What is a troll?

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What is a troll?

Post by DG » Mon May 23, 2011 8:44 am

What is a troll?
A `troll' is an individual who enjoys creating conflict on the internet. He or she creates and fuels arguments which upset other members of the online community.

Trolls thrive in the anonymous space that is the internet. Trolls crave attention from others, and they don't care whether the attention is positive or negative. For trolls, other users are not quite real people; they are abstract characters on the other side of a computer screen. Trolls don't feel bad about hurting the feelings of other people in the digital space.

Trolls view chat rooms and newsgroups as a challenge where the winner is the user who creates the biggest argument, the user who upsets the most people in the most dramatic way. A troll wants to be the user getting the most attention.

Troll behavior discourages many users and makes for a less vibrant online community. New users may not post because they fear ridicule. Established posters may leave an online community because the noise has overwhelmed the real discussion. Trolls can make an entire community paranoid, leading users to become negative or to accuse a user engaged in normal criticism as a troll.

What should I do (and not do) about trolls?
Remember, trolls feel rewarded by creating the biggest altercation possible. They want to get a reaction out of you. When you fight with a troll, he wins. When you reason with a troll, he wins. Any time that you give a troll attention, he gets exactly what he wants.
The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. When you ignore a troll, he doesn't get the satisfaction of creating an escalated conflict.

To avoid reading/receiving posts from a specific user, and if you are using Firefox and have installed the relevant add-on, you can use our Ignore User feature (click on the "Ignore User" link attached to any message posted by that user). You will not see or receive any more messages from that user.

If you decide to leave a discussion because of the negative tone, do not dramatically announce that you are leaving. While that message may make you feel better, it only convinces the troll that he is winning.

You may also bring an abusive post to the attention of our moderators. Please only do this if the comments violate our Terms and Conditions. Violations of our terms and conditions include any post which constitutes a criminal offense, pornographic content, an impersonation of an entity without permission, or an unsolicited promotion. A strongly stated opinion is not a violation of our Terms and Conditions even if it is stated in a way that you feel is insulting or hateful.

Please remember: the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them.
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