Dethrone the Troll Kings: A Guide to Dealing with Internet Trolls

The troll king majestically seated on his throne, exuding power and authority
UPDATED June 9, 2021
Written By Stephanie Walker

In the land of the online world, one tyrant leader emerges from the deepest, darkest depths. He replies to comments with speed and his goal is to get a rise out of his targets. Are you familiar with his work?

He is the Troll King of the Internet.

Thousands and thousands of people embody and become like him as they send irritating, off-topic content in forums, social media posts, and other digital communities to hurt others. With this in mind, is your forum, website, blog, or social media page prepared to defend itself against the King? If not, let’s delve into this article together and uncover the secrets to defending against the tyranny that has long since plagued the online world.

What is an Internet Troll?

According to a study by Gemiharto and Sukaesih (2017), a troll is described as anyone who comments on social media posts, blogs, or any platform with the goal of irritating and provoking their target. Insults and unrelated topics are some of the typical tactics they use to taunt their targets. They often lurk in the shadows of any platform that has a comment section.

From blogs to websites to social media, the minions of the King work on the premise that displaces whatever negative feelings they have towards anyone they deem needing a beat down through the use of words. Trolls are the cyberbullies of anyone online. They are relentless and would not think twice about who they target. They absolutely have no regard as well over how the other party would feel as they virtually puncture their victim’s self-esteem and tear mercilessly through their insecurities.

Knowing what trolls are is a good start, but actively staying on the lookout for when they will strike again is another matter entirely. The moment you determine the frequency and patterns of their appearance and activities on every platform, that’s when you begin to build a solid barrier against their notorious behavior.

Spot an Internet Troll

Sometimes, it is challenging to distinguish the difference between ordinary online folk and the Troll King’s minions. That is why we are here. We are your scouts in this online kingdom called the internet. Their common tactics to engage users are mentioned in the paragraph above, but they also have a more menacing motive behind their actions.

They are driven by the sheer happiness of hurting someone online. A study by Dr. Golbeck of the University of Maryland concluded that trolls are associated with the Dark Triad of traits. The traits are Narcissism (lack of empathy, egotistic), Psychopathy (anti-social behavior), and Machiavellianism (absence of morality, manipulation, and exploitation of others). Not to mention, sadism is in the mix since they find delight in causing pain for others and watching them suffer.

Compared to several other users, trolls are easy to spot on any of your platforms due to their hateful nature and relentless tendency to bully others. These menaces post any type and any form of inappropriate comments, and they have zero consideration for moral boundaries.

One propelling factor to their ruthlessness and no-holds-barred activity is the fact that they are sending these nasty words and phrases while behind a screen. It is an online disinhibition effect that drives the King’s minions to act maliciously regardless of where they are or who they are exchanging banters with. Otherwise, they would never say offensive statements out loud or insult people if they were to do it in person.

Understanding the king and his minion’s motive behind their actions and how they look is a huge advantage on how to deal with an internet troll.

Types of Trolls on the Internet

Get to know the many faces of trolls to spot them with ease and get rid of internet trolls creating chaos on your platform.

1. Grammar Nazi

Almost everyone is conscious of what they sell online, especially when posting on their pages. This troll will destroy anyone’s post whether it be on social media or a blog by correcting the person’s spelling or grammar. Unsolicited proofreading, especially when done in public, is frowned upon by many. Although some people’s intentions of helping someone improve their writing is genuine, trolls only use this as an opportunity to insult their victim.

2. Karen

We are all familiar with the Karens. They are entitled white females who complain and exaggerate everything they see or hear. These are the kinds of trolls that stretch any topic and make an issue about everything. They have no contribution to the discussion at hand and are there to bring up issues that have no bearing whatsoever to the community.

3. Spammer

These are the people you see in the comment section saying follow me or continuously posting links that redirect you to their profile. Their comments have nothing to do with the main discussion at hand. They crave the attention they get for commenting on something completely out-of-the-blue and are greedy to share their interests even if it is stepping over other people’s limitations. At times, spammers also spread online scams.

4. Lockhart Troll

If you do not know this character from the Harry Potter franchise, he is the famous wizard fraud, Gilderoy Lockhart. We named a troll after him because of his supposed know-it-all character and the trolls bestowed upon with this nickname do not care about the topic of a particular discussion or thread. Yet, they continue to speak their mind endlessly, while making it a point to divert the focus on themes that they are very much familiar with. Lockhart trolls also tend to create and spread rumors in the forums they join. When left to bask in their inglorious, self-created spotlight, they could go on and on and keep writing paragraphs over paragraphs to showcase their indifference to other members of the forum.

5. Snowflake

The term snowflake is given to people who are easily offended by statements that are not supposed to offend other people. This kind of troll is quick to shed tears over jokes, memes, sarcastic comments and takes offense to them. Almost instantly, Snowflakes spark arguments, play the victim. You can usually spot them on meme-sharing sites. They are the ones complaining and exaggerating about the content, when in reality, the majority of the audience deems the meme hilarious.

6. Ferb-Like Troll

Based on a character from the animated series Phineas and Ferb, Ferb trolls only say one line for every episode. They may not be as despicable as the first five trolls enumerated in this list, but they are certainly an annoyance. Their one-line replies do not add any substance to the conversation at hand.

7. Quagmire Troll

Another troll named after a fictional character from a TV series, Quagmire is known for how often he swears in Family Guy. This kind of troll makes it their main agenda to add a curse word in everything they post. They type in all CAPS to reply to the conversation, even when there hasn’t been any argument or intense emotional stimulation of sorts. They often have nothing better to do, and their contributions are nothing that is of substance. Their one and only role is to terrorize other members or users within the discussion with a MASSIVE and REVERBERATING F-BOMB.

8. Sheldon Troll

We love Sheldon Cooper from the TV series Big Bang Theory, but the trolls that are named after Sheldon love to prove that they are right by starting a debate. A fact-based post will often get a beating from this troll since they love to argue and would often oppose authentic data. Their mantra is exhibited by the desire to prove their point (no matter how misguided or far-fetched it is). Sheldons want to shove it in their opponent’s faces that they are right and anyone who contradicts them is wrong. They truly embody Sheldon, albeit in a negative and annoying manner.

9. Karen 2.0

The Karens come back for a second version of the troll. They focus on insulting others. They are the internet’s biggest haters, as exhibited by how mercilessly they degrade everyone as long as they feel like it. These harbingers of negative energy have rudeness that knows no bounds. Karen 2.0 takes delight in spreading the negativity and is happy to see the pain of others from their mockery.

10. Penny Troll

On the TV sitcom Big Bang Theory, Penny Teller was the only one in their group of friends that did not have a degree. She often went off-topic each time the gang talked about anything scientific. Despite being a lovable character, the trolls deemed with her name are the kind that often deters the discussion to a topic in the opposite spectrum. They do it so successfully most of the time that it irritates all those who are part of the conversation.

These are the ten kinds of henchmen that the King has recruited to spread his ill-willed wishes of causing a nuisance in online communities that he “supposedly” oversees.

But, we do not want the troll monarch to reign.

In that regard, we present a carefully curated counter-attack against the King, a secret weapon for you to respond to internet trolls and put an end to their unbecoming ways.

Dealing with Internet Trolls

Here are the steps for you to stop the trolls even before they launch their attack on your forums.

  1. Establish Community Policy — This encompasses which types of posts and comments are permitted on social media pages and forum discussions. The moderation type that works well with this is pre-moderation because it allows moderators to filter each post before they are made visible to the public.
  2. Block Violators — When a user violates any of the set community guidelines in their posts, it is best to give them a time out for a few days. For instance, Facebook blocks and halts access to profiles that have amassed a staggering number of reports from fellow users. Depending on the severity of the claims, the account may be suspended for a week, a month, or even permanently deleted. If you want to prevent trolls from repeating their intentional mistake, you have the option to block them entirely from the community.
  3. Tag Team with Members — In other words, use reactive moderation! With its keyword being ‘react’, it means you give the power of flagging inappropriate content to your members. It gives them the power to help you prevent trolls from attacking again since some trolls take ignoring their actions as an invitation to do more damage.
  4. Do Not Poke The Troll — Remember the phrase, don’t poke the bear? It is the same with trolls. When you reply, they will twist whatever you have to say and tarnish how other members or users perceive your brand or reputation. They are skilled at twisting your words that they can make you look like the aggressor instead of the oppressed. Sometimes, the best response is to not respond at all. Don’t fuel the fire or encourage more people to join the party.
  5. Shield Thy Self — Trolls can be pretty irritating and degrading. We know the horrors and thoughts that come with having your brand degraded and hit personally. The trick here is to take a step back, let your moderators do their jobs, and get your emotions in check before replying with a nasty statement directed at the troll. Remember, if they get a reaction out of you, they have won.
  6. Laughter is the Key — When in doubt, you could always reply with humor to lessen the tension between you and the troll plaguing your comment section. It also allows your members to see you as funny and relatable which works to your advantage.
  7. Turn the Other Cheek — In many internet trolling cases, defamation is one of the prime goals of the menaces. The good thing is they are often thwarted once you opt to turn the other way and not let their words affect you. Similar to refusing to escalate the dispute, this step ultimately tells you to leave the troll alone and let the moderators deal with him.

And Thus, You Win

Your counter-attack against the Troll King and his minions is now complete. Now, you get to gradually defeat the King and successfully protect your brand and members peacefully. You are equipped with everything you need to handle internet trolls and maintain professionalism towards your customers and everyone on the internet.

To help you moderate user-generated content better, Chekkee is here to save the day. We have all kinds of moderation services for every platform you are on. Our agents also work 24/7 to provide you with the best experience on your forums and keep it a well-protected, troll-free utopia for your online community.

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