comScore PBS Idea Channel Troll Video | The Mary Sue
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Do Trolls Have Any Inherent Value In Internet Society? Maybe, But Probably Not [Video]

How long do you think before someone comments, "TL;DW?"

In attempting to figure out whether or not there is any value in engaging with trolls on the Internet, Mike Rugnetta of PBS Idea Channel effectively trolled himself. If you’ve ever complained about people being too “sensitive” on the Internet, then this one-person discussion is definitely worth a watch.

For the record, Rugnetta’s not the only one who grapples with this problem of using trolls to sharpen rhetoric. Noted feminist critic Jessica Valenti published a piece for The Nation in June of last year on this very subject, in which she claims something similar to the conclusion that Rugnetta reaches; sometimes trolls will won’t leave you alone. However, she argues that this means you have to engage with a few every once in a while to show everyone just what you have to deal with on a constant basis. She writes:

When I started Feministing in 2004, the hate mail started to pour in right away. At first it felt easier to ignore the haters, but it was incredibly difficult to write about feminist issues every day without acknowledging the awful backlash we were experiencing behind-the-scenes. So we created a series of posts called “Anti-Feminist Mailbag”—we published our hate mail, mocking the often mystifyingly stupid prose.[…] It was a way to take back power through humor, while revealing just how much hate is still directed at women who speak their mind.

Obviously not everyone is going to agree, so let us know what you think in the comments. Just don’t expect anyone to respond to you if you’re trolling. Let’s all try to be nice, folks.

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