Tips For Dealing With Trolls Online
Blogging

6 tips for dealing with trolls online

The internet and social media has brought with it many wonderful things. But one of the worst things it has exposed is what happens when people can hide behind a shield of anonymity. When that happens, things can get ugly.

Internet trolls first emerged on message and discussion boards, before social media ever really took off. But now that it has, they have a bigger and better platform.

They may be annoying at best and harmful at worst, but there are ways of dealing with the trolls. Social media manager at digital marketing agency, The Audit Lab, gives her best advice on defeating the online bad guys.

What is an internet troll?

A troll is someone on social media or the internet who intentionally makes inflammatory, rude, upsetting or offensive comments in order to elicit an emotional response from the receiver. Most trolls direct this kind of hate to people for their own amusement, while some do it to push their own specific agenda.

How to deal with trolls online

  1. Have a blanket policy

Have a clear blanket policy on dealing with trolls. Whether you’re a small blog or a huge corporation, I recommend that you should institute a firm “no trolling” policy.

By having these guidelines clearly laid out, you are making it clear to everyone visiting your platform that you will not tolerate any behaviour that comes under the umbrella of trolling. Also make it clear to them what will happen if they break these rules – will their comments be deleted? Will they be blocked? Make everything crystal clear and remember, it’s your platform, so you set the rules.

  1. Everything in moderation

Moderation is the best way to get on top of a troll problem. This is more useful if you are a big corporation with extremely active social media accounts or a massive blog with hundreds, if not thousands, of posts, as there’s no way it can be monitored by one person.

If you can’t afford to employ a team of moderators, or if it’s just you and your blog against the world, there are a number of tools out there on social platforms that you can use to your advantage.

  • Facebook’s comment moderation tool can be activated for your page
  • YouTube allows you to turn comments on and off, have filters on comments and a moderation tool
  • While Twitter doesn’t allow for the same levels of moderation as the above, they do have clear options on reporting abusive behaviour, filtering words you don’t want to see and blocking certain accounts
  • If trolls are attacking your blog, WordPress has a moderation tool to give you a helping hand
  1. Respond with facts

Sometimes trolls don’t hurl abuse your way, they just like to contradict everything you say or stir the point by pointing out some small controversy or issue. Sometimes they even like to spread rumours, false information and outright lies.

If you find this is the case, especially if you’re a blogger or a company, then you can disarm them by simply responding with the truth and facts. Do this and they’ll have nothing else to throw your way.

  1. Take the funny route

Rather than indignation, a perfect way to throw them off is to throw a little humour their way. Admittedly this can be tricky to do, but it’s an ideal method to employ if you want to stop them in their tracks.

James Blunt has gotten pretty good at taking down his trolls on Twitter with perfectly sassy responses.

  1. Be kind

Even harder to do than respond with humour. When a troll posts something, they are expecting hate, anger and an argument aimed back at them. What they aren’t expecting is their victim to respond with kindness. It’s almost as if you’ve poured a bucket of water on a flame; it’ll completely disarm them.

  1. Ignore and block

Let’s face it. Most of the time, trolls are harmless. They’re annoying, but they’re harmless. However there are occasions when some take it too far, and the comments can go quickly from inflammatory to offensive or even dangerous. In this instance, the best approach to take is to ignore them and rise above the fray

If the comments are becoming dangerous or scary, then it’s time to use the good old block button. Don’t forget to report the account, too. Delete, block and report.

Unfortunately, trolls aren’t the kind of people to back down, even when you argue back. If anything that only adds fuel to their fire. The only true way to beat them is to rise above.

Angry reactions are what they want. They thrive off the drama.

Although it may take all of your inner strength, take the high road and ignore them whenever you can. All of the actions we have laid out above will help and maybe, one tweet at a time, we can make the internet a bit of a better place to be.

Do you have tips on dealing with trolls online to share with  my readers?

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Musings Of A Tired Mummy
3 Little Buttons

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

9 Comments

  • Kim Carberry

    I have only had dealings with trolls when a group of kids at my teens school a few years ago found out I blogged. They sent awful messages, of course all anonymously and behind made up profiles. I tried ignoring and blocking but they were relentless and made new one’s. I went to the school and they weren’t much help but thankfully we had a fair idea who the trolls were so I went to the police and they classed it as harassment and warned the kids off and it never happened again. x

  • Stephanie 139a

    A useful post Kate, thanks. I hadn’t thought about having a policy, and while it’s one I hope I wouldn’t need I can see the advantage of having one before it’s needed. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

  • Elaine Livingstone

    All my blog comments are moderated before they go live.
    I may not always agree with another persons point of view but happy to publish them if they are not out and out rude or offensive, there can be more than one perspectives in life but does not always make one wrong , just different. #PoCoLo

  • Lydia C. Lee

    I find the worst on the newspaper site – this country seems to be so heavily split and people get really nasty. I tend to jsut not respond. But a delete and block is the way to go. #Dreamteam

  • chickenruby

    Some good tips here and a useful post. I would like to see people identifying the difference though between a troll and someone who jsut has a different view point to them. Thanks for joining up with #pocolo and look forward to seeing you back on Friday

  • Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    Ahh this is a brilliant post to share Kate. It’s so tricky isn’t it. Sometimes it could be someone genuinely striking up conversations… but getting it all wrong in terms of how they come across online. And other times… well… we all know what it can be like. These are great tips though and it’s always important to remember that it’s your blog and your rules. Thanks for sharing this over on the #DreamTeamLinky xx

  • loopyloulaura

    I just don’t understand trolls’ motivation. Part of me thinks their comments should be shown to expose the revolting people they come from. Thanks for linking up with #dreamteamlinky

  • Tracey Carr

    I have dealt with trolls only a handful of times thankfully but the one thing I learned from it is that it is important to exercise patience and walk away. Not always easy though. I can see how people get reeled into the argument but absolutely no good can come from it. These are great tips Kate and very noteworthy. Thank you for sharing them with #globalblogging

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