Trolls aren’t green brutes living under a bridge (although they might well be given their behaviour),
…someone who intentionally steers a thread off-topic or incites arguments in a forum.
Source: Mental Help
You might have read them in action, or even worse, bore the brunt of their childish antics. So you’ll know that they’re disruptive and annoying.
Akin to most bullies, online trolls are like persistent boogers. You just can’t seem to get rid of them and the more you smear, the more you get them on everything.
So how can we get rid of a troll?
Understanding a Troll
Firstly, you must know the enemy to fight them.
The name originated from…
I’ve always thought that the name came from the troll character in the classic folk tale “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” who stood between the goats (the regular community members) and their goal of the grassy pasture on the other side of the troll bridge. However, the term may alternatively come from the practice of trolling for fish (e.g., placing bait into the water (e.g., the community) and waiting to see which fish (which members) will bite on it.
In a nutshell trolls make an inflammatory response to a thread (bait). Then wait for someone to correct them (wait). Once they get a response, they attack (pull). The more you respond, the more they taunt, snipe, and blaspheme.
So trolls do what they do, because they want the recognition power that comes with destabilising a community.
Recognising a Troll
Flayme.com is an anti-troll expert who has shared his wealth of experience. I’ve reposted some of his stuff on how to recognise a troll here:
- No imagination: Most are frighteningly obvious; sexist comments on nurses’ groups, blasphemy on religious groups.
- Pedantic: Many trolls’ preparation is so thorough, that while they waste time, they appear so ludicrous from the start that they elicit sympathetic mail.
- False identity: Trolls virtually never use their own name, and often reveal their trolliness in their chosen ID.
- Cross-posting: Any cross-posting to several groups should be viewed as suspicious, particularly if unrelated.
Getting Rid of Trolls
That’s the magic spell. So repeat after me…
“I will ignore trolls.”
Of course, there’s plenty else that you could do to get rid of them pesky buggers:
Battle.net’s community Code of Conduct is a great example of laying down the law.
- Never address a troll directly. It fires up their ego and gets them a-taunting. Instead bore them to tears with silence and bans (see next point) so that they’ll disappear.
Time to use them, like Microsoft.com:
- Make it harder to comment. Trolls love commenting on systems that don’t require log-ins or profiles. They can troll and run. Create some form of accountability, at least make them input a valid email address.
- Create shared awareness amongst your community. According to Quandry Factory:
“Trolls attract replies by exploiting the general absence of shared awareness on most mediated communications platforms. Shared awareness is a special state of meta-knowledge among collaborators that allows them to act cooperatively on the knowledge.”
Make sure that your community gets the truth and knows it. Then they can help you repel the troll. After all, even bullies run from angry mobs.
Hopefully, this should defang trolls that lumber your way.
A day, a tip | 100 days, 100 useful content tips
Credits: Featured image from Hammer51012