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Trolling is the neo wave of inciting discord. This action appears in all forms of online news, blogs and social media. In many aspects it is destroying the wonders of the Internet messaging forums. So what can be done?

Firstly we need to look into the insular souls of the Troll to see what makes them tick.

A Troll can be defined as an individual who intentionally starts arguments or aims to upset people with the deliberate intent of provoking an emotional response, or the disruption of normal on-topic discussion.

A 2014 study published in the psychology journal, >i? Personality and Individual Differences, found that many Internet users who self-identified as Trolls scored extremely high in the personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and, especially, sadism.

If you are a sucker for Twitter, or have no message controls on your Facebook or Blog-page then you are vulnerable to being trolled.

If you write or comment to online media then you are susceptible to a plethora of responses. That comes with the territory, though the mindful action is to not lure oneself into the Trolls’ web and hence avoiding the cesspit of aggression.

Online media such as the local tabloids often allow unrestricted comments by pro-resource-extractive industry advocates, or probable financed stooges. The Tasmanian Times has in the past suffered from this by allowing trolls to comment on articles in an off-topic manner, and sometimes an offensive manner, which is always a source of frustration to readers. Such comments should be challenged to the editor, which may be subsequently removed.

Modern politics seems to have been seduced into the realm of Trolling. If the goal of the Troll is to provoke a reaction by any means necessary, then no better example of this was the recent US election.  Donald Trump’s Machiavellianism became his master touch with provocative statements that ultimately aroused and divided a nation. This cleverly tuned him into the gullible indifferences of many Americans.

Trump’s goading Tweets went viral and the responses provided the oxygen needed to win over the frustrated, vulnerable and disillusioned.

Trolls are simply addicted to attention, and by responding to their comments we are fueling their very needs.

Denying them oxygen is the best process of shutting them down.

*Ted Mead is a committed environmental activist who part-time writes some articles on conservation. Ted finds it extremely frustrating that pro-industry advocates and climate-change denialists are given so much airplay and freedom in our media forums, and that trolling seems to be their modern approach to disrupting topical and informative discussion.