I felt prompted to post the following comment on the website of one of my favorite daily podcasts, The Morning Stream (episode 777), after the hosts discussed the controversy after friend of the show, Curt Schilling, took a hard approaching to dealing with threatening comments made by online trolls directed at Schilling and his daughter (CNN 2015):
When one thinks about punishing the trolls for their bad behavior, I completely understand the frustration with thinking that there’s really no point of engaging the battle because it won’t change the trolls behavior and because it’s a game of whack-a-mole with dozens of trolls popping up for everyone “brought to justice.” As a former computer lab teacher in an elementary school, I used to address the fears and concerns of parents and tried to communicate the belief that there are more of “us” out there than “them.” The idea being that just like the rest of society, one would be a fool to assume that everything is safe and happy, but one is also mistaken if one thinks that the world is mostly populated by lawless thugs. So, rather than surrender the Internet to the bad guys, I encouraged my students and their families to participate and build their own presence online, such that they were in essence creating their own safe online neighborhoods and therefore pushing back against the trolls. It is a case of numbers, and even though there are a lot of “bad people” online, there are more of us than them and we need to lend our support to one another such that no one feels like they have to face the crap from the trolls alone. I wish there was a way to easily shine a light on the trolls so that we could “appreciate” their poor social status, etc., and more completely communicate that they are a pitiful, small discontented unactualized few. In the meantime, if Mr. Schilling wants to burn their houses down, fine by me. Hopefully it’ll educate budding trolls that they are few and not wanted.
– The Morning Stream: 777: Spider on your face
Posted on March 3, 2015 [podcast] – http://frogpants.com/tms/?p=2143
– Curt Schilling tracks down daughter’s cyberbullies – http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/03/04/pkg-curt-schilling-tracks-down-cyberbullying.wcbs-wbz