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Should I Take the Bait?

Should I Take the Bait?” is a brief article that analyzes the arguments for and against responding to the ancient, age-old, low-life traditions of baiting (flaming)1) and trolling. As a warning, I do not actually intend to solve the question or provide a solution in this article.

Arguments for

The arguments for taking the bait is that failure will result in a “consensus crack”,2) which means that people can be misled into believing that certain ideas are accepted in the community if no opposition is present. Some people may feel obligated to take the bait as if its their duty, believing that examples of mob justice like call-out culture (cancel culture),3) public humiliation, and general vigilantism do work.

Arguments against

The arguments against taking the bait relies on the age-old forum mantra of “do not feed the trolls” (DNFTT), also known as “deny recognition”, since it's often believed that responses will only encourage this behavior. While it's tempting to reply with a lame quip (i.e. clapback, dunk) on social media (e.g. Twitter, Tumblr),4) keep in mind that responding will amplify the troll's visibility and expand their reach.5)

It doesn't help that bad faith arguments and disingenuity are rewarded on the modern internet with capitalists realizing that angry people tend to stay on a website longer, which allows them to pocket more money from advertiser revenue. This is why troll farms receive funding, and it might also explain why society feels more irritable. In short, remember to pick and choose your battles wisely… or simply just log off.6)


  • If you're a devout follower of Christianity or Judaism, look into Proverbs 26:4-5.
The technical term is “flame baiting”, which is why older communities will mention “flaming” or “flame wars” in their rules. However, this term is old and vague, compared to “baiting” which is a recent development.
The original term was “call-out culture”, in reference to “call-out posts” or “receipts” that were intended to boycott, shame, or defame an individual (e.g. celebrities, public figures) during the early 2010s. However, conservatives have recently popularized and latched onto the term “cancel culture” in the late 2010s, despite them using it as a blanket term against critique.
For some reason, liberals love to reply with lame quips and one-liners for internet points. The internet and real life aren't necessarially the same, and you certainly are not in a poorly-written cutscene.
When you actually respond, the post along with your reply is shared to your followers and there's always a small possibility that your followers may end up agreeing with the troll's viewpoint.
Social media platforms tends to cultivate dogmatic echo chambers and there's already tons of pointless fights that nobody wins since they ultimately won't change anybody's mind. You also have to remember that you don't have to let total strangers have unlimited access to your personal life, meaning that you can simply log off or delete your account to get away from the negativity and toxicity.
should_i_take_the_bait.txt · Last modified: 2023-10-06 21:52:52 by namelessrumia