Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dealing with Trolls

Photo courtesy of Wikia
Trolls.  Those who have been been on the internet long enough have witnessed their carnage.  Lurking silently, these denizens of the internet lay waste comment sections in forums, blogs, and Facebook groups expressing opinions, not because they are correct, but because they can.  Inflicting bitterness, emotional pain, and any form of instability, the only plan is to enter the conversation and spew contrary, hopefully stinging, remarks to decimate conversations and otherwise undermine any attempt at meaningful interaction.  Ogres, goblins, and orcs have more sophistication than this type.  Meet a troll on the street or in an elevator, and you might never take notice that something is different, but in private they reveal their true selves—something more akin to this cheerful fellow on the right.

Trolls feed on the chaos and confusion wrought through dissemination of hyperbole and misinformation.  Once the feeding frenzy begins, much damage is left behind with gaping wounds needing healed.  The way to stop a troll is to starve it.  This is difficult because the troll often aims for your weak spot in order to engender a response.  Wise counselors are useful for knowing how to do battle.  To this end I offer the following note from Albert Einstein to Marie Curie:
Prague, 23 November 1911

Highly esteemed Mrs. Curie,
    Do not laugh at me for writing you without having anything sensible to say.  But I am so enraged by the base manner in which the public is presently daring to concern itself with you that I absolutely must give vent to this feeling.  However, I am convinced that you consistently despise this rabble, whether it obsequiously lavishes respect on you or whether it attempts to satiate its lust for sensationalism!  I am impelled to tell you how much I have come to admire your intellect, your drive, and your honesty, and that I consider myself lucky to have made your personal acquaintance in Brussels.  Anyone who does not number among these reptiles is certainly happy, now as before, that we have such personages among us as you, and Langevin too, real people with whom one feels privileged to be in contact.  If the rabble continues to occupy itself with you, then simply don’t read that hogwash, but rather leave it to the reptile for whom it has been fabricated.
It is difficult to imagine that a noted scientist should need to be concerned with these “reptiles,” but Einstein is correct in his advice: Don’t feed the trolls; ignore them.  King Solomon took the response one step further.
Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.  (Prov 26:4-5)
Engage the troll, but not in the same snarky way, but as is warranted and in a godly way with wisdom.  Let the Lord do the work by correctly using His word.

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