We have more opportunity to hear and be heard than we’ve ever had in human history.
We can join in on the global conversation through countless platforms – Facebook, twitter, Reddit, snapchat, or any number of sites that I’m too old and square to understand. Never in the history of man has it been easier to show our penises¹ to someone 10,000 miles away. We live in truly amazing times.
The problem with that is, “we” includes:
- your Aunt Hilda and everyone in her bunco club,
- your Grandpa, once your uncle shows him how to log in for the 27th time,
- the kid who sat in the back of homeroom and carved his name into his arm with a compass (who is now probably a tech startup CEO),
- the kids who tried to sell you candy this morning for their (nonexistent) basketball team fundraiser²,
- your idiot ex, Buford,
- Buford’s mom, Tarleene,
- your boss,
- the entire viewership of InfoWars,
- and any other person who can get their hands on a computer or smartphone.
While your Aunt Hilda is unlikely to show her penis to anyone on line, she’s still able to comment, share, report, message, retweet, like, and sad-face just exactly the same as you are. It’s just like voting, except people actually follow through on this opportunity to have their voices heard.
I am introspective, educated, intelligent, ridiculously sexy, and humble. No one is more humble than me, actually. There was a contest to see who was the most humble, and I won. I crushed everyone in that competition – no one stood a chance against my incredible humility.
But as an award-winning humble and introspective man, I think a lot. A LOT. I think about everything, all day, every day. I question my own motives. I question the process by which I arrive at conclusions. I challenge my own biases. I am nuanced, but strive to distill the angles and corners and edges down to something anyone can take and use. And as ready as I am to fight for my beliefs, I try to avoid being Leeroy Jenkins whenever possible.
Buford, on the other hand, is a troll.
“Trolls. How many of us have them?” – Whodini, if they had written that song in 2017 after getting berated online a few thousand times.
Buford reads headlines and knee-jerk responds to them. He regurgitates crap he heard from Hannity who is regurgitating crap he heard from Alex Jones. And Alex Jones hears voices in his head, apparently. Buford suffers from every cognitive bias in the book, but is too stupid to know what the hell a cognitive bias is. Or what a book is. He thinks “Nuance” is a new perfume by one of the Kardashians that you can find at Walgreens, K-Mart, and other fine retailers. Makes a great gift!
Buford never creates. He consumes, he regurgitates, he spews out repeats of whatever he’s taken in somewhere else. But he never creates. No trolls do.
And worse, unlike me, Buford lives for crashing into arenas where he can start a quarrel. He loves going into a liberal forum and attacking the individual posters and commenters. It brings him joy to tell you that you’re a cuck libtard snowflake. He’ll tell you that you’re naïve, that you don’t understand the real world, that you’re an out of touch liberal elite.
Important to note: Buford rarely attacks your actual point. He is not intelligent enough to form cogent rebuttals on the fly. Rather, he will attack YOU with insults and barbs designed to call your opinion’s validity into question.
His name won’t always be Buford, so you’re going to need other clues to see if you’re dealing with a troll. Signs you might be dealing with a troll:
- Typing in ALL CAPS.
- Using incorrect homophones.
- Lack of punctuation.
- Confederate flag in profile picture, or blank profile picture.
- Pepe the Frog profile picture.
- Make America Great Again or Trump in cover picture.
- Less than 50 friends/followers.
- Ad hominem attacks – especially using words like libtard, cuck, or snowflake.
- Lots of “Like and Share if You Agree!” posts on their personal page.
- References to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, CNN, “the media,” “MSM,” Benghazi, emails, Seth Rich, or Nancy Pelosi, which have literally nothing to do with your post.
An example might help:
YOU: The problem today is that most educated people want to give Donald Trump a chance to grow into the role, but he can’t seem to get out of his own way. He promised to surround himself with strong advisers, which in some ways he has (Generals Kelly, McMaster, and Mattis come to mind), but his refusal to be advised by them leaves the country vulnerable to the fickle thumbs and ADHD mind of the Tweeter-in-Chief.
COMMENTER: YA WELLWHAT WWOUD YOU HAVE PREFERED, HILLARY TO BE UP THEIR RUNNING THINGS? SHE’S A FUKIN CRIMINAL AND YOUR A TYPICAL LIBTARD JUST REPETING WHATEVER YOU HERD FROM FAKENEWS LIKE CNN LEARN YOURE HISTORY PULL YOURE HEAD OUT OF YOURE ASS AN READ ABOUT BENGAZI AND SETH RICH IF YOU CANFIDN A STORY ABOUTTHEM ON A REAL SIGHT LIKE INFOWARS OR DRUGE OR SOMETHING YOU STUPID CUCK.
YOU: Nice Confederate flag background there, Pepe. Real incognito. You know the south lost the War of Northern Aggression, right? So, it took reading your word vomit three times to figure out what you were saying. Between the poor grammar, the misused homophones and the name calling, I think your point is, “Donald Trump was a better choice than the alternative.” Correct?
COMMENTER: WHO THE FUKC YOUCALLIN A HOMO? MY MOMMA TARLEENE DIDN’T RAISE NO GODDAM FAIRY I DONT DO THAT SHIT MAN I LIKE GIRLSJUST ASK YOUR SISTER U FUCKING SNOWFLAKE BITCH.
As you can see, the comments are usually a dead giveaway.
But you made a mistake here. Did you catch it?
That’s right! You engaged with the troll. JUST DON’T DO IT. It’s not worth it. The troll will not go away and reconsider his life choices or lack of intellect. The troll WANTED to get in the mud and roll around with you. By engaging, you gave the troll exactly what he wanted. You’ve reinforced his behavior.
What would have been the better course of action? Report him to the admin of the platform, delete and block him, or go elsewhere. There’s zero benefit to talking to a troll.
You know, I reported someone online to the authorities. Once, just once. He pushed me too far, so I snitched. I’m not too proud to admit it.
Unfortunately, “the Authorities,” to whom I reported him were actually just a Police cover band that was playing in my town. They were really good. They were wearing literal police uniforms – not like “dressing like Stewart Copeland” police outfits. Like Hill Street Blues uniforms. But, lucky for me, it turns out the guys in the Authorities were also undercover cops, trying to bust people for selling drugs at the venue! That’s some meta shit right there.
And that would have been nice to know BEFORE I tried to sell them drugs. Oh well, live and learn.
I’ve dealt with a lot of trolls in the last few days, and I still find myself wanting to engage. So, I’m going to use this post as a commitment to avoid wasting my time, energy and emotion arguing with trolls. My instinct is, unfortunately, always misplaced: I try to convince them that I’m right and they’re wrong.
The more I think on it, I understand that it’s like trying to convince a brown bear that’s trapped in my house to sit down at the table and enjoy the fine salmon dinner I’ve spent all afternoon preparing.
Brown bear doesn’t speak my language and he’s hell bent on destroying everything he sees. And while he’d certainly enjoy the salmon if he stopped for a second and tried it (I’m a great cook and, not to stereotype, but brown bears do enjoy their salmon), I have obviously wasted my time lovingly preparing it and serving it up to him on my finest china. Typical, unappreciative brown bear—why do I even bother?! *sobs into dish towel while brown bear turns on SportsCenter and ignores my crying, cognizant that his flippant attitude is killing both of us, but he’s just too damned proud to be vulnerable with me.
My time would have been better served getting the brown bear out of my house. Because, as much as I want him to see things from my vantage point, the harsh reality is that he never will. After all, he’s a fucking brown bear.
¹ If you have plural penises, you’ve always been able to showcase that situation to the world. I’m talking more about individual penises, like one penis per person.
² I am on to you, assholes. You’ve been selling candy for an entire year, I’ve never seen you wearing basketball uniforms or high top shoes. Also, I’m pretty sure you’re all like 28 years old. You all have full-on mustaches and tattoos. If your candy wasn’t so delicious, I’d report you to the Authorities.