0067: How To Really Stick It To Online Trolls



Show notes:

Hey there, hero!

For as supportive a community that we as actors and voice talent often have in person, online communities can be filled with trolls.

They are arrogant, opinionated, insulting, and love to provoke normal, law-abiding citizens.

(Been to a Facebook audiobook narrator group lately?)

I’ve often wondered what the best way is to deal with these fools, and have also been listening lately to a podcast from Stanford Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology Dr. Andrew Huberman…who just happened to give me this:

Understand “reward prediction error” & you will never reply to a negative comment again. Negative comments open a dopamine anticipation loop (in the commenter). Respond and the circuit closes; they get rewarded. Don’t respond & their dopamine will eventually drop below baseline.


Apparently, “don’t feed the trolls” is actually a thing.

How do you feel when you get trolled? What do you usually do about it? Respond? How? And what will you do now? Let me know in the comments below.


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  1. This has become easier for me to do as I’ve gotten older. Ahem….more mature. I love The Huberman Lab and you, David, are awesome for sharing such positive information.

  2. I’m taking a slightly different approach. Whenever I see something online that is designed to provoke a response, before I type one keystroke I ask myself, “Do I really want to deal with all of the crap that will ensue once I respond to this?” Realizing that the answer is no, I move on, feeling better about my choices.

  3. Luckily I don’t encounter too many trolls online. It’s much harder to ignore them in person though. In that case, I may try another of your suggestions, which is to say, “You may be right about that.”

  4. So good to have as a personal rule!

    In the thick of lockdown, I ran into a few anti-science trolls online. I made the mistake of encouraging one of them to “hang in there,” and got a barrage of condescending tweets and messages in response. I opted to ignore them and let him himself out, and when I went to his feed a few days later, I saw he’d moved on to other targets—ISO fresh dopamine. Now I know… and have MORE science on my side 😜

  5. I’m so thankful for ProConnect! It’s wonderful to have a safe place to ask questions and not need to worry about being ridiculed and shamed.

  6. I second what Melissa Kay Benson said: It gets easier with maturity! A spiritual tenet says to silently watch life go by live waves. Interact consciously when you want, instead of reacting.
    Dynamics always take 2. It’s often a silent agreement, but it doesn’t have to be an unconscious one.
    Quick anecdote to illustrate the point:
    After 2 dates with a man, he left a phone message when I was busy. I called back 5 or so days later. He answers, “So where have you been, little lady?” in a way I found archaically misogenistic. My reflex reaction was laughter. I didn’t meant to mock him, but accounting for my time to someone after 2 dates was not something that made me feel “wanted.” I never gave an explanation on that call. I didn’t protest. I simply wasn’t available to give it. He went elsewhere. Perfect. Point is I did not play into the dynamic.
    Dymanics. They are everywhere for actors. Agent’s, CDs, directors. George Clooney said to be successful, he had to start thinking of himself as the solution to a CDs problem, because he could fulfill a role, instead of begging for a part. That’s dynamics. Where do you place yourself?

  7. This is right in line with my dad’s sage advice… “I refuse to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed person.” LOL! Great advice!