Sunday, January 31, 2016
BEING CALLED AN INTERNET TROLL IS MILD COMPARED TO WHAT PSYCHOLOGY TODAY CALLS TROLLS: "INTERNET TROLLS ARE NARCISSISTS,PSYCHOPATHS AND SADISTS!" CAN I DISINVITE THESE TROLLS FROM COMMENTING ON MY BLOG?
“Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarization and division. … The digital world is a public square, a meeting place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks. … Access to digital networks entails a responsibility for our neighbor whom we do not see but who is nonetheless real and has a dignity which must be respected.”
Believers can stand firm in defending the faith, he said, but “even in those cases where they must firmly condemn evil” it’s essential that they not resort to using words and arguments that “try to rupture relationships.”
Alas, there’s the rub, especially when “trolls” stir havoc in online communities. Psychology Today, in the article titled “Internet Trolls are Narcissists, Psychopaths and Sadists,” defined the term this way: “An Internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. … Trolls will lie, exaggerate and offend to get a response.”
At the heart of the pope’s argument is a call to focus on the humanity of those encountered online, even if they behave as trolls, noted writer Elizabeth Scalia, known as “The Anchoress” during her 12 years in the Catholic blogosphere. She is editor of the English edition of Aleteia.org, a global Catholic website.
“I think that trolls are miserable and they want the world to be miserable with them. They aren’t even trying to make a coherent argument anymore,” she said. “That’s why I try to resist the temptation to punch down. … It’s one thing to be involved in a real debate. It’s something else to deal with people who are not even arguing in good faith.”
The problem, especially in debates about faith, worship and doctrine, is that it’s easy to focus so hard on winning that you “lose sight of the humanity of the person on the other side,” Scalia said. That’s crucial when the goal — especially during the Year of Mercy — is to “admonish” sinners who the church believes are in need of mercy.
Striving to “correct” errors, she said, doesn’t mean “getting out your hammer and hitting people with it.”