Here's the deal about social media - one often forgets that an actual human being is behind those 140 characters, who is capable of having experiences like humiliation, trauma, and, newsflash - anger. So, when a Twitter user thought it was a good idea to pop the question to Tisca Chopra, she had little choice but to be amused, humour him, and start finding a divorce lawyer to end her rather happy marriage. But not all trolls will be so well-cultured, and you sure aren't expected to be so forgiving to them, either. While Tisca adopted one of the most sure-shot ways, humour, to deliver a rather stern clap back to someone who was just looking for a laugh, here's what else you can do, especially as a woman on the internet, to fight off those inevitable trolls:
1. Don't feed into their negativity, ignore!
As a woman, you will learn the double standards of the world much sooner than anyone else - as you find that you will have vicious verbal attacks made on you no matter which side of a debate you are on. You may have noticed Instagram accounts or Twitter bios on social issues that are heavily debated, read: "Trolls/ haters will be blocked" or "I do not engage bigots," which communicate that you will not indulge anyone looking to stir up trouble - which is the agenda for most trolls, that is, to be a royal annoyance, irk and instigate.
2. Defeat their fluff with facts:
Trolls are individuals who spew false claims in order to refute statements made by you. A typical example would be when the 'men's rights activists' challenge various women's rights issues and breakthroughs - or perhaps when religious fundamentalists rain down on stories of communal tension. The best way to shut them down and out of your portal is to call their bluff with facts, statistics and legitimate reports. That would sway the tide in your favour even for amongst the other commenters, and they may rush to your support.
3. Have a great moderating mechanism
As a blogger or administrator on a digital portal, if you have the resources, build a team that sifts through the hogwash and only lets the legitimate comments through. There are also various disemvoweling or hellbanning tools or plugins available to combat trolls.
4. Craft a policy
In order to give the commenters a heads up about what they should not even bother posting on your content, establish a clear policy about what kind of inputs are welcome, and the kind of language perhaps will earn them an instant red card. Most news organisations have meticulous policies for their communities, and it wouldn't hurt to follow the example and have the lines drawn on the troublemakers.
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