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September 13, 2013 / Dale Melchin

Don’t Feed the Trolls

 If you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time, you know about trolls.  Trolls are not so mysterious creatures who live on negative emotional energy generated in forums, comment spaces on blogs, Facebook and other platforms.  The only way to turn them to stone is to expose them to the powerful day light of inattention.  I had to personally deal with a potential troll today by locking down the comments on one of my posts.  Its not a fun experience, but sometimes, it has to be done.  In fact, I’ll give you three reasons why they shouldn’t be fed.
Feeding the trolls is a waste of time.
Trolls don’t want thoughtful discussion.  All they want is attention, and they thrive on the negative versions of it.  They don’t have a platform and if they do, its small because they are sharing it with other trolls.  They don’t have a worthy point to get across, just a viewpoint to try and impose.  And sometimes, thats too much credit.  Most of the time they are just being trouble makers.  Your readers aren’t going to benefit from it, except for the occasional good laugh if the troll makes an idiot of himself.
It makes your blog an inhospitable environment if they are present on your site.
It will ultimately hurt your traffic if you feed them or allow them to exist on the site.  Thoughtful discussion and even debate are good things.  It helps us be more better and more precise in our worldviews.  I use controversy frequently, but it is to encourage thought and community.  I am willing to listen to an ideological adversary and be influenced by them.  Even if I don’t buy into their point of view.  It gives me something to chew on from an intellectual stand point.  Even if it is a new concept, I’m willing to listen.  Even if I need to ask for more time to digest the topic, a real thoughtful internet philosopher will give you time to understand.  Trolls will not, they will berate and cause problems.
It makes you look bad as a the community leader of your site if you can’t enforce the law on your blog and allow them to roam your lands freely.
Much like Orcs in LOTR, trolls need to be decisively hunted down and banned from your blogs.  That’s why its good to employ a force of Rohirrm (community managers) to help keep the troll population down.  If your platform is small.  Then its going to be more like Marshal Dillon, keeping the city of  Dodge safe by handling the bad element.  Now obviously, blood won’t be shed like dealing with Orcs or Outlaws, but sometimes you have to be severe about ending their existence on your blog.  Keeping these trolls off the lawn is vital to your credibility and it is absolutely essential to the health of your platform!
If you are able to do great content, keep trolls off your land, and encourage discussion and friendly debate, you’ll have a winning blog.
Question:  Have you ever fed a troll?  What were the results?  Please respond with a comment below.
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