This is from the sidebar of the most recent Hate Mail exchange titled “Mr. Nobody’s Flickering Light” but I felt it was worth highlighting on its own here for those who might have missed it.
Trolling’s definition has only been widely understood by the public within the last decade or so, years after my site was first posted, which in itself was a lesser form a trolling.
Jesus Dressup trolled Christians, ie: it fished for a reaction, which I in turn would post as entertainment in my “Hate Mail”. However it was more of a passive troll because I wasn’t invading blogs & online communities to post the link for a response. That just happened by me putting it out there publicly for people to fall into on their own. It did however give me great insight on how to handle trolls, and pretty much snuff out their light between my fingers.
The technique is simple, but has to be handled delicately, and with a momentary shedding of ones pride. It’s a process of gently, very subtly convincing them that you’re submitting and want to be their penpal, because the one thing trolls don’t have is friends. That’s their weak spot. And playing to it is a graceful dance which can’t be resisted by the lonely troll.
The key is to act as if you’re impressed with their insight & cleverness in a believable way (without trace of sarcasm). Things like-
• “What’s funny is I wouldn’t think you could tell all those things about me from a simple email exchange [reading my blog, my Facebook wall, seeing my picture, etc] but it’s weird how you know these things.” or,
• “Lots of those things you said I know are true, I just have trouble admitting to them. It’s kind of embarrassing to think someone could figure all that stuff out like that.”
Also include an apology of some sort, or an act of submission like,
• “I actually didn’t mean to come off that way. I apologize if I sounded defensive, or jerky, [use words they used here]. I’m really looking to change these things about me.”
These are things a troll wants to hear so it’s easily believed. Using their words also plays to their pride.
Once you’ve got them, (and you’ll know you’ve got them because they’ll drop the persona to keep you as a submissive in hopes that you’ll revel further in their glory), that’s when you pull the rug out from under them and reject them on a personal level. It’s harsh, but believe me, deserved. In some cases this process has been known to destroy the troll altogether.
When constructing your rejection letter it’s really important that you don’t sound angry or emotionally frazzled. Simply express sorrowful pity for the situation they’ve found themselves in.
And keep it short.
Then, and this is important, never respond to their emails again. Don’t even open them. After you’ve tossed them aside and made it clear they’ve been completely rejected as a human being you’ll find that they’ll be stumbling over themselves like a broken winged crow to get you back in line. The emails that follow will be long & drawn out, one after the other sometimes just minutes apart, reeking of desperation. It’s an extremely clumsy struggle, and a complete shunning is almost manditory from here on out.
However, if you absolutely cannot resist, a short but sweet“LOL!” (and nothing more) reply to their followups will do the trick every time. For some reason those three capitol letters are a nail in the coffin to a fumbling troll.
It may seem a little cruel at face value, and I promise you they will feel that rejection deeply, but it squashes their power and can dissuade them from future trollings.
An example of this method being used properly can be read on page 510 of my Hate Mail section here.