photo by Kristine Paulus via PhotoRee

When I say troll, some of you will think of those bloody annoying plastic toys with fuzzy stuck-up hair and a constant sarcastic grin. Though I firmly believe they should be outlawed or all collected up and melted down to make something useful, those aren’t the trolls I’m talking about.

No, I’m talking about the annoying too-much-time-on-their-hands losers who seem to get a kick out of making stuff up, causing arguments and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Why they do it I don’t know??


Oh yes, that’ll be it!

Sometimes it can take a more sinister turn, people making up a whole new person and inventing a life for themselves. I don’t mean tweaking yourself on the internet, I mean a whole new person, with a life story to make Oprah cry, who tells everyone they are ill or have a sick child (when they don’t)…. you know the picture. These people invoke sympathy and there have been cases of people donating money after a fictitious child has been diagnosed with cancer or similar. I remember this happening on a parenting forum I visited when pregnant the first time and people were horrified to have been taken in. I’m pretty sure legally this is some sort of fraud and must be  bloody awful for those who really do have these problems and identify with these trolls. Recognising this kind of troll can be difficult and people need to be careful; but also be aware that not everyone who has a tough home-life and talks about it online is a troll and shouldn’t be automatically jumped on!

Some suggest trolling can be a cry for help, a lonely person desperate for attention. I’m sorry folks, trolls are just that…. people with nothing better to do than being an online pain in the arse!

I have been an internet user for many years, and have been surgically attached to my laptop for some time now. From parenting forums, to social media, to blogs… there seems to be an abundance of people who seem very happy to waste hours of their lives jumping around forums, causing arguments, being purposefully controversial or downright rude to cause a reaction.

So what can we do? DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. People who are argumentative, leave discriminatory comments, disagree with everyone and just plain pick fights… ignore them, block them, move on! These people thrive on the attention so not replying to them really is the best course of action.

Have you been a victim of trolling on your blog or website? Do you think I’m being harsh and not looking at the big picture? Do trolls deserve some modicum of understanding? I don’t think so but what is your take on it all?

*No plastic trolls were hurt during the research phase of this post. The little buggers moved too fast for me to catch them!*

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  1. They’re damn annoying – both sorts! Seriously, it’s annoying when you are taking part in a measured discussion on a forum and it’s all friendly and grown up, thematic stoopid troll drops in a deliberately inflammatory comment and it all kicks off! There’s no chance to get back to measured after that.

    Who knows why they do it, but if they have a troubled back story then people would be more interested in/helpful with that rather than just random controversy.

    I used to have the plastic trolls – I had loads and loved them, then one night they suddenly started creeping me out so I had to get rid – looking back their eyes were really beady and I think they were planning something…

    1. I couldn’t agree more, it is bloody annoying!
      The ego of some of these people far surpasses any sense they have. I mean really – why waste your time.

      And *those* trolls have always been freaky in my eyes.

  2. Aww, and I thought it was going to be a post about my favourite toy from the 70’s !
    In total agreement with you, I have had a few experiences of these types and like you say, I block them or delete them and move on. Not worth another thought.
    It is a whole different story though for those that are taken in by people creating whole fake lives. I had a case like this bought to my attention on facebook. The person was stealing whole identities, families their photo’s and everything. Very scary .

    1. It’s just not worth wasting your time on.
      We are all very busy and important people, trolls are not. They must have very sad lives to need to get gratification from pissing other people off.

  3. Great post Nicki. I also wrote about this recently because I was having problems with a particularly persistent troll who kept making personal comments (I didn’t publish any of the comments, or respond to them). I also block persistent troublemakers from my blog, because it is my blog and I’m not interested in anything they have to say. Unfortunately I have also been called all sorts on other people’s blogs by persistent troublemakers; I’ve learned that the best way to deal with that is to ignore them completely. I’m not interested in their backstory; they are inconsequential to me and have no impact on my life.


    1. Personal attacks are favourite tools for trolls, as they encourage a strong response. Not fun I imagine, but I’d do the same, grit my teeth and ignore. Not fun but I’m guessing responding just prolongs it all.

      As for the back story.. I couldn’t agree more. Sorry folks but it’s not my problem.

  4. Agree! One pregnancy forum had a girl who was trying to get pregnant but then took on 3 children of her sisters when she passed away. Lots of support from everyone obviously. Then she had a baby but posted a picture that was too old and was someone elses. Eventually a RL acquaintance of hers posted to say she’d made everything up!!! Unbelievable. Stop feeding them. 🙂

  5. Hmm.

    I do broadly agree but I think you’re conflating a couple of different issues.

    As far as I understand it, a troll is someone who has no real interest in a blog or topic, beyond stirring up controversy and bad feeling. They may be bored, they may be motivated by a personal grudge, they may just have mental health issues – but the calling card of the troll is that their comment is almost always irrelevant to the actual conversation happening.

    Those people are best ignored. Feeding, or responding to a troll, simply increases the odds of them returning again and again, having fun at your expense, while you and your readers become increasingly upset.

    There’s a difference between this and the sociopath who adopts a fake identity online, or a false backstory – perhaps for attention, perhaps as part of a mental illness, or as part of a deliberate act of fraud. I don’t think you can simply say ‘don’t feed’ those people as part of the problem is you don’t know who they are until it’s too late and someone reveals there never was a poorly child/husband in prison/financial crisis or whatever.

    There’s also a tendency among some bloggers to cry troll when what they really mean is ‘someone didn’t agree with me’ or ‘someone was critical of my opinion’.

    I do think if you’re going to express opinions – particularly strong ones – on the Internet then you have to be prepared for the possibility that not everyone will agree. Yes, you can choose not to publish dissenting opinions, but I think your blog becomes a little weaker and less credible as a consequence.

    It’s something I’ve experienced – I do tend to have strong opinions and quite a dry sense of humour and not everyone always agrees with them, or how they’re expressed (I know – shocker, right?). But I think if you maintain a sense of perspective and a sense of humour, it’s nothing to be upset about.

    I don’t think I’ve ever abused anyone personally online – but I certainly have been subjected to it – I’ve been called a liar, a bitch, a tw@t, all sorts – I just figure people who have to resort to that sort of thing say far more about themselves than they do about me *shrugs, moves on*


      Ok, moving on.
      Yes, I’ll hold my hand up on this one, I should have written two posts rather than “lumping” everything into one. And no, you can’t really avoid feeding “trolls” i.e. though who build fake identities and back-stories, when often you don’t find out the extent of any deception until later.

      Do people not publish comments make because they disagree with what they (the original blogger) has said? Wow. I haven’t removed a comment yet, though wouldn’t hesitate if comments were, for example racist or I could be facing legal troubles by leaving it in place. (Writes a note to ask Sally about this topic!).

      Trolls in the traditional sense, those who get kicks out of basically trawling the internet looking for opportunities to be confrontational and cause disruption, I maintain should all be locked into small rooms with no internet until they learn the error their ways.

      I hope everyone understands that my writing this post is nothing more than a cry for help. I need to face my fear of the freaky plastic furry things, and I need all of your support to do it 🙂

  6. I am here to defend the pink toy trolls! I love them, please send all unwanted trolls to me and I will ensure they will be well looked after! 🙁

    On the other hand internet trolls are not something I like to feed. I stay well away from them! 😀

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