Anyone who's spent a few minutes on the internet can tell you its full of unsavory folk. Some are jerks that incite arguments and hate, while others could be our best friends that just don't know how to handle themselves on Facebook. Whatever the case, here are our top 10 tips for dealing with less considerate internet citizens.
10. Learn to spot fake product reviews
Online shopping is awesome, particularly because of the ability to read reviews on any given product before you buy. Some people are upstanding folk and leave good, well thought-out reviews — but some product manufacturers leave their own fake reviews to try and inflate their product's rating. So how can you spot the fake reviews from the real ones? It isn't as hard as you think: extremely positive language is often a good indicator, as is overuse of first-person comments. Check out this list of things to watch out for, as well as some of the new techniques manufacturers have been employing. Hopefully, armed with the right knowledge, you won't get duped.
9. Destroy cheaters in online games
If you've ever played video games online, you probably already know to just turn off your headset unless you want to hear loads of prepubescent racial slurs. But what about the gamers that take it a step further and actually cheat? The best you can do as a player is report cheaters to the moderators of your chosen server. However, you can also make sure you're playing on a server that makes use of anti-cheating measures like Valve's Anti-Cheat System or PunkBuster (some games will even require it to play on their official servers). Just remember that if you're getting owned by a specific player, it doesn't mean they're cheating. Before you go accusing people, make sure you don't just suck first.
8. Avoid getting tricked by scammers
Online scammers are always coming up with new ways to try and trick you into opening your wallet, and the only way to avoid it is to recognize the signs. Most of you already know the obvious tips: don't ever give out your password, don't buy anything from an email you didn't ask for, and don't click any links from your bank or financial institution — type in the address yourself. For the more advanced, check out this list of browser tweaks that can help you out. If you're buying or selling stuff on a site like eBay or Craigslist, you'll need to be extra vigilant since you're dealing directly with other people. Check out our guides to avoiding scams when buying or selling, as well as how to avoid getting duped on Craigslist.
7. Filter annoying email forwards
Some of your spammy email may not be scammers at all, but some of your closest friends and relatives. If you're sick of getting every joke, political rant, and cat picture that your aunt Bertha finds funny, you can set up a simple email filter to avoid them. Of course, before you go to such drastic measures, you should probably ask them to stop and explain why it's bad etiquette, but if they won't hear you out, this is a simple and effective solution.
6. Stop the spread of malware
The tech savvy users among you might be good at avoiding malware — you don't click on suspicious links from your friends, you run good antivirus software, and so on. Unfortunately, your less savvy friends probably don't realize when they've spread malware, or how to stop it, and that's where you come in. You may not be able to deal with the moron that wrote the malware, but you can stop the spread by helping your less tech-savvy friend. Help them clean up their computer, and use that opportunity to teach them how to best avoid malware. Remember that you aren't the only one getting suspicious links from them — if you can help one person avoid getting tricked, you can help their entire contact list from getting future links.
5. Block offensive Internet comments
Every site has its fair share of assclowns, but some sites are known for having downright useless comment sections (I'm looking at you, YouTube). Luckily, you can clean up those sites with a few well-placed browser extensions. Comment Snob, for example, lets you filter out certain words, comments in all caps, excessive punctuation, profanity, and other annoyances, while CommentBlocker just gets rid of a site's comments altogether. It's up to you how heavily you want to block comments, but it's a great way to avoid the stuff that gets your blood boiling.
4. Handle the crazies on Facebook on Twitter
Whether they're anonymous subscribers or your best friends, sometimes discussions on Facebook and Twitter can get out of hand. If one of your friends or followers is really ticking you off, we've shared a few strategies for dealing with them — whether it's diffusing the situation with humor or politely telling them to shut up. If you want to take more drastic measures, you can filter out posts containing certain words, which is particularly useful during election season. Intelligent discussion is great ... but "I'm moving to Canada" posts are just annoying.
3. Learn to argue without bringing out the worst in people
Sometimes you just can't help yourself, and you get into an argument with someone on the internet. As bad an idea as this is, there are some things you can do to avoid coming off as a troll (and thus avoid bringing out the troll in everyone else). You can also try and sound like you know what you're talking about even when you don't, but on the internet, that's a recipe for disaster, and you'll lose an already impossible-to-win argument. When you realize you've made a mistake, be sure to read up on how to get out of an argument with an irrational person. You'll need it.
2. Keep hackers at bay with good security
Sometimes it seems like everyone's out to get you online, and even if you aren't falling for phishing schemes and other scams, someone can always hack into your accounts. Strong passwords aren't enough to keep them out, either — you'll need to make sure you've protected yourself on all sides in addition to having a strong, unique password for every site. Read up on our best security practices for more information. Even if you find security inconvenient, there's a lot you can do to keep yourself protected.
1. Just stop caring about trolls and get on with your life
The absolute best way to avoid the leagues of morons on the internet — particularly the troll variety — is to just ignore them. They aren't attacking you, they're attacking boredom, and they're hardly worth the energy of even engaging, particularly because that's exactly what they want. If you get locked in, you can weasel your way out with dignity, but the more you realize they aren't worth the effort, the happier you'll be.
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