Trolls Slammed, Thank Goodness

The Burlington Free Press, where I work, announced that it has instituted changes to more readily erase abusive reader comments on the paper’s Web site.

To that, I say, hallelujah.

Do "trolls," people who post abusive messages on line, look like this?

Like most newspapers, the Free Press lets people post comments about the stories they read on line.

It’s fine with me if somebody reads something I wrote and says they don’t like my slant, think the story isn’t very good, or have some other criticism.

I love a lively debate, even from people who disagree with me, because I might actually learn something from them.

But there seems to be a core group of people who live to post appalling, racist slime every time the Freeps writes about an African American. Every time I write a weather story, I get an expletive-filled  rant about me being involved in some scheme to promote a climate change hoax so that I can take over the world or something.

It goes on and on. Most annoyingly.

Apparently, the Free Press policy change will remove abusive comments a lot faster than they have been in the past.

People who post these weird abusive comments are widely known as one type of “troll”  I’m fascinated by them in the same way I rubberneck at really bad highway accidents.

I imagine trolls to be these really pathetic creatures, angry at the world because they, themselves are too inept to function. So they lash out wildly with their incoherent rants, while they tap away on their computers in their basement apartments. They have no friends, no life, no prospects, and they’ve found an outlet on the Web.

People get annoyed with them and strike back. Trolls are so pathetic that even if somebody is deriding and dismissing them, at least they’re getting attention.

When we shut them up, like cracking down on these posts, they complain that we are violating their free speech rights.

Yeah, you can indeed say whatever you want. But we don’t have to listen, if what you have to say is a waste of time.

So anything that defeats a troll is fine with me. They can crawl back into their caves where they came from.

One Response to “Trolls Slammed, Thank Goodness”

  1. montpelier28 Says:

    Harsh, but I mostly agree as long as it dosen’t go too far.

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