So occasionally, I like to post some tidbits of knowledge I've picked up along the road. Please understand I'm never trying to hold anyone by the throat and say, 'THINK LIKE THIS!!' here. That said, these are simply bits of philosophy, psychology, or general ideas I've learned over the years, and now share for your benefit.
Having that caveat out of the way, lets talk about something we all know and hate: Trolls.
For clarification, what I mean by a 'troll' is someone who enters chat and proceeds to spread insults, aggravating comments, and often racial or sexist remarks in an attempt to get a negative reaction from others present.
Now, unfortunately, what happens most often is when a troll appears, most people get caught up in the argument, and completely overlook the fact that there's usually very little substance behind it.
Quite simply, to these people, somehow this has become a recreational activity. It doesn't matter what the topic is; you could be arguing about egg vs cereal for breakfast, or is Obama an effective president, or just a snickers bar, it doesn't matter. They're just getting a rise out of you. Now, it's actually fairly easy to get rid of these people.
If you're playing a game, and the game ceases to be fun, do you continue playing? Most would abandon the game, and find something else to do. The same goes for trolls. If trolling ceases to be fun, they'll usually give up and go find some other poor sap who hasn't read this to abuse. That said, remember that venting your growing rage on them, something that deters continued conversation in normal situations, is exactly what they want.
There's quite a few possible ways to get rid of these pests, but I find there are two in particular that tend to be relatively effective. The first is simply to log out for a bit. Yes, it's annoying. I of all people really hate to be interrupted when I'm in the middle of something. But just take a small, 10-15 minute break. Stand up, stretch, get a drink, hit the head, etc. Secondly, just don't respond to them. Simply put, if no one is talking to them, they will leave in short order. They can yell all they want to about how Australia is better, or some such nonsense, but if no one is paying attention, the game will get boring, and your troll problem takes care of itself.
One last note to remember. It only takes one person to respond to the troll, and get him to stay. Quite bluntly, if the rest of the server is ignoring a troll to get him to go away, and you're sitting there arguing with him over a debate with no logic or purpose, you are the one subjecting your mates to this nonsense. It's all to easy, and happens far too often, that once one troll shows up, he creates trolls out of all the people that think yelling at him is the best solution.
So remember kids, don't feed the trolls, lest you become one. Just be the better man, woman, or child, and walk away. Figuratively or literally speaking.