State of Political Conversations Online
I have blogged for a decade and been writing about politics for a while. But this year has been different, not just because more Indians are online and on social media. But also because there is more bullying (trolls) online this time. I have seen more of them on twitter than anywhere else. Probably because of the pseudo identity under which they can work on. There are various kind of trolls that I have faced this year, some of them hard and difficult to manage. Others are easy. I must say being a Hindu, Non-Dalit (I don’t believe in religion or caste but my name gives it away.) and Man, my experiences were not as bad as a woman, minority1 or dalit would face for the same expression. The biggest aim of trolls in my case seems to take the discussion away and make it mostly one to one fight. They apply various techniques, some of them that I have faced are below. Not all of them are harmful but are neither innocent,
- Name Calling: That’s a rude shock, you are online for years expressing views, suddenly one day you get called AAPtard, Chamcha, Pseudo intellectual, Item Girl. Not because there is anything wrong with what you said. Just because your political ideology is very different or because they can’t support their argument logically
- You are with us or you are against India. – No explanation needed no?
- One size fits all theory
- You shouldn’t talk about subject A, you should talk about subject B.
- You should talk about positives of subject B instead of criticizing A
- Learn the Ancient History of India – This one is strange, but I do face it quite often. Being a history geek, it kind of irritates me.
- You should surrender, Agree to disagree is not an option
- What works for majority2 works for India
- Govt does the right thing always, you can’t question because you elected them
- Give me solutions and not problem – This looks like a very positive comment at first. But as you continue the discussion you will realize, the person doesn’t even understand the problem or wants to understand or acknowledge the problem to find solutions. His mere intention is to dismiss you as whiner.
In my case most of them were harmless. I have been on the internet for a long time to understand how internet flaming works. I have learnt to manage it. Most of the time, ignoring and not responding to provocation works. I would love to know how you handle it. Specially if you are new to social media or if you belong to minority.