So, this happened in my world recently. A post appeared on our local community site:
Within a short time, the following comment popped up:
Now, “Peter” may or may not be a real person. Maybe he actually is and in that case my issue with him is that his comment was factually incorrect [the speed limit on that particular stretch is 70km/hr], it was aggressive and it was unnecessary.
However I think it’s more likely that “Peter” is one of the newest additions to our lovely modern electronic society, an Internet Troll.
[Please Google Internet Troll if you’ve not come across this term before, otherwise the rest of this post is pointless]
Being a Troll, Peter has no regard for fact or truth and simply writes whatever he or she thinks will illicit the maximum outrage to find personal amusement in others responses. Fishing, if you will, to catch unsuspecting REAL people, to get a laugh from their reactions.
Well, I’m sure “Peter” will never read this blog post but for anyone who does, who has been that Troll thinking it was good for a laugh and harmless fun, allow me to enlighten you.
The author of the original post (the driver) is a mother of two. A lawyer. A wife. A friend, sister and daughter. A good person who tries – and yes, sometimes perhaps fails, as we all do – to do the right and kind thing.
She was devastated that she had struck the dog and that, even worse, she had been unable to locate it despite stopping and following it on foot for some time.
To compound her distress she was dealing with a sick toddler, a husband who was away in the course of his duties for his high risk occupation and on the way to the hospital to be with her second child who was born 12.5 weeks premature.
Her emotional stress levels were already through the roof yet she took the time to search for the dog and then, failing that, made contact with several community pages to attempt to alert the owner to what had happened.
Then Peter steps in and offers his or her trolling comment hoping to get a bit of a laugh from the inevitable responses. Guess what the drivers response was? Tears and more distress. Sitting in a hospital room, tube feeding her still very small and fragile son, she was made to cry by this worthless and pointless comment.
And this is what trolls fail to consider…or perhaps they don’t care. It’s real people with actual lives that you are attacking for your simple amusement. People who have stories you are completely unaware of and therefore you have no idea what your meanness may do to them.
So – if you are reading this and you are, have been or are considering dipping your toes into trolling – please for one second reconsider. Picture this good woman, already dealing with so much, being brought to tears just so Peter could have a bit of a laugh. She could be your sister, wife, mother – your daughter, even.
It’s not funny. It’s petty and thoughtless, cruel and unnecessary. Go rent a comedy or join a debate site if you’re bored by your own existence. Life can be harsh enough…we humans should be trying to bring love and kindness to each other to balance that, not do what we can to make it worse.
Think. Be thoughtful, not awful.
That is all.