How can we silence trolls?


Cultural journalist Valner Valme spoke on May 9th about trolling in a commentary on Vikerraadio. The communication strategy known on internet communication is „disturbing the process with deliberate malevolence“. The same communication techniques have now reached political debates. What political parties and politicians are on Valme’s Estonian political trolls list? Listen and read here.

How do you fight against trolling?

Within the context of Valme’s story, it is worthwhile remembering the techniques for clipping the wings of trolls. If it is known on the internet that arguing with trolls is pointless, then in politics and „real media“ this realization has not yet arrived. Reactions to trolling are still emotionally charged responses. However, in this way, the troll positions are voiced and as a result, it plays out according to their rules.

In real life, the same principles apply when communicating with trolls as on the internet. Trolls should be ignored, not to respond to their provocations, exclude them from your space. Focus on your own topics.

There are several type of trolls

In addition, it should be remembered that the understanding of „troll“ can have different contents. A rude – provocateur is only one of the meanings of this word. Another way is to call trolls, commentators with fake identities, who may or may not use trolling jargon. In this case, the Kremlin Troll farm or the Chinese 50 cent party would be good examples.

As long as there is no clear terminology to differentiate between different types of trolls, use common sense and be careful when dealing with them. Otherwise, the word can become a label, used to put down all your opponents.

Propastop has written about trolls previously:

Propaganda dictionary: troll

Trolling from a game theory point of view: this is a game strategy that tries to scare away all other players away from the game, leaving themselves the last player and consequently the „winner“.

Image: Neil Lall / Flickr / CC / Propastop photo editing