This weekend will be SkepchickCon/CONvergence, where I will be on a panel talking about dealing with trolls online. Previously, we managed to come to a general consensus on what defines a troll. I’ve also posted some resources on comment moderation, to which others have added. Now we come to the big question.
Aside from moderating them out of existence, how do we deal with trolls?
Ignoring them isn’t necessarily an option, particularly when dealing with social justice issues. I’ve talked previously about why “Don’t feed the trolls” is based on oversimplified notions of psychology. Beyond that, however, is the fact that “trolling” is often an accurate representation of the worlds that many of us deal with. We don’t want to make it disappear because it’s exactly the thing we want to address. Jay Smooth recently put it better than I could.
These trolls aren’t just distractions. They embody the very issues we’re dealing with as we try to change the world, and ignoring those issues has never once made them go away.
Given that, how do we cope with trolls in our spaces without giving them the control they’re after? How do we have discussions around them without losing the ability to have the discussions we want to have? How do we make it clear that they are socially unacceptable without being completely derailed?
Who has some good strategies?