Internet trolls have become more of a difficult issue in recent years. While most of us use the internet in rational and constructive ways, there are many internet users with behavior issues or a hidden incentive to sow discord and irritate other people. Whatever their reason is to communicate hateful messages to others, trolls are a pest of the digital age. They are prone to cause trouble in any public place where comments can be shared, such as a blog, chat room, forum, or newsgroup. Here are some of the best ways of dealing with them.
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Create a policy
Whatever your platform may be, it is essential to make your position on trolling known with official policy. This will be a set of guidelines that give details on which comments are permitted and the kinds of trolling behavior strictly forbidden. It is also a good idea to inform users of the consequences of trolling. Examples of comment policies that are effective can be found at the Content Marketing Institute.
For a large blog or website, it can be challenging to keep up with large amounts of comments. A team of moderators can be used to keep things under control and deal with many difficult issues. These are people who can check that the guidelines are followed and keep trolls from causing disruptions. Large platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and YouTube provide options for adding comment moderators.
Useful online tools
In addition to moderators, there are tools for disemvoweling as a form of censure for offensive comments. Shadowbanning, or comment ghosting, is another measure whereby users or comments are blocked or partially blocked. SMC4 is software that finds online content that could be damaging to a brand and provides real-time support. Robot9000 is a chat moderation tool that temporarily mutes users for posting duplicate messages.
Promote a positive community
When an online community is loyal and unified, obnoxious trolling elements will find it difficult to thrive, and they will be forced to go elsewhere. If people are mature and practical about their use of a forum, it will be in their interest to keep it respectable. In this way, moderators will not be required, as most users will make it clear to trolls that they are not welcome.
Calmly contradict them
People who are spending their time causing an annoyance in an online space are probably not the most intelligent individuals. Rather than fight them with fury, it is much easier to pick holes in their poorly constructed arguments and childish jokes. Misinformation is a growing disease of the internet, but it is easy to combat with something trolls are not very familiar with: facts.
Trolls are always intent on spreading venom throughout the internet, but the most straightforward option can be to ridicule them. They enjoy being unpleasant and (in their minds) funny, but trying to irritate other people for cheap thrills is nothing but pathetic. Expose them for their pitiable position, deflect them with humor that beats their vitriol, and show you are completely unaffected by their behavior. Just don’t ever take them seriously.
The trolling game aims to upset people and cause a disturbance. They want you to react to their comments with anger, frustration, or discomfort. They are exploiting the anonymity that the internet affords them. But their comments are not personal, and they could be directed at anyone who responds to them. So the best way of overcoming them is to ignore them completely, then the troll will be forced to find someone else to bother. Simply rise above the pointless online dispute, and your troll will stop being a problem.
Sadly, certain individuals feel the need to express their anger and unhappiness to strangers in online spaces. It is particularly unhelpful for people who are trying to use the internet for positive means. But these pests can be dealt with in various ways, so always ensure you don’t give them the reaction they are looking for.