I had my first Twitter troll yesterday. Foul-mouthed, abusive, rude, potentially libellous and so forth ad infinitum.
I’ve always believed in free speech. I also think if you are active in a public forum that it’s a given for people to challenge your thoughts, views and comments. I really do not have a problem with robust debate. However, a line is crossed when responses degenerate into unreasoned abuse and dragging other “tweeps” into the matter.
I blocked my troll and apologised to the people I was tweeting to for this person’s actions in dragging them into it. End of story as they say.
However, it got me thinking. Firstly, what sort of person behaves like this? What is their frame of mind to misinterpret a comment and, on that basis, start a vendetta? It’s beyond me. I can only assume they are either unhinged or inadequate in some way.
More importantly though was my second train of thought. I’ve always been somewhat dismissive of cyber-bullying. I was not, and still are not, impressed by internet “hard men”. I’ve received enough of that claptrap when playing online poker to ignore it, smile and take their chips. In this instance I have to admit I became mildly annoyed and I began to see why these trolls could worm their way into some people’s psyche.
The upshot is the next time I come across one of these keyboard warriors I’m not going to be polite. The only way to deal with a bully is to hit them back hard and keep doing it until they stop. In an ideal world I would knock seven shades of crap out of my troll but that is frowned upon. So it’s a formal complaint to the police for starters with further legal action as necessary. If you are unlucky enough to meet a troll I’d advise you to do the same.
Free speech and challenging discussions are fine, trolls and bullies are not.