The Internet is the worst place to want to be right. I love being right, proving people wrong and displaying my dominance for everyone to see. Unfortunately that’s difficult to do in the best of circumstances and almost impossible to do on the Internet. It’s not that people aren’t wrong on the Internet and I’m not right. People are very wrong on the Internet and I like to think that I’m right. However, coming to any sort of agreement on who is wrong and who is right never happens.
Yesterday I got a comment from someone on a very early post. The post was a tongue-in-cheek examination of how Lucky the Leprechaun and other cereal mascots have corrupted us, taking our focus off of God. I’ll censor the comment, which said “Dude, are you ***ing serious or are you just that re****ed?”
I was offended by his language, especially the use of the R word, which never passes my lips anymore. I had the opportunity to approve the comment and then respond to it, and boy did I have a lot of potential responses.
“I refuse to acknowledge the false binary into which you’re forcing me.”
“No. I’m not. I don’t take myself very seriously and neither should you.”
“Yes, I am serious and last night Jesus told me that the Honey Nut Cheerios bee is the antichrist.”
I had so many things I wanted to say to this commenter. I wanted to prove my intellectual and moral superiority by showing him the error of his ways. I wanted to let him know that I have a better understanding of concepts like sarcasm and satire. More than anything, though, I wanted him to know the love of Jesus…just kidding, I wanted him to know that I was right and he was wrong.
I thought about approving the comment and unleashing a string of verbal tirades that would knock him down a few pegs. Then I remembered that we were talking about the Internet. Approving the comment and responding to it wouldn’t prove anything other than that I was stupid enough to engage with someone on the Internet. I’m all for engaging people on the Internet, but that comment led me to believe that any engagement would fail before it began.
I’m more than happy for people to push back on my posts; I appreciate it. More often than not, when someone disagrees with something I’ve written it prompts me to view the topic in a new light. Someone cursing at me and using offensive slurs doesn’t leave any room for revelation just resentment.
So instead of responding to the troll, I wrote 400 words about it. I may not be grateful for that comment, but I am grateful that it gave me something to write about when I was drawing a blank.
How do you respond to trolling?