THE COMMENT TROLL PROBLEM

The signal-to-noise ratio in the comments has been pretty low lately because of active troll activity.

Troller is looking for a response…ANY response, and he will chum the waters with complaints, insults, compliments, and inflammatory tidbits hoping that someone…ANYONE, will take the bait. Generally quite harmless – practices a form of catch and release. Nonetheless, he can upset the delicate ecology of a discussion forum. Once a forum becomes aware of his presence, however, all feeding activity ceases and Troller must move on to more promising waters. [link]

Possible solutions:

1. Drop comments altogether. Don’t care for this since I think the reader comments still enhance the DCB experience.

2. Require registration. Not a big fan of this either. People have enough usernames and passwords to remember.

3. Turn on moderation and require each comment to be approved. I don’t mind this. While the real-time nature of the site would obviously be disturbed, the problem would be completely solved. Another downside is that I would have to actually do the moderation.

4. Require users to fill in name and email. I don’t see how this would work since you could easily put in fake info.

5. Be more positive. I realize that I create an environment where trolls can practice and optimize their trade. I could give group hugs every week and have pity party posts like the female bloggers do.

6. Aggressive deletion. Delete comments to break the will of the troll. “What’s the point he’s going to delete it anyway.” Currently I only delete mean-spirited comments.

7. Aggressive banning. This is what I do now, but the trolls have adapted by using proxys. If you’ve ever surfed with a proxy you know how annoying it is, which shows how dedicated my trolls are.

8. Disallow comments on certain posts. Before putting something up I pretty much know the type of reaction I’m going to get. I could take commenting away on posts that have historically attracted trolls.

9. Do nothing. Anarchy!

A year ago I had zero dedicated trolls. Right now I have two full-time trolls and several more part-timers who seem to only come out when the moon is in a certain phase. Then there are those of you who put up great comments 90% of the time but troll the other 10%. Maybe this will all pass… like a kidney stone.

Evident by this post, the trolls have won and I think we are going to have to live with them. You can do your part by not responding to them. Remember that once they take a post off-topic, their job for the day is complete.

I’d like to dedicate this new emoticon to the trolls (especially the one that got published in the Express): :troll:

23 thoughts on “THE COMMENT TROLL PROBLEM

  1. phi

    you could always do what the weblogs inc/AOL guys do, require verification of messages. Basically, everyone posting has to fill in their email, and they then have to check their mail and click on an emailed link to verify the msg to have it show on the comments page.

    of course coding this might be a pain in the ass, but it might work.

  2. Anonymous

    Active troll activity? Is that anything like passive female passivity? Or douchebagish dcbachelor douchebagery?

  3. J.P.

    I say let the trolls remain. I feel like it’s a sign of a good blog jumping the shark when they finally start setting up some sort of aggressive system of preventing people from openly commenting.

    I’d say that I am one of those people who comment 90% seriously and 10% trolling– and I think that’s true for a lot of people.

    You could always go “underground” again.

  4. Jinxy

    I think there’s a difference between those who troll and those who vociferously disagree with what you’re saying or the way you go about saying it.

    As your online personality is that of a cooler-than-thou, urbane hipster, a lot of people are going to want to take potshots at you.

    You know this and do things deliberately to provoke a visceral reaction a lot of times.

    However, from what I’ve seen, when a troll gets on here and flames for no legitimate reason (except that they don’t like you personally), they either get bitch slapped by the rest of the commentors or ignored all together.

    It’s the people that want to vigorously refute what you’re saying who end up taking the blog off subject.

    But that’s OK, isn’t it? We presume that bloggers post their writings not to hear people sing their praises about how witty and intelligent they are, but in order to create debate and discourse and humor.

    The open nature of blogs has a way of weeding out and marginalizing the people who don’t have anything interesting or funny to say.

    So keep selectively deleting and blocking IPs of the true trolls. Natural selection will take care of the rest.

  5. Whatever

    Who gives a crap about the trolls. We all think they are lame anyways. Take it a sign of success.

  6. holiday

    DCB-C’mon. Admit it. You love the trolls. They love you too. They have to love you to spend so much time hating you.

  7. TC the Terrible

    DCB,

    As one of your 90/10 guys I say leave things as they are. Trolls shouldn’t keep you from taking comments like herpes shouldn’t be a reason to keep your dick in your pants. You have to hang it out there and hope for the best.

    TC

  8. Ayla

    Embrace the trolls, DCB. This site without the requisite haters/trolls/flamers just wouldn’t be as fun. Exposing and embodying douchebaggery is what you do best.

  9. Sally

    After all, if not for trolls I’d never get called cool stuff like “status-driven cunt”.

    Also, I think Troll Army wants to marry me.

  10. Johnny5

    As stated above I think you’re doing fine. Trolls are to be expected on a blog like this and once in a while a man has to assert his dominance by publicly exposing the anonymous ones for who they are, which you do. Again, they’re just a sign of the blog’s popularity.

  11. V

    I agree. Trolls are a compliment as they go where they can get noticed and the fact that they come here means you’re doing something right.

  12. Oface

    Won’t this cause the universe to explode and destory life as we know it?? Isn’t this sort of like the matrix with Neo and Agent Smith or how about Star Wars, sh** even Heaven or Hell. Can your really exist without the other??? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of your existence in the first place??? I am a troll and I exist to bring balance into the fold so let me do my part or we will all perish. Ok let me get back to eating my lunch here.

  13. klo

    It’s kind of rare to find a blog that actually gets a good debate/discussion going in the comments. And I have seen a LOT worse trolling than what goes on here. You know you can take it, on a personal level. So just let it go.

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