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Dealing with 'trolls'

  1. A minority of despicable people think that they are anonymous online and feel free to insult and abuse others, so it's great to see that in the UK the legal system has made efforts to address the problem, with the recent jailings of youths for attempting to incite riots during the disturbances last month and now, the sentence for this Internet troll:

    What are your thoughts on these people? And how are they being dealt with in other countries?

    Bring back medieval punishments I say. Tar and feather them and parade them through the town centre...

    The blog I need help with is

  2. So far in India all I've heard with regard to these matters is the blocking of IP, no other course of action has been taken.

  3. aoifemcdermotdeclare

    It's always easier to destroy than to create. People who have trouble creating anything positive often choose to try and drag others down to their level. It's hard to know how to fight back against such folks, especially if they are using the cover of anonymity. Unless you're prepared to stoop to their level, there's probably no real recourse. But mocking such losers can be fun, if you're willing to put up with the probably resulting further abuse. If not, there's no real alternative other than to ignore it and keep to your own course.

  4. If you ignore them I think they often go away. The guy mentioned in my link is an extreme case thankfully as it would be hard to ignore someone gaining pleasure from the deaths of young people.

  5. If you ignore them, they generally don't go away. They think "I got away with it" and can even take over your entire blog.

  6. Well, if it's your blog, can't you just moderate all comments to prevent a troll from doing any damage?

  7. @benoldz
    Right on! Everything on my blog reflects my brand and I'm keenly aware of that. I moderate every comment and will never post a troll comment on my blog.

    We are all responsible for our own emotional health. It takes just as much energy to take offense as it does to give offense. There is no logic when it comes to wasting your energy on trolls. Clearly your blog is not YOU and my blog is no ME. The commentator cannot touch our inner self, unless we give them permission to so don’t open that inner door and give your power away. Take responsibility, develop a comment policy and either post the comment and refute the contents or delete it and blog on.

    My advice is to all bloggers is to moderate comments and develop a comment policy for your blog and enforce it including:
    1. On topic comments are welcome and encouraged;
    2. Comments ought to add value;
    3. Keywords in the “name” field are spam;
    4. Links must be relevant;
    5. No signature links in comments, as usernames are already links to sites/blogs.

  8. I was really referring to the internet as a whole, rather than just our own blogs which we can of course moderate.

  9. Thank you, benoldz. But that would be intelligent.

  10. What are your thoughts on these people?

    There are three reasons why people troll blogs, chatrooms, newsgroups and social networking sites. They are:
    to get attention;
    to disrupt;
    to make trouble.
    They get no gratification at all when the are ignored as what they aim to do is provoke emotional responses. Trolls have no true interest in the subjects they post on, their aim is only a childish and narcissistic one and that is to secure attention through the manifestation of negative behavior. What trolls desire is our online time and attention. When we refuse to respond to their posts or waste our time fruitlessly communicating with them, they move elsewhere.

    In addition there isn't a country on this planet that does not have mentally disturbed people. There are many who suffer from an array of illnesses and disorders and we experience them both online and offline.

    And how are they being dealt with in other countries?

    Search the news for various countries and you will find your answer.

    The number of children reporting online harassment has gone up by 50 percent since 2000. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The reality we face is that technology has provided a means of harassing others that didn't exist before. Our policing budgets none include large allocations of funding directed at locating cyber-criminals and bringing them before the courts.

    IMHO what's also needed is a reality check and much more parental guidance for kids who are virtually living their lives online and who are sucked into becoming the victims of trolls. Many parents found the boob tube to be a great babysitter and that evolved into giving little kids computers, cell phones, laptops, etc. to keep them busy.

    These days we all know that technological addiction exists and kids are deriving their concept of who they are in the world from their online encounters. Kids need face-t-face relationships with healthy role models and peers. They need fresh air and exercise and so do their parents. They also need supervision they aren't getting when they are online.

    Worse stil, many parents are themselves addicted to technology and are not capable of functioning as healthy role models at all. There are many latch key kids who have parents who bring their work home with them and then spend hours online modeling that to them. Parents who are a part of the always switched on legions of cyber addicts out there are creating little images of themselves. Those little images are needy and neglected. They are prefect targets for cyberbullies and trolls.

  11. P.S. I apologize for the typos. I'm having a bad vision day. Sorry :(

  12. habituatedbuddhist

    TT I generally like your policy suggestions though "5. No signature links in comments, as usernames are already links to sites/blogs." is one I've never thought about. I'm embarrassed to say that I've violated that one w/o even thinking about it...

    Myself, I have no stated comment policy for my blog - frankly, I consider myself God-Emperor (to borrow from Frank Herbert) of my blog and all comments exist at my pleasure (smile - though I've yet to not approve one)

  13. Do you mean you're referring to people saying negative things about us anywhere on the internet, not just in the comments of our blogs? Those are Haters, not Trolls. DIFFERENT.

  14. Judging from the OP I think he means he wants to hear our opinions on the the case of the UK troll who was sent to prison. I also think the "tar and feathers" bit means he thinks that stiffer sentences for trolls like that guy ought to be the order of the day.

  15. @habituatedbuddhist
    I remove signature links from comments when I know the commenter and when they are dropping them because they are new to blogging and there are still folks out there that tell new bloggers to post them into comments on blogs and forums.

  16. I just thought I'd stimulate some debate on the UK case I highlighted and also anything else related, whatever the definitions of these types of people are. Essentially they are all just trying to stir up negative reactions for their own twisted gratification.

    As for mentally disturbed people, dare I suggest that our very own Apostle Jack falls into that category? Contributed to a couple of good posts for me though...

  17. @tltcl - this is an article of mine about what people did to the Facebook tribute page of a child mauled to death by a dog:

    Why? I don't think it is technology at fault, it is parents and society.

  18. I don't think it is technology at fault, it is parents and society.

    Agreed and while I'm okay with our policing budgets being increased to apprehend cyber criminals and bring them to the courts, I'm not so naive as to believe that if parents don't act that there will not be more victims. Technologically addicted parents who cop out of parenting are creating a generation of cyber-hooked kids who are defining themselves and their self esteem in places like faceplant. Technologically addicted women are even starting faceplant accounts for their fetusues. No, I am not kidding!

  19. Faceplant? Is that a social network for gardeners?

  20. @tltcl
    Don't get me started on that data mining operation. What part of if you aren't a purchaser then you are a product do people just not get? Every click of an ad or of a 3rd party app, every click on a game like the idiotic fake farming and virtual pets, etc. means you are leaking data to the 3rd party app providers. If you are cool with feeding that empire and Zuckerbeg's notion of world domination by creating the largest shopping mall on the planet - go for it. As for me, I'm into scorning and mocking.

  21. I clicked on something on another site the other day as part of the "Login using your Facebook account) thing - I think I wanted to comment on an article sent to me by LinkedIn - and the warning of how much "stuff" that site could do with MY Facebook account, scared the crap out of me. One of the things was "make posts on your behalf". Not bloody likely, mate. So I cancelled out of the whole thing quick smart.

  22. @teamoyeniyi
    There's a lot of peer pressure to join places like faceplant put on kids today. I think it's really important to instruct you kids about privacy online and how to avoid becoming targeted by predators and trolls. In addition to that they need to know how to avoid getting viruses and having malware automatically downloaded onto their computers.

    Clicking with Caution is a series of educational videos by kids and for kids, and aimed at to raising awareness of internet risks and teaching preventive measures. Topics included are : Maintaining Anonymity, Cyber Bullying, Online Sexual Predators and Online Gaming. The Clicking with Caution series was made in collaboration with the NYC Dept of Education’s Office of Instructional (now Educational) Technology and the Mayor’s office in partnership with Reel Works Teen Filmmaking and Microsoft. Watch Clicking with Caution here.

  23. Thanks for that link, TT. I'll be getting our kids to have a look at it!

    Trust me, we've been through the peer group pressure AND some of the fallout!

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