HOW TO SPOT AND DEAL WITH AN ONLINE DOUCHE

As a blogger and an active Facebook user who doesn’t have any qualms in sharing and defending my convictions, napapadalas na that I become a target of these online douches.

Ang nakaraang eleksyon, pati na ang mga sumunod na pangyayari, ay mas lalong nagpalala sa pamamayagpag ng mga taong ito, whose favorite pastime is to propagate ideas that are often false and without basis. Ang objective lang nila is to help their political candidates by spreading propaganda, and by ruining the image and reputation of their opponents, nang walang pakundangan sa mga masasaktan at masasagasaan nila along the way. At dahil wala pa tayong naririnig na kaso that any of them has been seriously penalized, their breed continues to thrive and proliferate. Parang kabute lang.

Pero, how does one qualify nga ba as an online douche? Ano ang MO nila? And how do we deal with them? Isa-isahin natin.

  1. The Troll. This is someone who sows discord on the internet by starting arguments or upsetting people. They normally post inflammatory, extraneous or off-topic comments and messages with the sole intent of provoking an emotional response or of disrupting a normal, on-topic discussion. Sila ang mga accounts na walang profile pic at gumagamit ng kung anu-anong alias. Example? Abnoy Aquino. Or Leche. Or Kaaway Ng Dilawan. My advice for you when you encounter these people? Do not feed the trolls!
  1. The rabid Cult Follower. Like a dog affected with rabies, this person could be extremely violent and vicious in expressing or pursuing his feeling, interest or opinion. Sila ang pinakanakakatakot of all the online douches because we have no way of knowing kung kaya ba nilang isakatuparan ang kanilang mga banta. Example: Lumayas ka na sa Pilipinas kundi papatayin kita! O, di ba, nakakatakot? The best thing to do when you stumble upon someone like this? Immediately file a report against him to Mark Zuckerberg. Or even with the NBI!

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  1. The Know-it-all. This is someone who acts as though he knows everything and tends to dismiss the ideas, comments, opinions and/or suggestions of others. It is an exercise in futility to argue with, much less convince, someone like him dahil close-minded at self-righteous siya at minsan pa nga ay may condescending attitude. Nakakairita talaga siya. As in. When there is a commenter who makes you feel like an errant child being lectured, siya na ‘yun. If you can’t handle engaging him in a discourse dahil masakit naman talaga sa ulo, just ignore him. He’ll have no choice but to stop eventually lest he looks like an idiot talking to himself.
  1. The Ad Hominem Attacker. This is someone who attacks his opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine the latter’s argument. Ang mga komento ng basher na ito ay karaniwang derogatory at demeaning because, usually, he knows next to nothing about the issue. A good example would be when I posted an article about the extrajudicial killings in the country under Duterte’s administration, and someone commented, “Malamang, protector o protektado ka ng sindikato ng droga! Loser!” Pwede mo rin siyang i-report kay Pareng Mark, or if you are the forgiving type, ipagpasa-Diyos mo na lang siya.
  1. The Pack/Mob Member. This person cannot operate alone. When he finds a prospective victim, he immediately informs his cohorts, at ang kaawa-awang biktima finds herself attacked and swarmed by an army of commenters who seek to harass, silence and tame. “Mga ka-DDS!” Does this sound familiar to you? Sila ang classic example ng online mob at bullies dito sa Pilipinas. You stand no chance na manalo laban sa dami nila, so for your sanity, I suggest na iwan mo na ang thread na ‘yan. Pronto!
  1. The Tu Quoque Critic. Pronounced too-kwo-kwee, this is someone who refutes a criticism with the same criticism. Isa pa ring magandang halimbawa is when people criticize the cases of EJKs in Duterte’s war against drugs. I once wrote that suspected drug addicts, drug pushers and drug lords should not be killed. Ang dagdag ko pa nga, dapat silang sampahan ng kaukulang kaso at kapag napatunayang may sala ay ikulong. Many douches argued na okay lang ‘yun because their victims were not given due process either. Pinatay lang din daw nang walang laban. Isa pang ready reply ng mga Duterte supporters is, “Bakit, sa administrasyon naman nina Cory, Ramos, Erap, GMA at PNoy, may EJKs din!” As if that makes everything alright. Mahirap ding makipag-engage sa ganitong klaseng commenter so, unless you are fully equipped in handling someone like him, just try to ignore him.
  1. The Genetic-Fallacy Antagonist. This is someone who draws a conclusion based solely on someone’s or something’s history, origin, or source rather than addressing the valid argument. Sa blog ko, I always manage to attract a comment like this: “Hay, naku, isang basurang Aquino pala ang writer! Aquino, lahi ng salot, cancer ng Pilipinas, lahi ng mga *toot*, lahi ng mga abnoy!” Instead of arguing about the finer points of my articles, tinitirya nila ang pangalan that my husband shares with me. You’re better off without this kind of people in your online life so i-block or i-unfriend mo na lang sila and i-delete mo ang kanilang mga comments para hindi masakit sa mata.
  1. The Pest. Extremely annoying, this commenter assails you persistently by bombarding you with questions, criticisms or information. Hindi mo pa man nasasagot ang una niyang comment, may apat hanggang lima na kaagad siyang follow-up. Does this line sound familiar to you: “Your Honor, the prosecutor is badgering the witness”? ‘Yan ang gusto mong isigaw when you encounter someone like him. Unless you have an arsenal of valid arguments, compelling pieces of evidence, solid claims, credible proofs, and reputable sources, do not engage him. Asar-talo ka lang.
  1. The User of dubious sources. This person’s arguments are heavily dependent on not-so-admirable sources. Dito sa Pilipinas, sikat na ginagamit ang mga articles na galing sa mga propaganda websites na gaya ng Get Real Philippines, Global News, at ang walang kamatayang blog ni Mocha Uson. Madalas ding gawing sources and mga parody websites (like Adobo Chronicles), satirical news websites (like The Philippine Trend, Mosquito Press, The Philippine Chronicle, and The Professional Heckler), at fake news websites (like So, What’s News? and Eritas Times). Netizens are also fond of using memes without checking their sources. What you should do when you chance upon this kind of commenter? Type “Fake News Alert” on the comment box and advise others not to share whatever it is he just posted.

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  1. The Pervert. This is someone who posts lewd, sexually-charged or sexually-suggestive comments to shame, humiliate and stigmatize someone else –usually the female and the members of the LGBTQ community. The commenter can be misogynistic (hates or doesn’t trust women), homophobic (hates or fears homosexuals), chauvinistic (believes his/her gender is superior over the others), or all of the above. Kailan lang, si Anne Nicole De Castro, isang estudyante na sumali sa protest rally against the hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, ay nakaranas ng sexual harassment online. Maging sina Sen. De Lima at VP Robredo ay hindi nakaligtas mula sa mga sexual predators na ito. These cases prompted Sen. Hontiveros to file “the ‘Tres Marias’ bills that seek to give women more protection against sexual harassment and violence, including attacks on social media.”

Social media used to be a safe and friendly place where we can freely share our ideas — without fear of being bullied, harassed, threatened, humiliated, bashed, mobbed, badgered or stigmatized. Together, let us try to retrieve that space. Let us all put a stop to the culture of hate and fear that pervades our online world. And let us start with ourselves. Ayon nga kay Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

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