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Troll School- presented by wizer

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Author Topic: Troll School- presented by wizer  (Read 1865 times)

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« on: June 09, 2008, 06:02:10 pm »


Internet boards are part of your life, which is why you are here and reading this...relationship boards are very common for trolls, because they provide good material for them, and oftentimes people on relationship boards are going through some sort of emotional crisis, which makes them somewhat "thin skinned" and shortens their fuses. Perfect targets for someone who gets off on getting a reaction out of someone else, because it gives them a feeling of "power" or "satisfaction" to pull one over on someone else.

I speak from experience on this...I am not going to get into my specific reasons for being a troll on other forums....but suffice it to say, I am going through a tough time in my life right now, due to my ongoing divorce. Not because I want her back..I DON'T, but because my divorce has forced me to make huge changes in my life, it has affected my relationship with my children, and has cost me well over a 100k in legal fees. Ok, I am serously off topic here, but I want to make the point that I have done (and will continue to do) my share of trolling because its my way of venting some of my aggravation and frustration. I am NOT justifying my actions, simply explaining them, and stating that when I get into something, I really get into it because of my OCD..and I am usually quite good at it.

Here on this forum, my role is quite different, and members here will be protected from folks such as myself and chaos40, who have stirred up enough crap on other forums to recognize it when it happens here. I would like to share some of the accumulated knowledge to our members here, so you know how to deal with individuals such as myself when you encounter us not only on other forums, but in the real world as well.

One particular real life example of what could be considered "trolling" was a situation brought up by a member here, on a thread a day or two ago. Her daughter was playing in the backyard and a neighborhood boy rode by and made some sort of derrogatory comment. This member wanted to "beat up the boy" and go after his mother too, if necessary. NOT the way to handle it of course. That could result in fines, jailtime, and a rift with a neighbor..which could easily escalate to something worse.

The way to deal with such a person is the EXACT same way to deal with a suspected troll..who comes onto an internet board and starts attacking members with insults and other inflammatory remarks...

Rule #1 in dealing with a Troll: IGNORE them!

The most troll-proof of forum members continue to post on a thread as if the troll was invisible. The more they are ignored, the more the troll will try...until they realize they have been "pwned", which means they have been "outdone". They WILL give up. The frustration at being ignored is much greater than you could possibly imagine, it totally defeats the purpose of trolling and will leave them feeling humiliated, defeated, and "pwned". They will leave, and find easier targets. Perhaps they will even give up on trolling!

So that concludes this first troll tip. The take home message being...IGNORE the troll. Of course, should you spot a suspected troll, please hit report post or PM myself or one of the other administrators so we can appropriately deal with the person.

As trolls ourselves, chaos40 and myself understand the mind of a troll, and some can be converted to "our side". We have a place for trolls on this forum, and even the really bad ones can sometimes be given the opportunity to reform themeslves here on daoutskirtz, although they will be designated as trolls, and they will be confined to a few particular areas of the board and will not be allowed to play the Arcade, enter the chat room, or send PMs, until they behave.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2008, 06:21:46 pm by wizer » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2008, 06:02:31 pm »

Troll tip #2. Targeting a specific member.

What are the primary goasl of an accomplished troll?

Well, most of us know that trolls are looking to get a reaction out of as many people as they can get...although there are exceptions to this rule as well. Sometimes a troll will target one particular person. For example, when I troll over at ENA, one of my preferred targets is Luke Skywalker, because the guy is just so messed up, with his "masturbatory fleshlite device" and "repressed periods whereby he may not particpate in **** nor eat at buffets" because he is penalizing himself for "negative experiences with women" which usually means he didn't get a smile from a clerk in a store or something.

So one of my actual posts to him was to the effect of."Luke, you are truly insane". And then I simply waited for his response..which was fairly typical. He called me a troll, and pointed out that due to my low post count his suspicions had to be right. My next step might have been to point out that fingering a fake **** would be the act of a madman..and in further posts point out that a 35 year old guy living with his parents has serious issues...but I didn't get that far because I was banned for like the 80th time (at that point- now its up to over a 100). So the idea in this case is to target one particular member, and build up the flames by making a targeted strike, and once the response is illicited, to build on it...and its easier because you will have gotten the attention of the victim. ENA is a tough site to troll because it is heavily moderated, and it's tough to build the flames very high. Even though I was deleted, since Luke was kind enough to quote me, that post is still available on one of Luke's threads.

One unrelated point comes out of this particular example. One is that a "low post count member" does not have as much credibility, will not be taken as seriously by the forum members, and will be found out by the moderators that much faster. So one goal of an accomplished troll is to establish an account by making good posts, until a respectable post count is reached. What is a respectable post count? Probably no less than 30 posts...100 would be even better. So AS a troll, build a reputation.

As a troll "hunter", watch for new members with low post counts that are making inflammatory posts. If you suspect that you are being for a member that seems to be picking on you in particular...and is using things you may have posted about at a prior time. Again, the best way to respond is no response at all, but a close second best is to respond cooly, with NO emotion whatsoever, and make a counterstrike. This particular technique will be discussed in an upcoming tip.
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2008, 06:02:45 pm »


You are checking out the boards one day and you see a poster exhibiting troll-like activity..posting off topic in serious threads, flaming other members, and basically being annoying. You deal with this problem by

a) asking them what they are up to and explaining what they are doing wrong
b) confronting them and accusing them of being a troll
c) continue posting as usual while paying absolutely no attention to the posts of the suspected troll
d) report the post to a moderator or administrator by clicking the "report post button" or by PMing your favorite administrator or moderator
e) c and d

The answer will be provided at the end of the next tip.

(a reminder to posters to keep this thread ON TOPIC)
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2008, 06:03:20 pm »

When I originally posted this, among the replies, was this one:

E  Although it is always tempting to poke ,em with a stick for a bit.

It's ok to poke them with a syick, BUT you must mantain the uper hand at all times, never get on the defense and do not get emotional. Pwning a troll and sending them on their way is a perfectly acceptable alternative to ignoring them, however, this takes skill, practice, and patience.

Tips for dealing with a troll should you choose to engage will be the topic of the next tip.
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2008, 06:05:28 pm »

I just love reading this thread.

DeeDee, I responded over at womansavers to an ongoing situation involving at least you and Moon, vs. Lorrie...

Lorrie writes to Moon:

sorry for what you have become. a troll. a person who would like to see me hurt. and hurt badly by someone i trust. you want to see me betrayed, again just to get your rocks off? is this something you are gonna keep on implying or just spit it out? you have said that m.e. told chaos in chat that i deserved what was done to lucy and i...and bla blah **** blah for another few paragraphs.

In another thread, Lorrie targets DeeDee and suggests that she too, is a troll.

I "could" have responded the way both DeeDee and Moon have..which is to get all defensie, and say things to the effect of "do you really think I am a troll? Why?"...


My response on both threads was to the effect of...Lorrie shut the **** up, you are a loser, everyone knows it, and I don't care what you think.


You are really bossy. You always point out when members "break rules" or violate a TOS. You are like a moderator wannabee. People will get upset about that and will try to "pwn" you. Thats how it goes when you annoy others. Deal with

DeeDee, by acknowledging what your adversares have said about you, and by getting defensive, you simply enpower them. You will gain nothing but aggravation by trying to "reason with them" and convince them that you are not what they think you are. They may not even believe it themselves, and if not, then they are simply saying these things to get a response out of you, which makes THEM a TROLL.

You get it?
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2008, 06:43:11 pm »

Todays troll tip is inspired by current events over at brought to us by "new member" CordialMink.

This new member joined yesterday and lit up a few threads over at womansavers. Two of the threads was titled:

Im gonna have to sue you people.. and..

Id like to warn yall about me

The title of these threads are cleverly designed to attract attention, as a good troll thread should. Lets look at some other examples of possible thread them and decide which ones you would be likely to read, and possibly respond to...

"I can't believe she did this to me!!!!"

"My girlfriend hasn't called me in a few days, I think she doesn't love me anymore."

"I've got a knife and I am going to do it!"

"You guys are a bunch of nut jobs"

"I am shy and don't meet girls so well"

"I think he's cheating"

"This is unbelievable but I think it really happened!!!"

Ok, now looking at those thread titles, I think it's easy to see that some will draw more attention than others. A good troll will choose his thread titles carefully for maximum effect and response rate.

One problem with this method is that if you are "too obvious", then members and moderators will pick you out as a troll and you will probably be shut down before you can get the thread really cooking. Like anything else in life, you need to create a balance.

Some of CordialMink's posts are designed for maximum flame effect, which is good for creating responses, but will likely result in a ban within a few hours on a well moderated forum.

Im the biggest cheater in the face of teh earth, Ive broken the heart of inumerous women and given the chance Ill do more. Please warn everybody you know about me. Thank you

Ive into 56 "serious" relationships. All of them ended w/ me cheating. How can work in my fidelity?

Im with this girl right now, shes really nice and beautiful, but she hates oranges. How can anyone hate oranges? Tell me? She also wont let me eat oranges, she says it makes me stink.

Women are just too crazy.

Tell me, this place is a cesspool of viruses, what the hell is that?

Notice that his posts are directed at the entire female gender, as well as the forum administrators. Pretty good all around coverage. This troll will most likely go out in a blaze of glory, but he definitely left his mark.
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2008, 06:43:40 pm »

Troll Tip of the Day- How to effectively start a troll thread, attract responses, and keep it going.

One of the best threads I ever started was on my favorite stomping ground, The reason it's such a great place, is that it's very high volume, with literally 100s of users online at any given time, and a good percentage of them are seriously **** up. The bad thing about that particular forum is that it's heavily moderated, and at any given time there are usually several mods or admins online, and they usually shut down trolls pretty fast. So it's a challenge for the experienced trolls, and it's good practice for the novice troll. If you get shut down, either by having your posts and or thread deleted, or you are banned, then you know you pushed to hard..or too far...or too fast.

So a few weeks back, I logged on with perhaps my 110th user ID over there, with the express purpose of starting a thread that would attract a lot of attention, and get people all riled up, and basically be a time waster.

I often like to choose my topic from something that has really happened to me in the past, and then embellish it a bit. But you don't have to. The key is, it has to be, above all else, controversial, and likely to get people worked up. So what gets people worked up? Well, on relationships boards, among other things, you have cheating, mistreatment of your partner in some way, or just doing something really stupid but being clueless about it...which will make people jump out of their skin to try to set you straight.

So I chose a bachelor party that I went to, some 20 years ago. There were 2 strippers there, and at one point, the guys were taking turns going up to the two girls who were going at it on a chair in the middle of the room, and were playing touchy-feely, and getting sucked off, and jerked off. Now, I was good, honest. I did a bit of nipple pinching and that was IT...but I took it from there.

I became the guy that took one of the strippers in the back room and screwed her, and was debating whether or not to tell my fiance, considering our wedding was coming up soon..of course, this part was all fabrication. I also added that I didn't consider it "cheating" because I didn't feel anything for the woman, she was just a cheap ****. You can see how that topic was loaded...the flames started hot and heavy.."of course it was cheating"..."you should tell her" "shouldnt tell her"...of course you can then deal with posts as you see my case I defended that it wasnt cheating because the woman was a ****, she meant nothing to me, the other guys were doing it, my fiance didnt give me sex often enough, I am hitting LOTS of buttons...

Then, after the thread expanded to like 5 pages and over 100 responses in a matter of hours, I casually mentioned that I had some red spots and itchiness in my genitals, and it happened since that experience with the hookers....then of course I was advised that I probably had herpes or something, and I would say no, its just a little red spot, herpes is a big bad thing...throwing in the stupidity aspect to really make them scratch their heads...

So that thread had it all..the topic, the stoking of the flames once it got going...the responses to the posters..unfortunately I was shut down and banned however I plan to start this thread again over at in the upcoming days.

So this will be our first field trip! If you would like to contribute to what is bound to be an exciting thread...a work of art in progress so to speak, please register a user ID over at, and stay tuned for updates. Remember that all members must have a signed permission slip on file with the main office before going on any daoutskirtz sponsored field trips. Bring a bag lunch, and be aware that we are not responsible for lost or stolen items of a personal nature.
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2008, 06:43:56 pm »

Some troll tips will be taken from other websites, although in no case will i simply do a cut and paste and simply regurgitate information that I find elsewhere. At the very least I will add my thoughts and comments to the words of others that I present here.

Todays Troll tip deals a rather detailed analysis of the four different types of trolls, how to spot them, and what to do when you encounter them. This tip will be spread out over a few days because there is quite a lot of information here. Each type of troll will be discussed in it's own section.

The term "troll" can mean a number of different things, but in essence, a troll is a person who aims to have 'pleasure' at the expense of another. There are two main types of trolls:

   1. people who have the psychological need to feel good by making others feel bad. This is a sort of "psycho troll", whose deception involves deceiving themselves as well as others. Such people may use their real names on the internet, and they may not even realise that they are "trolling" because it is all subconscious.

   2. people who pretend to be someone that they are not - they create personae that you think are real, but they know is fictitious. The trolls you are most likely to encounter, and the trolling that you will be doing, is part of this group of trolls.

There are four basic types of trolls: they may have different names but they generally can be classified this way:

Playtime Trolls: an individual plays a simple, short game. Such trolls are relatively easy to spot because their attack or provocation is fairly blatant, and the persona is fairly two-dimensional.

Tactical Trolls: This is where the troller takes the game more seriously, creates a credible persona to gain confidence of others, and provokes strife in a subtle and invidious way.

Strategic Trolls: A very serious form of game, involving the production of an overall strategy that can take months or years to develop. It can also involve a number of people acting together in order to invade a forum.

Domination Trolls: This is where the trollers' strategy extends to the creation and running of apparently bona-fide internet forums.

Playtime trolls are usually easy to spot, if you are on the look out for them. They may exhibit some or all of the following signs:

    * a lack of buy-in to the forum philosophy or values (examples would be some of the now-banned TV members who just wouldn't settle down and continued to flame others including myself on the upper boards after repeated warnings).
    * generally low level of activity, with sudden spurts of interaction - or perhaps a new persona that has strong opinions on controversial subjects
    * a mixture of friendly posts with a confrontational style of interaction
    * the use of provocative language and sweeping generalisations about certain topics or categories of people
    * a lack of in-depth understanding of the topic
    * a lack of personal information
    * a lack of a genuinely unique perspective on the topic
    * a lack of humour (not sure I agree with this one- humor has its place in trolling)
    * restarting topics that have already been done
    * use of language that encourages the dialogue to enter topics that are controversial and likely to upset some team members
    * the use of an attention-seeking gimmick (e.g.: "I was once exploited by an XYZ")
    * they follow up their own posts if the group doesn't respond to their posts
    * inconsistencies in the style and nature of the post and any proclaimed information (e.g.: claiming to be a child but writing with an adult style; claiming to be adult, but writing with a childish grammatical construction).
    * also note that trolls often seem to use free email services (such as, however, bonafide forum members use these types of email addressses too, so email address by itself is no guide as to whether the persona is a troll.

To counteract playtime trolls, the best action is to ignore them, which I stated is the number one rule in dealing with trolls. If you are convinced they are trolls, then you can advise the admins. However, if other group members respond to the suspected troll's posts, then you may have to consider some of the responses outlined for tactical or strategic trolls, to be discussed in the next part of this 4 part Troll Tip.
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2008, 06:44:26 pm »

Troll Tip of the Day...We continue with the classifications of trolls.

Tactical Trolls

Tactical trolls take much more care and effort over the creation of their personae. Such trolls are likely to take the time and effort to become established on a firum, and have gained the trust of some of the "regulars". They use many of the techniques listed for Playtime Trolls, but in addition:

    * They engage in off list email dialogues to gain the confidence and trust of influential individuals on the board.
    * They are friendly and humorous in the posts, to put you at ease with their persona.
    * They have a well-thought-through story such that the persona seems to be very real. They will give apparently personal and intimate information, particularly in PMs.
    * They win trust by giving trust. For example, they may hint at something confidential on-list, but then only reveal the full story to someone off-list. By bringing someone into their confidence, they create a feeling of confidence towards them by the individual's concerned.
    * In manipulative PMs they win allies and support for some of their views.
    * They 'set up' bona fide members to argue with each other. Any view, no matter how outrageous, can be made to sound rational when put in a certain context.
    * They use gimmicks that win sympathy and bring out the 'nurturing parent' in other list members, which also suppresses any feelings of suspicion. E.g.: being blind, handicapped, an orphan, rejected, bullied, major medical problems, etc.
    * They build up a reasonable knowledge of the topics on the board.
    * They don't enter into the argument directly, but facilitate an argument between list members, e.g.: by highlighting points that one list member has made, perhaps in a way that is more confrontational than the original intention.
    * They sometimes create a fictitious persona supported by a web-site, photographs and apparently personal data.
    * They may suggest meeting up in real-life, but the meeting doesn't take place.

Many of these behaviours are things that 'real' people would engage in. It is very difficult to distinguish real people from trolls in an internet environment. The only method that can be used to verify the bona fide nature of list members is to investigate their personal information. Trolls will invent personal information, but when you investigate it you will keep coming to dead ends. For example, if their employer is company "xyz", then you may be able to find a web site at, but there is no contact information. However, with bona fide people, their personal information will lead to an ever-increasing wealth of data, such as:

    * if a real person cites "xyz" as the employer, then the web site will give a phone number;
    * the company's phone number will be answered by an operator who will be able to tell you the person's extension number;
    * company xyz may list clients on their web site, whom you can ring up and verify exist;
    * the person may be a member of professional associations;
    * you may have met some list members in real life, who will have met other list members and can therefore vouch for them.

There are some tricks that the tactical trolls may use to deceive you:

    * Some trolls will exchange some fictitious data - e.g.: phone numbers, addresses, family details - on the basis that you are not going to actually ring them.
    * They may have dedicated personal phone lines that they may use for the purpose of taking verification phone calls
    * They will want to hide other personal information, because it can demonstrate that they are not for real.
    * Various excuses can be used for not releasing personal information, including privacy.

There are some bona fide people who do not wish to be traced via the internet - but this makes it difficult to distinguish trolls from real people. If in doubt, assume that they are a troll, and don't simply believe the sophisticated lies that trolls use to hide their identity. Also, don't rely solely on your intuition - you need to establish hard data to help find out whether your intuition is for real.
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2008, 06:44:53 pm »

Troll Tip of the Day- Part 3/4, the various troll Classifications...continued.

Strategic Trolls

Strategic trolls often operate in groups, rather than alone. They use multiple personalities, each of which uses the techniques outlined in the section on tactical trolls. However, they have an overall strategy for drawing innocent members into flame wars, ultimately causing them to leave, or meltdown, or for the trolls to dominate the group.

    * They have various phases to their strategy, where each phase aims to achieve different things.
    * The first phase usually involves establishing multiple personalities who become recognised as integral members of the group - "friendly trolls". Don't be deceived by the title - they appear to be friendly but they have very different hidden motives.  Establishing friendly trolls in a group is a process that can take many months or even years.
    * The second phase involves using new personalities to start divisive threads, in the manner outlined under "Tactical Trolls". In the event that no list members respond to these threads, other phase two trolls will respond to them to keep the debate active.
    * If existing members have not yet joined in the arguments, the third phase involves "offensive trolls" attacking their own personae from the first phase. As these trolls will have built up a lot of goodwill in the group, other list members will jump to their defence, and they are therefore drawn in to the argument.
    * In case other list members don't join in, "defensive trolls" may join in and continue to give air time to the "offensive trolls".  The friendly trolls can also incite innocent members to join in using personal messages or even offsite emails.
    * Another phase may involve the friendly trolls starting to retaliate publicly, calling on the support of bona fide forum members.
    * When things start to get out of hand, threads will be escalated to stoke the flames and stir things up as much as possible and cause the maximum amount of strife and chaos.

The following is an excerpt, written by an experienced strategic troll, that gives a nice take home message for today's lesson:

      "Anyone can walk into and post that pornography should be banned. Anyone can walk into and say "baseball sucks". It takes unbelievable skill and discipline to cause a PROLONGED flame war. That is what we do. But it can only be done with talent, and numbers to match that talent. We only bring into the fold people who have the knack to use smarts to incite chaos, not stupidity to incite being ignored when people see a post and know what you're up to."

I will once again recall the thread I posted on Enotalone a few weeks back, about how I "cheated" on my significant other during a basement bachelor party, and then these strange sores started appearing on my genitals. That thread grew to over 5 pages and over a 100 posts in a few short hours. It would have probably continued at that rate as I stoked the flames..i was going to add the part about how all the guys were called to submit to paternity tests because one of the strippers was pregnant. Unfortunately they are watching for me over there and banned the user ID before I could get to the next phase.

I intend to start the same thread over at, and it will be even better with some of the troll students on board. If you are interested, please register a user ID at and stay tuned for a trolling date.
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2008, 06:46:47 pm »

We continue Troll Tips with part 4/4 of the various troll subcultures.

This last one is not as complex and this post will be mercifully short.

Domination Trolls

Recently, it has become apparent that there are probably trolls also operating as forum administrators. Their motivations are not always clear, but they may include:

    * gratification from dominating the emotional lives of list members
    * interforum flame wars - where one group sets up a forum and aims to defend it from other trolling groups (a similar situation has been occuring here as we find ourselves fending off attacks from "armies" of trolls from other troll forums -LOL).
    * a genuine area of interest on behalf of the troll

It could be said that this forum is run by trolls because admittedly that's what chaos40 and myself are, I cannot speak for Eskarina and Duke...however this forum is more of a "mixed blend" whereby we cater to members simply looking for friendship and support, but we are also looking for new trolls who are willing to learn the trade and go on trolling missions to other forums simply for the enjoyment and satisfaction it brings to pwn the less intelligent and skilled members of other forums. We also use our accumulated trolling skills to protect our members from the evil ones that may try to infiltrate us with the venomous ways of the internet troll.

Regardless, the takeaway lesson behind this weeks tip is that you need to get verification data for forums as well as other forum members before assuming they are legit.
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« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2008, 07:40:37 pm »

Troll Tip of the Day

Other general tactics for dealing with trolls

Some of these have been mentioned before, some of this is doesn't hurt to go over old stuff as we bring up new items.

When dealing with suspected trolls, there are various strategies that you can employ. First of all, remember that just because you suspect that someone is a troll, it doesn't mean that they are a troll; also, just because you suspect someone is genuine, it doesn't mean that they are genuine. In view of this, the best tactics are:

    * ignore postings that you suspect may be from trolls. Again, you are always welcome to engage, provided you can keep your emotions out of it and plan to let the troll know that they have been reverse trolled so that they don't think they fooled anyone. This will only encourage them.
    * don't invest any of your self emotionally until you have verified beyond all doubt that the person you are dealing with is genuine
    * beware of PMs and offsite emails that praise and flatter, or seem to evoke sympathy. If you feel yourself beginning to like someone, ask first: how much verifiable data do I have about them?
    * if you do get involved in anyone, seek out verifiable data. Trolls will provide some data that will lead to dead ends; real people will provide some data that is open-ended and leads to a myriad of sources which enable you to verify their genuine status
    * if you must respond to a troll posting, don't get involved in the argument; limit it to pointing out that the posting may be considered as trollish, for the benefit of other forum members.
    *Consider reporting the post to an admin, especially on this forum, where several of the admins are experienced trolls and can probably better evaluate the situation.
    * Write to the postmaster of the troll's domain. Keep it simple, polite and to the point (they are very busy!). Include your evidence (e.g.: offensive emails) and the full email header information, so that the troll can be properly traced.
    * Forum administrators can also make their boards restricted, and conduct a security analysis of each applicant before allowing them to subscribe. This is probably easier to do in areas that have professional associations or qualifications because it's more time consuming, and may discourage new members, which will of course negatively impact member volume.
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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2008, 07:41:28 pm »

At this point we have covered the basics of internet trolls, the various sub types, and how to deal with suspected trolls. Those who are reading this in the hopes of becoming better trolls will have also learned some good techniques to use in their own trolling ventures.

Todays Troll Tip will be more of a history lesson, and a summary of what has been presented to date. Most of this tip is taken from wikipedia.

An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

The contemporary use of the term first appeared on Usenet groups in the late 1980s. It is thought to be a truncation of the phrase trolling for suckers, itself derived from the fishing technique known as trolling. The word likely gained currency because of its apt second meaning, drawn from the trolls portrayed in Scandinavian folklore and children's tales; they are often ugly, obnoxious creatures bent on mischief and wickedness.

Trolling in the 1990s...The most likely derivation of the word troll can be found in the phrase "trolling for newbies," popularized in the early 1990s in the Usenet group, alt.folklore.urban. Commonly, what is meant is a relatively gentle inside joke by veteran users, presenting questions or topics that had been so overdone that only a new user would respond to them earnestly.

Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players. The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group's common interests and concerns; the newsgroups members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings, and upon judging a poster a troll, make the offending poster leave the group. Their success at the former depends on how well they and the troll understand identity cues; their success at the latter depends on whether the troll's enjoyment is sufficiently diminished or outweighed by the costs imposed by the group.

Trolls can be costly in several ways. A troll can disrupt the discussion on a newsgroup, disseminate bad advice, and damage the feeling of trust in the newsgroup community. Furthermore, in a group that has become sensitized to trolling where the rate of deception is high many honestly nave questions may be quickly rejected as trollings. This can be quite off-putting to the new user who upon venturing a first posting is immediately bombarded with angry accusations. Even if the accusation is unfounded, being branded a troll is quite damaging to one's online reputation.

The term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often erroneously used to discredit an opposing position, or its proponent, by argument fallacy ad hominem.

Often, calling someone a troll makes assumptions about a writer's motives. Regardless of the circumstances, controversial posts may attract a particularly strong response from those unfamiliar with the robust dialogue found in some online, rather than physical, communities. Experienced participants in online forums know that the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore him or her, because responding encourages a true troll to continue disruptive posts hence the often-seen warning: "Please do not feed the trolls".[10]

Frequently, someone who has been labelled a troll by a group may seek to redeem their reputation by discrediting their opponents, for example by claiming that other members of the group are closed-minded, conspirators, or trolls themselves.

A concern troll is a pseudonym created by a user whose point of view is opposed to the one that the user's sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.

A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an Internet community. In its earliest usage, a sockpuppet was a false identity through which a member of an Internet community speaks while pretending not to, like a puppeteer manipulating a hand puppet.

In current usage, the perception of the term has been extended beyond second identities of people who already post in a forum to include other uses of misleading online identities. The key difference between a sockpuppet and a regular pseudonym (sometimes termed an "alt") is the pretense that the puppet is a third party who is not affiliated with the puppeteer (but this is not always true- more often a sock puppet IS considered to be affiliated with the puppeteer and is simply an additional user ID for the same person- so this is a grey area)
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2008, 07:44:16 pm »

wizer -- the lessons have been informative & interesting -- keep it up (so to speak) 

Wizer---Until I started reading your Troll threads, I hated trolls, thought they were the lowest of the lowest, but since I came here and now have a better understanding of it all.....I say why not?

I wish when I first joined a forum  (ws) there would have been a thread such as this one explaining it all.  I remember you started a Troll thread at ws, no one showed much interest, hell, I remember I wouldn't even read it after your first post.   I really didn't like you---lol---now I think you are the greatest.    Thanks for informing me as to how a Troll operates, now I can just laugh with the is really funny.

Although I don't agree with attacking a member who never says or does anything bad to other members, I think trolls should go after the bullies of the forums.   Wizer----how do you feel about that?  Am I wrong, or does that make me not Troll material??  And if you don't answer me I will flood your PM box....

Absolutely as a troll you have the right to select your targets according to your own personal preferences. I always have a reason for singling out a particular member, if I am not simply starting a thread to bait whomever might bite on it, such as the Loveshack thread, which, as you correctly stated, requires much more patience then I showed. I rushed it, threw so much stuff into the first 2 or 3 posts that it was almost immediately called BS and the moderator shut it down.

As far as who I target, and how I feel about it? I usually target members who:

1) Have attacked me or my posts in some way. This is my prime target. I almost always hit BACK, not first. On womansavers for example, I tended to flame members who criticized my sexually crude posts. Again, I am in no way justifying the posts I made over there, this is not about that, just the type of members who respond and how they respond.

2) Members who disagree with my opinions and are critical of me. Although I don't know that I would necessarily "troll" them as much as have a spirited debate with them, but things easily turn ugly and then its a flame match and they are on my list for future trolling.

3) I do occasionally target innocent members who I have had no contact with in the past, usually members who are so stupid and clueless and throw out their opinions as if their way is the only right way. Check the posts of Luke Skywalker, Evilken, and ConfusedDater, all in the "museum of natural history" board as 3 examples of these types of members.

Although as I said, I have been chatting with Evilken on Yahoo IM these past few weeks, he understands and appreciates my advice, and he is of course no longer a target of my trolling. I could have easily messed with his head once I started chatting with him and giving advice to him, but that's not my way. When someone respects me, and asks for my advice, they are no longer an adversary or someone to be messed with.
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2008, 07:45:00 pm »

I would like to make today's post about what can happen if an internet forum member lets a troll get to them in the worst possible way.

Well ok, not the "worst" way. There was an example in the news recently about a teenage girl who commited suicide as the result of a cruel prank played on her by a bunch of other teenagers via the internet. Luckily this is a very rare occurence.

The recent departure of "evesdrop" from, along with her rather detailed and explanatory goodbye post illustrates perfectly what can happen when you let a troll get to you.

In order to effectively engage in flame wars with trolls, or simply have a peaceful coexistence on boards where trolls sometimes are able prowl because of inefficient moderating or site philosophy that allows members to say and do pretty much whatever they want (such as trollvalhalla) you MUST know how to deal with trolls, or you could easily suffer the same fate as evesdrop. She has lost a valuable source of support and friends, and she has apparently been very traumatized by the entire experience. Her goodbye post is in the "museum of natural stupidity" where interesting posts are showcased for the enjoyment and learning experience of the valued members here at daoutskirtz.

So, how to deal with annoying trolls that are getting under your skin?

1) Contact a moderator and make them aware of the situation. On, most member requests were completely ignored, or were not tended to immediately, and trolls such as myself were able to run wild for weeks at a time until they did a "cleaning house" which the moderator proudly announced, usually accompanied by a pretty picture of a broom. This is totally ineffective and most of the damage has already been done because by that time all the posts have been read, and deleting them accomplishes nothing. Here in DAO, I take an active role as admin, and although I have been accused by some trolls that I am "arbitrary" and "hypocritical" the net result is a board relatively free of trolls. Should you find yourself harassed by a troll, please contact me or another admin or moderator and the matter will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

2) The "Ignore button". Many forums have them, and simply by clicking this button under the profile of an unwanted member, their posts become invisible and it is like they never existed. Why evesdrop did not choose this option is anybody's guess, and this was suggested by several helpful members over at womansavers when she announced her untimely departure. Some may say "oh we shouldnt have to do that, trolls should be shot or otherwise destroyed", but truth is, moderation doesnt always shut them down and you cant depend on that. Most boards are run by volunteers, they are not being paid for their work, and they cannot be expect to take care of every problem that arises. Simply press the damn button and say goodbye to the hassles.

3) Engage the troll and beat them at their own game. This takes practice, and its easy to fall into the trap of letting your emotions over take you and you end up getting out trolled and miserable. Only choose this option if you can set your own limits and you know when to back off if you are not able to out troll the Troll. If you find yourself in a flame war and you are losing, you can contact me and I will see if I can save you but I make no promises.
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