Like a newsprint Mother Goose, the Guardian knows how to defeat an Internet troll. The secret, dearie, is that trolls were once decent people transformed into loathsome monsters. Thus in the Guardian‘s little fairy tale, once you talk to trolls like humans, they can transform right back:
One minute it’s all “when will you WAKE UP to the fact that your STINKING LIBERAL MANURE has DESTROYED THIS COUNTRY” and the next thing you know, you’ll get a message saying, “Sorry I was testy, I just got stuck in traffic on my way back from the garden centre.”
The key to breaking the spell? Tut-tut them for their appalling bad behavior:
It’s all about humanisation, which is the big conundrum facing this amendment – people behave badly online because they feel liberated, and they feel liberated because it’s virtual. Our standards of courtesy are bound to our corporeal selves; freed from one we’re freed from the other. Calling trolls “trolls” probably doesn’t help. We should call them rude people.
With that their monstrous appearance will fall away and the beast will become, once more, a polite member of society. Or they’ll be revealed as a cranky basement dweller. Whichever.
Just bear in mind that patent trolls are different species and therefore require a different set of magical strategies. But that is a story for another day.