Recognising and Dealing with Forum Trolls

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25 Jun 2011 00:00 by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 603 posts Send private message

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A Forum Troll is a person who posts offensive and challenging messages to bait people to answer. Trolls delight in sowing discord on forums and are invariably anoymous posters, taking care to hide their identity or location.  A troll is someone who purposely provokes and attempts to pull other posters into a flaming discussion.  Flaming discussions usually end with name calling and a flame war.

A classic example is trying to make posters believe that he is a genuine sceptic with no hidden agenda.  He is divisive and argumentative with a need-to-be-right attitude, allegedly "searching for the truth", flaming discussion, and sometimes insulting people or provoking posters to insult him. 
 
A troll's tactic is to use the same words of their intended victim and to turn them against them. They are notoriously dog at a bone persistent and when their victim finally gets fed up with responding to a thread a troll will claim their victim has lost the argument; is unable to reply.
 
A troll is a person extremely sceptical of the main forum subject and focused on making other forum members appear stupid. A troll will sometimes use insults to provoke other people to insult him. Then, he will complain to moderators of being insulted and will request that his opponents get banned from further discussion.
 
Sometimes trolls try to spin conflicting information, is questioning in an insincere manner, flaming discussion, insulting people, turning people against each other, harassing forum members,  ignoring warnings from forum moderators.

Trolling is a form of harassment that can take over a discussion. Well meaning defenders can create chaos by responding to trolls. The best response is to ignore it, or to report a message to a forum moderator. Moderators usually delete troll messages or block trolls.  Negative emotions stirred up by trolls leak over into other discussions.
 
Normally affable people can become bitter after reading an angry interchange between a troll and his victims. This can poison previously friendly interactions between long-time users. Because of trolls many forums boast thousands of registered members but because of trolls few actually use forums; perhaps only one in a hundred registered users.
 
When trolls are ignored they step up their attacks, desperately seeking the attention they crave. Their messages become more and more foul, and they post ever more of them. Alternatively, they may protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed or their victim has lost the argument by not responding. 
 
Perhaps the most difficult challenge for a webmaster is deciding whether to take steps against a troll that a few people find entertaining. Some trolls do have a creative spark and have chosen to squander it on being disruptive. Ultimately the webmaster has to decide if the troll actually cares about contributing positively to a forum, or is simply playing to an audience of one, himself.
 
Next time you are on a message board and you see a post by somebody whom you think is a troll, and you feel you must reply, simply write a follow-up message of two words: Troll Alert!
 
The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction and not to respond to trolling messages.  It is well known that most people don't read messages that nobody responds to. 99% of forum visitors first read the longest and the largest threads with the most answers.


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25 Jun 2011 13:54 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 480 posts Send private message

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Everything you say, Mike, is true.  Trolls are the bane of net forums.  Problem is that trolls re-register under another user name even after they have been booted off a forum by the site owner or moderator.  Sometimes they are on the same forum under three or four different names! 

Patricia





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25 Jun 2011 13:57 by formentera costa Star rating. 354 posts Send private message

I totally agree



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25 Jun 2011 14:16 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 480 posts Send private message

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"What's a sockpuppet? Sometimes people think they've come up with a great and original idea: they'll register more accounts that don't resemble their own and then post as those users. Sometimes they even have whole conversations with themselves. Other times they just post in response to themselves in order to make it look like a lot of people agree with what they're saying.

There are tools on most forums to tell when people are doing this. If the forum's administrators are active, they should be able to take care of the situation by banning all of the offending user's accounts and, if necessary, their IP address (to keep them from making even more accounts). Sometimes administrators even give this ability to the forum's moderators to help police for clones or alternate accounts or sockpuppets (which are all essentially the same thing"



Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4352510





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25 Jun 2011 15:39 by jek Star rating. 250 posts Send private message

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Be careful though.  We are all clear I think of one troll and his sock puppets on here.  But Mike calls me a troll.

If you express an opinion on a forum, it is open to others to disagree with that opinion.  Disagreeing with someone's opinion is not being a troll.

If you express a line of argument, it is open to others to argue against you and to expose weaknesses in your argument.  That is not being a troll. 

Someone attacking your argument is not a troll.  Someone attacking you personally is a troll or at least rude and offensive and should expect to have the offensive post deleted.





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25 Jun 2011 15:52 by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 603 posts Send private message

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Troll Alert!



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25 Jun 2011 16:20 by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 603 posts Send private message

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Yes, Patricia and some others. Trolls are a virus; they are an infection. We have all seen potentially nice forums; I call them online watering holes, spoiled for everyone by trolls. They must be a pain to forum owners too for they offset the cost and effort of managing a forum with income from forum advertisers.

Of course trolls don’t admit they are such but a cuckoo by any other name remains a cuckoo.  If I were accused of being a troll I would start by looking at what caused people to think so. I think my post sums them up perfectly.
 
There’s another forum I know of.  It has 7,030 registered members. I doubt if at any time thirty posters are active at any one time.  In that forum, though I am sure it is representative of others, it has effectively been hijacked by a few members.
 
If you log on, as I have just done, there are only 3 registered members who are active. Work that out in percentage terms. As fast as people register they are put off by anonymous posters bickering, in-fighting, trolls, flaming, crudities, and incivility towards other forum users. Another I could name and shame has just the occasional comment but no repartee at all. The forum has been completely destroyed by trolls. Trolls are thoroughly horrible people and I can’t imagine what kind of sad (anonymous) lives they lead.


This message was last edited by mike_walsh on 25/06/2011.

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25 Jun 2011 17:13 by haydngj Star rating in ALGORFA. 391 posts Send private message

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I do like to read varios forums and can understand the troll thing, but come on, this is not the Mike Walsh [profesional writer ] forum





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25 Jun 2011 17:26 by jek Star rating. 250 posts Send private message

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Careful haydn

Criticising Mike Walsh is part of the Mike Walsh definition of troll.





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25 Jun 2011 17:29 by haydngj Star rating in ALGORFA. 391 posts Send private message

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Whoops sorry professional  Mike





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25 Jun 2011 17:31 by haydngj Star rating in ALGORFA. 391 posts Send private message

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Mike does seem to know what he's talking about 99% of the time but is not too keen on being wrong,but I do hope he carries on the same way. Very informative he is





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25 Jun 2011 18:00 by jek Star rating. 250 posts Send private message

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Totally agree.





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25 Jun 2011 19:31 by elviriadreamer Star rating. 104 posts Send private message

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Unfortunately, trolling is fun for certain types of individuals. You should see how excited one troll gets when he sees someone has responded to his posts. He has more aliases than I have ever known. He actually communicates with his other aliases. HOW SAD! Their whole life is spent online causing discontent to disrupt the worlds and friendships of others. The amount of fake websites they set up to use as bases to be brought as is necessary, is beyond belief.

You give good advice on ignoring them Mike. However , it's not always as easy as that. Believe me.

"My Trolls" have followed me everywhere online for nearly three years. They have destroyed websites (mine included) and initially I used to ignore it. I now just plaster every threat (they threaten all sorts) on my FB (that is no longer used for family/friends BUT being monitored by others) and give back the filth they give.

Sadly, some people in this world do not respond to manners,ettiquette or being ignored and although it's tiresome having to keep lowering myself to these losers standards...I do when I can be bothered.

The best bit is, I have seen into the "real lives" of some of these trolls and how they live in the real world and they are the typical dregs of society. So when you've got a big internet toughie threatening all sorts...it's hilarious to know it's some 8stone, degenerate, weakling being abusive the other end.

Oh, hi by the way. Been a regular viewer of EOS for many years and I am most grateful to everyone who gives good information BUT don't really post on forums DUE to trolls.

 





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25 Jun 2011 19:47 by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 603 posts Send private message

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Thanks, Elviria, for having the courage to expose and give the trolls a taste of their own poison. As you say, they are pathetic little creatures  hiding in anonymity.  Welcome aboard! If enough of us recognise them and expose them then we can ourselves instill forum standards without expecting moderators to do it for us.  



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25 Jun 2011 21:49 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 480 posts Send private message

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What you say is true, Elviria.  Some or many trolls are internet "stalkers" (hence the reason I suppose why it is not wise to have one's full details on view on a forum, any forum). 

I am reminded of a forum I contributed to sometimes about ten or twelve years ago.  A troll appeared on there, with about twelve sock-puppets!  Worse still, she (because it was a she) developed a ferocious crush on the site owner (LOL), and believe it or not managed to stalk him in real life!  There was a lot of trouble.  Also she was able to locate the 3D whereabouts of a couple of posters who had rumbled her, , and contacted others (employers etc.) in PERSON!  Such was her vindictiveness.  Anyhow, long story short, it was discovered that she had a mental illness, which I suppose should have been obvious to all from day one.  You see we assume everyone who posts on a forum is sane, and it can often be the case that they are not.

 

Best to all, and here's to happy posting

 

Patricia

 

 





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25 Jun 2011 22:44 by elviriadreamer Star rating. 104 posts Send private message

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Campana...What a bad place the internet has become...It used to be a good tool, but has just become a place many abuse instead of use. I don't understand the fun they get BUT it just annoys me when I see and know exactly what is going on. AND the people then sit there bragging about the distruction they cause. That is a bad story Campana and good you point out that women do this too. It's not just men that do it to women. Stupidly I "got involved" with someone I shouldn't have online who was baiting me for 18months to "set up and use" and he has done exactly what you describe here and far worse. Never will I be so blind again! HA HA he's a Brit in Spain, so officially you could say I've been scammed/conned before I've even moved there.

Mike it wasn't about courage in my case. One of the guys out of the group (the one above) saboutaged mine and many other websites/forums/memory pages/medical blogs etc amongst other crazy things and despite being asked pleasantly many times to desist, he continued. When they started hacking my FB account and friends walls with their bots/cloned profiles/fake accounts I took the decision to close it and just shame the perpetrators...NOT nice to do in the manner I have had to do it BUT...they are currently QUIET and THREATS have stopped. Filthy people...who will be back though. And if not me they're always doing the same just to others elsewhere. SAD!

When I get to Spain my life will be so basic I WON'T be having the internet (it's there if I need it)...I can't wait TROLLS will be a thing of my past :)





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25 Jun 2011 22:49 by campana Star rating in Marbella. 480 posts Send private message

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Yes.  They are also known as "cyberpaths" (a derivative of "psychopaths).

 

 





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26 Jun 2011 00:47 by bobaol Star rating. 1945 posts Send private message

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This message was last edited by bobaol on 26/06/2011.



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26 Jun 2011 01:05 by bilpaul Star rating. 5 posts Send private message

 Get a life guys





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26 Jun 2011 20:40 by Sten46 Star rating in Hatton, Derbyshire &.... 181 posts Send private message

 

I have been a member of this group for a couple of years or so. I log on fairly regularly - two or three times a week - which is, I would suspect, the norm for probably 70 or 80% of the membership. I read items; I note useful advice; if I can offer something constructive to a thread then I do so. Virtually everyone seems to be friendly and helpful - occasionally the odd poster has very strong views and/or ideas. One freedom we do have left is the freedom of speech, so my attitude is that every man is entitled to his opinion, whether or not I agree with him/her.

Until today, I thought a Troll was a particularly ugly doll. Surely, if a posting was offensive, personally insulting, blasphemous or in any other way incorrect, would not Justin or the administrators jump on it PDQ?

I suppose what I am trying to say is, the point of all the foregoing is??

Sreve.



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