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How to Handle a Cell Tower Blog Troll

If you can handle a blog troll right and keep your sense of humor, you may be able to win the battle for public opinion!

After the success of the "No" vote on the July 31 cell tower ballot question, we thought the next steps in this process for our Get the Cell Out - Atlanta group would be fairly simple: 

1.  Advocate for the best quality school board members* who will not put other parents or taxpayers through the same nightmare we have endured for the past year. 

 *  Please take a quick moment to vote THIS TUESDAY, Aug. 21, in the DCSD Runoff.  If you want school board members who have publically opposed the current board's cell tower decisions and the lack of a transparent process, please vote for Jim McMahan in District 4 and Denise McGill in District 6.  Runoff elections are always tight so every vote really will count! 

2.  Support the federal bill HR. 6358, introduced and referred last week to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee. This is the first solid attempt at the national level to revamp the FCC Telecommunications Bill of 1996 to allow local zoning authorities to consider health factors when zoning for a cell tower. It would also call for warning labels and a national research program.

3.  Continue to reach out to the DeKalb County office of the CEO (burrell@burrellellis.com) and keep tabs on the leased spaces on 8 school campuses to ensure no construction begins without legal permits.

What we did NOT expect was a challenge to rope us back into more meaningless debate with a real life cell tower blog troll. But, that's exactly what we got when one of them apparently reared an ugly head and began making calls impersonating the husband of an elected official who has been supportive of our efforts. 

The Circular Logic of a Typical Blog Troll   

This recent walk down blogger memory lane gave us a big laugh as we recalled one of the best "rants" we have EVER read on the subject of cell towers. 

This reply came after hundreds of posts were made in a series of days in response to my first-ever Tucker Patch blog post, "." Finally, we think, "Dr. DeKalb" had taken all he could! 

From The Tucker Patch....  7:08 p.m. on Saturday, July 2, 2011

(edited briefly for content clarity)

Dr. DeKalb comments...

"And, just to make sure we are all following your logic, Neil... let me   summarize it for you...

1.  Towers emit radiation.

2.  Fear of tower radiation is ridiculous and should not be tolerated.

3.  Science should tell us that our phones (the ones that the adults carry around with them as they apparantly encircle the local house when they really should be at work) are far worse for us and our children unless we build more towers.

4.  We should not be afraid of towers at schools.

5.  Instead we should buy more phones and a bigger cell plan so that our children who currently do not carry phones, but will soon have a cell tower, will finally have the very thing (the phone) that you just said was the more dangerous of the two.

6.  Now, once we have the right amount of phones and towers, if that delicate state of balance will ever be something we can actually obtain, then we will rejoice because we will finally be permitted to fear them both equally.

7.  And, most importantly, there are other threats at school larger than a 150' cell tower that we should fear more even if we are not able to say exactly what those threats might be.  

8.  In addition, we should teach our children how to respond in these non-specific emergencies in a way that is contrary to the emergency procedures they practice at school. It will be beneficial to expect the children to behave as "first responders" rather than evacuating the building as they might be instructed to do in an emergency.

9.  And, while the cell tower radiation is the least thing to fear, we should be reassured that if it falls over or catches on fire that our children will, at the very least, be able to make a call for help. Ooops, that's right, they probably will not be able to make a call if the tower has fallen over, now will they??"

Blog Troll Remedies

Remember, if you are involved in a fight to keep a cell tower away from your home or school, do not let these "blog trolls" get the best of you. Blogs are still a great way to reach a large number of people with little or no money.

If you suspect a blog comment is from someone paid by the industry, the best thing to do is just try to call them out on their role and refuse to engage them in a tit for tat debate unless they will give you their real name and state their professional connection to the issue. If the industry bias is out in the open, then those who read the comments can take that aspect of the conversation into consideration.

Remember... When dealing with a blog troll, you will never, ever win them over to your side. But, if you are able to make it clear that they have a hidden agenda behind the things they are saying, you might win the battle for public opinion. 

In the exerpt above, we definitely think Dr. DeKalb got some "closure" in his hilarious post. We are thankful to him for his comments and for giving us a much needed laugh!

Hope you got a good laugh out of it, too!  (LOL!)

Related articles

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Kinney September 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM
At first I thought that these were posts to the wrong article. But now I am very concerned that discussions of technical materials and science countering a deliberately misinformed general population is viewed as threatening. As all 3 lines of the legal definition include the concept "intent to harm", there is no cyberbullying going on in this discussion. There is an "intent to educate". It is well meaning, well worded and non-threatening in it's presentation. But as is understood in academia, beliefs are often more cherished than demonstrable evidence and thus harder to discuss. As soon as I can figure out how to turn off the "follow this article" feature on Patch, I will certainly disengage from this discussion. It appears the science people have an implied threat of legal action by the belief people. I actually do have better things to do than continually correct the misinformation spewed in fear in this discussion. Once again, this discussion strongly underscores the need for better science education in Georgia.
Neil September 30, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Although falsely accused of being a communications company shill I do not feel that I am the victim of bullying. Had I not been to the Norway exhibit at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World I wouldn't even have known what a troll is. (Yes, there are things that technical people don't know - lots of things - lots and lots of things.) I understand the baseless fear that has been generated mostly by people who themselves are fearful but in some part by people who are using fear to promote their self interest. This is a difficult matter which as Jim points out is only possible because of the inadequate science education not only in Georgia but all over the country. Unfortunately, not only is the anxiety created by the baseless fear harmful, but that baseless fear can lead to poor and potentially harmful decisions by people in authority. We have enough about which to worry in this dangerous society; let's focus on what is real.
Cheryl Miller October 02, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Well, in case you didn't shut off your time machines in the right decade, you are not allowed to pull my ponytails or kick dirt in my face either. Anyone who wants to follow our story, which continues to unfold to this day, please visit www.GETtheCELLoutATL.org. You can help vote for which outfit I should wear when I give the Superintendent a piece of my mind at the Tucker Parent Council tonight, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. (just kidding about the outfit thing... that was just to make Neil and Jim hate losing to me even more!)
Neil October 05, 2012 at 12:15 PM
When ignorance triumphs we all lose: Jim, me, and everybody else, including, eventually, those in the affected community who promote the ignorance, whether they realize they are doing so or not. The US is, or used to be the world's technological leader. If we still are that lead is diminishing. If we have already lost the lead it is at least partly because the public chooses to allow technological matters to be determined by people without the wherewithal to make properly informed decisions on matters of technology. When those with PR skills are given precedence over those with scientific skills in technical matters the public loses, especially in the long term.
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