How to Deal with Trolls on Your Blog

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TrollIf you have a blog, you know the trolls I am referring to. Trolls are typically people who post rude comments with the sole intent of offending or provoking others. Their comments are usually off-topic and are meant to initiate a defensive or equally vicious response from the target.

Trolls may post once, occasionally or be regular offenders, but their goal is usually to be as disruptive as possible by instigating others. If you give the troll the attention they are after by reacting, they usually win, so paying little attention to them is the best way to deal with trolls.

Don’t Feed the Trolls

DFTT is a well-known acronym in the blogging world, and basically reiterates the importance of not acknowledging the troll and their comments. If you respond, you are giving them more ammunition to continue on with their disruptive behavior. When you ignore them entirely, they may eventually just go away.

But what if ignoring them just doesn’t work? If they become a habitual poster and start to disrupt conversations with your readers and essentially drive people away with their negativity, you may need to try a different tact.

Find Out What They’re All About

You can usually find out something about the troll by checking their account information for an email address, website and/or IP address. Even if the poster comments anonymously, if you keep a record of submitted comments and they have commented before, you may be able to identify them. If it’s someone who has commented normally in the past, it’s possible that they’re just having a bad day and their one comment will be the end of it.

You can also Google the troll with whatever information you have to see how they act on other outlets to get an idea if this is habitual for them or a one-time thing.

If you’re able to get an idea of what is motivating them to post inappropriately, you can make an informed decision on how to handle the situation.

Kill Them with Kindness

Trolls want you to get angry and respond defensively to their taunts. You can turn the tables on them by taking the high road and thanking them for their comment, pulling them into the conversation, and even complimenting something that they said. You will likely catch them off-guard, although they may come back and keep trying to incite you.

Block Them

If you have serial trolls commenting on your blog, you may opt to put your comments in moderation and refuse to post anything that is off-topic. Although this may be an inconvenience to your regular readers, this may be the only way to maintain the integrity of your blog.

Report Them

In the most extreme situations, if a troll escalates the situation to personal attacks, invading your privacy and excessive harassment, you may be in a position where you will need to take legal action. Keep a log of all of your interactions with the subject so you have a paper trail of the situation to use to back up your claims. This is a rare but very serious situation, and one you will want to be prepared for.

How do you deal with trolls on your blog?

Image credit: Crow Girl

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  • troll

    DIS IS A GUD BLOG POST LOLZ

  • http://www.starsites.co.za Jacotheron

    Thank you for this great post. I am preparing my own site to have a blog and this is great advice on something I have been starting to think about – how to handle these trolls. Once again thank you for a great post.

  • http://www.arwebdesign.net samanime

    I have lots of experience dealing with trolls in the past and this is definitely good advice.

    One case that wasn’t mentioned but unfortunately can be the case sometimes is that trolls sometimes travel in packs, or infect others and make them trolls as well. This isn’t that common, especially in blogs, but can be all too common in forums or other areas where you may have social functions (such as having friends). In these cases, clicks could form and their members defend each other (if they aren’t smart/brave enough to tell their trolling member to shut up).

    Even in these cases though, the same tactics still apply: ban them or kill them with kindness, and never feed them.

  • manu

    lets see an example, why not somebody impersonates a rude troll here in the comments?

  • My220x

    Some good information and it’s defiantly work tackling the trolls as they can ruin your community. Samanime also has a good point about them travelling in packs as some existing communities will raid other forums and cause trouble.

  • http://www.sagewing.com Sagewing

    Great article!

  • Zentaurus

    But all these solutions maybe won’t be enough. It’ll depend on if the troll want to be easily detected. I don’t think it’ll be hard to find one who’ll know how to use a proxy, or other way to hide his IP.
    There’s also the factor of how much free time this person has. If you’re facing a totally lifeless person and your blog isn’t the main matter of your life, this enemy can turn out to be an evil virtual entity that may cause stress on the blogger’s life… what a problem :P

  • troll

    I feel like Marty Mcfly in back to the future playing Jonny B. Goode… I’m fading!

  • phpster

    I just end up moderating. Fortunately(??) there is not that much traffic so moderation is just a few times a day for one or two posts.

  • Another troll

    Muba chuka buka

    This is a very BAD post.

    :P

  • Tony Heskett

    Have a look at what the Ubuntu peeps (mainly girls in this case, but some guys) did to pwn MikeeUSA (Google / see the Geek Feminism Wiki) if you didn’t already, please.

    Good work they did, in an unpleasant situation.

  • http://www.arwebdesign.net samanime

    If you are under a serious attack from a lifeless troll, you can always just require that posts need to be moderated before they show up. If you leave it like that for a week or two, the troll will likely disappear.

  • http://www.arwebdesign.net samanime

    Oh, also, I just wanted to mention: That is the creepiest troll doll I’ve ever seen…

  • Neil Bradley

    I find their home address and make them ‘dissappear’.

  • zoombaro

    Cool article !!

  • rhl

    good one

  • ChrisCD

    I don’t have moderation on, but I do go and delete comments that aren’t appropriate (such as the above). I’m hoping that was supposed to be an example of a troll and not a real one.

    Of course, the problem with this method is the bad comment will be there until I have the time to remove it.