I use my Facebook Page to comment at Active.com on some of the really interesting articles there. Sometimes agree, sometimes disagree, sometimes pointing out a simple addition or omission – nothing really serious mind you. Mostly this puts the article on my Facebook Page, so those subscribing (by Liking) my page can view some info I feel might be relevant to their training or goals.
Now and then, I get some replies, and sometimes it’s from the author thanking me for commenting, liking the article, or whatnot. Now and then it’s one of my Facebook family, showing support for “what I said”. And now and then, it’s some oddball hobbyist or troll spewing. One of my previous favorites was for a comment I made on a nutrition article authored by a registered dietician. I said something to the effect of “I agree that you need to properly hydrate while endurance training.”
In reply to this comment someone said quite rudely, in Brit Slang style, that the author was ill educated and clueless. Since it’s a Facebook post I went and checked, and sure enough, they were a first semester student in a nutrition associate degree program. Confirmation bias – the unsupported belief that your chosen path is the correct one. Since they had just started their first semester I doubted they knew the topic as well as the author. As well, they were pretentious in their poor tv-inspired use of the Mother Tongue, since they were born and raised in like Kansas.
Recently I got it on another nutrition article, this one I think was on the addition of legumes to the diet as a protein, carb, and fiber source. I mentioned that I highly recommend the addition of canned black beans to anyone I consult. A Facebook user ranted that cans were evil and toxic and should never be used. I normally do not feed the troll on these, because it’s useless. Feeding the troll would be replying with anything, since there is already a quick and easy way to suck you into their vortex of nonsense.
“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” – Mark Twain
Let’s run through it quick:
1) cans have chemicals
a: alright then bags
2) bags have chemicals
a: alright then, canvas sacks
3) canvas sacks have chemicals
a: alright then, right from the hands of the farmer
4) the farmer’s hands are coated in 2,4-D/MCPP
So not much point in that progression, right? So this one person has a hobby of thinking the stuff they are learning in their associate degree program first three weeks supersedes the article information from the registered dietitian. Another hobby is related to chemicals in food. I’ve had people with other various hobbies post their trolls about meat, fish, veggies, grains, you name it. The funniest perhaps was a trainer with outstanding credentials getting down on my claim that a plane is a virtual construction of geometry and that it was physically impossible to exercise in a single plane of motion, even on a machine.
Trolls Vs. Goals
The sad thing is that while the hobbyists were feeding their egos, and trying to get me wrapped up in an argument I could not possibly win, there was actual true collateral damage. Yes. Innocent bystanders, people who are looking for the secret to fat loss, weight management, body composition improvement, how to just freaking do it. Falling by the wayside over some silly little inconsequential comment from a Facebook Troll.
In the case of the canned beans, you have someone who leads a relatively busy life, a normal life, and you say to them:
“Go to the store and get a dozen cans of black beans. Have half a can a day with your evening meal.”
Simple, easy, empowering. But then if you toss in a can poison chemical hobby:
“So get some dry beans. Soak them for 12 hours, rinsing in clear cold water 4 times. Place them in a large pot on the stove and bring to a simmer over the course of the next hour. Lower the temperature until the water just barely swirls around the beans, and cook them like that for 6 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and pour cold water in until the water is cold. Let stand for 1 hour. Place on the stove and bring to a rolling boil for 1 hour stirring constantly. Now your beans are done. Eat and enjoy.”
Anyone besides me have a life? I thought so. So while people are trying to roll forward toward making serious empowering changes in their lives, we have these Trolls tossing sticks in the wheels bringing them to a dead stop. I don’t think they consider this cruel side effect to stoking their egos. Maybe I’m naive though, and maybe these hobbyists really are the alleged obese blobs with their butts firmly welded to their chairs in their mom’s basement, as legend goes, and since they can’t get out and do it, they will fight tooth and nail with the only weapon available to them to prevent you from doing it too. I sure hope not. Wow. That’s really really sad.
So you, don’t do it either. Don’t post negative hobby-related stuff. If someone posts an article about grains being healthy, don’t go off on your gluten issues. Obviously anyone with gluten issues would know enough to take the article with a grain of salt. You probably don’t have to educate them. That’s just an example, but I think you get what I mean. I do understand that many of these what I refer to as “hobbies” are serious and real to you, and many have valid data to support them, but your mission could cause major damage and this is not the right time or place to spread the word.
Also, if you’re on the receiving end. Don’t quit your program because someone says cans or bags, or something will kill you. Be smart. Life is a compromise all around, and if a can of beans saves you two days in the kitchen while you should be out making money or playing with your kids, then by all means, get the freaking can and enjoy the denial the rest of the civilized world enjoys about can poisons.
Set your goals, make progress, everything in its own time. Baby steps. Hope that helps.