There’s a well-known strategy for getting attention online by causing controversy. You just say the most outlandish things that you can think of, whether or not you really agree with it, and whether or not it’s true, and people will come crawling out of the woodwork to defend their side of the argument.

Each “side” will stake out their line in the sand and hurl flaming arrows back and forth at each other. No one really wants to learn anything. They just want to defend their side of the issue. And all the while the owner of the website sits back and laughs because they don’t really care about what is true, or about telling the whole story, or explaining all of the facts, they only care about what creates huge amounts of traffic to their site.

And the gardening world is not exempt from this traffic building strategy.

Many of you have brought yet another article to my attention that basically says, “See there’s really no issue about invasive plants. All you native plant lovers are being ridiculous.”

Now, here’s the thing. I could give you the link to that article knowing that you’d all go there to try to educate, be helpful, and try to defend our natural ecosystems from these noxious plants. The invasive plants that so many people lately seem to want to promote and make excuses for, instead of taking any responsibility for the damage our actions as humans have caused to the environment.

But what would we gain?

There’s another axiom of living in the online world that says “Don’t Feed the Trolls.”

Some people just get off on having an argument. Or starting an argument and laughing while they watch it unfold. They don’t really care about the truth. They don’t want to be educated. And they definitely don’t want to take any personal responsibility for the spread of these plants or their continued sale.

They just want to argue. They want to belittle you because that makes them feel better.

This expression means don’t give them what they want.

So, DON’T FEED THE TROLLS

If we don’t feed them, maybe they’ll find a more responsible way to act. Maybe not. But not feeding them prevents them from getting the one thing they really want–your attention. They don’t even care if it’s positive attention or negative attention. As long as they can look at their traffic stats and laugh, that’s all they want.

If we don’t feed them maybe it just won’t be so much fun for them anymore.

Instead of participating in this circus, please continue doing what you have been doing. I know that many of you are involved in restoration work. Many of you volunteer at your local parks and natural areas. And many of you are working very hard educating and helping those who really do care about this message.

And many of you are working very hard to be responsible stewards of your little patch of this earth by creating welcoming habitat for wildlife in your gardens.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

And give yourselves a huge pat on the back for all the hard work you do every day to make the world a better place 🙂