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Thread: The Troll Whisperer

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    The Troll Whisperer

    I came across an article, "How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community" on Seth's blog. It is really relevant to anyone who runs a forum, blog, message board, mailing list, or anything where people can join and comment.

    Definition troll (n) -- someone who comes onto an online community looking to pick fights -- has two victory conditions: Either everyone ends up talking about him, or no one talks at all.

    Trolls can infect a small group, but they really shine in big forums. Discussion groups are like uranium: a little pile gives off a nice, warm glow, but if the pile gets bigger, it hits critical mass and starts a deadly meltdown. There are only three ways to prevent this: Make the pile smaller again, spread the rods apart, or twiddle them to keep the heat convecting through them.

    --

    Teresa is a troll-whisperer. For some reason, she can spot irredeemable trolls and separate them from the merely unsocialized. She can keep discussions calm and moving forward. She knows when deleting a troll's message will discourage him, and when it will only spark a game of whack-a-mole.

    Teresa calls it "having an ear for text" and she is full of maddeningly unquantifiable tips for spotting the right rod to twiddle to keep the reactor firing happily without sparking a meltdown.
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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    This was circulation ages ago on the web....
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    If anyone has any doubts about clicking that link, it's quite safe and really funny - at least for anyone who has been around forums for a while.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    I've actually seen that posted on some forums in answer to some people, the result of it being that the person in question never bothered to go back.... Quite effective....

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    Email problem stephanfx's Avatar
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    Nice text, very funny at some parts , may I ask if that person was perhaps you, you know, the "person in question"

    Seriously though, I think that a simple ban on simple minded trolls is much simpler that trying to whisper to them, and in the end you get your head bitten of for no apparent reason.

  6. #6
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I think some forum admins are too quick to ban or lock down a thread - often it just takes some well-considered and timeous intervention.

    We haven't been tested here (long may that continue), but I have been involved with keeping the peace on occasions elsewhere. I think the real knack is to have a high level of empathy - to understand where the poster is coming from from their point of view, and develop the appropriate response from there.

    One of the challenges - and why you can't just leap to banning, is that at times the poster being labeled as a troll is not the actual problem. If you'd like, I'll hunt up some good examples of that - the Off Topic section on MyADSL has quite a few...
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  7. #7
    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    Agreed, forums should not be locked down or restricted too soon for certain topics...

    90% of fighting on forums include name-bashing purely because the person answering a question or remark is not in the same frame of mind that made said comment or don't understand their way of thinking...

    And now, I wasn't the troll... Are you? Sometimes I rip out an answer at amazing speeds, only to go back and re-read my answer to a certain person and then see things in a different light... Everyone could do with a deep breath and a quick think about how they'd feel if the answer they just wrote was offered to them...

  8. #8
    Email problem stephanfx's Avatar
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    I agree to what Dave and Riaan has said, but my understanding of a troll and the definition given by dsd, is a person who goes out to look for a fight, someone who is always cursing etc. If someone has a quick rant about something and they are not usually like that, they, for me, are not trolls. So yes I agree that forums should not be locked up to soon, and that admins are sometimes too quick to ban, but repeat offenders (trolls) should be banned.

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