Blocking Trolls

I can’t really tell you why but I am not a big fan of blocking people on social media. It just doesn’t typically feel right to me. I have blocked a few people before (a total of four as I write this post) but all but one have been people that I don’t really know in real life and they had to be extreme pains in the butt for me to finally block them. Thanks to the small group of “threads” that Pam and I meet with regularly (BTW if you are not a part of a small group of believers, hopefully within your church, I would highly encourage it) that is about to change.

We have been reading Paul’s letter to Titus and this week I was reminded through the reading and discussion of the fact that Paul was by no means shy about blocking people when he saw them as a danger to the church. Here’s the portion from Titus that hit me:

10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

Titus 3:10-12

What a great passage for dealing with trolls. People who are trollish online are concerned with fighting, not truth. They enjoy the argument itself and merely winning that argument is the goal. Arguing with a troll is like fighting with water, there is nothing of substance there so they take whatever shape or argument necessary to win the discussion. Bruce Lee gave this advice in fighting, be water. It is great advice for winning a fight … but not for exploring truth.

Exploring truth requires substance pounding against substance. Finding truth isn’t about winning the argument. It is divergent viewpoints chipping away at each other to find the truth that is somewhere beneath all the extraneous points. Finding truth is believing there is a David underneath that big block of stone and chipping away at what doesn’t matter to find it. This requires hard substance to pound against. This is iron sharpening iron.

But trolls don’t sharpen anything because there isn’t any substance there to pound against. There is just water that takes whatever shape is necessary to win an argument. I often find myself wondering what a conversation was actually about after I have had an online discussion with a troll. There was nothing really there to discuss or than one’s desire to win an argument.

So what does Paul say to do with people who divide for entertainment and power? He says “to have nothing to do with them.” Hopefully, I’m learning to be a little better as spotting those whose goal is merely to be divise.

Today I have blocked my 5th person on Facebook.

2 Replies to “Blocking Trolls”

  1. I’m recently blocking all of Facebook, which is to say I’ve deactivated my account. Can you imagine a world in which people are mostly good but God is a troll? I think Facebook may be that world. Be careful out there!

    1. Yeah, if it wasn’t for the church and our family message thread (which gives my mother more access to her grandkids than anything else right now) I would join you in ditching most social media. I view it a lot like Jesus talking about money, where He personifies money as a false god. Social isn’t inherently evil in and of itself, but it seems to bend toward destruction unless we are incredibly diligent. Seems to be easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for social media to be used for good.

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