Trolling used to be something people we did when fishing, today it has quite a different meaning and one that has been known to destroy lives. According to Wikipedia, where trolling became a real issue for them when they first started, trolling is internet slang for someone who posts inflammatory comments on another person’s post.
For the majority, trolls are small minded people who get a real buzz from posting negative, defamatory, or threatening comments. Essentially, they are bullies. And most bullies need to boost their self-esteem by picking on weaker people. In my opinion, Trolls are worse than bullies, they do it anonymously without fear of retribution. Trolls go to extraordinary lengths to hide themselves to remain anonymous therefore have no fear of being confronted.
I liken trolls to the latest phenomena of 'king hitters', the aptly named ‘cowardly punchers’ because they strike people from behind or without warning to feel good about themselves. However, they have no idea of the personal consequences of their actions.
Of those who I have spoken to who have suffered from the actions of trolls, and believe me people do suffer personally as a consequence of trolling, when they have located the troll that person has been an insignificant person who did what they did out of ignorance, jealousy, revenge, or just to be the centre of attention.
Replying to the troll is the worst thing that you can do as it justifies their existence, they have won in their own eyes if you respond negatively.
I've had them, and still do on occasion. I just post back telling them to Google my name and look at my previous career and to keep doing what they are doing if they want me to take it to the next step.
So what is the next step?
Ignore the post it is the first option, let people see what an idiot that person is. Their post is a reflection of them, not of you. Nonetheless it is still hurtful. Deleting the post if you can do so is your second option, or block the person altogether is the third. That's the easy steps. Another option is to respond pleasantly and thank them for posting their opinion, it is often hard to come back at someone when they are nice to you.
There are laws around using the internet as a medium to spread gossip, rumour, fear, defamation, slander, not to mention threatening harm. And new laws are being constructed as Government comes to grip with the explosion of social media and the subsequent cyber-bullying.
Reporting trolls to the police is a good option if the posts are of a hostile nature. Why? Because trolls may take it to the next level and become disaffected, that's how radicalisation works. When I studied radicalisation 10 years ago there had to be human contact for a person to become fully radicalised and it was a lengthy process, this is no longer the case. People can swiftly become disaffected through the internet and social media.
For the most part, ignore the troll. Don’t let them win.
To the trolls out there, why not post your opinion in an intelligent and respectful way. You will gain much more respect and you might just win your argument.