Argumentative nature, self-righteous, and egotistic.
This breed of online users have lurked for years and have gained enough strength to break out and stalk forums and discussions. Sometimes, a troll is skeptical, trying to scare people, trying to plant fear and worry in other members, spinning conflicting information, questioning every rule, and ignoring warnings from forum administrators themselves.
I have recently posted a discussion about trolls and its classifications. Sooner or later, one of the problems an administrator is likely to come up against in running a successful forum discussion is trolling.
Though symptoms may vary from troll to troll, a blatantly common trend is present in most known cases of the forum troll. For some reasons, trolling is much more evident in computer or webmaster related forums. It seems that is due to the type of people that frequent such boards wherein most of them are more comfortable dealing with the abstract and analytic ideas rather than with people.
Why do people troll?
I have read in one site that one major cause of trolling is incompetence in the sense that it is easier to say ‘your comment is useless’ than explaining clearly what they are disagreeing with. These trolls, even do not provide suggestions or solutions when they complain. This way, trolls feel that they are safe from refutation. Trolls tend to be repetitive, as though saying something over and over again will somehow make others take notice. This is a way for the forum troll to vent their immature grievances or to boast a disfavored ideology.
In my opinion, trolling can be attributed to the culture of the forum. Trolls act like children, in fact, many are children in that they’re capable of a diverse range of behavior depending on what they think will be tolerated. Trolls in these forums have a strong desire for control and lack the appropriate social manors to carry out a mature conversation. Some trolls are even long termed members that they have established friendship with other veteran forum members and even moderators. These are special kind of trolls, an extravagant cross species of classic-sophist-bustr-old warrior-forum cultist. They’ll second-guess your decisions. They’ll make threats if you don’t cater to their whims. They’ll assume that they are the community and if they go, everything dies. These cross breeds of trolls’ long term goal is to make converts luring other forum members into its black hole of inanity and induce negativity to the reputation of the affected forum. A troll poisons a forum, making it an unfriendly place where new members cannot find answers to questions, are too afraid to ask, or worse, never come back. In webmasters forums, more often than not, rudeness is tolerated, in fact, there are moderators who are arrogant themselves but that’s another story.
Although these cross-breed trolls can be disruptive, they can also aid in getting some good discussions going, and in keeping threads alive. Let me tell you something — sometimes they’re right. They are admired, they are smart, and they can kill a forum just by leaving and taking friends with them. Forum trolls thrive on attention. The best way to deal with them is to abstain from satisfying its perverse needs. Keep in mind to post with caution near a forum troll, as s/he will devour your post like crazy hyena. Resist the urge to engage in discussions to reason with a forum troll. Highly likely, s/he does not respond to reason. Yes, it’s not easy. But forums can recover from these nuisance faster than we think. I think the best members are the ones who aren’t self-centered around their own knowledge instead, they use it in a way that promotes forum harmony and community building. In the forum world, we will always find someone complaining no matter what we do. My point of view; accept that and take action in the way that you believe is best for the long term success of your forum.
Have you been infected with a case of the forum troll? I am eager to know your story!