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     Just for something a little different. Trolls and flame wars are not unknown here at Kos, but they aren't exactly unique elsewhere either. Whenever people have strong feelings about anything, there will be those who disagree. Sometimes sincerely, sometimes politely - and sometimes out of sheer malicious intent. Plus a whole range of responses in between.

      I just happened across a graphic illustration of how bad it can get. And by graphic I mean with pictures. The cartoon blog is Zen Pencils, and here's a bit from the About Page:

Gavin Aung Than is a freelance cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for 8 years he quit his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011 to focus on his true passion, drawing cartoons. Gavin launched Zen Pencils at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, and hasn’t looked back since.
      Than put together a story The Artist-Troll War over four installments as a comment on what happens when haters gotta hate, and how their targets can choose to respond. Here they are: Part One, Part Two, Part Three and the thrilling conclusion Part Four.

       This would be an inspiring tale all by itself, but the wonderful thing is that it didn't stop there. Kris Staub of Chainsawsuit was inspired to create an alternate take on the issue here.

      How we as individuals, and as groups, handle disagreement and criticism is a critical (no pun intended) skill. Is it intended honestly, to be helpful? Is it based on a misperception or lack of context? Is it pure unthinking reflex, a knee-jerk reaction? Is it a fundamental disagreement based on a different understanding of the world? Is it simply based on hate and intolerance? An effective response depends in part on understanding the intent of those who take issue over something - and that process has pitfalls of its own.

     Than and Staub between them illustrate (again, no pun intended) different strategies for handling criticism. Take a look. It's a skill worth thinking about.

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