Our Facebook community is over 420k members strong, and that means we get to read so many stories from around the world, our questions get answered fast, and we have the opportunity to connect some of the most amazing women on the planet.
It also creates a playground for nasty online trolls. So, let’s talk about what that is, what it means, what happens if you troll this group, and….wait for it…if you are a troll yourself and don’t even know it.
A troll “deliberately posts inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content”
This can mean you give your off-topic, unsolicited opinion in the comments of a post. Extra points if you curse, call someone stupid, or bring up controversial politics in a totally unrelated space…like a travel group.
To be clear: trolling is not discussing different sides of an argument, you can respectfully have different opinions, but when they are irrelevant, unsolicited, and hateful, that’s trolling.
The fact is, we have all been a bit of a troll here and there. When you comment on Aunt Sally’s ignorant political meme, when we get drunk and sloppy online, even fighting for social justice can make you a troll if you insert your opinions inappropriately, aggressively, and out of context.
Some of us are more troll-y than others, and if you ask us, we believe that unhappiness and mental/emotional instability, even when it’s just temporary, can turn any normally nice person into a giant online troll.
Yea, girl, maybe you are. Maybe you’re not.
Our mini self assessment:
1. Have you called a stranger mean names in comments?
2. Have you inserted your political opinions in an unrelated travel post?
3. Have you rudely messaged the admin of a free group to demand that they moderate a post the way that gets your message across?
4. Have you made harsh judgments about someone from only a few lines of a post and shared them in the comments?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be a troll. So, stop it!
Trolling and online bullying are separated only by a fine line. You probably wouldn’t actively make people feel small, stupid, and call them names to their face in public, at work, or among friends, so why spread that hate online? We know why…because you can get away it and because you are very unhappy.
We know times are so hard right now, we get you, we see you, and we are right there with you. But do you really feel better when you make strangers online feel worse?
If nothing else, it means you will get blocked from the best online spaces, so if spreading bad juju doesn’t make you want to cut it out, then do it for yourself.
Practice self awareness: feel the anger welling up when you see someone traveling while you are stuck at home? Take a breath. You’re don’t know their situation, you can not control them. You are angry and probably jealous, but their actions are none of your business. Scroll past.
Type something nice instead: Really want to ream a girl out for some really righteous reason? If your fingers just won’t leave the keyboard, tell her how cute her dress is instead or force yourself to scroll past.
Go find some happy: We don’t know your life. Go do something to work out this aggression you feel. You’re not mad at strangers online who don’t share your opinions, you’re just unhappy. Go find your happy and scroll past.
Find help: Times are hard and we all need some extra love, support, and kindness. If you don’t feel like you can give that or you don’t feel you are getting enough, please get some help for yourself. A quick Google will find the depression/suicide hotline in your local area. And also…you guessed it…scroll past.
We don’t give too many chances to trolls, because we see this behavior as against the very core of our purpose – to empower, support, and uplift one another.
We may turn off comments to a post that is getting especially heated. We hate doing this, because we would prefer to be able to disagree without being hateful.
The bottom line:
Ask yourself if you are a troll.
Now stop it.