I figured I'd take the initiative and post an informational post about trolls, seeing as how they seem to circle this board like buzzards as of late.
What is a troll/troller?
A troller is simply a deliberate spammer. To understand a troller, you need to understand their psychology. They want attention. They want to create a ruckus. They are like attention sick children. They are fully aware of the rules, and they don't care. Unlike regular spammers, they are not ignorant, they don't do this because they don't know any better. They are very aware of what they're doing. Understand that it is all a game for them, they don't care if you hate their guts, other than that it gives them attention and makes them happy.
What is a flamebait (also called a troll)?
A flamebait is essentially a trap. If you fall for it, the troller gets what he wants: A flamewar. Some examples of flamebaits:
Sophistication varies from very simple where the troller just starts spamming the first thing he does, to advanced trolls that requires the troller to gain the trust of the board, then to turn around and start trolling (the case with a random fool).
- Spam/pointless threads/cursing.
- Shocking or inapproperiate posts. Pictures of dead babies, genitalia, etc.
- Highly controversial, inflamatory, defamatory topics.
- Deliberately factually erroneous posts.
- Other disruptive content.
Some trolls are extended, with the troller sticking around to create an even larger ruckus, others are hit-and-runs, consisting of one controversial post, whereupon the troller kicks back and watches the result.
How to handle a troller?
This is very important. You can not shout and cry a troller away. If you go hook, line & sinker, he gets what he wants (attention), and he will stick around for seconds. It can be appealing to go for it, but in the long run, this will have an adverse effect on the forum. Even if the troller is kicked off the board, if you gave him enough attention, he will come back using a proxy. Therefore, the only way to handle trollers is not to feed them. Don't give them attention. Just report the thread to the mods, and walk away.