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Is there an advantage to NOT ignoring idiots, trolls, and childish/bad people?

Whether in real life, on the internet, or in your game: is there an advantage to NOT simply ignoring idiots, trolls, or nasty individuals?

Is there ever an advantage or benefit to talking to them? Replying? Trolling them back? Defending the target they're assaulting?


IMO, defending someone who is being bullied IRL is important, and you're a coward to not defend them if it's obvious they're being trolled or insulted by a rotten apple.

So why not also defend targets of bullies / bad people online? I do not believe in "situational ethics" where morality and right/wrong change based on where you are or what society thinks. Bullying is bullying, being mean to each other is being mean, and regardless if you're insulting someone IRL or online-- it's both insulting someone.


IMO, all people deserve to be listened to and responded to. This is basic respect. Yet idiots and trolls can easily take advantage of this respect. Idiots rarely need to be listened to, as they often fail to understand basic logic or mature, respectful debate.

Yet in my experience, rarely (if ever) do immature, childish, racist, idiotic, or any other type of irrational person is ever worth the wasted time of talking to them or even acknowledging their existence. Never will you change their mind, and if you box them in with irrefutable logic, they will simply "shut down" and become entirely silenced (perhaps embarassed that they were defeated so harshly) but still not change their opinion.


A "bad" debater can eventually turn around and lose their rigid beliefs and eventually become open-minded to other possibilities and THEN become reasonable to talk to. But until then, people are often close-minded. Being opinionated isn't bad. Whatever side you believe isn't what people have a problem with. Refusing to listen or consider facts is though. It's not what you do or don't think, it's WHY you think it that people label you as an idiot, a genius, or something inbetween.


  • There's no point in debating or arguing with someone who will never accept defeat, you're just wasting your own time and patience. Most of the time such people just want attention and to rile people up, so ignoring them is the best thing to do.  If you must speak up to defend someone else, I prefer to use absolute nonsense. My favorite is pretending everything the person posts is about goblins, and I begin to have a conversation on this basis. It actually succeeds in flummoxing the person more often than not.

    If you spend any amount of time on the Internet, you've just got to accept that there are people who throw all social rules out the window online because they're anonymous. They will offer nothing constructive and you will never change their minds or teach them anything. So just ignore them, and if they're bullying someone try to get that person to ignore them as well. By the same logic I never read the comments on a news story or Youtube video...you know what's going to get posted there.

  • AelfinnAelfinn Member Posts: 3,857

    Occaisonally, there is a goal to be achieved, but far more often than not, trolls are best ignored. It isn't a matter of right or wrong, regardless of your personal stance on the mutability of ethics, but because actually achieving something over the internet is next to impossible, in fact responding to a troll in any way tends to encourage them.

    That does not necessarily mean that you should do nothing at all, just be aware of what choices you have, and which options will have a positive effect.

    No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

  • LeegOfChldrnLeegOfChldrn Member Posts: 364
    Not that I disagree, but to note; What a sad world we live in where the only solid advice is to simply ignore the problem...
  • bhugbhug Member UncommonPosts: 944

    1. u may learn something
    2. u may observe from their behavior a reflection of your own, indicating potential for personal improvement
    3. an opportunity to help that person recognize their error(s) and possibly correction
    4. u may be wrong in your opinion


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