The Troll and Effective Ways to Handle Them

August 01, 2017 / / by Team Harper

the internet’s ugly antagonist: the troll and effective ways to handle them


The internet today is not what it used to be. By now, everyone is familiar with the term troll. Whether from a firsthand experience with the infamous cyberbullies and bots or the numerous trolling stories circulating the media. On the Web, trolls are everywhere, and their deliberate offensive behavior is sadly unavoidable. Even so, your business doesn’t need to fall victim to their unpleasantries. Instead, your business can successfully learn how to keep them from disrupting your friendly online community.


Here’s a list of tips that help tame the trolls plus better cultivate a safe and welcoming space for your thriving online community.


The Commentary Code of Conduct

Craft a clear and well-defined set of rules for what is acceptable commentary for your company’s website and social media accounts. Huffington Post does this very well. But before you even do that, start by disabling anonymous comments, aka guest comments, which makes it impossible to leave unsigned comments. This is important as anonymity is how trolls flourish.  So, disable anonymous comments which force every user to create an account before commenting. That alone will prevent trolling remarks from entering your community. And if you honestly don’t need a comments section on your website, consider deleting it.


Understand Troll Targets

Trolls target individuals and situations that are sensitive so, those affected are typically more vulnerable to their hurtful remarks. Here’s the general formula, trolls target those who can be hurt by words. Words are their ammo and repetition is their means of chipping away at their victims.


It’s a sad reality but a reality nonetheless. Once you can identify their pattern of attack and your own set of respective vulnerability, you can retake a step, and then a big breath, and emotionally distance yourself so you can amply resolve the offensive attack.  


Don’t Respond!

Your best tactic when it comes to trolls is to ignore them. We know, easier said than done but if you want them to go away, then you need not give them what they crave the most, attention. Trolls feed off the attention and by acknowledging them, you’re encouraging them to come back. If you can resist responding to the trolls, then they will more than likely go away and find a new target to prey.


Until trollware becomes a reliable troll-proof tool and rids the internet of cyberbullies, there are resources out there that help block trolling remarks like shadow banning, which, identifies discriminatory keywords and makes a comment invisible to others without the user knowing. Twitter is the latest company to implementing this system as means to further reduce harassment on their platform. As amazing as it is, there’s been some backlash, so it’s smart to think long and hard about whether shadow banning is beneficial for your business or not. If it’s just one user, the banhammer might just be all you need.


Petty Mistakes V Colossal Mistakes

To trolls, it doesn’t matter what the mistake is; they’ll latch on to just about anything that to them appears stupid. The second your company makes a mistake your company becomes susceptible to attack. So it’s wise to immediately admit to the error and take corrective action to fix the misstep as soon as possible.


Thick-Skin & Support

Although words don’t physically hurt the emotional damage can really get to you, and in some severe cases, there is physical harm. If you are someone who has or is a victim of cyberbullying, urges victims to report the abuse to the site, app or Internet provider involved. That’s why they have an updated list of contacts of frequently visited social sites, so it’s easier for you report the abuse. They also have offline resources and support groups here.


Why So Cruel?

Trolls are trolls. They’ll always be mean. Until we stop taking trolls seriously, they’ll seriously never stop. Don’t give trolls credibility. Just think of all those gossip magazines with headlines like, “Aliens Attack.” Are they credible? Do you take them seriously? Ultimately the power lies in the community you create and the standards you dictate.


We hope that you’ve learned a little bit about how to protect your friendly online community from the troll. Please contact us if you have any marketing needs.


Share this entry