Friday, December 21, 2012

What is a troll?

I occasionally get asked 'What is a troll?' and 'How do you deal with them?' so...

Troll ~ 
  1. A mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.
  2. The action of trolling for fish.
Fish by trailing a baited line along behind a boat: "we trolled for mackerel".

Urban DictionaryOne who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

I'm sure every blogger will come across the troll at some point. On social media platforms such as Twitter they are even more prevalent yet hide behind their self justifying anonymity. Sometimes we take the bait they throw at us and other times we try to ignore their petulant whining. 

Teachers will meet trolls not only online but in the staffroom too. Some call them bullies others call them names that will remain unmentionable on this blog. I've met a few and exchanged posts and tweets with more, all are the same breed: attention seeking trouble makers. At first, dealing with the troll only leads to more trolling. 

Recognising a troll is quite easy
  • They are usually anonymous and pride themselves in their anonymity
  • They have bios that laughably explain why you are the fool for thinking they are a troll
  • They start arguments for no reason
  • They blame everyone for everything except themselves
  • They see you as the reason why everything is going wrong
A few steps to take when you encounter a troll

  • Never take the bait
  • Never try to reason with the troll
  • Don't engage in their mediocre nonsense
  • Block them
  • Ignore them
  • Report them as spam
  • Don't fall into the trap that they are trying to demonstrate a valid viewpoint
It's troll blocking season, clean your timelines, flush your followers and enjoy a troll-free festive holiday :-)