Blog Trolls & Other Internet Crazies…

troll

Have You Been Hit by a Blog Troll?

I haven’t had the misfortune of being stalked on the Internet nor have I had a Troll on my blog (knock on wood) but I have watched as some of my fellow bloggers have been hit by them and it is a real shame! I feel so badly for them and hope that the EVIL blog trolls don’t find me…but I’m sure that I’ll experience this at some point in time.

Knowledge is power, so I took it upon myself to do a little online-research A.K.A. fact gathering from some wonderful resources, looking into the habits of these pesky creatures who need to get a life (and perhaps some “special help”).

So here goes…

The Urban Dictionary defines a Blog Troll as:

 1.(n) -A pathetic and moronic person who maintains a blog with an unhealthy obsessive-compulsive drive, especially angsty goths (sorry to all the likeable goths out there). The content of their blogs usually includes events that no sane person would care about. Here’s sample of what a blog troll might write on their blog:
“today, I ate a sanwich. It bad – it was just ok, mediocre, I guess you could call it. After that I read a few chapters out of an Anne Rice book and was deeply moved by her erotic descriptions of gay vampires fornicating. . Then I took a nap.

2.(n) -A depraved individual who sits in front of a computer all day and posts flames of an idiotic or pseudo-intellectual nature on public forums and private websites. Many of these people actually become emotional about what is said on the afore-said mediums and feel it is their duty to punish those who disagree with them. They too may pursue this object in an obsessive-compulsive manner.
Goddamnit! Blog Trolls are such fucktards! Don’t they have anything better to do other than posting stupid bullshit on the forums.

 

An article on Computer World.com has a LOT of important information about different types of online abuse:

Spamming troll: Posts to many newsgroups with the same verbatim post.

Kooks: A regular member of a forum who habitually drops comments that have no basis on the topic or even in reality.

Flamer: Does not contribute to the group except by making inflammatory comments.

Hit-and-runner: Stops in, make one or two posts and move on.

Psycho trolls:  Has a psychological need to feel good by making others feel bad.

Cyberstalkers

Cyberstalkers can also assume many different forms, according to Wood, although they’re basically characterized by a continuing pattern of communication that the recipient considers to be offensive. Other common traits of cyberstalkers are malice, premeditation, repetition, distress to the victim, an obsession on the part of the stalker, seeking of revenge, threats that make victims fear for their physical safety and disregarded warnings to stop.

As with trolls, there are several different types of cyberstalkers, according to Wood:

Intimate partner: The most common type of stalker, this is usually a man who has a history of controlling and emotional abuse during a relationship.

Delusional stalkers: This type of stalker builds an entire relationship with the victim in his or her mind, whether any prior contact has taken place or not. Such stalkers are likely to have a major mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or erotomania, which means they believe the victim is in love with them. The typical delusional stalker is unmarried, socially immature and a loner who is unable to sustain close relationships with others.

Vengeful stalker: This type of person is angry with the victim due to some real or imagined insult or injury. Some of these stalkers are psychopaths — a person affected with an antisocial personality disorder — who have no conscience or remorse. They may have paranoid delusions, often feeling that they themselves are victims and are striving to get even.

What to do

In many cases, victims feel they have very little ammunition — whether legal, technological or tactical — to stop the abuse. However, there are some things bloggers and other online contributors can do to try to avoid this kind of harassment or at least keep it from crossing into the physical world.

1. Know the trolls’ tactics
According to Wood, the first rule for dealing with trolls is to avoid being deceived by them in the first place. Don’t trust anything you receive or read without verifying the poster through known, reliable sources, he says. Also, ignore postings or private e-mails that are suspicious, such as those that praise, flatter or evoke a sympathetic response.

do-not-feed-the-trolls

2. DFTT
This is one of the more important acronyms in the blog world, meaning, “Don’t feed the trolls.” “Just like in-person bullies, trolls feed off your reaction,” Tim says. “Under no circumstances should you acknowledge the behavior or repay it with anger or defensiveness. If you don’t react, they’ll get bored and go away.”

Even if ignoring the harasser doesn’t get him to stop, at least you won’t fan his flames, Wood says. “The more a person responds, the more they teach the stalker about themselves or divulge information they shouldn’t,” he says.

3. Maintain your privacy
Don’t publish any personal information, such as your address or phone number. If you need to, use a Post Office box number. Wood suggests asking your state’s motor vehicles and voter registry to put a block on your address and phone number. “Otherwise, any person may obtain them just for inquiring,” he says.

Some longtime bloggers, such as Bray and his wife Lauren Wood, a senior technical program manager at Sun, refrain from posting photos of their children on their blogs.

4. Block and ban
If you’re experiencing abuse on a moderated blog, you can appeal to the administrator, who can try banning the troll. Be prepared to include a history of the troll’s posts, including full headers.

Some blog services offer technologies that enable you to block offensive participants. Using WordPress, Silverstein can moderate the comments of anyone who hasn’t contributed to the site before, which helps eliminate the hit-and-run type of trolls. “That allows me to weed out 90% of the abuse I get,” he says.

Another plug-in enables him to ban certain IP addresses. “That’s especially good for the really crazy people, if they post one comment that goes beyond the pale,” he says.

5. Keep a log
Be sure to keep a copy of anything you receive from the harasser, Lauren Wood suggests. If they contact you by phone rather than e-mail, take notes on what they say and how often they call, she says. “You’ll need proof rather than, ‘I think he was calling three times a day,'” she says. “You’ll want a log that says, ‘He called at 9:14 p.m.”

Above all, when you have an online presence, you need to prepare yourself for the possibility of becoming a target, Wood adds. “Just like in the real world, you need to realize which dark alleys you shouldn’t enter at night, and if you do, have protection and know what you should do when,” she says.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Sources:

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9017938/Five_ways_to_defeat_blog_trolls_and_cyberstalkers?taxonomyId=19&pageNumber=1

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Blog%20Troll

26 thoughts on “Blog Trolls & Other Internet Crazies…

  1. Loved that! Thanks for sharing! My psycho troll has not been back since I’ve had a ban put on her ISP range, which took me weeks to find one for blogger.
    The funny thing is when I was going thru my stat counter visits I did indeed label all her IPs as Psycho Troll, just as your post described her.
    Thx again!

  2. Hi Marie! :)

    I’m so glad you did…your troll was actually the one who inspired this post…wouldn’t she love to hear that? I am so glad that you blocked her…that was a great idea!

    But seriously though, I really wanted to help other bloggers feel a little more empowered and know what to do if they find themselves dealing with an “Internet Crazy”.

    I’m glad to hear that the pictures, if nothing else, made you smile. :) I figured that you’d need it…I know that I would!

    Thanks for leaving a comment, Marie. :D

  3. Coincidently, I just today read Marie’s post and the multiple comments from her “visitor.” Before that, I was not aware of this kind of activity. Thanks for sharing all this background info and advice for handling this just in case . . . (knock on wood!)

  4. Wow! I’d never even heard of a Blog Troll before and now I’m very thankful that I’ve never experienced one. Thanks for the informative post.

  5. Thanks for the information! I’ve only seen one blog troll so far, but am hoping that that’s the last one I’ll ever come across (knocks wood). I don’t think trolls have any place in the book blogging community, as 99.999% of all the bloggers I’ve met are kind, generous people who share a love of reading. BTW, love the troll pictures! *L*

  6. Hello: Gwendolyn, Sheri, Kathy, Nikola & Alexia

    Thank you all for your comments; I really appreciate hearing from all of you! :) I am pleased to hear that you’ve all been able to glean some useful information from the post. As much as I tried to present this topic in a humorous way, I really think that we all (myself included) should be a little wary of how much personal content we post online and how we deal with these damaged people if we ever do encounter them online.

    Thankfully, like Alexia said, there are lots & lots of wonderful people on the internet and we far outnumber the crazies! :)

    Thanks again for all the comments.

  7. Wonderfully informative post, Bobbie! I learned a lot. Thank you so much for sharing this information. It is a topic I knew some about, but not as in-depth as I needed to.

  8. Hi Rebecca,

    I’m glad that you enjoyed it; it’s always nice to find out a little more about potential threats online. I hope that the knowledge keeps us all a little safer and helps us all be more aware (speaking to myself the loudest!). :)
    Thanks for commenting!!

  9. Pingback: Internet Addiction Disorder | Ramblings of an Internet Addict

  10. They all have aol be careful. I reported them and so did many others & they are allowed back online even though aol has proof of what they type right in their e-mails sad they keep preadtors/stalkers online just to make a buck ! Better yet call the law in their state

  11. I was searching for a broader definition of “blog Trolls” & landed on your blog. OMG! I could not believe there’s a whole lot of variety out there it is creepy! I get them once in a while and it is just not pleasant when you get them. I so agree with the DFTT! If you don’t give them any reason to come back at you, they’ll go away eventually. Thank you for a very concise detailing of these peeps called TROLLS. Ack! DON’T WANT THEM!

  12. Hi Maricris,

    It sure is scary to think of all the possible nutty people out there, you’re right. You are most welcome for the post; I’m so glad that it has helped.
    Thanks for commenting!

  13. My evil SIL just found my blog. How? I will never know. I am very private online and do not reveal my real name online.

    she has been on my blog for TWO days at work. ALL DAY. She is reading every post I have ever written. It makes me feel violated. ANd I KNOW she is going to try to use it against me. Plus she is downloading all my pictures and graphics.

    Is there a way to block an IP in Blogger? I need to do this like NOW.

  14. Hi Shan,

    I am so sorry that you are you are having trouble with an online crazy! I know that WordPress allows you to block IP’s but I don’t know about Blogger.

    I would recommend that you add Akismet http://akismet.com/ (it’s FREE) to your blog (I have it on my WordPress blog and I couldn’t live without it now). Also, DO NOT TALK TO OR AGKNOWLEGED THAT THE CRAZY PERSON EXISTS!!!!

    You must not feed them or their craziness by emailing or acknowledging them in ANY WAY and they will eventually get tired of it and they should go away. Just delete their comments and try to forget that they are out there.

    I feel so badly for you and hope that you aren’t plagued for too much longer. Stay strong and remember that we (the normals) are rooting for you!!

    ((hugs)))

  15. Grizbonton one troll online who threatens through e-mails to press fake charges on people. She has aol be warned she follows users on blogs/sites says they are stalkers in reality this woman is a stalker & mental.

  16. She also is tracking people online by finding info including me. I find it very strange & odd she would be doing things like this. Info she finds she reports it. Can I sue her for tracking info on me then posting it on the web? This woman is sick.

  17. Mine would be the Vengeful stalker in some ways: This type of person is angry with the victim due to some real or imagined insult or injury. Some of these stalkers are psychopaths — a person affected with an antisocial personality disorder — who have no conscience or remorse. They may have paranoid delusions, often feeling that they themselves are victims and are striving to get even. Her’s imagined.

  18. I’m delighted you wrote this post. My partner has just started a blog and had two v.hurtful comments. We have traced ISPs and put together a pretty sure picture of who they are, and they are people she once worked with. These jealous types are v.malignant and destructive.

    Don’t Feed The Trolls is the best advice you have given. Thank you. It is very upsetting when people are so malicious and its very tempting to try and ‘fight back’ when your emotional chain has been yanked. This article has given the self confidence to focus on the positive and the future not these idiots.

  19. Hi Reasonable Robinson,

    I’m sorry to hear that your partner has been having trouble with blog trolls and so early on too! That’s too bad that people can’t just let others enjoy their lives and mind their own business, but that’s the world we live in, unfortunately.

    I agree it is VERY difficult sometimes, to ignore the hurtful, malicious things that people say; spouting lies and acting as if they know what’s going on. I’ve had my own issues but I held fast to the DFTT rule and after a time, it all died down and the nasty troll crawled back into its cave. I’m happy to hear that you and your partner were strong enough to stay quiet…its sheer hell sometimes. If there are death threats or anything of that nature, please contact the authorities and let them deal with the crazies.

    I wish you and your partner the very best.

  20. it gets more horrible when they start “trolling” in groups and large numbers….i left multiple websites cause of the flaming trolls

  21. I’ve seen many examples of this on public forums.

    But they’re not just loners. Some are trolls-for-hire–I’ve seen several right wing websites offering this service. And others are volunteers directed to hit a site by an ideological blog.

    For example, a recent Scientific American website on the Copenhagen Conference was hit by dozens and dozens of global warming deniers and sciencephobes.

    I could tell they weren’t part of SciAm’s readership because I’ve subscribed to the magazine for decades and know its audience demographics.

    I’ve mainly seen right wing trolls, but I’m sure there are leftists as well. I don’t know whether they’re organized or hired the way some right wingers are.

    I wrote about this on my blog as well.

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