Make Quick Work Of Internet Trolls By Using Cognitive Therapy

Make Quick Work Of Internet Trolls By Using Cognitive Therapy

We’ve previously looked at how you can de-troll your internet, but software developer Shlomi Fish offers up a different and very interesting approach. Shlomi found that the best-selling book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy—a book that teaches cognitive therapy—offered up effective solutions for dealing with the Internet’s most embittered vocal minority.

Photo by Best Worst Movie

Shlomi suggests that the often-suggested method of ignoring the trolls (often referred to as “don’t feed the trolls”) is not the way to go. Neither is criticism, calling for banning, or asking a troll to simply stop trolling. So what should you do? Ask questions to clarify (e.g “Why do you feel that Python is so bad? What do you find wrong with it?”), and kill with kindness (e.g. “It’s OK to prefer Perl, we’ll still accept you here.”). As frustrating as it may be to be nice to someone who isn’t, sometimes people just want to be heard and accepted.

This is generally how I handle angry people and it’s always worked pretty well for me. How about you?

Dealing with Internet Trolls – the Cognitive Therapy Approach [Unarmed But Still Dangerous via Hacker News]


  • Personally I think that the type of person that feels the need to vent and spit vitriol is never going to change their attitude no matter how nice or venomous your response. I also believe that the same person in a face to face situation will either be quite as a field mouse, or your typical bullying coward. :{

  • This assumes that trolls are genuinely angry or upset about something. In my experience, a troll – as opposed to a genuine complainant, however justified or otherwise their complaint might be – leaves negative comments (often blatantly ridiculous or obscene ones) because they get their jollies by provoking a reaction. It’s a game to them – and any response just encourages them to keep playing.

    Personally, I still think the best way to deal with trolls is ignoring.

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