Clarification trolling 

“Clarification trolling” is a routine annoyance for me, on social media and by email: demands for unreasonable clarifications, beyond what any reasonable person would need. This is often served with a side dish of scorn for the worst possible interpretation of what I meant. A simplified example:

Me: I believe such and such about stretching.

Troll: Yes, but how are you defining “stretch”? Because your opinion is dumb if you’re defining stretch in the silliest possible way for this context. Prove me wrong by wasting your time convincing me that you meant the obvious, sensible thing.

It’s a trap! The troll will never be satisfied. Give ‘em a clarification inch and they’ll take a mile. Jason Silvernail’s excellent advice to authors who encounter clarification trolling:

I routinely ignore this sort of behavior and I think you should too. Much like other trolls, responding to this only weakens what you’ve written. If you’ve truly written a context-free, unclear item that appears overly broad to a reasonable person standard you should just take down the comment or item and rephrase it.

If you’re satisfied that a reasonable person would not require that kind of clarification, feel free to consider the comment trolling and move on. As with other cases of trolling, don’t apply the label to anyone who questions or disagrees with you but think carefully about the situation and the “reasonable person standard.”

Just one of many reasons I indulge in less and less “debate” as the years go by.