TODAY, for the first time, I looked up the definition of a “troll.”
I looked it up because someone posted a comment about my YouTube video What Romans said about crucifixion:
“Wow, my friend, you somehow attracted a lot of trolls.”
“A person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content.”
It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a troll, who wants to beat me up, and a skeptic, who has honest questions about Christianity.
I have learned to see the value in each.
It might be hard to see the value of a troll. Especially when they talk like what you can read below. I haven’t corrected any typos, though I did bleep one with asterisks.
“Hey Stephen, what was the punishment for carrying God’s name in vain? Or lying about what God Said? Or mishandling the word of Truth? Oh yeah, it says you will not be forgiven.” Musa
“Man they beat the living piss out of the Christian tripod gods…his week like a little girl hiw in heck could he even create one man yet the whole Universe and beyond.” Salafi
“What would you expect the Romans to do? Jesus and his followers were saying that Jesus was the King of the Jews. The Law he violated was written on his cross: Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews. He committed treason.” Charles
“100% B***S***” StoneFree
“He cried like a baby. No magic no power, just a ridiculous man. Blinded in his own illusion. Lost in what is truth. Are some waiting for the return of this one? Wait in vain. It’s all a Lie.” Ra
Value of a troll
There’s a principle in physics that says every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
It doesn’t work that way in the spiritual world.
Those laws of physics don’t apply. The reaction is anything but equal.
With over a million views, the crucifixion video has generated more than 6,000 comments. If I remember correctly, YouTube retires some of the comments over time. But at the moment there are over 6,000 comments, live and available to read.
Most are not encouraging or complementary.
Honestly, it does take a toll on me. It’s discouraging to read these.
I’m approaching 2,000 thumbs down on the crucifixion video.
So what’s the bright side—the value of trolls in my efforts to help people get in touch with the Kingdom of God?
Well, I have 35,000 thumbs up.
People not only post comments to encourage me, they help me respond to some of the questions people are asking. They engage in conversation.
Sometimes they go a little overboard and get too intense, and I have to hide the comment because the saintly Christian brother or sister uses words that won’t make it through the anger-management filter I set up for YouTube.
Trolls are actually helping drive interest in the video.
My son, an online marketing specialist, told me that likes and dislikes count the same in YouTube’s algorithm. What they are interested in seeing, and what they promote, is engagement.
YouTube wants to see people talking about the videos.
They want to see serious skeptics posting notes. They don’t mind trolls trying to rip me a new one, whatever new one they have in mind. And YouTube would most certainly like to see notes of encouragement; I know I would.
They also want to see me responding to comments. It’s often painful to do it, and humbling, but I do it as best I can.
YouTube makes money off of all of this because they sell ads to the video. I get a cut of the advertising revenue, however small that cut might be. I just got a check for about $150. That would cover the licensing fees I paid for the music. So that’s good.
Without the trolls, I don’t think my video would have gone much of anywhere.
They took it viral.
And I’ve had to report only one of them to the FBI.
If you know any trolls, kindly tell them that I have some other videos about the Bible and Christianity on my YouTube channel, StephenMillerBooks.
God bless us, every one. Trolls, too.