I don't have a green thumb at all. Every plant kept in my presence will usually wilt to a stalk. It's not that I possess a Medusa-like ability to just glance at something and make it lifeless... it's just that I'm scattered and usually forget. I ignore.
However, I've learned that while this is a terrible curse with plants and pets, it's actually a gift when it comes to trolls. Trolls do not like being ignored. When you're not paying attention to them, they die quickly.
The problem is, it's easy to ignore a plant. It's not so easy to ignore something that's going "Look at me! Look at me! Wanna fight?"
But that's the best thing to do. Because some people just live to get a rise out of people. That's all the exist for. It's a pretty pathetic existence, but perhaps they're used to being ignored in their own lives. This is their attention-grab.
Yesterday I made the mistake of responding to a troll. You see, I get a few emails a day from people I don't know, and I try to respond to all of them. I feel a little guilty when I don't, and I usually enjoy corresponding with readers. If you read yesterday's blog post, you'll see the email. It was slightly rude, insinuating I was unprofessional, but I've been called a lot worse in my life, and his concern was one I'd once had. So I felt I could respond and explain what I'd learned from my experience. I know had I been in that situation, I'd have appreciated the knowledge.
Well, the situation escalated. After I received an argumentative response to my email, I emailed and stated that I would not be responding to further comments. It was obvious at that point that he was just looking for a fight. As I was moving to block his email, I received a barrage of emails, calling me a rash of insulting names which I can't even repeat here since I only skimmed and then deleted.
That was not my first run-in with a troll, but I felt the same as I had the first time, like that was 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back. A total waste of time. You can't fix stupid, and you can't reason with someone who is looking for a fight simply because they like fighting. The best thing you can do is walk away. If I'd been smarter, I wouldn't have answered at all and would have referred this person over to my publisher, who would have ignored him. That's what, in hindsight, I should have done.
The proper care and feeding of trolls is simple. Don't. Because if they capture your attention, they'll capture you. They'll win. So don't let them win. Ignore them, and let them die.