If you like this post, you can read the rest of my Distractions!
The internet is a strange place, sometimes bringing out the best in people, but far too often displaying the worst in people.
Recently on another website I saw someone had left a comment that was equal parts critical and nonsensical.
I made the mistake of trying to engage the person in a discussion that would help us to understand each other, but that person seemed more interested in name calling and self-important ridicule than edifying anyone.
Although I tried my best to give that person the benefit of the doubt, I eventually got to the point where continuing the conversation became a waste of time because they clearly didn’t want any part of honest community participation.
So I moved on.
Thankfully, to this point I’m not popular enough for this to happen very often on any of my websites and I generally don’t comment on sites that have communities with derogatory natures, but that doesn’t mean that people who are negative for negativity’s sake don’t seep through the cracks.
What does the Bible say to do when faced with such circumstances (either online or a more personal line of communication), how should we react?
I always go back to the two choices that are outlined in the Proverbs:
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
-Proverbs 26: 4-5
There are basically two options when faced with we call “trolls”, those who leave negative, pointless comments for the sake of provoking others in a way that disrupts a fruitful conversation of the matter at hand.
The first is to just ignore them. They really aren’t worth your time and if they get what they want out of you they win because they bring you down to their level.
The second is to turn it around on them, making such a strong case that they are embarrassed by their original comments.
People rarely get embarrassed online, so I tend to go with the first option and move on. Don’t let them win.
What do you do when someone is trolling you, distracting you from walking in the light of Christ?