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How to detect and frustrate a troll.

(19 Posts)
Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 14:47:16

Once upon a time a troll was just an ugly creature who lived under a bridge and tried to trap the three Billygoats Gruff. Modern trolls hide in chat rooms and forums and post wind-up messages to trap innocent posters into apoplectic replies, or bully them to distress. Sometimes they are cruel attacks on a previous poster, sometimes what seems at first a genuine query which draws the responder into a more and more angry exchange.

How to identify a troll :-
1 The poster may have an unfamiliar name or pseudonym, which has not been used before on the forum. They will probably never post again under that name.
2 If it is in the middle of a thread the post is often on a sensitive subject, or one on which others have already expressed several different opinions. It takes the strongest opinion yet posted, and carries it beyond that to extremes. Or the troll pretends to feel insulted by something innocuous in a previous post and goes on at length about their wounded feelings, hoping to sow discord among other posters.
3 If it starts a new thread, it often takes a provocative stand and challenges readers to disagree. The troll is looking for several different responses, hopefully contradicting each other and starting a good old set-to while they sit back and enjoy the mayhem.
4 The language used is generally too strong and intemperate for the subject and is calculated to hurt and insult.
5 If it smells like a troll, it probably is one. Trust your instinct if you feel you are being wound up.

How to frustrate a troll -:
1 Don't get wound up.
2 Don't get angry with them for being a troll - the poor things must have a very boring life if they have to resort to winding up strangers for entertainment.
3 Don't respond - except possibly for a very short post to indicate to the next unsuspecting reader that you smell a rat.
4 Report the post to Gransnet.

jangly Sat 23-Jul-11 14:55:32

Thank you.


jangly Sat 23-Jul-11 14:56:03

Sorry! Very useful information.

I can spot em a mile off.

Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 14:58:39

You get a kind of radar, but not everyone has developed it, so I thought a post might help.

absentgrana Sat 23-Jul-11 15:00:41

Thanks Elegran Some of us are completely new to this lark, but catching on fairly quickly. It strikes me that trolls always get the tone very slightly wrong.

jangly Sat 23-Jul-11 15:01:50

Yes. It will help. You know better than to take any notice of me. wink

Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 15:04:14

Yes, and they can persist really stupidly on a tack which any reasonable being can see is not genuine. I suppose we stop applying common sense when they wind us up enough.

Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 15:06:30

Jangly, I know you by now! You'll see through any troll that sticks its head above the parapet, but you don't bite friends. (just nibble a bit.....)

greenmossgiel Sat 23-Jul-11 15:07:32

Gransnet is the first forum I've ever joined, so all this is quite new to me. It's so interesting though, to read what 'trolls' are about! Quite slimy little things, really, aren't they? I appreciate Elegran's post - it'll help to make me more aware! smile

jangly Sat 23-Jul-11 15:09:01


Elegran Sat 23-Jul-11 15:09:49

Oh garndma, what big teeth you have!!

jangly Sat 23-Jul-11 15:10:32

GO AWAY do some of the other ones

cheaty cheat

yogagran Sat 23-Jul-11 21:58:28

Trolls and moles, whatever next. Thanks Elegran we'll be more aware

Baggy Sat 23-Jul-11 22:03:45

Thank you, elegran! I needed that guidance, as you know. wink

Joan Sun 24-Jul-11 05:33:50

I'm not all that clever at identifying trolls, though I did spot one on this forum eventually (The one about a supposedly bad DIL). I always have the feeling that they might be genuine but a little odd or disturbed.

I was once on a forum, now defunct, several years ago when a very nice, normal poster, a married man with a child, suddenly turned into a troll. Many feelings were hurt, and I think it led indirectly to the demise of that forum, which was called 'Yorkshire Posts'. (Someone tried a new 'Yorkshire Posts' later but it never took off as well.) It was my first forum and I really used to enjoy it. A computer programmer at work had found it for me.

I have a couple of other Yorkshire forums now, but losing that one was sad.

Trolls - horrible!

JosieGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 26-Jul-11 10:17:48

Can I just reiterate, again, to report the post to Gransnet if you have any concerns at all and then we'll be able to deal with it as quickly as possible.

GadaboutGran Tue 18-Oct-11 17:18:27

Gosh, thanks for this warning. I never suspected this would happen on Gransnet even though I've had to give up being my too trusting self in so many other areas of life. I came on to this thread by chance. Could you put a troll warning & Josie's message in a prominent position so no one can miss it. Is there anything else we should be wary of?

Carol Tue 18-Oct-11 17:45:26

Thankyou for those definitions. I have spotted one that I generally avoid if I see the name there - unpleasant and unwanted by genuine Gransnetters!

crimson Tue 18-Oct-11 18:15:28

I thought this was very topical as I'd been to see the film Troll Hunter on Sunday and thought I was an expert.