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Dealing With Internet Trolls, Part III

Many major sites no longer accept comments on their sites.

If you know how to outwit trolls, they’re just a temporary annoyance. If you don’t, they can ensnare you in demoralizing, vitriolic exchanges. Ultimately, these perpetrators would like nothing more than to destroy your reputation and cause you lasting mental and emotional distress.

Three Situations–

When You’re Criticized or ‘Trolled’ on Your Own Digital Platforms

  • When It’s Legitimate Criticism–Apologize on social media in response to legitimate criticism of your products or services. Provide information about how you’ll fix the problem. This will underscore your accountability and integrity. Among comments from multiple sources that relate to the same (legitimate) issue, delete only those that are incendiary.
  • Establish A Policy–Begin by establishing rules for what kinds of comments are allowed on your website and social media accounts. Examples of effective comments policies can be found on the Content Marketing Institute and Huffington Post sites.
  • Delete Offensive Comments And Ban Repeat Offenders–Unless your website and social media are absolutely troll-free, you need to monitor and delete offensive comments. You can also ban members from participating in online groups. This can be costly and time-consuming, so…
  • Use Moderators And Online Tools When Possible. If you are a larger organization and have the resources, consider hiring a team of moderators to monitor activity on your site, blog or forum to remove inappropriate comments.
  • Ask Edgy Commentators To Identify Themselves– Genuine commentators who have a legitimate concern will have a locatable online identity with a traceable IP address. If the ‘legitimate commentator’ morphs into a troll, you can block their IP address.
  • Use Anti-Troll Tools–On the tech side, apply anti-troll tools like those provided on disemvowelinghellbanning, Robot9000 and TSMC4 software.

When You’re Attacked On Other Sites

  • Notify The Site Moderator Or Webmaster. If none is available, use the “report abuse” feature, often found on the discussion page or via a help link. Then file a bullying report.

What Major Internet Media Sites Are Doing

  • Many Major Sites No Longer Accept Comments. Reuters, Popular Science and the Chicago Sun-Times are among those who have taken the radical step of nixing comments on their sites. Many other major organizations are opting to direct commenters away from their main site to their social media forums, many of which are carefully monitored.
  • Some Employ Teams To Carefully Monitor/Censor Comments. CNN disabled most comments as of last August and carefully monitors messages in their remaining categories before posting. The same approach has been adopted by Gawker Media family of sites, which includes Jezebel, Lifehacker, Deadspin and Gizmodo, after their Jezebel site was flooded with violent pornographic images.



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