March 12, 2012

Dealing With Trolls

Trolls are those individuals who invade chat rooms and comment threads to post off-topic and the most vile of remarks in order to interfere with a free exchange of ideas and information.

Perhaps most important thing to know about most trolls is they are as insecure in their own lives as they are insignificant yours.  Their inane rants are the products of weak minds attempting to draw attention to themselves and away from the main topic.  Many trolls post their despicable remarks in hopes someone will respond in like prose.  That is exactly the recognition they seek, as it fulfills some warped sense of gratification because they have succeeded in hijacking the discussion.  Consider their unwelcome input a form of mental masturbation.

So, how does one deal with trolls?
  1. NEVER respond to direct personal attacks.  Engaging them only feeds into their sick desires.
  2. Do not acknowledge them directly. Instead, talk about and around them, but not TO them.  Hold them and their posts up for ridicule, but only referenced in the third person. e.g.
    “Can you folks believe the tripe 'TimmyTroll' is spouting? I wish he/she/it would stop the copy and paste of Mother Jones editorials to try and prove his/her/its idiotic point.”
  3. Rebuke their assertions with FACTS, not opinion.  Cite authoritative sources demonstrating the fallacies of their arguments.
  4. Above all, STAY CLASSY.  Remember, you are usually engaging with like minds or those of a differing political philosophy who are truly interested holding intelligent discussion.  Using words or phrases that could be construed as misogynistic, homophobic, racist, or otherwise offensive is an intellectually lazy trap you set for yourself, and only invites trolls to attack.
Following these four basic rules marginalizes trolls to the point they cease to be a problem.

Dennis P. O'Neil


  1. Well that is one nice thing about Wordpress and blogspot individual blogs -- we can monitor and comments if necessary. As for trolls on places like TownHall, it was interesting to watch the exchanges for a time. But then, frankly, it became a bit boring. It's like the same thing was said over and over again. For the most part, the trolls lacked creativity. Am I wrong?

  2. This was in reaction to a post warning about trolls on conservative blogs, chat rooms, and web sites. Although we can moderate posts before they are published, many of the 'big' sites have so much traffic that dumping offensive posts prior to publishing is impracticable. True, they can be deleted after the fact, but usually by then the damage has been done. The troll has elicited the desired responses and, if the writer's suspicions are correct, have already gotten a screen capture to spread across the net as 'proof' conservatives are hate driven malcontents.
    Original blog here:

    1. Thanx for the link. I will keep this blog in mind for the future!

  3. Good advice, Salty. As MrsAL said, we have the benefit of just deleting their BS before it ever sees the light of day.