Internet user contributes to the discourse. Image: Getty

Are you a troll? A simple guide to finding out

Is 2020 the year of the troll? Are you a troll? Emily Writes has a quiz to see if you can change.

Sometimes I will get a Facebook message from someone saying: “Why did you ban me from your page? I’m not a troll! I was just trying to have a conversation!” Now, I might not be the smartest chicken nugget in the six pack, but I know enough to know calling someone a communist whore for sharing information about face masks might not be the best way to start a conversation.

It made me wonder – what if you’re a troll and you don’t know it? I thought I’d provide a public service and give you a check list. Count how many times you say yes to the following…

Have you ever:

Called Jacinda Ardern “Cindy”?

Used the term “plandemic”?

Said “the flu kills more people than Covid 19”?

Implied you are an epidemiologist when you failed school certificate science?

Felt personally victimised by Alice Snedden?

Said “take your meds” or “you need psychiatric help” or “go kill yourself” while you have an “I Am Hope” frame around your Facebook profile picture?

Said something extremely racist about Māori while you have a “They Are Us” frame around your profile picture?

Said “do your research” when your research is getting baked and watching youtube videos about lizard people?

Commented “they died WITH Covid not OF Covid” on an article paying tribute to someone who died from Covid 19?

Called a woman a slut because she disagreed with you?

Asked a woman scientist if she’s a real scientist?

Called someone a soy boy or a feminazi?

Played devil’s advocate when the devil really didn’t need an advocate and if he did, he probably would have chosen someone who can argue better?

Spent two days hassling someone online then when called you an asshole you said: “And here we are with the ad hominem argument!”?

Do you struggle with:

Understanding the difference between communism, socialism, and someone disagreeing with you?

Needing to say you’re “just asking questions” when in fact you’re just trying to spread false information while attempting to cover yourself from defamation laws?

Reading anything about Jacinda Ardern without responding with a “witty” remark about some fabricated and sexist rumour?

People who have the temerity to use macrons?

Feelings of worthliness if someone criticises Donald Trump?

Overuse of capital letters?

Critiquing Green Party policy without saying something violently misogynist about Marama Davidson?

Golriz Ghahraman living rent-free in your head 24/7?

Having a profile photo that isn’t a picture of a Confederate Flag/a Union Jack/the Southern Cross stars or a picture of a gun?

Admitting you’re hate-reading because it emphasises the fact that you actually enjoy winding yourself up and it has nothing to do with the writer or journalist you’re upset about and you think you can cover it by saying “I just found my way to your page” or saying “I’m a fan but…” but it’s really obviously not true?

If you answered yes to any of the above …

… in all likelihood you’re a troll. Don’t worry, you can stop trolling at any time. Recovery from trolling doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some ways you can work on being less of a troll:

Breathe before commenting.

Take one deep breath. That’s it. There’s a big boy! Now take another. Stand up. Stretch. You should not comment until you have taken a breath and centred yourself.

Are you just hungry?

Ask yourself: am I really this angry about Māori scholarships? Or do I just need lunch? Eat something and then decide if you need to comment.

Are you just completely lacking any perspective?

Now look left, look right. Stand up, walk out of your house and look around. See that the world is vast. You are just one tiny part of a planet that has 7.8 billion people on it. Is it possible that in the grand scheme of things you really need to shit the bed over someone telling you that it’s a good idea to wear a mask?

Do you need to unpack why you react to everyday discussion with extreme abuse toward women?

Consider if your need to tell a woman she’s a cum bucket because she gently corrected you on your definition of the ACE2 receptor is fucked up? It’s kind of fucked up right?

Could you … just keep scrolling and not comment at all?

I know. This one is big. But – just try it with me.

Scroll.

And scroll.

Then scroll some more.

Until you’re no longer in the comment section of an article typing that it’s reverse racism to have a Matariki public holiday. Look at you! You didn’t furiously insist “Cindy” is just a nickname before pissing yourself in righteous anger. I’m actually proud of you.

Do you really want your legacy in life to be that you spent every day intentionally trying to upset people online so just for a minute you can feel big and strong? I’m guessing the answer is no. It’s not too late to change.




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