Sunday, 15 February 2015

Sad Troll

Troll by AlisonDay
When I was a kid I had a troll - they were ugly, plastic and came in a variety of sizes with coloured hair—mine had orange.

In Internet slang, a troll is: 
A person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. Verb: trolling. Source

OR: Being a prick on the Internet because you can.

Early morning, on Valentine's Day, I discovered a rather surprising and very misguided message had been left for me on my Facebook page: 'FUCKING PHOTO THIEF'. It came from a woman, of self-professed, deep faith and spirituality, living in the USA and although I won't name and shame her—because unlike her action, I'm not in the habit of stooping that low—it is, worthy of a blogpost.

These days, with the internet playing an increasingly important role in our lives, for a plethora of reasons—social contact, work and love—I feel a certain amount of decorum should be maintained. This verbal attack not only crossed a line, it was completely unfounded. 

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, my Facebook is a place where I share my personal art, design and written work. It contains links to my website, and other social media and wherever my work gets featured. My work generally carries a copyright watermark, for the simple reason that I don't want it to suddenly turn up somewhere as a t-shirt design without my permission! Also, I feature the work of other artists on my page—out of mutual interest and support, as well as things that interest me, such as ecological and environmental ideas, re-cycling, up-cycling etc. In all cases, posts and photos link back to the artisan or creator!

Unable to see the troll's point, I decided to report said post to Facebook, via their support. Unfortunately, in my haste I clicked on 'Hate speech' instead of 'Harassment/bullying' by accident, but I'm sure they were able to make an educated evaluation and sort it into its relevant pigeon hole, for processing.

Twenty-four hours later, a reply came from Facebook. They didn't see this as a breach of any of their community standards and had decided not to remove the offending post. 


Honestly—I was surprised. I didn't expect them to delete it—I'm perfectly capable of doing that myself and did, but no cautionary email to the purveyor saying that this wasn't acceptable behaviour—on the Internet, off the internet or even from one adult to another?! 

Oh, the devolution of it all!

I find it pitiful that someone, without bothering to find out anything about me or my work, feels the necessity to launch an unfounded, verbal attack. Initially, jealousy came to mind, but I think it is more a case of a lot of unresolved issues from a very sad troll.

P.S. Photo by me — illustration also by me by Alison Day
© Alison Day