In order to deal with Internet trolls, know their strategies.
Below are 17 common games played by trolls to disrupt our power to learn, inform, and organize on the web …
1. Threaten those who speak out, to try to intimidate them and their readers into silence.
2. Misquote the Bible to pretend that God commands us to be obedient slaves to authority … even if the powers-that-be are downright tyrants.
3. Start a partisan divide-and-conquer fight or otherwise push emotional buttons to sow discord and ensure that cooperation is thwarted. Get people fighting against each other instead of the 3corrupt powers-that-be. Use baseless caricatures to rile everyone up. For example, start a religious war whenever possible using stereotypes like “all Jews are selfish”, “all Christians are crazy” or “all Muslims are terrorists”. Accuse the author of being a gay, pro-abortion limp-wristed wimp or being a fundamentalist pro-war hick when the discussion has nothing to do with abortion, sexuality, religion, war or region. Appeal to people’s basest prejudices and biases. And (as explained by H. Michael Sweeney’s 25 Rules of Disinformation) push the author into a defensive posture:
Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule … Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as “kooks”, “right-wing”, “liberal”, “left-wing”, “terrorists”, “conspiracy buffs”, “radicals”, “militia”, “racists”, “religious fanatics”, “sexual deviates”, and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.
(The person trying to smear reputation may not be a random knucklehead … he may, in fact, be a government agent, or a member of the group he’s smearing.)
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