As much as I love the ‘family’ atmosphere of WordPress, there are just as many of us who become the victims of trolls. For those of you who don’t know what a troll is, I looked up Wikipedia. Whilst they get some stuff wrong, I think they are pretty spot on with this definition.
In Internet slang, a troll (//, //) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
This sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment.
Whilst a person has the right to write or say what they wish (it’s called freedom of speech) at some point, the moral compass should be engaged to scrutinise what is about to come out of a person’s mouth/mind/keyboard. Unfortunately there are people in this world whose moral compass has tilted off-kilter and see it as their given right to bring others down with no thought to just how much damage their words can do.
A favourite blog of mine who I have followed for some time was written by a man with the pseudonym Opiniated Man (or OM for short). OM amassed 29,000 followers over the period of 8 months. Whilst I may not have agreed with what he wrote all the time, I applauded him for saying what he believed. He has as much right to an opinion as I do. I would never in a million years, go onto his blog and tell him to change his ways or views. I found that he engaged his followers in friendly debate and agreed to disagree on many occasions. I wish to add, that this is only my perspective of the man and my dealings with him. Over the past week, OM made his blog private due to some issues he was having with a troll and then he came back. Now he has gone again and withdrawn all presence from social media and email. The last post I received by email said the words “Now you’ve bought my children into this, you’ve gone too far”. I couldn’t read the rest of the post as the blog is now gone. Whilst I am upset by the fact that the blog has gone, I am more upset that another person has caused this. And to bring innocent children into the argument is definitely a no-no.
Bullying in all its forms is abhorrent. We spend so much time focusing on schoolyard bullying in its obvious forms that we forget that we as adults engage in bullying in far more subtle ways. Some of these include exclusion and gossip. Then there are those who impart ‘helpful advice’ without being asked to. Think about your workplace and see if you notice some of the subtle bullying that goes on. Have you ever walked into a room and the conversation stopped and those in the room looked guilty? I have. Whilst it may have had nothing to do with me whatsoever (my paranoia said it did), it causes a person to become uncomfortable. Any time that we make another person uncomfortable by our words, thoughts or actions may be deemed as bullying. Note that I didn’t say that it was bullying. Because in all honesty, there are times in life that we do these things unconsciously and without any malice whatsoever. This post is not about those times. It is about those who consciously and purposely expose another person to hurt through their words and actions.
I just don’t understand why people in life feel the need to bring others down. Do they gain some sense of satisfaction from it? Is it because they are so insecure in themselves that they need others to feel their pain? I don’t know. As a child I was taught respect. Through life, I have learned that our words are every bit as lethal as a blade of steel. Contrary to the popular children’s rhyme about sticks and stones, words will (and can) hurt you. They may not leave a tangible wound on your body. But they certainly leave a wound in your soul.
I try to live my life with compassion and love for others. I try to understand them. However, I am human and I just don’t understand other humans sometimes. 😦
Have a blessed day 🙂