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Dear Readers, Please Do Not Feed the Troll

A description of a troll and a request for readers not to feed any trolls.

Last week, I posted to an article I read in the East Cobber. Happily, I received several comments. Most agreed with me, a few disagreed. But then there was the troll.

What is a troll? I am so glad you asked. According to the Urban Dictionary, a troll is:

A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, etc.

A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a "Flamer" who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread.

So, which commenter was a troll? How do I know it was a troll? I will leave out names, but here is the comment:

Re: " Hopefully the money trail will lead us into a direction that will make a recall unnecessary as they will be much deeper trouble for their participation in bribery"

Not only that, but my hairdresser (Sissy) says that Alison is Not a natural blonde! 

No, really, seriously!

It would be nice if you women would get real jobs."


Let’s start with the first sentence. The troll repeats part of someone else’s comment. Now, repeating a sentence or two from another person is generally not only acceptable, but it is necessary if you are responding to that sentence. The repetition provides context for your statements.  

But the troll does not respond to that statement at all. He simply repeats a seemingly random sentence from a previous comment. Hence, troll.

The next two line may or may not be bad humor. Either way, they represent a personal attack on Alison Bartlett. Troll.

The last statement is a classic troll statement. It does not provide new information to anyone, nor does it even cover the topic of either the blog article or any previous comments. That statement is there solely for the purpose of flaming all the women who had written before and after him.

So, how do you handle trolls? The generally accepted Internet rule is:

Do not feed the trolls.

By that, I mean do not respond to trolls. Do not reply to their statements, do not reference anything a troll has to say. Do not give them the satisfaction of knowing that their comments meant anything to you. It only gives them more to digest and then fart back out into the flames.

So, remember dear readers, if you see a comment similar to the one from my article, just flag it as inappropriate (or as spam), and do not feed the troll.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

J Vane May 30, 2011 at 01:19 AM
Love it! I won't feed the troll ever again :)
GeMacWil May 30, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Excellent article. It would be better to starve the Troll. Ignore them and stay on topic and watch them either give up or get so ugly and hateful all who see it will know that anything from this trolls mouth is dribble.
Pamela Mason June 01, 2011 at 01:16 AM
A friend and fellow writer on Decatur's Patch got a troll comment on one of her posts. Those of us who commented on her article completely ignored it, thereby taking it out. Thanks for your lesson. The less attention given the troll, the better. It withers and dies from neglect and positivity from supportive, informed, articulate commenters.
Kathryn A. Patterson June 03, 2011 at 07:51 PM
You are quite welcome, Kelly. :-)
Kathryn A. Patterson June 03, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Great! Maybe we can starve them out of existence!
Kathryn A. Patterson June 03, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Thanks! I agree - starving trolls works well to both discourage trolling and reveal their true nature.
Kathryn A. Patterson June 03, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Thank you for not feeding the troll, Pamela! I know that my friend and fellow writer on Decatur's Patch appreciate this.
Nicki Salcedo June 05, 2011 at 11:55 PM
I am now a professional troll starver! Thanks for the article and advice, Kathryn. Thanks to you to, Pamela!

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