Rules of engagement
rules for internet trolls to live by. My fave is this one (just substitute comment for e-mail):
"If the writer responds to your e-mail with evidence that you're wrong (for example, by citing a paragraph that you overlooked), disappear without responding. The 'net is built for anonymity - don't fight it. Choose to battle another day. Bide your time."
This one seems particularly apt to me, for that is what generally happens when the occasional honest to goodness troll has a go at me on this site or at BC. Whether it takes four hundred comments or one, sooner or later the troll will be worn down and vanish into thin air.
Just to clarify--I may not always be this bold and ballsy in real life (though sometimes I am), but put me behind a keyboard and I am no shrinking violet. I will batter my opponent relentlessly with logic (or at least that's the way I see it) until they simply give up and move on.
Thing is, it's not that I want to convert the world to my way of looking at things. As the always wise and worldly Walker pointed out in his comment to my previous post, sometimes a free exchange of dialogue and ideas can actually make you see the other person's point of view and maybe even rethink the veracity of your own conclusions--or at least modify them. I try to look at issues from all sides, but I still have my biases, and it can be very enlightening to see an argument from a multifaceted perspective. I am also careful to use qualifiers such as "some," "most," "perhaps," and so on, and try not to cram my way of thinking down everyone's throat. However, as a comment whore, I've found if you please everyone your comment box may remain so empty that you can hear an echo.
So these kinds of back and forths honestly don't get to me, for I relish the challenge even if they do get a bit on the heated side. It's the one or two genuine trolls-- the ones whose only interest is in full frontal attack or sneaky personal character assasinations--that can lead me to label them for what they are and refuse to engage (feed) them any more. If they continue to comment, I may refer to them indirectly using the third person or just respond with a general statement. Trolls hate impersonal exchanges because they crave the attention and frisson of hand to hand combat.
And so it seems that the two red hot BC posts I mentioned seem to be winding down, and that I and my "allies" have managed to get the last word in--at least for now. But who knows what the day may bring....