Monday, March 22, 2010


I am having a problem with a childish little right wing troll. He has degenerated to just posting things calling me a fascist, etc. Forgive me for the numerous deleted comments on my blog the last few days- believe me, they are a lot less annoying than what I removed.

I can't figure out an easy way to ban this jackass, or I would. If anyone knows how to do it (something a basically internet-ignorant person like me could handle) please let me know.


Bill said...

I've had plenty of trolls on my blog, and while they may be annoying, deleting their comments isn't always the best approach. The negative comments have ranged from thoughtful objections to the post in question, constructive criticism, irrelevant rants on an unrelated topic, or just idiotic and/or misinforming counterpoints.

The appropriate response to these comments range from engaging in constructive dialog, diligent refutation, outright mockery, or just ignoring them. A true troll just wants to get a rise out of you, so ignoring him is the best response because it's depriving him of what he wants: attention. If you just have a frequent commenter you disagree with, you should respond to him with better points and evidence and see if he's willing to learn anything. If he isn't, then you may as well either ignore him or just pick on him.

I'm assuming your troll is Derek. I'm not sure why he feels the need to comment on each of your posts. With that much free time I would assume he'd be able to maintain his own blog, which hasn't seen an update since September. I haven't been following your blog long enough to have a good read of your situation with this individual, so I don't really know what you should do about it. If it were my blog I would just make sure that I keep on doing better research so that I can back up every claim I make in the blog and tear down any negative comment with logic and facts. It's not easy, but I think it would be the most productive course of action.

If you have a decent readership for your blog your loyal readers will come to your aid and refute his points, so you won't even have to. Simply deleting his comments will only give your troll the impression that he has somehow stumped you and you are afraid of hearing or allowing your readers to hear his points. There are better options.

So yeah, those are my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Derek has actually caught some flak in the past for deleting comments from people who disagree with him.

Paula said...

Bill, I enjoy GE's comments, but I'm SOOOOO bored with finding Derek here, driving the thread. I myself have told GE that 'it's him or me'. And I know I'm not the only reader who's expressed this. GE has done all that you suggest, and imho, his research is invariably wide and deep. I don't want to participate in a conversation hijacked by a too-indulged and malicious child.

Paula said...

BTW, it's not Derek's chronological age that I'm criticizing, but his lack of any maturity.

Infidel753 said...

It's a real problem these days. I don't think arguing with them helps. If the comment thread turns into an argument with or about the troll, instead of talking about the post, the troll wins.

I just use comment moderation. Some people don't like it, but I get very few trolls because they know their comments won't appear, even momentarily.

magpie said...

I don't think you can block anyone as a normal Blogger option. Third party codes to enable this exist apparently but I cannot vouch for how good they are, and would be very leery of using them. Plus people can just get another ID.

Turning on comment moderation is the best solution I know of, as Infidel753 recommends.
No indication on your blog that any comment was even received. It just doesn't appear unless you allow it.

If it's a repeat offender you don't have to read the comment itself either - you know who it's from and you can just flick it away on sight.

On the issue of whether you "should" ban a reader... I would allow comments I don't agree with if the comment is not racist, sexist or otherwise inherently offensive - and sometimes they are illustrative of the faulty reasoning you have an issue with - but where it's just harassment for spite's sake I'd put a stop to it.

Octopüß said...

My attitude about trolls: No garden is totally safe from nibbling things, and some pests are more annoying than others. Some of my colleagues at the Zone like to play with trolls as a cat torments a mouse. We have, for instance, a teenaged Ayn Rand troll who amuses Matt and Arthurstone and sometimes Captain Fogg, so I leave the galloping Galt quotations intact and let my colleagues have their fun.

At the Zone, we have a zero tolerance for bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia.

We also have a zero tolerance for Freeper trolls whose goal is to disrupt comment threads and demoralize readers. Some are subject-driven. For instance, climate change denier trolls assault me whenever I post a climate change article. Whether to engage them or delete them is a function of patience, temperament, and how much time you have to engage them. Often, I have little.

I have conservative friends who visit and comment, who are not trolls, and with whom I have developed a style of exchange. If I disagree, I will say, “here is another viewpoint,” followed by a citation or reference. I never make a personal characterization or let politics get in the way of friendship. This seems to work well.

Sometimes, I am the visitor leaving comments at other blogs where I have been accused of being a troll. Intent is the litmus test that determines whether one is a troll or not. If the intent is friendly outreach, you are not a troll. If the intent is to annoy, bait, or taunt, you are a troll.

There are authoritarian-dominator types who bash you even if you think you are not being a troll. I always allow a little wiggle room for a bad hair day, but if the pattern persists, perhaps it is time to move on. I find authoritarian-dominator types on both sides of the partisan divide.

Determining who is a troll or not is a judgment call, which depends on the blog administrator and the commenter.

mastercynic said...

I've always found GE's responses to Derek's posts well researched and completely logical while Derek's counters were full of misinformation, innuendo and outright lies. Refuting him with fact has no effect and while he is good for the occasional laugh, he is mostly just annoying. I find him more than a little pathetic, obviously possessing little or no life of his own. When I see his name I usually ignore the post, but I think infidel753's suggestion is probably for the best, though you might let the occasional comment through - just for old time's sake.

Green Eagle said...

Thanks so much for your very kind attention to my plight. I have to say that, everything you guys suggest is obviously valid (i.e. "engaging in constructive dialog, diligent refutation, outright mockery, or just ignoring them.") as long as there is some interest on the part of the troll in the subject. I do try to make sure I know what I am talking about. At first, Derek did try to engage me on some kind of honest level, but as he found out that I knew what I was talking about, and was not afraid to call people out for deliberate lying or provocation, he shifted over time until his comments were really intended to do nothing but annoy. It's a shame, because, even though I disagree with everything Derek parrots, he has been one of my most consistent readers, and it was really hard for me to place any limits on him. But (I suspect like most bloggers) I have some readers who I know personally, and more and more they told me that Derek was really chasing them away from my blog. I guess I just have to manually delete all of his contentious comments. I hope I have the decency to leave any up which have some serious point.

Thanks again for all your advice. Most of you have been at this longer than me, and as I read your blogs, I know you have had some worse experiences than I have had with Derek.

Derek said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.