Don’t Feed the Trolls
Navigating the dreaded comments section
By: Justice Sahaydak
The comments section. The very phrase can make one shudder. It’s a recognized problem; the anonymity of the Internet lets people get away with saying all sorts of nasty things with few consequences.
With face-to-face interactions, people generally remain civil. Even if one person says something confrontational, people usually ignore it. It’s easier that way.
But online, it’s different. If a line is crossed, there’s no ignoring what’s said. It’s written down for all to see. There is more reason to overstep on the internet, as well. When people are hidden behind a screen, they can say whatever they want with the knowledge that it won’t affect them offline. To make matters even worse, they may write comments solely for the sake of being extreme. There’s a sick thrill that comes with making others react.
These scenarios are frustrating to encounter, especially when the comments attack your identity or beliefs. You want to change their minds, show them a better path. But you shouldn’t spend your time and your energy on them. It rarely works.
This isn’t to say that genuine conversations are unnecessary. There’s definite value in engaging with people who have opposing views. But if they won’t listen, or if they’re making you upset, it’s not worth it. And even if change is possible, it’s not always your responsibility. You don’t have to save everyone.
You can’t deplete your energy for the other person—you need it more. Instead, remove yourself from the equation. If you can block trolls, block them. If you have to close your browser, do so.
Acknowledge your frustration that people think, speak, and act like that—itisfrustrating. But then move on. Don’t feel obligated to give second chances. Your energy is finite. Respect that. Respect yourself. Walk away.