Thursday, August 13, 2009

Trolls 101

In the past week or so, I've had some of my fellow bloggers ask me to read some comments on their sites to see if they have a troll. I've had one or two visit my site, but they normally don't come back once they get the B & G intellectual smackdown put on them. And if I can't get them to go away, I feed them to my readers.

Anyone new to blogging or anyone who just enjoys reading them: A troll is a person who will comment on a post (usually an opposing viewpoint), stir things up, and leave. Yes, they all live under bridges, and you need to answer their questions to cross.

As a service to my fellow bloggers, I'm presenting my criteria and suggestions for spotting and dealing with trolls. Please feel free to add your input.

  1. Trolls usually start off with an innocent question about the material in your post. It may be something as simple as asking you to clarify your position or asking your opinion on an opposing idea. This is the gateway to hell. Do not be suspicious at first as it may be an honest person trying to be informed. Usually a reference to the Constitution helps, and an honest person will thank you in a following comment. Stay respectful.
  2. Once you've respectfully and intelligently done so, they kick it up a notch by repeating the same tactic on your reply. This seems to be the only play they have in their game book. While it is tempting to reply to the new questions, this will only bring about a set of new ones. Start being suspicious.
  3. Political comparisons usually start at this point. "Well Bush did this..." or "The right worships corporations..." will most likely indicate the presence of a troll. Ask for evidence and try to remain open-minded.
  4. This is where the fun begins. Nitpicking and snide comments about you follow. They'll start with pointing out small details and move on to making assumptions about your intelligence or personal beliefs. They frequently use the phrases "don't care" and "hate" in their comments at this stage. If you can, check your spelling and grammar. Some trolls jump right to this step.
  5. Should they fail to engage you in their tactics by this point, the name-calling begins. "Racist" and "homophobe" are some of the common ones, although others may certainly arise. Don't be afraid to point out the racism and homophobia of some of their icons. This hacks them off.
  6. Hysteria has reached a fever pitch on their part by now. When the expletives start to fly, you know you have them. Warn them that they will be banned from your site should they continue. I really suggest comment moderation for such an occasion. Then tell them to go back from whence they came: under the bridge.
I hope this has helped my friends in the blogosphere. Should you have any questions or are not sure whether you have a troll, feel free to ask me to read the post and comment, and I'll give you my opinion. My comment moderation is always on, so please just post a comment asking me to read whatever you want and ask me to reject your comment. Or twitter me at lambertfan58.

You can find me on top of the bridge with a copy of the Constitution on a fishing pole trying to lure them out.


conservative generation said...

ahhh, the illusive troll. I suppose they are right about me though. I do have a job and work for a corporation. I suppose I should be ashamed of myself. What right do I have to be responsible? ;)

Bungalow Bill said...

They don't like the Constitution. They always avoid what the Constitution says.

Bungalow Bill said...

I have noticed a lot more libs visiting our blogs trying to push this healthcare down our throats. If we quote something we find in the bill, they try to tell us it's not in there.

blackandgoldfan said...

C-Gen: You evil capitalist!!! Don't you know there are people out there who can't afford their own cell phone? Compassion, dude!

Thanks! I literally just woke up, and it was great to see some sarcasm in play. All this thinking before caffeine...didn't think I was capable.

Have a great day!!

blackandgoldfan said...

Clay: Maybe if I used a picture of Che to go fishing? You're right. I'm never gonna catch trolls with the Constitution! Thanks for the advice.

I've noticed that too. I think they figure that if they deny it long enough, it'll disappear. They're good for two things: denial and ignorance.

Amusing Bunni said...

Hi B & G! You are better at fending off trolls that my squirrel brigade.
I consider it a badge of honor when they show up, that means we are doing something right.

I don't keep on comment moderation, I think people (esp. me) like to see our comments instantly posted, you can just delete and block them if you don't agree.

Since I work with trolls ALL DAY, every day, for the last almost 2 years I get quite enuf of their sniping, back-stabbing, and terroristic stasi attacks. I strive to make my net life as loser free as possible, so I just
ignore spoiled whiney little brats, they want ATTENTION.
So if you don't give them that, they will find another victim.

That's just my approach, it doesn't work for everyone, and I'm glad for fine follks like you and dr. dave who take on these vermin head on.
Have a lovely day and keep shining the light of truth on the trolls.
Like cockroaches, they will disappear once the light has been shown.

blackandgoldfan said...

Thanks sweetie! I understand the comment moderation thing. I know I am one who likes to see my comments posted right away, but my fear is that someone's going to be REALLY foul before I can remove the comment. I don't want to get a reputation that I condone repeated liberal, expletive-laden drivel.

I guess I'm just sadistic in that I kinda enjoy peeing in their punch bowl for the day. If I've hacked off one troll, I've done my job.

Hope you take troll repellent to work!

*saluting bunni and the troops*

Dr. Dave said...

As you know, I just eat them alive on site (since I can't legally shoot them). It makes for a day of fun. chance on me watching 'em Stillers tonight...I'll be in the middle of nowhere.

blackandgoldfan said...

It is fun, Dave!

If you have twitter on from your crackberry, I can twitter you updates on how the game's going!

PersonalFailure said...

the illusive troll. just one question: is the troll illusory or just plain hard to catch?

blackandgoldfan said...

Failure: Just plain hard to catch. They're masters of stealth! It's not until their heads are about to explode that you realize who they are. Thanks for reading!