I had an interesting experience yesterday… I had commented positively on a gentleman’s post on Medium. It was a well written discourse between the author and ‘God’. In my view, it was not disparaging of God or of any religion. It was, if anything, a frustration over misinterpretations and using the name of God or religion as a weapon for personal issues. I applauded the author and stated I might have to ‘borrow’ his idea of conversations with God in the future.
And then an email pops up saying that someone had targeted MY comment for reaction. Now, I use the word reaction instead of response because the way the comment was worded, with odd capitalizations and rambling religious text didn’t seem very well thought out. I believe in the definitions of reaction being knee-jerk and response exhibiting thought and compassion.
Yes, yes, I know. You are never supposed to engage the trolls. I did, once. I attempted to address him politely and state that I disagreed with his opinion and pointed out where, objectively in the article, there did not seem to be disparaging remarks about the God figure. And of course, he just sent me back more of the same dribble about hell and my future address.
So here are the thoughts that have occurred to me today in regards to this odd encroachment.
First – this man (and yes, his first name and photo indicated a man), had not really taken the time or effort to carefully read the original article, so after trying to engage him once and receiving no difference in his responses, I didn’t continue the conversation. I’m curious as to the number of responses people with high viewership and varied experiences have with something similar? Is it something that occurs often and we just don’t necessarily see it unless we scroll through every comment? How do others handle these kinds of comments? Ignore? Attempt gentle engagement?
Second – the original article was written by a gentleman. Another man also commented on the article before me. The troll didn’t target either of them. He targeted me. This isn’t a ‘woe-is-me’ kind of statement. Just a matter of fact. My praise for the article was not much different from the other man’s. I wonder why the troll chose me to try and convert or berate? Is it because with the name Liz, I’m obviously female. Did he feel it was his patriarchal duty to bring the little lady into the fold? Am I being a bit touchy? Maybe… but I’m not sure.
Third – while the incident has been in the back of my mind and obviously I felt led to post about it, I didn’t let it ruin my evening or today. I know his trolling was more about his issues than mine. It has been an interesting thing to think about today though. What causes someone to feel as if they can condemn, lecture and try to debase another’s comments online? I don’t mean healthy disagreement. That is what great discourse, conversation and idea comes from… I mean nasty-ass condemnation. Really, if we could figure that out, maybe we could control 45’s tweets? Maybe his constant desire to do nothing but put others down and destroy would be explained? Maybe, just maybe, we could understand and solve the issues that make the idea of superiority over others seem so vital to the picture of some who want to believe they are? Maybe…
Or maybe I’m playing Pollyana again. Maybe the pie-in-the-sky will work on occasion and maybe we just have to understand that some people will never get out of the mud. I dipped my toe for a moment, but then decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want it to feel dirty the rest of my day.
I hope you find a hose or shower and a nice fluffy towel oh troll… I shudder thinking of others in your path. (Or am I trying to be superior here?)