In February 2014, researchers at the University of Manitoba published the results of a
study of roughly 400 U.S. adults who are active online. Nearly 6 percent identified themselves as trolls. (Other surveys have put the number as high as 28 percent.) The researchers also found a high correlation between online trolls and people who exhibit signs of sadism.
On the low side that puts about 10 million trolls in the U.S. Some large Web sites, like Popular Science, have abandoned their commenting practice, and celebrities like Lena Dunham, Iggy Azalea, and Louis C.K. have recently left Twitter.
Say you did or said something stupid online and it went viral:
- Own up to it, apologize ASAP and move on. The trolls won't stop attacking but it will give you integrity with anyone sensible who may be watching like your employer, family or friends.
- Point out the facts to stop lies and half truths. Post it to your blog, Facebook page or Twitter account and point people to the corrected record
- Trolls live to fight, do not fall into their trap. Don't argue even if you are right
- Ask you family and friends for support. Ask them to help explain the facts
- If someone crosses the line to abuse or threats or exposes personal info report them to abuse department or to your local police
- Then let the fire burn out. Most trolls have a very small attention span and will move on to another target