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Trolls don't lurk under bridges anymore; they hang out on message boards and make other people's lives miserable. They're a pain if you're a forum member, but at least you have the option of leaving the community. They're much worse if you own the community and you're trying to build it into a friendly place. What can you do about persistent trolls? Keep reading for some options.
We have all seen them. They lurk on message boards and add postings that bring nothing to the conversation. They sit in chat rooms, talking to no one and everyone at the same time. They annoy everyone on a forum. They add flaming posts and spew hatred on any number of topics from the latest political news to which is really the best operating system, Windows or Apple.
In fact, the topic does not seem to matter at all. It could be a matter of life and death or something that is completely and totally without consequences. No matter what the topic is, there always seems to be a troll on hand to make everyone's conversations a bit less meaningful and a bit more aggressive.
If you run a site, then you know how quickly a small group of trolls (or one troll who has no life at all) can do serious damage to your site. Your readers do not like to be attacked when they post a comment to express an opinion or ask a question. This means that you are going to have to find a way to manage your trolls, and make your site a less appealing place for them to spew their hatred. This piece will examine some of your options. Once you know what you can do, it is up to you to fight back.
Moderate your comments
If your site is relatively small, or if you happen to have a staff for a larger site, then simply moderating your comments may be the way for you to go. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, comment moderation is the process of manually checking and approving each of the comments made to your site before they are allowed to be displayed on your site.
What should you moderate for? Well, each site has a different standard, but some factors that you may want to consider include:
Relevance: Does this comment have anything to do with the posting and conversation going on here? A comment on why this person berates the Israelis is (or is not) a notion that probably has nothing to do with your post on the Simpsons or a forum discussion on hummus recipes.
Profanity: If your site is family oriented, then you may want to ban by default any comments that use words that belong on George Carlin's famous list.
Personal attacks: When one member of the community feels the need to comment not on an issue, but on an individual making the comment, then you may want to block it from view.
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