Benjamin, thanks for commenting. I love the work you do here on Medium and I love Brené Brown. Congrats on not having felt the need to block anyone. Brené makes some excellent points about those who want to crap all over your ideas (…they were harder on themselves … used [mean-spiritedness] to lessen their own self-doubt … used criticism and cynicism to protect themselves from vulnerability); but I’m sure her participants represented a small segment of internet users.

The range of responses to haters must run the gamut from turning the other cheek to going full nuclear. And I’m sure the motivations for those are just as numerous. We (the respondents to this post) have only mentioned a handful, at best.

Ultimately, I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule that applies to all situations when dealing with the disgruntled. What works for one might not work for another. Everyone’s interpersonal communication tool box doesn’t come stocked with the same tools. I stand 4’0” tall. Those circumstances mandate that physically “getting in someone’s face” isn’t a strategy that works well for me, so I tend to not rely on that “tool” a lot. Whereas someone who is 6’4” and 250 pounds can wield “getting in someone’s face” very effectively, and with little effort.

Also, some people have adequate tools for dealing with conflict, others don’t. This is an extreme example, but an eight-year-old doesn’t have the same skills that a thirty-year-old does in resolving conflict.

But I also think people need not set themselves up abuse. That’s never a good strategy, especially if it results in someone being in over their head. So anyone online has to be aware, just like they would in face-to-face interactions. No one’s called to go out looking for abuse.

It’s all very subjective. Crafting an online response is the result of a lot of factors we don’t even think about—the people interacting, the words used, other things going on in their life at any given moment, their mood, the other person’s mood, attention span, the weather. All these things play into how a message is put together as well as how it’s interpreted.

Let your conscience be your guide. — Jiminy Cricket

If people in online interactions — as with interactions in real life — use the tools of 1) respect, 2) care, and 3) active listening, the species known as troll would eventually become extinct.

Thanks for commenting!

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