If you’ve spent any amount of time around an online forum, you are probably already familiar with forum trolls, even if you’re not aware of their name. Forum trolls love to come into threads and stir up trouble, start arguments and generally make little sense just for the fun of getting people riled up.
Sometimes the forum troll is funny, like that guy at the party who had a few too many and is wearing the lampshade on his head. But just the frat boy who never grew up, too much of anything is well… too much. A frequent troll can be downright annoying and harder to get rid of that fungus on a pre-teen boy.
The close cousin to the forum troll is the baiter. Every forum should come with a sign that reads “Don’t feed the trolls” but there would still be some silly person willing to do it anyway. It’s like those people who take raw steak to the bears in the state park.
Troll feeders love to see the drama unfold on their computer screens but they love hiding behind the mask of “I didn’t do it” where they feel secure in their role not as a trouble-maker but simply as someone trying understand the other forum users.
Then that brings us to the third kind of annoying forum user- the self-proclaimed moderator. Whenever the trolls come out, it brings the troll feeders. Drama nearly always ensues and someone gets their e-feelings hurt. Then along comes the Self-Proclaimed Moderator asking everyone to “please get along” and reminding us that e-bullying is really just a sign of insecurity in real life.
Trolls LOVE to prey on the self-proclaimed moderator. In fact, they often say things with the sole intention of working up the self-righteous “Carebear”. You can bet the troll has subscribed to this thread and pulled up a seat with his popcorn and soda. This is clearly just another way of baiting the troll.
When you see a forum troll in action, don’t try to argue with him, don’t try to prove him wrong, don’t try to make everyone get along- just ignore it. The more you ignore the troll, the more he will try to bait you but don’t fall for it.
The forum troll is a bit like that withering houseplant you forgot to water and put in the sun. Leave it alone long enough and it will wither and die… give it one drop of water and suddenly, it’s clinging on for dear life once more.
It’s tempting to reply, especially when the forum troll is pushing all of your buttons. It’s a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse where the troll almost always comes out victorious. As difficult as it may be, don’t do it people- don’t feed the trolls!