Yesterday I wrote about the joys of the freshly Pressed honor, today I will write about the downside. It isn’t a big downside really, but success and publicity can attract all kinds of people who want to try and undermine conversations and ‘push buttons’, otherwise known as “Trolls.”
Now I will never understand someones need to put others down, or to push buttons with the sole purpose of starting a fight. I have a lot to say about those types of people, and quite honestly they usually come from the type of people who have nothing better to do with their lives than to try and destroy something that another person has created. Maybe they aren’t talented enough to have their own creations – I am sure if they did, they wouldn’t engage in such negative behaviors.
The name of this page alone attracts Trolls. Tolerant People. They see it is a challenge to make me lose my mind on them in a comment stream to pull me from my practice of tolerance and throw me into a fit of rage and a flurry of hurtful words. I am certainly capable of attacking back, I simply choose not to do so (even though sometimes, it feels like a good idea). It is in my opinion counter-productive, and while I sit there stewing over something, they sit there and laugh. It is what they want. The trick is to not ‘feed’ them.
Now I will engage a suspected Troll and try to change the tone of the conversation. If they continue – I stop engaging. Especially with something like marriage equality, sometimes people just have strong opinions and they are not intentionally trolling, they are just stating a point of view. So if I just ignored every ‘suspected’ troll, I might miss an opportunity to have a discussion with someone who just doesn’t agree with me. I give everyone benefit of the doubt -for a time. Unless it’s obvious right from the gate – I have deleted several inflammatory comments without engaging them at all and obvious spam goes right to the trash.
As I said yesterday, the Freshly Pressed spotlight invites everyone to my little space here and I really do love it. I have thoroughly enjoyed the conversations that post has generated and it is obviously an important topic for our country right now. I certainly do not want to ruin all the good that has come out of this by derailing the entire conversation to engage someone who is deliberately trying to get me or my readers riled up. Of course, Trolls help me prove my point that I am trying to make here too. To respond to maliciousness with kindness, intolerance with tolerance, and fear and hate with peace and love. It isn’t easy. It certainly does not come naturally to me. It is work really and it has been a little emotionally exhausting.
Obviously over the next few days the attention will die down and those who remain here will be the ones who appreciate this human experiment and practice in tolerance and reasonable discourse. However, even the most tolerant of people have a limit to their patience, and there will always be people who wish to test my resolve to change how I interact with people online. I appreciate in some ways those tests, it does nothing for the Troll, but what is does for me is to strengthen my resolve. It helps me to become the person I want to be. Think about it, if we are never tested, how do we know we have truly achieved a goal or have progressed toward it?