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Taking a t(r)oll on you?
April 11, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Taking a t(r)oll on you?
Kiran Manral
 
Trolls on your social media networks bothering you? Here's how this frequent tweeter deals with them. Their idea of a debate well fought is one that goes, "You stupid," "You maha stupid," and so on until one adds enough negative adjectives to the tweets to reach 140 characters.
 
If you have but a passing acquaintance with social media, you would be well aware of a certain category of social media user that exists for the sole purpose of annoying other users. Better known as 'Trolls' they come in various shapes, sizes and egg head or random image display pics. Here's the Wikipedia definition of this latter day genus of netizen: "Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off -topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

The garden variety trolls are those who pop up on one's Twitter mentions inquiring whether one would want to 'make friendship' with them. These are the gentler version of trolls, probably the kindergarten level; these we term the orkutiyas or the lonely souls. Most of them, with trembling hope, have their BBM pins or phone numbers in their Twitter bio itself on the off chance that one gets so consumed by lust on reading their "Hi, hw r u?" tweet that one wants to make immediate, furious love to them. They also tweet porn links to one, and sometimes have DPs (display pictures) of naked men with massive erections. Then there are the ones with a political agenda, supporters of A or B political party.

Their fights and trolling can get needlessly vicious, seeing as they follow the Arnab Goswami school of debate that does not allow for polite conversation and nuanced parley. Their idea of a debate well fought is one that goes, "You stupid," "You maha stupid," and so on until one adds enough negative adjectives to the tweets to reach 140 characters and then we must segue into Twitlonger to continue these erudite, informed discussions. Occasionally, personal abuse will be thrown in. Then there are the über-religious and the ones with a clear notion of Bharat versus India. Then there are those who have been put on Twitter to unearth the sickulars (aka seculars) who are, according to them, the scourge of this country and need incessant putting in place. Next, there are the ones who are online merely to get a rise out of one, by posing pointless contradictory questions, being needlessly argumentative.

Of course, the hordes (read common followers) then gather around in circle, much in a school-playground manner, squealing 'Twitter fight', waiting for blood to spill and sides to be taken, post which the argument between two people morphs into a free for all, much like the WWE Royal Rumble where the only option is to be last person standing in the ring. Here's the modus operandi I've evolved after trial and ignore. First time rude comment – ignore. Second time block. Sexist, misogynist comments, I ignore most. Some that off end, I retweet and block, or report spam. I must share the love, this is just me being generous. And those who are vicious or obscene, I block or report spam immediately.

The biggest lesson learnt is "Never Feed The Trolls." Translated, that does not mean deprive them of nutrition, but rather to not respond. The fastest way to get rid of them is block or report spam. You don't see them. You don't care what they're saying about you. They can keep yelling in their little echo chambers and go to bed every night satisfied that they've done their bit to make the Internet a nasty place to be in.

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