Posted on: January 12, 2011 2:29 am

Trolling the Trolls 201

This is a 2 course curriculum.  In the prerequisite class Trolling the Trolls 101 we summarized troll motives and defenses.  I suggest you read it first.

TROLLS involves taking them away from the comfort of the expected response and focusing on removing their sense of control or influence using a means other than ignoring.  It doesn’t even matter if they read this and know what to expect – without their objective met they gain nothing.

is more important than what you do.
NEVER discuss content of troll post, sports, stats, records, teams, etc. unless it is to make fun of them as a person (not their team) or draw them into the discussion.  They aren’t on the site for discussion.  They made the comment – they are prepared to address responses.  Take them away from their topic to yours.
NEVER believe a troll’s profile because it is usually fake, listing their least favorite team or city – they want you to attack their “Favorite” team.
NEVER insult another team, conference, coach, player, etc. in your response because this opens possibility of fights with others - a goal of trolls.
NEVER engage after your team faced a tough loss.  You are in no shape to match his apathy.
NEVER care about his insults or display negative emotions, use obscenities, etc.  He is a troll on the internet looking to get a rise – why would you care?
NEVER lock in – take part in other discussions while engaging the troll.

OBSERVE someone doing the above and send a brief private mail
politely asking them not to insult a team, etc. listing the reason above.  Many don’t realize trolls list fake favorite teams, etc.

ENGAGE with quick comments
.  Don’t bother to look up any info other than previous comments by the troll.  Don’t go back 5 pages in a thread (evidence you are paying him attention).
Make fun of the troll, sarcasm and mocking works best.  Remember you are making fun of the troll himself - not his favorite team, etc.   If he tries to broaden it reply you are referencing him only (occasionally note your comments are only against the troll).
Annoy and insult continuously.  Don’t worry about style points.
If he references forms of self affirmation such as cowardice, manhood, etc. go for the kill and laugh at him for using an open forum to make up for what he is lacking in the real world.

CONTENT of the response
should draw the troll off of familiar ground and establish your control – he is prepared for an emotional response, an attack on his fake favorite team, and comments towards his posted topic so avoid this.
Question everything you doubt except his chosen topic - his profile, his listed favorite team, having multiple accounts, claims about other fan bases, anything he denies (like being a hater), questionable stats, etc.  Ask for references and proof on any of these.  Take away his control by having him chasing down side issues.
Control the conversation.  Ignore his topic and make his attributes you are making fun of the topic thru your posts.  Control the flow by responding at random, the tone with humor and directed insults.  Get them to respond to you to protect their false sense of self worth, and in the process remove their sense of control.  They can’t escape their impulses – gaining self esteem is why they are here.
If he complains you ignore his topic note you are discussing your topic of choice.
Note any contradictions or mistakes (except spelling errors) he makes during the exchanges, such as claiming not to be a hater but posting comments against a team, incorrect use of a word, the wrong stat, etc.
If he uses twitter speak or really bad grammar refuse to answer until he changes to common English.
Consider not addressing him directly if several are in the thread – send them a PM asking if they are interested in letting him make comments while you mock him and discuss another topic as if he isn’t there, only occasionally quoting him with the response similar to “Nobody cares about the opinions of a troll.”
Blow off his insults with apathy.  Never defend anything you said with more than a quick line as this is handing control back to the troll.
If he complains reply “Nobody cares about the hurt feelings of a troll/hater/homer/etc.” coupled with the insult of choice.
If they are trying to disguise their efforts note they are failing in their obvious goal.
Don’t overuse the word troll.  Change it up with other terms he is not accustomed to routinely defending.

stressing your control if he doesn’t exit 1st.  Don’t leave your exit open for a response.  He will desperately try to draw you back in, so when you exit, exit for good.

Trolls who view the exchange
as a test of courage, manhood, etc. will comment forever.  If you will be around, keep it up.  Laugh at them when you exit, noting how they research stats when nobody cared, followed your topic, self contradicted themselves, etc, as it applies, but don’t phrase it as an achievement – nobody cares – it is just a troll.

Trolls who just need some form of attention
will drop a comment or start a thread and scurry to the next thread.  These trolls view success in terms of the number of responses.  It might be best to ignore them.  If you do respond, draw them into a discussion by repeatedly noting they don’t have the skill/intelligence/facts/etc. to support any of their comments, question their favorite team, etc. over and over while mocking their lack of response.

TROLL THREADS headers should be ignored in your comments
, instead send the discussion in a different direction of your choice.
The troll may use multiple accounts to try to get the thread back to his topic, or other trolls might join in.  If someone posts in support, lump them together in the same quotes and responses without showing you do or do not think they are the same person.

by the same troll are common.  Most are easy to spot by looking at their comments in their profile – you will see almost no comments for extended periods of time, comments only made in support of a small set of accounts, or a long absence followed by a profile change (changing tag name and favorite team).
They could really be another troll, so accuse them of using multiple accounts without listing the other accounts – if they deny, just reply along the lines “Nobody believes the claims of a troll.”

trolls posting as a fan of your team, conference, etc. – they are not prepared to be questioned or attacked by fans of the same team.  The fan base of your team is elevated in stature while preventing a fight among other members (a troll objective).  Question if they are really a fan of your team.

if you don’t have the knack.  Add support to someone else, splitting the troll’s attention.

and a game not a source of self gratification.  If you find you are getting more enjoyment from trolling trolls than the rest of the site’s offerings, step away before you begin using the forum for self esteem just like trolls do.
If you haven’t noticed, all you are doing is trolling the trolls, taking their game 1 level higher and establishing personal boundaries.  Don’t kid yourself into believing you are taking the high road – you are right down there with them.  If you aren’t comfortable with this or feel sympathy for the troll, then don’t try it.

the “NEVER” “ENGAGE” and “CONTENT”  Don’t worry if you fail at 1st (no shame in not being good at troll tactics) – your instinct in a forum is to look up information and talk sports, not ignore it in responding to a comment.

Category: General
Tags: Trolls
Posted on: January 12, 2011 2:23 am
Edited on: January 12, 2011 2:33 am

Trolling the Trolls 101

This is a 2 course curriculum.  In the 100 level class we briefly learn about the typical troll based on psychological profiles anyone can find with an internet search (an easy A).

In the 200 level class we look at ways to Troll the Troll.  It is a different approach from what you will find elsewhere on the internet, but it is effective and a whole lot of fun.

I actually appreciate an imaginative troll
with pride in their craft and the skill to build and an imaginative character of unique style, maybe even a catch phrase.  Unfortunately, they aren’t here.  We are stuck with the witless trying to substitute quantity for quality.
Rather than getting annoyed or just ignoring, if you are up to it, make them your side entertainment.  The following details some common troll characteristics.

A simple task
carried out every few months might remove them for good – request the site to implement an ignore button.  You can contact the site thru this link which is at the bottom of the site page:
User Feedback

is that trolls are just looking for any attention.  The truth is that they are looking for specific responses.  If the response doesn’t meet their requirements they do not gain from the effort.

  The sense of control or influence can come from attention, they consider the ability to annoy others or cause disruption an accomplishment, and even a delusional belief they are achieving a greater objective such as garnering hatred for another team.

that trolls lack empathy because they are not dealing with others face to face – if they could get away with their actions in the real world, they would.  The impersonal environment of the open forum enables their action, but it is not the reason for the actions.

their objective entails effecting fans following their hobby on a personal level.  They justify their actions to themselves in 2 ways:
The delusional belief they are achieving a higher objective - the end justifies the means.  I knew 1 troll who thought he was doing a benefit by pretending to be a fan of his least favorite school, drawing negative attention to a fan base.
Others deserve it for taking their hobby or the internet too seriously - perhaps true but not an excuse.

  This open forum is the only affirmation they can access.  Do you know an obnoxious guy who tries to make up for his self doubt with loud, constant boasting and false bravado?  Ever meet a nut case so annoying that people would cross the street rather than risk getting caught in a conversation?  That arsehole so socially inept others have gone from pitying to avoiding?  When they found open forums on the internet, they became trolls.

have a low sense of self worth to consider their personal gain enough to override any sense of empathy.  They are delusional to believe their justifications.

Like all of those in the examples above, Trolls will deny their low self esteem to the end with a false bravado front.  They will claim it is just for fun, but they know they need it for affirmation they cannot get in a life spent otherwise ignored or disdained.

are false profiles and selected apathy
Nothing in their profile or comments can be believed – most list their least favorite team – they know the reaction they will draw, so they direct that response to another team thru their profile and comments.
They don’t care what arguments you form in response to their comment.  They are not here for a discussion.
Don’t attack their profile or comments – this is what they want.  Any counter should be directed at them personally.

could be effective - remove the attention, remove the control, remove his reason for trolling.  Unfortunately someone always responds, so other tactics that allow for engaging the troll are needed.  Some trolls don’t leave openings to engage making this the best option.

you do against a troll within the site guidelines is out of bounds.  If someone else questions your actions, simply respond “There is nothing anyone could post against this troll that would make them feel bad.”  The accusation is probably coming from a different account by the same member.

  Like anything else I look up, I was curious.  Research lead to thoughts about actions other than ignoring the troll.  The idea of an option lead to a need to test... and this site certainly has no shortage of trolls to try a new approach.

In the next course Trolling for Trolls 201 we look at the specifics of how to turn the tables on the troll.

Trolling the Trolls 201

Google… it has been a popular topic for research papers in psychology and guides for forum hosts.  The only unique aspect is that I take an active approach rather than ignoring.

Category: General
Tags: trolls
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com