Don't Feed The Trolls!

By David Hinz Posted in Comments (22) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

From time to time, this site attracts trolls. This is, I would think, to be expected. It is the nature of the game that the internet has become, to expect to see people come in here with the deliberate intent to disrupt.

Most 30 minute wonders "out" themselves within a few minutes, and just naturally relegate themselves to the ash heap of internet history.

They get their sorry a**es banned, go back to DK or myDD and brag about how RS is full of fascists who are unwilling to hear any other voice than their own "echo chamber."

But, occasionally, we get someone with a little talent. Occasionally, a liberal troll has either enough intelligence or self-restraint, to stay within the boundaries of propriety, to actually manage to stay.

This is NOT to say that they are not successfully disrupting the site -- which is, after all their aim. The truly gifted Troll manages to keep the argument going, keeping people going in circles, accomplishing nothing! As a result, lots of time and bandwidth is wasted on inanities. The troll smiles, while the regular posters seeth.

Or, better still, regular posters become turned off by the lack of worthwhile content, due to the wasting efforts of answering the troll, and go elsewhere. Now, when this happens, the troll has really done his job.

There is a better way to deal with a smart troll. DON'T FEED THE TROLL! Seriously, simply do not feed the trolls. Eventually they will give up, or, in an increasingly desperate effort to get attention, they will "out" themselves and get banned! End of troll!

I will know better in the future. No soup for him!

As opposed to the garden variety annoyances.

The lib Trolls are living breathing examples of the failure of liberalism. They demonstrate how the ideology robs people of their reason, confidence and optimism. Like exemplars of failed dreams and lost hopes, they point to paths best not taken.

By far the nastier sort of troll are the griefers. They are just here to get under peoples skin.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

You make a very good point about the objective of a troll (where we're using the classic meaning of "troll"), which is for him to spend a little time firing off a few inflammatory comments, goading regulars to waste a lot more time typing out substantive refutation of his comment. He might then post a short reply that sidesteps the actual point of what he's replying to, and people then waste more time parsing the troll's reply to prove that it misses the point.

So I agree, by all means don't waste your time substantively engaging a troll. Most of the time, it's best to completely ignore the troll.

But... Every now and then, when you've got some sadistic inner demons that you wouldn't want to influence your rhetoric in good faith debates, taking it out on the troll can be constructive if done with discipline. Taunt the troll, but keep it short - waste the troll's time, not yours. And don't give him the satisfaction of getting you mad - the tone should be smirking contempt, not anger.

Just ridicule some belief of the troll with a short snarky remark. Don't bother arguing why it's stupid, just present it as obviously dumb. The smart troll will just leave, frustrated that he couldn't goad you into wasting your time, but additionally deprived of the little conceit that his remark was so clever that everybody was afraid to take him on.

You get bonus points if you goad the troll into wasting his time substantively arguing in defense of his belief that you ridiculed. Then you've turned the tables on the troll, trolling him.

Bottom line, only make short taunting remarks to the troll, and don't feel any obligation to make your remarks logically responsive to his post. If you can pull it off, goad him into spending more time typing than you do.

Talking about trolls reminds me of games for taunting telemarketers e.g. this one

I'll note that we shouldn't automatically treat every liberal arguing against our views as a troll. If someone wants to criticize our opinions substantively without a lot of snark, we should encourage their participation and debate them respectfully.

The #1 thing that chases me away from a site is trolls, when not dealt with properly. I've also had my share of fights with them in the past. It's a waste of my time and bad for my blood pressure.

Between the choices of feeding them or leaving, somehow it seems like they win either way -- a conundrum I'd rather not ponder too deeply. Ignoring them takes self-discipline and serenity. I also think civil discussion just tends to bore a fair percentage of us who inhabit comment sections, and warfare in comments is the attraction to the blogosphere in general.

My favorite sites allow a little trolling and then give huge smackdowns such that the trolls do end up whimpering off elsewhere. I live for a good smackdown. ;-)

The problems and attractions of trolls and infighting are undeniable. Human nature, really.

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

Other GC traits:

Evangelical fervor to persuade any and all to see things my way, whether its the wisdom of conservatism; how Mere Christianity proves there is a God and that Jesus is his son; why chickin fighting is civilized sport and dog fighting is barbarism; how a Seinfeld episode applies to everything that happens in life; why the evil of JR Ewing was good; and that Heaven is local call from Clemson

All of which combine to leave me mostly clueless in knowing what a troll or Moby are; how to spot them; and unable to leave them alone for 36 hours after spotting them.

One thing I don't quite understand is that a person could choose to go to site to "disrupt."

Don't get it. I guess they are the non-violent version of a suicide bomber.

Plus, I like to debate.

But Hinz Sight is better than Rooster vision, so I submit.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

I understand your desire to convert, so you might consider supplementing your Red State time with some Swords Crossed time. Then you can argue with all the lefties you want without giving troublemakers here any incentives!

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I voted Harry Browne in 2000, but will never vote Ron Paul.

but their arguements are rooted in hatred, not reason over there. It quickly degenerates into vitriol at Swords.

And some are so far into denial... they don't even know WHY they drive Vets.

"Even when you fall on your face, you're still moving forward."

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

I truly, truly hate that RS since the move to Drupal puts a reply form on the main page. It's so silly beacuse it's easy to miss whether your click to Reply To This went through or not, and end up not replying where you meant to.

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I voted Harry Browne in 2000, but will never vote Ron Paul.

I'm going to write a diary on my ideas for how RS could be improved - constructive criticism, mind you. The "Ditch the Reply To" form for the main posting is one of the first.

...when they see me they'll say, "There goes Loren Wallace,
the greatest thing to ever climb into a race car."

...and it does sort of blow chunks that his response forms on Kos are far superior to what is available here. I don't like the whole collapsable, viewable thread thingie, that's a distraction. The expanded thread view here is superior-Kos looks like Usenet. But his posting platform is superb.

Let's do what he's got, imho.

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it"-Winston Churchill

I don't go to lib websites, so I don't even know what they are saying about certain things. I like it when they come here and spout, because parsing the troll is one of my favorite spectator sports. Sometimes, I might even get in a jab or two.

There is excellent high level discussion here, and because things are kept to a high level, no one gets out of control - for long anyway. While I agree we don't want the place to be over run with them, can we maybe have one or two as pets?

Only one, when unchecked, can be pretty stressful to me anyway (as you know, heh).

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I voted Harry Browne in 2000, but will never vote Ron Paul.

I don't know, that can be a ptoblem. In the first place, they have an insatiable appetite, and once you begin feeding them, they will eat you out of house and home.

Secondly, they can exhibit a nasty disposition once angered. Often this results in language that would make a sailor blush, and that requires sanitizing by moderators.

And finally, there is the matter of their own good. It is really not fair for us to allow their delusions to continue. By feeding them, they develop unrealistic visions of their own worth...and that is patently unfair. Much better to cut off their [redacted], leaving them impotent and unable to propagate.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

Pretty, please? I promise not to feed them at night.

since you would normally not expect any problems until you have a male and a female pet troll (assuming they can't cross-breed with other species)...

Unfortunately, if our troll belongs to the species Polygeminus grex, then even one pet will yield this result. We may not be as lucky as the Enterprise .

And Rightly So!

to stay away from the recommend button.

When a troll is detected, those who recommend should be asked a) why they did so and b) to un-recommend the post.

They live for the front page.

Look around the blogs and you will soon see why.

I have fed a couple in my time, and it won't happen again. Also, be sure and look for the passive / aggressive "poor me, he was mean and I was just fighting back" responses, or a lot of time spent ingratiating himself with regular posters.

Thanks for the common sense, and a welcome post after a good weekend.

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