Trolls, tracked down, explain themselves

Brad Merrill recounts the stories of three people who hunted down and confronted internet tormenters. The resulting conversations vary, but all are as pathetic as you might expect.

What can we conclude from all this? A few things:

• Generally, trolling comments are nothing personal. Trolls project their insecurities onto others as a coping mechanism of sorts. They’re hurting, and they deal with it by making others hurt too.

• In the heat of the moment, as trolls are blowing off steam in comment sections around the Web, they forget that a real human being is on the other side reading what they’ve written. The Internet creates a feeling of distance — if you’re not standing in front of someone, it doesn’t feel like what you’re saying will actually hurt them.

• Sometimes, ignoring trolls and cyberbullies isn’t the best policy. A well-written response might just open the troll’s eyes and change their ways.