What an internet troll is, and how to deal with them
An internet troll is someone who posts something, usually outrageous and offensive, in order to get a reaction. Trolls are the reason why so many Facebook groups are private, with the hopes of excluding these types of people.
Unfortunately, trolls are like weeds in the garden, they pop up and need constant attention. And just like a weed, which starts small, it's the rampaging growth that you want stop as early as possible before it ruins the garden. And you can use weed preventers, but weeds do pop up, and you need to remove them. As a gardening person, and some with a Facebook group, that's how I see it. Just part of the tending.
And if you're wondering what makes a person a troll, believe me, you already know. Just imagine being trapped somewhere, like a boring classroom, and being bored out of your mind. Anyone who has a human brain has been a troll, trying to liven up a situation. And that's the key to understanding it - the feeling of being trapped. Most of us don't feel trapped, the way we did in 3rd grade, but many people remained trapped, for many reasons. And their feeling of being bored and trapped makes them want to "liven things up", bring some excitement into a dull situation. And I really do understand, I'm easily bored myself, and have been known to try to "throw a monkey wrench" into boring situations, if I can't get out of them.
So when I see a troll comment, I recognize that this is someone who is bored and trapped. This could be someone who is trapped in a terrible situation in their life, at work, or at home. This could be someone who's trapped due to some type of disability. There are as many reasons for being trapped as their are individuals on the earth, and I myself have been trapped many times, frustrated, angry, and bored.
Of course the best thing to do with a weed in the garden is to simply pluck it out. It's the same way with a troll comment on your Facebook group. But it's vitally important that you recognize weeds. If you destroy something that's valuable, you've made a mistake. When in doubt, hesitate. If you're sure it's a weed, pull it out.
Most trolls post and move on. I can usually delete troll comments and the troll has no idea that I even did it. Rarely a troll will follow up and want to know why I can't "lighten up" or "have a sense of humor". Dealing with a troll at that point is a very delicate thing. I usually just ignore the ranting (it's always the same, so I don't need to read it) and invite the person back into the group. Oddly enough, this usually works, and that's because I'm seeing a person, angry, frustrated and trapped. If there's a person there who knows that I can see them, they just might stop being a weed, and become a beautiful flower. I've seen it happen.
Posted by Brad Hall