What to do with Trolls. Feed, ignore or hunt?

imagesIn Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement. This sense of the word “troll” and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment.

In Chinese, trolling is referred to as bái mù (Chinese: ??; literally: “white eye”), which can be straightforwardly explained as “eyes without pupils”, in the sense that whilst the pupil of the eye is used for vision, the white section of the eye cannot see, and trolling involves blindly talking nonsense over the internet, having total disregard to sensitivities or being oblivious to the situation at hand,

Two studies published in 2013 and 2014 have found that people who are identified as trolls tend to have dark personality traits and show signs of sadism, antisocial behavior, psychopathy, and machiavellianism. The 2013 study suggested that there are a number of similarities between anti-social and flame trolling activities.  In another study (2014) it was suggested that the noxious personality characteristics known as the “dark triad of personality” should be investigated in the analysis of trolling, and concluded that trolling appears “to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.” Their relevance is suggested by research linking these traits to bullying in both adolescents and adults. The 2014 study found that trolls operate as agents of chaos on the Internet, exploiting hot-button issues to make users appear overly emotional or foolish in some manner, and also exploiting people with sensitive personalities by deliberately attacking them. If an unfortunate person falls into their trap, trolling intensifies for further, merciless amusement.


It is also possible that Trolls are suffer from poor self esteem,  and wanting to belong. But lacking in social skills, Trolls approach a blog in a gungho manner, criticizing and attacking members, thereby destabilizing the blog and weakening the camaraderie of the group. An uncontrolled Troll can spell the end of a successful blog/website because then members will stop posting out of fear of being attacked. In any blogs/websites where free discussions take place, there is criticism and there is destabilizing attacks for the purposes of breaking up the group. So now we come to the question of….

What do we do with Trolls?

troll spray

If a troll tries to provoke you, just ignore them. They’re not worth your time or emotional distress. Try not to take anything personally. If you can, try to have a good laugh and think about how sad it is that people actually feel the need to insult complete strangers on the Internet. This is why novice Internet users are routinely admonished, “Do not feed the trolls!” The 2013 study found that trolls often have a high expectation of what it means to be successful, which is higher than they are able to attain, and this results in them resenting others who think they are successful but who fall below their standards.
Or…. we can go Troll hunting. Mike has got the lisence, Al will supply the Troll bats and also offer taxidermy service if you want to preserve your Trolls as tropy. Al also sells hunting outfits for those who want to get into real mood. Captain is game warden to make sure you guys don’t exceed your Troll quota. Angeleyes and Don are available for hire as trackers. Will give discount for pensioners and disabled.  🙂

All funds raised will be donated to the PFB beer and popcorn fund. HAPPY  HUNTING!


Published in Trolls, Useful Information


  1. Profile gravatar of Mike

    Good article with a sense of humor. I know Angeleyes and Don will be good trackers, I have watched Crocodile Dundee. I know Al use to hunt moose back in the great white north, but does he know how to skin and dress a troll? I remember comments that BL made before that he trained his cats to track and stalk mice and rats. Any chance BL would train his cats to track trolls so we could rent them in case Angeleyes and Don are booked full?
    Can we set traps? If so what kind are allowed, bear type spring traps or the humane type of traps like they sell in the philippines to catch rats? If a troll is caught in the bear type leg trap, will the troll chew it’s leg off to get away like a coyote will? Will there be prizes and awards for the biggest troll caught?

  2. Profile gravatar of Sarah
    Sarah Post author

    Thanks Mikey. You did suggest the hunting bit, which gave the article a light hearted ending. Thanks 🙂

    On a serious note, for those inexperienced with Trolls, best thing to do is to ignore them, that is “do not feed”. Reacting to a negative or aggressive remark is feeding. Troll is baiting you by making negative/aggressive comment. That’s what I did with “you know who”. Ignore! Ignore! Ignore! Do not comment on his/her posts. Eventually someone will call him/her out or he/she soon will get the message that we are not taking the bait. When Trolls don’t get “fed”, they usually moved on.

    People with ideas/experiences should not get put off from posting. As you can see, we have a strong sense of community here. For sure we have different personalities and disagreements are bound to happen. Just be mature about it. 🙂

  3. Profile gravatar of Mindanao

    Well done Sarah on the literature regarding trolls. Dark Triads. Sadists, Psychopaths, Machiavellians. I follow literature on character/personality disorders as a hobby.

    Internet discussion fora are dying because social media like facebook isn’t anonymous like discussion fora. The anonymity allows trolls to be malicious pricks whereas showing your face requires being polite and considerate. Discussion fora also protected trolls by prohibiting posts saying “Do Not Feed The Troll” because that was allegedly a personal insult. The rules usually claim we should attack the argument, not the person. Except that trolls never make an argument they actually believe – everything is for manipulative effect. Lying is generally not against forum rules for example so the troll will lie ten thousand times in succession and this angers normal people to the point of extreme frustration. But you cannot say even once in response “Do not feed the troll” without a warning from moderators. The troll is sitting right by the “report post” function gleefully reporting people for responding to his bait.

    The troll does not answer questions repeatedly asked, which is also not against the rules but is abusive. The troll will call you stupid by saying your “argument” is stupid, so boy, what a huge help the rules are there. Trolls undertake what is called an “evaluation phase” with other posters. They look for the “buttons” that can be pushed, and people gladly tell you what they are. If someone is really concerned with minority rights, the troll insinuates they are a racist. If someone is sensitive about their weight, they insinuate the person is fat. If you are very conscientious they will insinuate you are selfish and self-absorbed. It does no good to call a racist a racist. The racist is going to agree and proudly tell you why. You call the egalitarian a racist. The more unfair the accusation, the better in troll-world.

    One of the interesting things about the psychology research is that all of us troll when we are engaging defense mechanisms or have been overtaken by emotion.

    If we don’t like someone, or they have pointed out a fault about us that angers us, then we respond with the same kinds of manipulative tactics that trolls use: guilt-tripping, shaming, playing the victim, ridicule, inappropriate anger, false flattery, selective attention, selective memory, lying (three forms: lying by omission, lying with inclusion of irrelevant misleading information, and outright lying), playing the servant role, playing dumb, etc.

    Even decent people troll when they are trying to attack someone emotionally.

    1. Profile gravatar of Idiotocracy

      Not picking on you so the “you” is generic in the comments below.

      So then there is the problem of identifying a troll versus someone that you vehemently disagree with. So easy to paint things that way if you think they don’t believe what they are saying or you yourself are the ignorant one.

      The other point that I disagree with is the idea that the more unfair the accusation the worse the impact on the “troll’s” intended victim. Walk up to a skinny person and call them fat and most will look at you like you are crazy. Unless that person is a anorexic (SP?) and then we get to the point I’m trying to make; is it a troll or are they just getting under your skin because of your own self aware issues?

      Your last paragraph kind skirts that issue, admitting that we might retaliate using troll tactics, but how do you know that innocent comments didn’t turn on your inner troll and you are too unaware to see what others see?