“Don’t feed the trolls,” is an easy thing to say when you aren’t currently the target of their attention, but it’s become increasingly evident that ignoring serial harassers isn’t doing much good for the gaming community — or the world at large.
As part of the GamesIndustry.biz year-end wrapup, Senior Editor Brendan Sinclair proposes a different plan, one that’s less about taking the fight to the level of the trolls and more about having each others’ backs when we’re able.
Here’s a small piece of Sinclair’s powerful call to action:
Ignoring the trolls is like ignoring the sound of wildlife chewing away in your attic. It’s going to be a pain to get up there and clean them out and keep them from getting back in, and being lazy about it might not come back to haunt you right away. But if you just let them live and breed and defecate and die up there, each one chipping away at the structure little by little every single day, eventually the roof is going to collapse, and cover your master bedroom in all that waste.
In 2017, we need to stop ignoring the trolls, and start standing up to them. If you aren’t the target of their ire, help out those who are. When trolls target your business partners, explain what happened in a way that doesn’t hang them out to dry. When trolls target your employees, provide those employees with the public and private support they need to get through it.
A lot of us have been affected by harassment both in and out of the video game industry–it takes its toll on our mental health and well-being. We may not be able to beat trolls or harassers at their own game, but this isn’t one of those times that the only way to win is not to play. We can also win by taking care of each other, and making sure no one is left to deal with an angry mob alone.