-- (1) The Press and You --
Now, as you may know, both the broadcast and print media have daily have their boots on the ground alongside us. They're curious, concerned, and clearly capable of making or breaking the public perception of our cause. Since they are the one link the public abroad has unto us, we must make sure we're at our brightest and best.
* KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR NEWSCASTERS! I can't stress this enough. If you see someone with a camera or a voice recorder, let the other people around you know that they're there! A bit of advance warning to your brothers and sisters can help bolster solidarity for the cameras.
* If you're wearing a suit, TRY TO GET ON CAMERA! TRY TO GET AN INTERVIEW. The photographers amongst Occupy have made it a point of ducking and diving around us to capture footage of the more bohemian of our brothers and sisters. They're looking for an angle, so do give them support. ( This is not a critique! It's playing to the public eye; the media wants the artsy to show, not the professional. A common criticism of our movement is that it is full of "freaks." This is one tactic that can be used to improve public relations. )
* If you do not feel comfortable giving an interview or if you feel that you do not have the ability to articulate your responses adequately, DON'T GIVE AN INTERVIEW! We have many press liaisons present amongst us, so don't be afraid to defer to someone else.
* If you decide to give an interview, ASK THE JOURNALIST FOR BOTH THEIR FULL NAME AND THE NAME OF THEIR EMPLOYER. The next point will give you the reason why, but it is important to know who you're talking to and who will publish the story.
* If you are giving an interview and you feel that the journalist is attempting to steer your answers or portray you in a bad light, DECLINE FURTHER COMMENT. If you do not give a journalist your information, they cannot use your commentary in both broadcast or print. If you find your words reproduced without your consent, contact the offending party and give them the name of the reporter who misrepresented you. This is libel, and it's pretty bad stuff! The press avoids it like the plague.
* If you see someone being hassled or otherwise led through an interview, DON'T BE AFRAID TO STEP IN! If there's a question dangling, pick it up and finish the answer. Don't be afraid to help out one of your brothers or sisters if they're stammering with stage fright. ( Use at your own discretion, however. It's a bit rude to break up an interview, so again, use at your own discretion. )
-- (2) How to Pay the Troll Toll --
Anyone who's been on the Internet ( I'm assuming pretty much all of us! ) can tell you what a troll is: loudmouthed, brash, and altogether crass, trolls are people that get a rise out of the reactions they get from antagonizing and insulting others. Being a troll myself, I know of a common dichotomy that should be followed in combating the brow-beaters ... along with a few disarming tricks that can take the breath out of any argument!
* LOGOS, NOT PATHOS. That's "logic" and "emotion" respectively. The linchpin of a troll's methodology is that you will argue from emotion instead of logic; you will respond with feeling rather than reason. The most important defense you can have against a troll is to suppress any emotion you may have while you argue. Don't let the words or the ideas get to you; keep a cool, calm demeanor and pick your way through what is being said. Refusing to fall for troll bait is extremely powerful, as it forces the troll to increase the intensity of their words, unsettling them and pushing them off-balance. Keep to the high road; let them crawl along the low path.
* NON SEQUITUR. That's "it does not follow" in Latin. Most amateur trolls tend to use rhetoric or reasoning that does not follow a continuous mindset; in the hands of the inexperienced, their assay of attacks will have little or no connection to one another; it's like someone in their basement trying to practice Shaolin karate against an actual Shaolin master -- all effort and flash, no foundation and skill. If you can pick apart their conversation piece-by-piece, do so and throw it right back at them. A flurry of blows without a clear target will only end up hitting thin air. ( Or a wall. )
* THE TIE THAT BINDS. That, well, is in English, so I don't really have to explain that one. More experienced trolls have a prepared selection of attacks and insults to hurl, and they're typically centered around a certain criticism or misgiving about a person or function. What unites their muckraking can be used to your advantage. Find the hidden thread that weaves together their arguments and unravel it; sometimes, just one turn of phrase will cause a mountain of allegations to come crashing down.
* LAUGH ABOUT IT! This is more of a trick than it is a core principal, but typically, if you laugh at the person insulting you, you'll cause them to reel a bit, mostly because they don't expect to be laughed at. They want to make themselves or others laugh; the last thing they want is to be ridiculed in return. Have a laugh, tell a self-depreciating joke if you have to, but use that good humor to make a striking turnabout.
* KEEP YOUR GOOD HUMOR. This, however, is a core function. If it takes good humor to laugh at someone while they're putting you down, it takes considerable strength to keep a happy tune while you're being assaulted. Don't take it to heart and don't let it get you up in smoke; if you give an inch, they'll take both the mile and the inch you let up. Anger is not resolve; being indignant is not being stalwart.
( Well, that's all for now, but I'll be cleaning up these terms and adding a few more as they come up. I'll also be adding a simple system for identifying and dealing with more serious troublemakers --- and agent provocateurs. )
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