Political trolls, like any other type of internet trolls, are individuals who intentionally disrupt online discussions with inflammatory and derogatory comments. They thrive on eliciting strong emotional responses from others, often through the use of offensive language, personal attacks, or baseless accusations. While it can be tempting to engage and attempt to set the record straight, there are many good reasons why you shouldn’t feed political trolls.
It legitimizes political trolls’ behavior
By responding to a political troll, you are giving them exactly what they want: attention. You’re making their behavior seem legitimate and acceptable. Trolls crave attention and will go to great lengths to get it, including saying outrageous and offensive things just to get a rise out of others. When you engage with a troll, you are essentially saying that their behavior is acceptable and that you are willing to play their game.
It perpetuates the cycle of negativity
Engaging with political trolls is unlikely to result in a productive conversation. Instead, it is likely to lead to a cycle of negativity that only serves to further polarize people and stoke anger and resentment. When people are confronted with inflammatory or derogatory comments, they tend to respond with similar language, which only serves to escalate the situation. This cycle of negativity can be damaging to our mental health and well-being and can make it difficult to find common ground with people who hold different views.
It can lead to ongoing harassment
Engaging with political trolls can sometimes lead to targeted harassment. Trolls often have a large following of like-minded individuals who will attack anyone who disagrees with them. This can be especially dangerous for people who are already vulnerable or marginalized, such as women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ+ community. By engaging with political trolls, you may unwittingly expose yourself or others to harassment and abuse.
It distracts from more important issues
Political trolls often focus on trivial or irrelevant issues, rather than substantive policy discussions. By engaging with them, you are wasting your time and energy on topics that are unlikely to result in any meaningful change. Engaging with trolls only distracts from the more important issues.
It reinforces political trolls’ echo chambers
Political trolls often have a specific agenda and will say anything to advance that agenda. By engaging with them, you are essentially helping them to reinforce their echo chamber. Echo chambers are online communities where people only interact with others who share their views, which can lead to a distorted view of reality. When we engage with trolls, we are inadvertently reinforcing their echo chamber and making it more difficult for them to see other perspectives.
In conclusion, there are many good reasons why you shouldn’t feed political trolls. Engaging with them only legitimizes their behavior, perpetuates a cycle of negativity, can lead to harassment, distracts from more important issues, and reinforces echo chambers. Instead of engaging with political trolls, it is better to focus on substantive policy discussions and to engage with people who are open to respectful and productive dialogue. By doing so, we can create a more informed and inclusive political discourse that is focused on finding solutions to the challenges facing our society.