Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Know your Trolls

So, you've decided to participate in the comments section of you favorite website. You make a comment. And then come back to the thread. You notice that some guy has responded with a not so nice reply. You comment back. He attacks you. You reply. This goes on for a few days. You're annoyed. You detect that maybe the guy is doing this on purpose. You've just had your first contact with an Internet Troll.

What is a Troll (Internet)?

Wikipedia describes a Troll as "is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

Now, not every angry person on the Internet is a Troll. It's the world wide web. Vigorous debate is not trolling. And there are a lot of jerks. But a Troll usually takes delight in provoking readers into an emotional response. The basic way is by taking ad hominem attacks but a Troll can also make comments that sets the forum or chat room into frenzy. And not every Troll is a full time Troll. A point that will discussed in further detail.

Who are the prey of a Troll?

Trolls require a food source. If thinking people didn't exist, Trolls could not exist. But Trolls like a particular food. They love the websites with passionate followers. Nerds are nice targets because Trolls like to think they are above nerds since the Troll thinks he's pretty cool. Nerds are also very passionate about their interests. Go to some Star Trek websites and you will find Trolls, quite mean and angry ones.

Some Trolls like to prey upon a single writer. If a Troll detects you're a passionate person, you're a prime victim for a Troll. The Troll will engage you and try to get you to write comments. This will go on until there's quite a bit of spam. (Bulk messages.)

How to detect a Troll

There are different types of Trolls. Some Trolls will share various characteristics but remember the goal will be the same. Provoke. And then get the readers to spam. Trolls rely on anonymity. They're cowards. Because if you knew who they were, you may contact the real person and confront him. Trolls are also anti-social. They may act like you as far as interests but take pleasure in torturing you. So, let's look at the types of Trolls.

1. The Crazy Troll. This type of Troll will write something that's not based on reality or that is totally outside of the mainstream of the website. For example, the Crazy Troll will go to a Chicago Bulls website and say "Michael Jordan sucks."

2. The Lying Troll. This Troll will spread lies about you. He will attribute words and ideas that you didn't make and attack you for them.
3. The Werewolf Troll. This Troll is a guy who seems to be like you as far as interests. He'll turn up and become a regular contributor. But when the time arises, he'll troll somebody. Then retreat back to his regular routine. Similar to the Traitor Troll.

4. The Traitor Troll aka Part Time Troll. This Troll is a regular to the website. He'll share the same interests as you. But he'll also take delight on occasion to Troll somebody. He'll then be the regular contributor that he once was until he feels a sadistic need to torture somebody. This guy thinks he's not a Troll but in essence is one since he engages in it to pleasure himself.

How to get rid of a Troll.

Getting rid of a Troll is not easy. The title of this article was derived from a Troll I met. He had the regular writers debating him on a crazy idea. Then he ended the conversation by writing, "Know your trolls." Yeah, some Trolls like to declare victory and laugh at you. Well, at least the Troll left. Here are some ideas for getting rid of a Troll.

1. Contact the website's administrator or moderator. This might seem juvenile but it's probably the best way to get rid of a Troll. The problem is that moderators want to maintain neutrality in a dispute. The best you can do is point out specifically the trolling activity. Hopefully, he'll agree and put a stop to the trolling.

2. Don't feed the Trolls. Trolls act like they want the last word. Not really. They want you to keep responding to them. Trolls will write something like, "I'm done." Then you reply. Then they come back even though they said they were done. See how it works? By that time you've spammed the site. So, after you feel like you've responded, end it quickly. Stop responding. I know it's hard. Very hard. But Trolls feed on your outrage.

3. Expose the Troll, preferably with friends. If you expose a Troll alone, it's not very effective. And by the way, point out specifically what he has been doing to show he's a Troll. Now it might cause a Troll to pause but it won't get rid of him or stop his trolling activity. On the other hand, if a group attacks a Troll, then the Troll usually knows the gig is up. He will probably leave or stop trolling. But be advised. Remember to not feed the Troll. Expose, then stop quickly. He wants you to continue fighting with him.

4. Leave the forum. This one hurts the most. It feels as if you're letting the Troll win by leaving the forum. You've made friends and now you're leaving. Well, a couple of things. First, are you happy getting trolled by some a__shole? Free yourself. And you can always contact your buddies by say email, or Facebook. And actually, it's the Troll that loses. No food source. He won't be able to troll you on the forum. He'll either leave or stop it. You have also cleaned up the forum. So be happy, don't let an a__shole mess with your life.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. There's a ton of information you can get there. There's entertainment. There's connecting to people all over the world. And there's also vermin. You're going to run into Trolls. Suck it up and don't play their game. They can't hurt you, they want you to do that to yourself. Don't let a Troll diminish your enjoyment of the Internet.

No comments: