An “Internet troll” or “Forum Troll” is a person who posts outrageous messages to bait people into answering. Forum Trolls delight in sowing discord on forums. A troll is someone who inspires flaming rhetoric, someone who is purposely provoking and pulling people into flaming discussion. Flaming discussions usually end with name calling and a flame war.
A classic troll is trying to make us believe that he is a skeptic. He is divisive and argumentative with a need-to-be-right attitude, “searching for the truth”, flaming discussion, and sometimes insulting people or provoking people to insult him. The troll is usually an expert in reusing the same words of its opponent.
Sometimes,the Internet troll is trying to spin conflicting information, is questioning in an insincere manner, flaming discussion, insulting people, turning people against each other, harassing forum members, and 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, and this can poison previously friendly interactions between long-time 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. Also, they usually protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed. 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. There is a certain perverse pleasure in watching some of them. Ultimately, though, the webmaster has to decide if the troll actually cares about putting on a good show for the regular participants, 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 entitled “Troll Alert” and type only this:
The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction and not to respond to rolling messages. It is well known that most people don’t read messages that nobody responds to, while 99% of forum visitors first read the longest and the largest threads with the most answers.
PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!! :taz: