I do this thing colloquially called the “troll patrol.” It mostly involves monitoring social media and forums, identifying instances of people spreading lies and misinformation about Dash, and stepping in to correct the record. The original prospect of the Dash Force was largely to improve Dash’s standing and reputation on social media. Frequently, this has involved countering trolls.

Not everyone understands the value of the troll patrol. That’s understandable, since from the outside it all looks like a bunch of petty fighting and arguing with people who won’t change their minds. Having been in the trenches for some time, however, I can assure you that there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface than meets the eye. To that effect I’m going to write a series of articles on what I’ve learned from countering trolls for a living, starting with narrative control.

People go on available information

The breadth and depth of information available in the internet age is truly staggering, and this holds true for cryptocurrency as well. There’s so many coins with so many different features and histories, and most people have just a few bullet points memorized for the major coins. This means that when someone says something about another coin, the vast majority will take it as fact without further research. Rough though it may be, that’s the reality: in a vacuum, the troll dictates truth. The only way to lessen this effect is to make sure the troll’s version of the story isn’t the only one presented.

Repeated warnings trigger an animal “predator alert” reaction

Humans are social beings, and group communication is still ranks high in how we get our information. Spread some negativity once, it can be dismissed as just that one person’s opinion. But multiple warnings from multiple people cause the rest of the group to start paying attention. “Well it must be dangerous if so many people are scared by it!” Enough people spreading a nasty rumor makes it so one lone voice of reason isn’t enough to dispel it. Now you need backup once you’re facing a group.

Say it often enough and it becomes true

This is the most dangerous part of the whole situation. A lie in a vacuum might be presented as truth, and a chorus of warnings can be tough to crack, but once it’s been left uninterrupted for long enough, that lie becomes cemented as truth in the public consciousness. At this point, even when thoroughly disproved, it can persist, especially in the subconscious. Call something a scam long enough, and even when you’ve corrected the record permanently, you’ll still face lingering trust issues that may never be cured. Don’t let it get to that spot. Dispel the myth as quickly as possible.

Present two choices and there’s competition between ideas

Now that we’ve gotten through all the bad things that can happen, here’s what you can do about it: present counterpoints. Wherever a lie is being spread, offer the truth. It can be tireless work, but there is immense value at just having choices. Once you have two options presented to the public, that counters the automatic truth status of the first narrative. This makes most observers simply remain neutral, with a few taking the time to do their own research. Even better, if your arguments are reasonable, thought out, and backed by facts, that will attract the few observers who are actively paying attention.

And even if spectators aren’t able or willing to pick a narrative based on the information available, they will certainly be able to based on judgments of the two sides’ behavior. More on that later…