Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Internet Forum Troll Effect

Three Kinds Of Trolls 


Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
In every online community there comes to be what we call as Trolls.  These are people who have an agenda to disrupt a forum.  However there are many kinds of trolls.  I am sure there are a fair number few sites that people have seen that have given names to trolls that work in various ways.

I have however placed them into a few categories:

The first is the Basic Troll.


This is a troll that has no real interest in the forum they are trying to disrupt.  This person or people are only there to get a few quick laughs or to occupy them while they are bored.  They feel no general hatred or malevolence towards any individual within the group they just want to have a little fun and piss some people off.

These trolls generally get bored with their behavior or if there is a defense against them they will run off and find easier pickings.  They won't be around much at least in any kind of regular pattern as they are doing other things that interest them more or they just lose interest altogether.

The next kind of troll is what I deem as the Angry Troll.


This is a troll that maybe have started out in your forum or community and was upset about something.  Their motive is vengeance and they will do what they can to get that.  This troll is pissed off and most of the tactics it uses are much like the Basic Trolls however, it has a regular pattern and is driven to keep to that until either it runs out of steam or its demands are met in some form or another.

The attacks that this troll brings to a forum are more directed as it knows the people in it better.  This troll knows certain things about the forum they are attacking to get a better result than the Basic Troll can.  They may cool off and go to other things however this forum is still on the list to attack when they are upset again or they just want to rile things up a bit.

My third and last classification of the Trolls is what I call The Mastermind Troll.


This troll might be someone you don't even think of as being a troll.  It could be your best friend online or a trusted and fellow staff member in a particular forum.  You could eventually find out that the background of this person of whom you thought you knew was just a story in order to gain your trust.

The mastermind has it in for your forum and will use whatever tactics they can in order to either shut it down or take control of it altogether. The mastermind particularly likes to employ others for their handiwork.  Thus they either incorporate others of like minds or they trick and or employ the uses of the inferior trolls upon the other forum.

Options Available In Some Forums:


Some forums have put an option on their forums which is called Full Forum Moderation or similar. This easily bypasses if used correctly the tactics of the first two trolls.  It is in this aspect that our forums can be troll proof.  However the defense against the mastermind can only come at a good and knowing relationship out of all the staff.  Finding out that you are being lied to in many ways makes trust impossible even if the person doing the lying is the forum owner themself.  If they can't be straight with someone that they are online with for hours and hours a day, how can you be sure if their intentions and motivations are in effect in your best benefit at all?  How can you trust these people in little things if they have been lying about other little things?

So I again state a good trusting relationship is needed with you/your staff if you are the forum owner.  I am sure there are many past histories when all was not as it seemed.