Image Your self in a Boat on a River – A Checklist Aside

Welcome to Fertile Medium, an recommendation column for individuals who reside on-line. Every version, I’ll take a query from you about dwelling in and constructing social areas on-line, and do my greatest to reply. Need to ask a query? Tweet to @fertilemedium or name (415) 286-5446 and go away a message.

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Let’s get proper to our first query.

I wish to fuck round on the pc. I play pranks on my associates and stuff like that. Am I a troll?


“Troll” is among the most misunderstood phrases in on-line neighborhood, which is simply too dangerous as a result of understanding trolling is more and more a requirement for utilizing the web.

Let’s begin with what a troll isn’t. A troll isn’t somebody who disagrees with you. A troll isn’t somebody who’s offended or upset. A troll isn’t somebody who’s behaving inside the social norms of a neighborhood.

“Troll” could conjure up photographs of a center earthy creature beneath a bridge, however that’s not proper. As a substitute, consider a fishing boat, lures within the water, floating alongside, seeking to decide up the fish that chew earlier than pondering.

Trolls throw out lures designed to create an emotional response and ensnare individuals who sort earlier than pondering. For those who see somebody freaking out in a remark thread, they’re not the troll, they’re responding to the troll.

Trolling has two key giveaways: Context and intent. Context is straightforward to identify. A basic instance of trolling is posting “I like my PC” within the “Mac lovers” neighborhood. There’s nothing inherently flawed with saying “I like my PC” (I’m resisting the urge to place a joke right here), it’s the context that offers it away as a troll.

However intent is more durable to find out. Maybe the PC-lover was just a bit misplaced (once more, resisting joke urge) and mistakenly posted within the flawed place? If that’s the case, they could be an unintended troll. Or possibly they know precisely what they’re doing by posting one thing positive to incite a mob response, wherein case they’re positively a troll.

For you, Nameless, I’d recommend that you just examine your intent. For those who intend to freak out your pals, then yeah, you’re trolling them. However I don’t know what the social norms are right here. Maybe that is an accepted a part of your relationship. Both approach, you would possibly wish to examine your assumptions with your pals. They could not get pleasure from being on the receiving finish of your pranks. In the event that they prank you again, they’re most likely wonderful with it.

For everybody else, don’t let the problem of figuring out intent get you down. Numerous human communication is about intent. Comedy is (Did he actually imply to step on that banana peel?). Sarcasm is, too (I TOTALLY don’t imply that.). We’ve discovered how one can talk this stuff in individual and we’ll determine them out on-line, too. It simply could take a technology or two.

Till we do, right here’s some useful ideas in the event you suspect you’re being trolled.

  1. Are you typing offended? Cease. Trolls are taking part in a sport, and your upset response is some extent of their favor. Go stroll across the block and are available again to it.
  2. Are you pondering, “I can’t imagine he thinks that”? Take into account that possibly he doesn’t and it’s simply designed to upset folks. Really feel good for outwitting them and go on together with your day.
  3. Have you learnt the individual in one other context? Strive reaching out to them there. Altering the context is a good way to seek out out if the individual is trolling. Since trolling is usually a public efficiency, taking the dialog non-public can short-circuit it. So, in the event you should reply, strive responding to a public publish in a personal electronic mail or direct message.
  4. For those who don’t know the individual in one other context, examine their profile. Most on-line neighborhood methods have pages that present the member’s historical past. If the PC-lover has a historical past of expressing affection for issues within the flawed locations, they’re a troll. If that is an excessive amount of problem, then it must be an excessive amount of problem to reply in any respect.
  5. Most significantly: Trolls do what they do as a result of they’re attention-feeders. They thrive on the damaging reactions. If you need them to go away, don’t feed them!

That’s it for this primary version of Fertile Medium. I hope it helped. For those who’d like to depart a remark or query of your personal, tweet to @fertilemedium or name (415) 286-5446 and go away a message. See you subsequent time.

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