Handling Opposition and Internet Trolls
Opposition to CSE exists around the world. In a move to digital CSE, the global opposition is able to target learning environments around the world. While there are always new ways to increase safety in online CSE spaces, opposition and trolls will stay ahead of technology and find new and painful ways to infiltrate or otherwise reduce the safety of digital CSE spaces. Keeping up to date on both the trolls’ methods and ways to combat them is critical.
Here are guidelines for maintaining an opposition-free and troll-free learning environment:
- Create a “No trolls” policy or rule
- Create organisational guidelines on deleting comments. Many organisations prefer not to delete comments unless there are death threats/insults/racist/discriminatory. Sometimes they will replace the deleted comments with a statement to that effect so that the flow of the comments makes sense. Example statement: “This comment replaced one that included death threats/insults/racist/discriminatory. We do not condone this kind of language and will not offer a platform for its use.”
- Designate a moderator to watch over all aspects of the space whose primary job is to consider and take action on opposition or trolls. This way the facilitator can focus on their job without being distracted.
- Focus on building a friendly, safe and educational community! Nothing builds walls against inappropriate use more effectively than the young people in the community.
- Ignore trolls. Do not give them visibility. Remember, trolls want visibility and buzz and will often find another place to troll if they do not get traction in your space.
- Report, report, report. Online platforms have rules that all online users must respect. If you receive threats or insults, take screenshots, report to the platform and if you do not feel safe, go to the police.
- Take breaks from the internet. Talk to your friends and colleagues. Make sure that your community is present, engaged and willing to support you should you come under internet attack.