Who’s that trip-trop-tripping all over my comments thread?
Why, it’s a troll.
It’s one of the sad facts of cyberlife — trolls (negative, obstinate or just plain ignorant commenters) gather wherever there’s an online crowd, proudly strutting their lack of knowledge, diplomacy or common sense. Some are in it for the money, happily [email protected] away and wasting everyone’s time, others just like to hear the sound of their own keyboards.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reckons that most of us now need professional moderators to clean up our social pages:
In a cabana in Progreso, Mexico, overlooking the blue waters of the Gulf, Canadian Chuck Dueckcracks open his laptop and logs into the comment forums of several news websites. …
One by one, Dueck, a professional online moderator, deletes [offensive] comments, scolds the people behind them (either on the forum or over e-mail), and, if things really get out of hand—say, in the case of repeat offenders—bans their accounts. Over the course of each day he chips away at the cussing and swearing, the spammers, haters, and trolls, temporarily restoring civility to his corner of the Internet.
Since the first messages were posted on bulletin boards some three decades back, comments and free discussion between anonymous users have been a central part of the Internet’s appeal. Sites such as Gawker and the Huffington Post built their empires on page clicks driven by endless streams of commenters and flame wars. But what’s good for Gawker isn’t always great for established brands, and as companies have embraced the Web and eagerly interacted with their customers, they’ve often been overwhelmed by the response. A lethal combination of anonymity, opinion, and the safety of typing from a remote location all but guarantees that comment forums get out of hand, falling prey to the Hobbesian tirades of the Web’s most nasty, brutish, and vocal denizens—hence, the increasing need for moderators such as Dueck to intervene and sanitize sites’ comment boards.
If you’re facing similar problems, check out the story for some useful advice (and the names of professional moderators).