I used to have a music gear forum. The biggest effort and pain was to shut down bullies and trolls.
I had my share of bullying in high school. I still remember what it feels to be punched.
Most of the problems of high schools in the US and many other countries are because of bullies.
Now these bullies like to be online.
The 3 Behaviors of a Troll
1. Trolls Like To Start Fights
Trolls ask questions like:
- Rails (or Ruby) doesn’t scale
- The startup scence in (your city) sucks
- There is no talent in (your city)
If you know the answer for a question then why ask?
Sometimes people ask questions without doing some research:
- Looking for a technical cofounder
You will get bullied.
I see a lot of this naive behavior in Stackoverflow and Quora. People ask questions that have been asked hundreds of times.
I had the same at the music gear forum:
- What’s the best amp for a gig.
Very broad question. It has been asked a hundred times. Trolls will come out to attack.
- What’s better Ampeg or Marshall?
Also a broad question. The attack of the trolls.
Trolls like to ask questions for the sake of starting a fight.
Then they disappear. They don’t reply to comments.
2. Trolls Like To Be Anonymous
Trolls can be anybody.
It can be you.
It can be a programmer, a lawyer, a student.
It can be a wantrepreneur, an entrepreneur or a startup founder.
If you want to be in a fight and you don’t want anybody to know. Then you become.
This doesn’t mean you can use your freedom of speech for bullying.
I write articles and sometimes people comment.
Some comments are decent conversation.
Some are bullying.
I could reply.
But this would encourage the trolls to keep on bullying.
They live off this.
They cannot wait for the next article to bully and troll.
3. Trolls Are Feisty
If you reply to a bully’s comment.
They come back again, and again, and again.
They won’t stop.
They will come back stronger.
They will curse you.
They will attack you.
Do not give fuel to the trolls.
Do not reply to a troll.
If you see a comment from a troll. You can delete, block it, spam it or just leave it there.
Trolls will attempt to anger you.
They will upvote their comment with other anonymous accounts, so they show up on top.
You must defuse this.
Online trolls can be as bad or worse than offline bullies
I still remember a bully in high school that punched me in the stomach.
Now he is an anti-bully advocate.
If you are a troll you can change too!