An ex-psychiatrist explains how to tame a troll

When a troll replies to one of my tweets my first inclination is to mute or block them. But Dr. Karin Tamerius, the founder of Smart Politics, blocks trolls as a last resort. In this Medium post, she describes her four-step process for "taming trolls." It involves humanizing, setting boundaries, not feeding trolls, and, if necessary, blocking.

Some Trump trolls are just ordinary folks who are triggered and behaving badly in the moment. Many have forgotten they're talking with real humans. Others think trolling is just how people behave on the internet. And some are lost souls genuinely looking to connect — people who want to make friends, but don't know how.

After several years of dealing with trolls on social media, I've discovered most are motivated by the same desire that drives us all: the genuine need to connect and belong. Satisfy that and they'll miraculously transform into decent people who just want to talk politics.

Through trial and error, I've gradually developed a system for managing obnoxious behavior that charms all but the worst of the worst. With this method, I've converted erstwhile trolls to friends; extremists to moderates; and adversaries to allies. Best of all, I've made trolling rare in my politically-diverse and highly public social media communities.