How to Deal With “Trolls”

Trolls can be a websites worst enemy (or at least to some it can feel that way). But it’s relatively easy to keep the harm done by their incursions to a minimum.

You have to develop a thick skin, learn to distinguish overly passionate fans from genuine troublemakers and use positive reinforcement to reward more-productive members of your community.

“Keep in mind, trolls feed off your tasty community-manager tears,” Caroline Chen writes.

I’ve heard the term “troll” a lot recently…and a lot of people mention it surrounding the Casey Anthony case. Those who go from site to site causing trouble. I don’t mind having discussions. But let’s remember to keep it clean everyone, OK šŸ˜›

From ClickZ:

Don’t let them see you cry. Many a troll has kept a novice community manager up at night, tears brimming and soul wounded at the sight of caps-locked, multi-exclamation-pointed freak-outs. (“WHOEVER DID THIS CAMPAIGN SHOULD BE FIRED!!!!!!!!”) But keep in mind, trolls feed off your tasty community-manager tears. Thicken that skin, screen-grab, and collect in a folder (Desktop > Trollsville) to laugh at later. Seriously. Community management can be an emotional battlefield, and sometimes the best thing you can do is control your own sanity by not reacting.

Troll fights happen. Sometimes, you’ll be blessed with the spectacle of a troll fight. Trolls will try to out-negative one another in the same thread. Do allow this to happen. They only serve to illegitimize the trolls and make your job easier. They’re also highly entertaining.

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15 Comments on “How to Deal With “Trolls””

  1. Sherry Says:

    They really are entertaining! I don’t think tears are necessary since these trolls don’t really know the person they are trying to cause grief to.

    When I had my WP blog, I would put those little mental midgets in the spam folder and read them when I had the chance. I laughed just because they expended all that negative energy to no good end!

  2. Kim Says:

    I love my spam folder! It is entertaining!

  3. cali patti Says:

    I dont always read posts but I always thought you were one of the relative free of trolls blog.

  4. Swift Justice Says:

    When I see them coming on full blast….I just scroll past them.

    It’s less aggravating that way.

    They are trolling to get people’s dander up.

    Sometimes they succeed but not with me.

  5. I always thought trolls were little dwarfs who lived in tiny huts until I met the one from Madison. I believe that most everyone encountered him at one time or another. At first, I thought Michelle was a her. He went from blog to blog with the speed of ligthning telling us we needed to get educated. He could clear a blog in the blink of an eye but I decided to use some reverse psychology on Mr Madison. I made it a point to single him out and agree with everything he said. He was having none of that because it was against his rules for anyone to agree with him. After a few meeting with Madison, he avoided me like the plague. He did cause a lot of grief and disruption but eventually disappeared. I notice he still makes a rare appearance.

  6. Honeydog Says:

    Ah yes, “M from M”— one of the All-time-Greats.

    I was fairly new to Website Blogging when I was “Trollerized” by that Trolliest of Trolls. All I can say is, Whew… and I know better now their distinguishing marks, and if, when, and how I want to “entertain” or, BE entertained. Sometimes it’s a Kick to keep a Discussion going with others you know— right “around them”, as though they’re not even on the Page— or write a subsequent Comment completely off-Topic.

    They definitely hate being “skipped over”, and can’t stand not being “noticed” or “included” more than anything. I think maybe if everyone did that— no matter how nasty and tempting— we would at least probably be confronted with them less often, with the exception of course, of seeing them Duke it out Troll-to-Troll.

    Anyways, I guess it will be no time soon, if ever, that these Parasites become a Dying Breed.

  7. Ina Says:

    Trolls, they love to attack a nice blog. The trolls I really resent, are those who want to cause real damage to people, they are the sickest people around. Out of boredom they just attack other commenters. Away with trolls! They never post under their real name, always change nicks and are disgusting.
    Believe me, I have had my share of bullying idiots on the web. Death wishes, threats to destroy my marriage, lies about love affairs and a lot of porn from frustrated nasty and lonely trolls. There is no heaven for trolls šŸ™‚

  8. Ina Says:

    Hi John, happy Valentines day! šŸ™‚

  9. Kreuzer33 Says:

    Thanks! Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

  10. One Op Says:

    I never understood the use of “troll” when reading the accusation because there are some who “down with trolls” always applying it to other people. yet they go places and do their own dirty work. This bothers me because they go back to their own blog/post and act like they would NEVER do such a thing. So I don’t think troll is being used properly on some of the blogs. Is it wrong to associate troll with little people, I don’t mean little in stature, as is sometimes used. Big in stature little (unkind) people. I would just say “tiny robots of low low status” or something similiar. lol Take me for instance. Zelda help! What do you think?

  11. zelda Says:

    Hey OneOp……….well hiding on a keyboard is a relatively new phenomena taking the internet as is base.
    It allows not so nice people to “really” mess with other people anonymously.Mind you these people are basically creeps anyway,,,,,,,The word troll could have been coined because they “troll”other blogs to find a place to disrupt.
    You know,like you troll for fish.I would suspect that is the best definition?
    Agreed it could be argued that the word troll could mean small as in someone’s character,,,,,,but it’s a stretch /
    How’s that OneOp?
    Ta daaaaaah………..

  12. One Op Says:

    Whew! I’ll take it Zelda and thank you for getting me out of that one. lol

  13. zelda Says:

    Any time………lol!

  14. It is as much for my personal sanity as I work through some of these issues as it is for your reading pleasure and hopefully your benefit..I do understand that the word troll is quite subjective particularly among community members. And there are others who do seemingly have personal trolls who live to make them and others MISERABLE..It is truly amazing how a few troublemakers in a community can make it unbearable for others and it is equally if not more amazing how adults can display such behavior that is beyond juvenile..I have had two grown adult males in my community going after each other like three year-olds for weeks. Period..What a shame that community managers have to result to such antics.

  15. Ina Says:

    wiki says this: “The most likely derivation of the word troll can be found in the phrase “trolling for newbies”, popularized in the early 1990s in the Usenet group, alt.folklore.urban (AFU).Commonly, what is meant is a relatively gentle inside joke by veteran users, presenting questions or topics that had been so overdone that only a new user would respond to them earnestly. For example, a veteran of the group might make a post on the common misconception that glass flows over time. Long-time readers would both recognize the poster’s name and know that the topic had been discussed a lot, but new subscribers to the group would not realize, and would thus respond. These types of trolls served as a practice to identify group insiders. This definition of trolling, considerably narrower than the modern understanding of the term, was considered a positive contribution. One of the most notorious AFU trollers, Snopes, went on to create his eponymous urban folklore website.

    By the late 1990s, alt.folklore.urban had such heavy traffic and participation that trolling of this sort was frowned upon. Others expanded the term to include the practice of playing a seriously misinformed or deluded user, even in newsgroups where one was not a regular; these were often attempts at humor rather than provocation. In such contexts, the noun troll usually referred to an act of trolling, rather than to the author.”

    Ahh an oldfashioned kind of troll with a sense of humor, now where have they gone to lol.

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