I think I just got my first ever mean, bitchy and unconstructive comments. I’d actually thought that weblogs were fairly immune to that, and that it was mailing lists suffered from trolls. I thought about deleting the bitchy comments, which is easy to do. I could even ban the IP they came from, and perhaps I will. But of course, since this weblog is mine, unlike mailing lists that can be taken over, writing about them is probably more effective, for now, anyway. Plus it’s kind of interesting in a blog theory kind of a way. Perhaps my very visible display of recent comments encourages trolls? I wonder whether the troll will be back, or whether it’ll hunt for new grounds?

18 thoughts on “a troll in the comments

  1. jonty

    Although I haven’t had any bitchy comments I’ve had some people just taking the piss or mucking about. It irritated me for a while because the comments took on a life of their own and kind of changed the tone of my site for a bit. But the writer soon got bored, I think.

  2. charlie

    Could this also be an effect of blogging going mainstream? Early interest in weblogs probably came from those most likely to be excited about electronic communication as a disruptive technology, a very sympathetic audience.

  3. Gregor

    CommenTrolls in blogs will appear if you have comments enabled and post something controversial.

    They are emboldened by being allowed to post anonymously, but having authenticated posting won’t eliminate them.

    Writing about them (and responding) usually will only increase their activity. Ignoring them is the best strategy.

  4. Jill

    CommenTrolls is a good word for them πŸ™‚ And yes, I know from mailing lists that the best way of stopping trolls is to ignore them… the best way of making sure they’ll stick around is to get offended or provoked and respond in kind. I’m not sure about saying “X is a troll” though – how does that tend to work?

  5. Gregor

    Based on what I’ve seen in discussion groups and on blogs w/comments, any mention of the CommenTroll feeds the fire. Dead silence (and IP banning, if they persist) makes them go elsewhere, eventually.

    WRT to Charlie’s comment, I think it is more a matter of being popular enough to draw a crowd to your party (my congratulations and condolences to you, Jill.). There will always be some who are bad guests, and will behave poorly. Even in the early days of blogging, you would see trolls in the comments. Browse some of Noah Grey’s archives for gross examples of this kind of boorish behavior.

  6. tormodh

    Back when I had Karma rating on my posts (andactually managed more than a few posts a month), somebody had fun rating my entries down. See how much I care :)’It’ disappeared by IP banning and, apart from my first response, silence.

    As Gregor wrote, congrats and condolences to you.


  7. Robert

    Sorry! I think that’s my troll. I’ve banned them (I think it’s two people). They must have left about 50-100 abusive comments, and it was starting to annoy me and some other commenters. Then he/she started to spread out, and several of the other weblogs I read suffered attacks. Sorry πŸ™

    (I IP banned it, and then had to ban its email address when it started trying to contact me directly. Hopefully you don’t have the same trouble.)

  8. Jill

    Is it a Queensland IP, Robert? Oh well, at least banning’s fairly straightforward πŸ™‚ I hadn’t realised that trolls were infectious!

  9. Robert

    Is it a Queensland IP, Robert?

    How do you tell?

  10. jill

    Ah, I enjoyed myself with that one – actually I forget each time I want to figure out where an IP comes from so I did a google search which found me Secret Agent Mom – How to Amaze your Friends, which is an article explaining how to find out who really sent an email and who owns an IP-number and so on. You do a WHOIS search, basically. Our troll does leave an email address, too, which is registered to a Queensland computer company, and since the IP number’s from Queensland too I guess that’s the deal. Maybe it’s someone you know!!?

  11. Cassandra

    You needn’t worry about an infection from me Jill, except possibly encouraging the unquestioning confidence of “true believers”. I’m not even a Queenslander, but I did once represent them W.A. Left at a senior level. For some, that’s possibly an even greater crime than being a banana bender?
    p.s. only those unaware of the difference between trolls & trojans would accuse a cassandra of being the former.

  12. jill

    Do you know, Cassandra, I’m starting to quite enjoy your comments. I hope you’re a Trojan dreamer and knower of the future rather than a Trojan horse though, which is the more computerish use of Trojan.

  13. Liz

    “CommenTroll”–what a *wonderful* word. Did a quick Google search, and it appears to be completely original.

    Gregor, do you claim authorship? Want to attribute it properly when I blog it. πŸ™‚

  14. Gregor

    Yes, I think I can claim this one, unless someone shows legitimate prior art. πŸ˜‰

    You could just point back to this thread for your cite. Looking forward to your next post. And the next one. And…

  15. Jill

    A brand new word, coined right here! Cool! Thanks, Gregor!

  16. Cassandra

    1. Excited to find someone finally who responds to my comments’ implications like you do, Jill. My record’s not as good as the Homeric namesake; but, if we continue the analogy, you won’t have to worry about a Trojan bringing gifts to YOUR site. [Unfortunately, comments like that puzzled Rob]
    2. Am I “bitchy”? — I’ll confess that, due to my background, I tend to react negatively to any comment about economic “hardships” I consider minimal compared to what so many others lack. It’s an ideosyncracy I’ve always had. Add to that I’d been at another site on which the blogger gloated about his snout in the public trough and my sympathy level was at a low ebb.
    3. Am I “unconstructive”? — I hope not. Did I go “over the top” with some of my comments on Rob’s Blog? It may not seem much of a defence, but some of the “regulars'”entries there WERE too tempting to resist.
    4. Am I a “troll”? — Despite what Rob thinks, I don’t live in a mountain cave, and I’d be completely miscast in “Peer Gynt”.

    Hope all this makes more sense to you Jill, than my messages ever did to Rob. Best wishes.

  17. Mentalspace

    I’ve banned “Cassandra” from posting. I tried to ignore them (I understand there is more than one person behind the

  18. mamamusings

    on the lighter side
    We all can use some levity today, I think. So, in lieu of a Homeland Security icon, or a “countdown

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