In Food Chain, he's convinced that he's prey in a sea of predators, living his life in constant fear until he decides to confront an innocent boy he imagines is the greatest bully of all.
In Own the Scrawny, Alexander's the unwilling star of an embarrassing viral video. Worse yet, he discovers that he's the target of online trolls, whose incessant ridicule in the video's comments section fills him with self-doubt. Instead of ignoring them, he decides that he needs to prove them wrong, and sets in motion a series of events that makes things much worse. He tries acting differently (fail); he tries dressing differently (fail); and even tries avoiding everyone and everything (fail again!).
Trolls insult, demean, destruct and degrade others through their comments, often hiding behind anonymous profiles. They don't often know their targets, and in fact may simply be reposting the same words over and over again. Instead of ignoring them (usually a good first step), Alexander cares about what they say.
The internet is filled with anti-troll strategies - I've collected some of them here on Pinterest. They generally suggest a few basic points:
- The first line of defense is simply to ignore the troll. Don’t argue with them, or respond in any way.
- If it’s in your power, delete their offending comment.
- If you must respond, logic and friendliness in the face of viciousness is a great tactic.
- Forget about them. Focus on those who support you; forget those who don’t.
- Simply respond, “Haters gotta hate!”