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The Ignore Button

This is how Jasper ignores me.

I’ve learned a lot from online gaming. Really! Okay, stop rolling your eyes. Gaming provides an avenue for learning that gets taken for granted. I think everyone would benefit from giving it a try. It teaches teamwork, leadership skills, how to kill monsters 10 times your size, and how to deal with trolls. They crawl out of the woodwork bolstered by the freedom that comes with anonymity to prey on the weak and the insecure. My first encounter with a troll went something like this:

“Any idiot knows how do do this. What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know anything? Why are you even wearing that armor? It’s not for your class. Don’t you have your spells on hot keys? What are you, six years old? You need to get out of here and let the real players get on with it.”  He then tried to kick me from the group. Three times. Then he tried to “teabag” me. (If you don’t know what that means, do a search. Don’t do it at work. Or ask your local teenager.) It wasn’t very successful since I was standing up, but the intent was clear.

I cowered in my seat. There, in my own home, as an educated grown woman, I felt my cheeks heat up and a stone form in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know what I was doing. I really was an idiot.

Wait a minute. I’m an idiot? In an online game? Really? I’d been playing if for all of 12 hours. No, I didn’t know all the ins and outs yet. And it’s true I did something wrong. But was there any reason to treat me that way? No.

Luckily, my new virtual friends, otherwise known as guild mates, came to my defense. They told the bully where to stick it (literally, but I won’t quote them because I’m trying to keep this kid friendly), then kicked him from the group. Then they taught me the most valuable piece of gaming advice I’ve ever known.

 

The ignore button.

 

It’s a wonderful feature in all online games where you select the person (or type in their name, the mechanics vary) and click “ignore”. What happens then? That person vanishes from your radar. Until you take them off ignore they no longer exist to you. You won’t see anything they say or post. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. They are vapor. Gone. Never to trouble you again.

It’s the most wonderful feeling.

Every online game is full of people still growing into adulthood. They haven’t learned to censor their feelings and in many cases don’t want to. They unleash and vent because they are anonymous. Their names are things like “IHatePaladins” and “UrMother”.

Ignore.

Bliss.

There are more areas with ignore buttons than just games. For example, you have an ignore button for your email. It’s called “block spam”. Block someone, and you will never get another email from that email address. In forums, it’s trickier. Some give you the ability to block and others don’t. That’s when your virtual ignore button comes into play. Learn to recognize the bully for what they truly are. Most likely a 12 year old who hasn’t gone through puberty yet. Or someone who has been miserable most of their life. Or someone with a mental imbalance who truly gets off on making others miserable. Whatever it is, you are better than that and you have the power. Click your mental “ignore” button. They are trolls, they post only to get a rise out of you. When you respond, you feed them. They thrive on it, they need it to survive, and they ache for it.

 

Don’t feed the trolls!

 

Learn to recognize a troll. They post things deliberately to get a rise out of you. It might be a controversial opinion, usually combined with a personal insult. Or they might skip the opinion and go straight to calling your mother nasty names. Or they might be more subtle and start with something nice and polite, only to end the statement with a zinger along the lines of “you’re the worst thing that ever happened to the internet.” Their intent is to make your blood boil. They hope that, once they’ve made you angry or hurt or humiliated, that you’ll snipe back. That is when the real fun begins, for a troll. Now they know they’ve hooked you. Now all they have to do is drive that hook in deeper. You can’t win this battle, because the battle itself is the goal. It’s a game for them. As long as you respond, they are happy. So, as frustrating as it is, don’t respond.

Understand I’m not advocating that you ignore a bully that is threatening your life. Call the police, report them, delete their comments off your blog/page/email. Nor am I saying you should suppress your legitimate opinion. A normal troll doesn’t care about your opinion and they aren’t listening. It’s like beating your head against a wall. If that’s what you’re into, so be it. But if it’s not, you’ll have less angst in the long run if you simply walk away. Press that ignore button. It’s fun!

Unless, of course, you enjoy playing games with trolls.

 

14 comments on… “The Ignore Button”

  1. Nasty old trollses; we mustn’t feed them, Precious. No, can’t feed the trollses, makes them nastier it dies. False, tricksey, trollses.


  2. Scotiani


    Please use 2 spaces after the punctuation when ending a sentence or when using a ‘:’. With only a single space my eyes bleed, my head hurts and I feel like I’m looking at a run on sentence. Blasted publishing people! 😛

    Keeping it kid friendly, but talking about teabagging, huh? lol. 😉

    Done trolling for now, please don’t /ignore me, /hug me instead. 🙂 Nice topic, I like it.

    • LOL! I was wondering if you would stop by. Thanks for giving everybody an example of trolling hehe. {{HUGS}}

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it :-). Jasper is the king of naps. I should follow his example. We could all do with a nap or two during the day, I think.

  3. Great advice, Melinda. I’ve learned to ignore a lot of stuff online and in person. It’s just not worth the angst to deal with people who try to suck the life out of everyone around them.

    • Now if only someone would invent a real-life ignore button. Can you imagine? Someone at the store is mean to you? Ignore. Someone at work is a jerk? Ignore! hehe

  4. Great post, Melinda. I have my own real life ignore button. I give the trol a once over and then say something like, “I don’t like you. Please go away now.”

  5. Excellent post! I’m a gamer myself and it seems like the number of trolls has risen exponentially. My ignore lists are growing quite large in numerous games. I’ve actually found the biggest jerks to be adults who are still feeling insecure about themselves. The younger boys still have a modicum of respect, though it will likely dissipate as they grow and see the ridiculous behavior of their older “role models”.

    And yet, I still seem to find some fantastic new people in each game. There may be trolls, but there are also great people that I would never have met otherwise.

    • It’s definitely a mixed bag, isn’t it? Just like real life. I’ve played with the same group for years now and would call them friends, even though I haven’t met most of them in person. It’s a diverse mix of people I never would have met normally. Makes me happy :-).

It gets lonely out here in the big wide webs. Talk to me!