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Troll in the dungeon!

A while back I wrote a post about red herring trolls. Thought I'd give a few illustrations as a supplement.
Consider the following:

You - Look at muh shiny new truck!

He - A red truck hit my dog! Trucks are bad! You have a truck! You are bad!
You - I didn't hit your dog.
He - So you're ok with my dog getting hit by a truck? You're a bad person!
You - I'm sorry your dog got hit but I still am not bad for owning a truck.
He - You don't care about my dog. You only care about covering your truck-driving ass!

You are now in the position of justifying why you should have the right to even own a truck, even though there is nothing wrong with owning one. No matter what argument you make, the troll can now loop back to calling you a truck apologist for owning a device that has mechanical function in common with the one with which, according to him, someone else hit his dog, and you are stuck defending trucks and yourself despite the fact that neither you nor trucks are inherently anti-dog.

Or, he may answer "I didn't hit your dog" differently.

You - I didn't hit your dog.
He - So you're saying it didn't happen? I'm lying about my dog's lived experience?
You - I didn't say that, only that your dog's unfortunate experience isn't everyone's experience with trucks.
He - You're calling dogs liars!

Troll has just moved the goalpost from his specific dog and the specific truck that hit it to all dogs and all trucks. If that is not pointed out the argument will devolve into you defending against #BelieveDogs.


You - I didn't hit your dog
He - What's wrong with you? You didn't condemn the truck that hit my dog!
You - I don't even know the whole story. Was it a deliberate act?
You - I didn't say I hated dogs.
He - Oh, sure, you just don't condemn trucks that kill them! You approve of hitting dogs with trucks!

You're now in the position of defending yourself against a ridiculous, meritless accusation of muttsogyny. No matter what you say, your troll will continually loop back to asserting that your failure to condemn the truck that hit his dog proves you hate dogs.


You - I didn't hit your dog
He - Oh, I see. No sympathy because he is not a cat, right? Your cat is better than my dog?
You - I don't have a cat.
He - Cat supporters are evil, bro.
You - I don't have a problem with cat people, but I don't have a cat.
He - It's ok to be ashamed of your cat, dude. I'd be ashamed if I had a cat instead of a dog, too.
You - Why do you hate cats?
He - Cats eat babies.
You - What? What the hell are you talking about? I have friends with cats and babies and that's not true!
He - See, I knew you were secretly a cat fanatic! How many babies have you killed for your cat?

Notice how your troll just took the conversation entirely out of the realm of trucks and dogs? By first accusing you of being a cat-supporter and then making a ridiculous accusation against cats, he's manipulated you into a loop between defending cat people & denying being a cat fanatic.

I could go on... but I bet you can already identify trolls you've argued with on social media who have used these tactics. When it's not so blatant as cats, dogs, and trucks, it's easy to get sucked into debating these ridiculous assertions. And that's why these kinds of arguments are made. The goal is not to arrive at a logical conclusion, or persuade. It's to confound you, distract you, discombobulate you, or cause an emotional response.

Nothing pisses this type of troll off more than if you don't give them any of those things... except maybe if you make fun of their pitifully substandard effort to get them from you. The key is to watch for really ridiculous leaps in logic, unreasonable demands, catastrophic failures at understanding cause/effect relationships, misrepresentations of your assertions, etc.

Try substituting trucks, dogs, cats, etc. for the subjects of the arguments being made, and you'll immediately see the ridiculousness being thrown at you. Then it's up to you to decide whether to call it out or decide the troll isn't worth your time.

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