Thursday, January 25, 2018

To MAPs: A Message About Bears

The Bears?

Yes, the bears. Those of you on Twitter know what I am talking about. The bears are a group of people that have decided to take it upon themselves to harass, report, bully, and intimidate us into silence. Here are but two examples:

I think these bears are bad news. Not only do they attempt to bully us into silence, they send death threats, and are generally just trolls. They took credit for getting Todd Nickerson suspended, harass people, and clearly bait people to report them.

My Policy On Trolls

My policy on trolls is very straightforward: Discuss things just enough to show that they are trolls, and then block them. I have no shame in tweeting at trolls behind a block. Some of the nastier trolls, I refuse to block on principle, so I discuss with them until they get into a state where they will not listen, and then from there they dig their own holes and they end up suspended or locked.

One of the most basic rules on the internet is:


Why? Because they are like an obnoxious whining puppy dog begging for your food - except trolls clamor for your attention. By not giving them that attention, they will eventually leave you alone. Twitter also has tools to make people leave you alone.

My Target Audience

My target audience is people who will listen to the message that we can prevent child sexual abuse by focusing on the facts so we can form effective interventions before a child is harmed. My target audience are people that can see that pedophilia, and the isolation, depression, and issues it can bring up for pedophiles, is a condition that pedophiles need to be getting support for, be that peer support or professional help. No one can go through life alone, and that is a truth that spans any issue, not just pedophilia.

In other words, my target audience is people who can use critical thinking skills, not people that use an account on social media to bully people for being different. Those people are simply not worth my time, because for every minute I have to spend dealing with them, it takes away from more useful things I could be doing: Spreading my message that prevention is a good idea, and supporting MAPs is one way to make that happen, directly supporting other MAPs, and taking care of myself so that I am in good place to be advocating and putting myself out there.

While there is some value in engaging some of the more hostile trolls (as Kamil and Ender readily demonstrated) because it brings the troll's comments up to the people who follow them, increasing visibility, it should always be kept in mind that the troll is not the target audience. The likelihood that you will convince a troll is next to zero.

If You Really Insiste...

If you really feel you must talk to trolls, do not get emotional, ever. Yes, that is a challenge. You must keep firmly in mind that your audience is not the troll, but anyone paying attention to the conversation. Stick to firmly reasoned arguments, do not get baited, and never allow the troll to get under your skin.

And for the love of the internet, use the reporting, blocking, and muting tools available to you.