I find this mantra to work for me like the Desiderata for some, or Psalm 23 for others, especially with my morning coffee.
The E-Tranquility Catechism
- I can get through an entire day without letting a person I’ve never met make me angry.
- I do not have to respond to every stupid thing people say.
- No one is entitled to demand an answer of me.
- I may stay out of any discussion, even if it covers a subject about which I feel passionate.
- Some of my friends keep idiots around. It does not matter why; it only matters whether I let the idiots affect me.
- Most people do not write with care, so most people do not read with care. If someone responds to a thing I did not say, I am free to write simply “please read it again before you respond.” If the person does not, I am free to cease wasting time on him or her.
- A good person can be irrational on a given issue. If I do not accept the bait to trigger that irrationality, life will go on, the sun will rise tomorrow morning, and someone else will probably trigger it.
- Likewise, a good person may be a hothead. Another’s tendency to overreact does not obligate me to overreact. It is a discussion, not an attempted robbery.
- There will be people who, for reasons I do not understand, find it stimulating to begin gratuitous and ill-informed debates with me. I am not required to indulge them.
- Social media are not a scavenger hunt, where failure to ‘like’ everything possible could give offense. Anyone who weeps openly because a post did not get ‘liked’ needs to wait for the advent of FaceBubbleWrapBook, not whine to me, for I am not obligated.
- If I find myself losing composure, I will step away and watch some old Beverly Hillbillies, and try to emulate Jed rather than Granny.
- Before I engage, I will consider age. If an elder writes something absolutely clueless, I will bear in mind how many of his or her peers don’t even have the guts to participate, and I will show respect through silence. If an elder wants my opinion on clues or lack thereof, s/he knows perfectly well how to ask me for it.
- If a child is obviously whining for attention, unless it is my child, I will let someone else be dragged into the vortex.
- I will recognize that some adults are emotionally children at times.
- If someone is suffering political incontinence, I will not gawk or stare or laugh. This is not Walmart. I will look politely away and go somewhere else, to spare their dignity while they soil themselves.
- I need not be irritated by fetishism. Whether the fetish be cats, dogs, kids, camels, lame self-reassurances, trigger issue posts, preaching, anti-preaching, or any other personal quirk that baffles me, I may choose not to let it affect me.
- If the forum has a blocking feature, I should feel no compunction about using it. However, I should realize that each time I use it represents on some level an admission of failure.
- I will stay out of anything that is assuming the shape of a pear.
- If while composing a reply, a vile profanity plays on my mental dictaphone, I will recognize that that now is not a good time to reply at all.
- Above all, I will recognize trolls and trolling for what they are.