Troll fighting

As anyone who routinely visits conservative news and blog sites on the internet is fully aware, they tend to attract lots of trolls.  Now, I should be clear from the outset that my definition of a “troll” is consistent with the commonly understood meaning (i.e. someone who tries to stir up trouble and pick fights over dumb stuff because they get a rise out of it but make no real points) and in so doing encompasses most drone leftist hecklers.  I don’t mind arguing or debating with someone who has actual honest ideas, but idiots who come into a conversation spewing talking points, fairy tale “facts,” and an insult every other syllable (typically about how conservatives are so dumb and uneducated) are not debating.  Whether they’re paid Soros trolls or just useful idiots who think being a leftist makes them smart, they’re trolls and ought to be dealt with as such.

I used to engage with some of these people before I learned more about them.  I believe it was Thomas Paine who said (and I’ll try to look this up later to confirm the quote but correct me if I’m wrong) that trying to use reason and logic to convince someone who has abandoned them is like administering medicine to the dead.  Some people can be convinced, can be persuaded, and some people are just beyond saving and deserve to be ridiculed.  Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be deployed against unintelligible propositions” and that’s the philosophy I go by.  That said, it’s important to establish your own rules of engagement, because you do not “win” an argument with a troll in conventional terms.  Whether they’re getting fifteen cents per reply from Big George or just getting their jollies living rent-free in your head, they win by luring you into their brainless arguments, so if you’re going to respond at all you need to make sure you know what you’re getting out of it, and how you’re exiting.

Often the best response to trolling is just to ignore them.  Flag, downvote, move on.  If you’re not prepared to strike surgically then you do not want to hand them a victory by wasting too much of your time on them.  This can be easier said than done.  These idiots make their bones or get their kicks off snapping at your heels like a junkyard dog and either taking your words out of context or throwing non-sequiturs like curve balls in response to cogent remarks, all the while insisting that they have tons of “evidence” and proclaiming how “educated” they are.  Don’t go for it.  Open up with a full volley and make every word count.  I have never seen a leftist troll make an “argument” (if you can call it that) that cannot be ventilated in one or two good sentences, but remember, your objective when engaging here is not to convince your opponent.  Your objective is to make these fools look foolish and mock them until they get angry, and laugh at them while you do it.  Bear in mind, this is what they’re trying to do too.

What I’m basically saying is, fight back with catch lines.  Don’t go on a rant, don’t give a dissertation about why Keynesian economics don’t work or climate change is a myth, just pick your own favorite gem about what goes to the heart of the situation (could be situational, could be timeless, but there’s always one) and unmasks the whole facade and drive that sucker home.  And laugh while you do it.  Now, if you want to do the dance and toy with them for a bit, that’s fine so long as you’re choosing the battlespace.  Don’t answer their accusations without ridicule of your own.  Save a haymaker for a closer–and YOU decide when the argument is over.  Dismiss them, declare victory, and walk away when you’ve decided you’re done.  You already won the argument just by being right in the first place, it’s up to you to decide when it’s over.

Then once you walk away, once you have declared you’re finished, stick to it.  The troll will try to draw you back out, he will taunt you and make fun of you and accuse you of hiding or running away.  Make sure you made it clear in your finisher that you’re done because you’ve won (there’s no “in your opinion” about it), and whatever you do, whatever else may happen, do not answer that troll again.  Not in the same discussion at the very least.  What you do then is even more fun: odds are you’re not the only one engaging with the idiot.  You leave the troll behind and then you start commenting on the remarks made by people on your side–and basically laugh with them at the troll’s pitiful attempts to draw you back out.  Eventually you can get a whole comment board pointing and laughing and not feeding the troll any further and that’s just hilarious.

As you get better you’ll probably develop your own particular style complete with favorite insults, and you’ll also notice some recurring trolls in addition to the one-offs and sock puppets.  I’ve had fun with these in the past.  One guy I just responded to all of his posts with “Stop lying.”  Another I essentially “killed with kindness” as I just chatted about the weather and the nice lunch I had and droned on about mundane off-topic stuff because as I told the other posters on the board “he’s just looking for attention, maybe he just needs a friend.”  He eventually disappeared so maybe he did.  But the key is, do not treat this like an argument.  Do not think that posting facts, data, even links will win the day for you–leftists always have a link to some disgustingly biased source that they will smugly put up like it’s a gamewinning argument and will always blow off your source for one reason or another (these are the people who can say with a straight face that the dinosaur media is “right-leaning”).  The troll is there to make himself feel smart by trying to tell us we’re stupid, so laugh at their pathetic nonsense and play with them only so long as it suits your purposes.

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