The Dealing With Trolls panel took place on Saturday at Summer in the City 2015. It featured creators including Thomas “TomSka” Ridgewell, Gary C and Cherry Wallis. It was chaired by Paul Neafcy.
Speaking to a large crowd in Panel Room B, the group discussed topics including how to identify a troll, how to deal with them, and also their own experiences with them.
Generally agreeing that a troll is someone trying to provoke a negative reaction, Ellen added that the trouble lay in those who “used it to defend their bad behaviour”. When it comes to dealing with it, they all seemed to approach the act of trolling in differing ways.
“Sometimes engaging with them legitimises them, and lets them know that you’ve struck a nerve” explained Tom, on the popular theory to ‘not feed the trolls’. “I replied to someone recently, and they came back and said that I must know they’re right because I replied to them! It’s that mindset.”
“I’m overly nice, it confuses them and it’s great,” says Cherry, who supported the notion of ‘killing them with kindness’.
The topic soon moved over to discuss at which trolling becomes harassment, with several of the panellists giving examples of when they felt their privacy was breached.
“My address and phone number got leaked online… by myself,” admitted Tom. “I tweeted a picture of a pizza box with my details on it. About 30 seconds later I get a text from someone going ‘Big fan, but you’ve posted your details online'”.
For most, though, the situation has proven to be a lot more dark, with Ellen recalling a time she was targeted by internet gaming groups after posting a video on her channel. “I had hundreds of comments from people saying things about me that are too rude to repeat here,” she said.
Gary discussed at length a situation which where trolls had posted slanderous accusations against him online, created a hate account on Twitter, and had included photographs wishing him dead.
“I was a wreck for two weeks. I ended up going to the police, and as it turned out, they already had a file on them doing other things!” he said.
Lewis made the point that it’s when harassment crosses platforms (i.e. different social media), when they access private information, and when it becomes a fixation on someone specific, that the line is crossed.
“If you’re a target of a hate campaign, gather evidence,” said Gary. “Gather as much evidence as you can, and go to the police with that information.”
“If you go to the police with evidence that it has gotten to a point you can’t cope anymore, they will do something about it,” added Cherry.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to you where you draw the line,” said Paul.
They also offered insight into how to avoid becoming a troll yourself. “Think about what you’re going to write, and if the reaction’s going to be positive. If it’s not, then don’t post it,” said Scola.
The panel agreed, with Gary summing up: “Keep it cute, or keep it on mute.”
Photos by: Ollie Ali
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