforcement can track it and find exactly where the person accesses internet from, but they do not have the automatic capability to find out who they are. Internet threats should never be taken lightly, regardless of whether or not you know the person.

Trolls and cyber bullies are different in some ways, but similar in others. When I encounter trolls, I have learned that I should just shrug my shoulders and not respond to them. I have to realize that I am a better person than they will ever be, and I know they are taking their bitterness about an issue by disrespecting the person. Like I said at the beginning, there are some trolls who actually amuse me. They may be intelligent, but they write comments that make them sound like the complete opposite. With this in mind, hopefully you have have better understanding of trolls. Please pass this advice onto any person you know who may experience this.

Thank you for reading, and I will be back next week.

 

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6 thoughts on ““The Angry WordPress Troll” (Trolls vs. Cyber-bullies)

  1. Hi Darren,

    Some great points there.

    I’m one of those people who tries to approve comments even if I don’t agree with them. I’ve probably let a few troll comments through by way of over-compensation.

    It’s true though that Trolls are interested in “the fire” rather than the issue itself. There’s no point arguing with them because they won’t accept your points. Instead they just keep hammering on in a monty-pythonesque way at every comment that anyone else submits.

    It’s interesting that you class extreme trolls as cyber-bullies. You may be right but since they’re not usually interested in the issue, I’m not sure.

    Similarly, the idea that your troll may have had a bad autistic experience is intriguing (and again it could be correct). I’m just wondering if they chose your site at random and decided to attack whatever you stood for – or if it was a targeted attack.

  2. In reading the comment which inspired this post, I wondered if this was indeed the work of a troll, or instead of someone far more sinister. There are individuals who really do believe such malicious nonsense, and some of them actively seek out sites where they can spread their filth.

    If, instead of being a troll, this was the work of some follower of the eugenics movement / neo-Nazi, it would take on a far more sinister cast, in my opinion. There aren’t many of them, thank God, but they are out there, they are aggressive, and they are malicious to a degree I find difficult to comprehend.

    I don’t think a single comment is reason to get too upset, but I do urge anyone who gets even one remark of this nature to at least save all the information you can. Don’t delete the comment; simply leave it in limbo. Then, if a frightening pattern does emerge, you will have preserved the evidence of a hate crime. And, yes, in such a case, I do believe in fighting back.

  3. Sorry Derek… that was my eyes going all weird on me because your blog is dwarren57 which I had in my head as dwarrren and recalled as Darren.

    Can’t believe I did something so stupid.

    Sorry.

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