Posted 5 years ago on April 6, 2012, 12:41 p.m. EST by pewestlake
from Brooklyn, NY
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I may be somewhat new to this forum but I'm about as veteran as it gets in social media. My first experience with trolls harkens back to the CNN forum on CompuServe in 1994. I was a sysop back then, aggregating news stories, moderating online chats and, among other things, packaging quotes for our companion town hall-style show, Talkback Live!, that aired from 3pm to 4pm ET M-F.
The trolls were less sophisticated back then and CompuServe gave us a "kill switch" that enabled us to block them for various lengths of time, from 24 hours to forever. They couldn't use multiple usernames either so it actually stuck. Our policy was simple -- no foul language and no ad hominem attacks and it was applied quite fairly. I even "killed" my own brother once for calling someone a "Bible Nazi" in the group chat.
Even as far back as 1994 we knew that the trolls had one mission in life -- divide and conquer. Whenever we try to legitimately engage with their myopic rhetoric, everyone loses but them. We can't avoid them completely, but we can minimize their impact and keep the genuine conversations floating to the top. After a couple months of seeing how this forum flows, I have adopted a simple policy:
1) If post originates from troll, ignore completely. Forever. 2) If trolls comment on good posts, ridicule their ignorance with facts and keep them shouting and bubbling the good stuff to the top.
If everyone of good conscience followed a similar methodology, all troll threads will be nothing but trolls looking and sounding like trolls and genuine threads will consistently be bubbling to the top. Troll rhetoric embedded within genuine conversations loses most of its power. Any third grader can see the difference between the trolls and people like Odin, GypsyKing, DKAToday, April, Shadz66, GirlFriday, etc. Real people have real things to say. Trolls have nothing. Ignore their fascist hate-screeds and gravitate to the good stuff. It will never stop them, but it can minimize their impact.