Communities Online define a malicious troll as one who “arrives with the intent of being blatantly abusive to the group and/or specific individuals within the group. One of their characteristics is that within a very short time of gaining access they begin targeting and harassing members using both low-end and high-end tactics. In some cases, the troll has a prior history with the group or someone within the group. In other scenarios, the troll is simply looking for a fresh meat market.” Often I allow the trolls to rant in the comment section and let them define themselves by their foul degradation of others. But if the last year has taught me anything, it is that all of us have a responsibility to stand up to bullies. And make no mistake, trolls are bullies. They are pathetic creatures who have long ago turned away from love and friendship or any type of caring or empathy. They spew their hateful bile because hatred is the only emotion they have left. They are the living embodiment of Ebenezer Scrooge.
But as necessary as it is to call the trolls out for their filth and lies, we cannot allow ourselves to turn away from the power of love, for without love we are left only to hate, and that is exactly what the trolls want. Misery loves company. So in the spirit of the holidays I offer some advice to the trolls. Find a way to reconnect to the power of love. The prison of hatred that you have locked yourself into will rot your soul to its core. You will never know true friendship or love. And without it you might as well just die. Your passing will not be lamented. You will not be missed, in fact, your parting will likely be celebrated. Yet, much like the character of Scrooge, you still have a chance to change. You can allow love back into your heart or you can live a hate-filled existence and die alone and unloved. The choice is yours.