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Posted by on Mar 13, 2007 in Media | 14 comments

Dealing With “Trolls” On Weblogs

More and more evidence surfaces each day that the mainstream print news media is being battered by the fact that younger potential readers are turning to other sources of information — including weblogs.

Why weblogs? Because they’re updated all day, a reader can read lots of them and see what the main stories are, and there is the immediacy of answering back to comment on a story or even comment on the writer of a post. The DOWNSIDE in this info revolution is that blogs eventually run into the “troll” who enjoys stirring up a furor in comments by making charges or lashing out.

How to deal with it? Some blogs let it go on and feel it’s good for readership. Others immediately ban them. Some (like TMV) will delete a comment as a warning but eventually ban them totally (we have done posts on our policy and our policy is stated below the comments box when people comment).

SMASH has taken it a few steps further and researched a commenter and he comes up with some FASCINATING CONCLUSIONS that’ll be of interest to all news junkies, mainstream media types who wondered about weblog verbal bomb throwers and how accurately comments represent real people, and bloggers who have to deal with trolls. Among them: (1) his site’s troll “infestation” is coming from one source using different names and (2) this particular troll “enjoys impersonating minorities and playing on stereotypes” on different sites (and he lists some sites).

Smash writes:

TROLL HUNTING IS FUN. I don’t often post about the trolls I slay, on the theory that doing so only brings them the attention they crave. But I’m going to make an exception in this case, because this one was particularly satisfying, and I want to share the “joy of the kill” with all my loyal readers.

The people of Fallujah are not butchers, as you claim. They are good, decent people. – “DR”

Some of you may have noticed a recent infestation of “trolls” (people who attempt to stir up trouble in the comments) on this site. A few have commented on it. Well, I did some digging over the weekend, and discovered that the bulk of these comments have been coming from a single source. For lack of a better name (he uses several), I’ll call him “Punk.”

Haha, wow, you guys are dense. – “Jalal”

Exposing a troll is a simple matter of matching names of suspect commenters with IP addresses, and then working backwards through the archives. With good blogging software, like Movable Type, you can do this in a matter of minutes. Once you have a list of pseudonyms, you can then find the troll’s posts on other blogs, and trace his history back several months, or even years.

And SMASH has done just that. Read it ALL.