From Wikipedia | "Troll (Internet)"
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
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There has been a recent surge in trolling, so I thought I would take the liberty to throw together a little primer on how to spot a troll, and how to best deal with one once you've caught one. I will refer to the troll as it
, rather than he or she, to keep from humanizing such a monster. Google. If you return basically anything, you've got a copypasta troll. If you don't return anything, try with another phrase. Look for discrepancies in writing style from one paragraph to another, things like capitalization and punctuation usage. If it fluctuates frequently, it's a pretty good give away.
Refusal to answer questions or continue a dialogue is a red flag, as well. Sometimes trolls can have the appearance of looking for an honest dialogue, but simply dangle the carrot and wait for a bite. If you question the author's motivation at all, your intuition is normally going to be right.Combating trolling
The best method of combating trolls is simply to not feed the trolls. That is, trolling behavior is normally a one-time shot, as 90% of the trolls you will encounter are simply spammers or basic trolls. By ignoring the post, it will fall to the bottom of the New or Active post lists, and we can all go about our day without the interruption.
If you do want to feed the troll, make it clear in your first response that you know there is trolling going on, but you want to "play" anyway. Sometimes it can be a good exercise for a number of reasons: boredom, venting or formulating responses to honest concerns raised by non-trolls on the same topic.
If you've seen any of my troll responses, you'll see that I like to just hijack the thread. I normally do this with a post and a picture about shampoo. Why shampoo? Why not?
Here are a couple macros to use if you run across a troll, as well as a link to the image file you can simply copy and paste, if you like.http://imageshack.us/a/img688/2748/dontfeedthetrolln.jpghttp://static4.fjcdn.com/comments/+_197783adabe38e19e692a5d2d8705038.jpg
And, finally, my shampoo hijack image.http://i45.tinypic.com/14j3l9k.gif
I hope this was helpful. Here's a recap:
Edited: June 17, 2010. Added "most common trolling behaviors seen at HAF" in light of recent trolling attempts.(Edited to remove formatting issues arising from forum software changes, and to add the Wikipedia link and definition. -- Recusant)
- Trolls are easy to spot, most of the time.
- Do not feed the trolls (or make it clear that you want to have some fun).
- Ignoring them makes them go away.