I sometimes contribute to a message board – I’m not going to say which one as I want to remain largely anonymous on there.
Usually it is a fun experience where contributors discuss various things, debate others and most of the time engage in good-hearted banter. I am a nice guy so I try not to upset people and if I inadvertently do I always offer an olive branch to rectify the situation, which at worst is just due to a difference of opinion with no malice involved whatsoever.
Of course the odd keyboard warrior pops up now and then and insults anybody who disagrees with him and there have been times when such a persistent troll has been banned by the administrators of the board – quite rightly in my opinion. Generally most of us are civil with each other.
However, a troll turned his attention to me over something I really should avoid – politics.
I admit that I need to rein myself in sometimes and usually I manage to do so. In this case, though, I was accused of being a do-gooder. This intrigued me and I pushed back at the troll to find out more about this, in his eyes, derogatory term.
Here’s the (urban) definition of a do-gooder:
An earnest but often naïve person (typically educated and white) who wants reform through philanthropic or egalitarian means. e.g. wealth redistribution, social justice, welfare, third world immigration, adoption of "disadvantaged" children (usually non-white and from abroad), affirmative action and spending other peoples' money for good causes.
The truth is that I probably fit some parts of that description because ultimately I am a nice guy who wants to help the disadvantaged. The troll didn’t like this, stressing that if I were in any position of power then the country would fall apart and become his living hell, simply because I believe that privileged people should help those less well off.
I asked him what he considered himself to be, suggesting that perhaps if he were the antithesis of a do-gooder (which he seemed to be given that he thought my views were completely abhorrent) then that would make him a do-badder.
When I looked it up, the term do-badder does (kind of) exist being defined as:
A person who does bad things.
The troll didn’t like this and disagreed in the strongest terms. I further suggested that a do-gooder really “does good things” and therefore if you don’t like me for that reason then you must be a person who does bad things.
This lead to a a heated exchange (heated on his part) where his descriptions of me included words that I had not encountered before – like snowflake, which is:
A person who has an inflated sense of their own uniqueness and has an unwarranted sense of entitlement; or a person who is easily offended and unable to deal with opposing opinions.
I actually have quite a thick skin and can take insults but I also quite like a good debate and am not easily upset. When I pointed out that the troll was more easily offended by my views and that indeed he was more of a snowflake than I was, the insults flowed. I was called a know-it-all, arrogant, holier-than-thou and various other words that violated the cursing filter and are largely unrepeatable for a humble blog like this..
Ultimately I am a nice guy who cares for people and in a sense I guess I am a bit of a do-gooder although I am not naïve at all. The troll seemed to be the opposite.
Interestingly, when I looked up the official antonym of do-gooder, it turned out to be narcissist – not necessarily the malignant kind (which you can read about here).
And then it kind of made sense and, much to my surprise, I found myself feeling a little bit sorry for the troll – despite his views.
Needless to say, I realised that no matter how much I discussed the topic further, I would not convince him that perhaps I could be right. After all, that would be a personal attack on him and that is totally against the law in the world of narcissism.
Later, he claimed that my silence had meant that he had won the argument despite the fact that other contributors disagreed with him, causing him to turn his nastiness towards them.
Even more interestingly, he was banned shortly after that for crossing the line.
Ultimately I believe that people can have a difference of opinion and discuss things amicably without having to resort to insults. I am genuinely interested in other opinions because it gives me an insight into the bigger picture.
Also, I know that I am not always right – and sometimes spectacularly wrong. I have had my mind changed on several occasions and do not bear a grudge against people who do this.
Maybe I am a do-gooder after all and, if that’s true, I don’t actually regard that as an insult.
If anybody wants to discuss this or other topics then I am absolutely fine with that – even if you are a malignant narcissist or a pseudo-intellectual.
Bring on the trolls!