On Trolls

It’s pretty sad when “I’m a White Nationalist” is your defense after someone accuses you of bigotry.


Thats the trick isn’t it? Once the situation escalates, like in Sierra’s case, its pretty hard to handle, the discussion is already so fragmented that nobody can agree on the facts that started it all in the first place, I won’t say its a lost cause, I just don’t have a good answer for it now.

But, in the smaller scale, when these things start out, how do you defeat something that does not know it has been defeated? How do you out troll a troll?
I’m sure if we put our heads together we might be able to come up with some basic strategies that can become a guide to mitigate/neutralize the damage they do in a conversation.

The first step is known: Do not feed a troll, but what do you do if someone does feed the troll?
I’m thinking step two is call out the trolling for what it is.
The aim of this is of course for other people to stop feeding the troll and its just a variation of step one, but its a start.

I don’t think I can talk about engaging a troll without having a goal in mind, what are the conditions to defeating a troll? Anybody care to share their successful experiences in dealing with them?

I believe this is worth discussing.
In my experience, this works, in fact, it can’t fail. But! it also can’t scale.
If you have, one or two trolls in a conversation (Usually just the one using a sock puppet), if you don’t engage, nothing happens.
Of course, I’ve been lured in by trolls before, I admit it, so I’m sure other people will eventually fall for their act.
This is the only defect in ignoring trolls, that you might not feed it, but somebody else might.

And they live off of scraps, perceived validation, so it doesn’t take much to get them riled up.

But what happens when they make a concerted effort to raid a board? No matter how much you ignore them, the damage is done, like a swarm of locusts over a field, it doesn’t matter that they don’t feel validated, they know they’ve “won”, their standards for winning being so much lower than normal commenter’s.

So I don’t rule out ignoring them, I’m just aware that its helpful in low level attacks, where they are just trying to provoke a reaction among commenter’s in a post.

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The only thing that can defeat a troll, IMO is silencing them completely. This is ultimately near-impossible in today’s internet climate.

If you ignore the troll, they use your silence to show your weakness.
If you feed the troll, they can outmaneuver you and use your energy against you.
If you kickban the troll, they find a new way in, (or switch attack vectors).

They are NOT doing it for their audience… they’re doing it for [percieved] POWER.


I don’t think the terminology used in this does it any favors. I get the idea of what is referred to with a “koolaid point”, but, I think someone ought to stop and look back at the origin of the term before building too high on it…

I’ve no idea what the initial dispute or position was, for all I know, it’s one I’d agree with. But describing it as having a critical number of people willing to “Drink the Koolaid” just plain isn’t a positive one. Especially if it’s opponents of the idea describing it as such, and they’re being genuine, what they’re implying is that you’ve buffaloed a number of impressionable folk into some kind of dangerous or self destructive course, generally through trickery or a cult of personality.

I’m kind of assuming that’s NOT the position of the author of the article, so, using words and phrases with those connotations is kind of self defeating…

It seems pretty obvious, if someone thinks that people are being convinced to “Drink the koolaid” with all the implications of that phrase, why they might feel opposed to the person serving it up. The more dangerous the supposed KoolAid, the more justified they’d feel in the means employed doing so.

An arrow or two down the throat seems to work pretty well though.


That’s rather the idea - the “koolaid point” is introduced as meaning the point where people start accusing you of exactly that. If you look at the article, it’s not meant to be positive, it’s meant to deride how much hyperbole there is in those hate-causes.


But that only justifies the “hate-causes”. Taken to the extreme, original meaning of the phrase, if I’m a relative of a koolaid drinker, or, just a bystander who sees what’s going on, aka, the mass-suicide/murder of people, it’s easy to see that would be justification for even lethal resistance. For the lesser, more hyperbolic but still obviously negative examples, say, I know someone investing in a Bernie Madoff type scheme, the extreme responses may be less justified but, still, taking steps that people arn’t deprived of their money even if duped by the person would be more justified than they would otherwise.

It just seems like an insane idea to accept framing in those terms. Like saying “Sure, I’ve got detractors and death threats, but, so did David Koresh and Hitler”. It only serves to legitimize your opponents.

If you think saying “the point where people start insisting I’m as bad as Hitler” in anyway legitimizes them, you’ve got a lot more respect for Nazi-accusations than I do.


No no, I’m not talking about having other people characterize you that way, I’m talking about characterizing YOURSELF that way.

And I’m pointing out nobody is characterizing themselves that way; the article is her talking about having other people regard her like that. You needn’t worry, nobody is saying koolaid drinking is good. They’re saying that when people start interpreting things as koolaid drinking is when they go off the deep end.


What we’ve seen from personal accounts of people targeted is that “ignoring” comes at great psychological cost. If there were reputation systems or filters that limited access to the inbox, that’d be great, but we don’t have that and the slow trickle of hate is incredibly damaging. Ignoring is not a successful outcome.


A year later, I wrote a light-hearted article about “haters” (the quotes matter) and something I called The Koolaid Point. It wasn’t about harassment, abuse, or threats against people but about the kind of brand “trolls” you find in, say, Apple discussion forums. My wildly non-scientific theory was this: the most vocal trolling and “hate” for a brand kicks in HARD once a critical mass of brand fans/users are thought to have “drunk the Koolaid”. In other words, the hate wasn’t so much about the product/brand but that other people were falling for it.

She’s clearly describing the “haters” as the opposing force to the “koolaid” drinkers, then going on to be astonished at their zealousness in how they attack her and other purveyors of supposed “koolaid”. But if you accept that viewpoint, it’s entirely unsurprising about what the danger is they perceive and with what ferocity the attacks are conducted with. She seems to be ignoring that just because she feels their viewpoint is baseless, that it won’t have an influence on how her opponents think or act.

Trolls like to game systems-- a reputation system needs to be resilient.

Do you suppose that the trolls are playing “both” sides; in an coordinated effort to destroy communities?

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I thinking that same thing myself, i was also wondering where exactly is the nation of whitey? :slight_smile:

Their entire argument about being called a nazi is about the label, not the content.

I also especially liked the part “well i’m not a racist at work because i work with a diversity of people”, “I leave my racism at the door”…um yeah right, and if so why pick it back up when you leave work. if you can drop it while working just drop it altogether. damn.


The party line seems to be that multiculturalism and feminism are Jewish plots to subvert the rightful dominion of the white race.


No, she’s saying that haters characterize others as having “drunk the koolaid” in the sense of being cult-like followers, not that she would characterize the people attacked by haters as koolaid-drinkers.


Disengage and shine light on the troll – lots of light. Let others see what a puny little shitbag that thing lurking in the shadows really is. I think that her article here is a good start. It may seem like a flippant suggestion, but I would condense the article into a simple letter to someone like Ellen DeGeneres – take the subject out of his turf. Malicious trolling of women in tech sounds like a perfect cause célèbre to follow on the heels of bullying awareness campaigns.

This guy knows how to deal with trolls:

Of course, he also has some protection:

That’s feeding the troll… the problem is the more light you shine on a troll, the more people fall in love with them…

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The only thing that can defeat a troll, IMO is silencing them completely.

“Evil” Mike wonders if that maybe isn’t an option.

Find them, physically, and put a bullet into them. The thing about the trolls is that they leave shitloads of evidence- In a situation like the author’s, I imagine there would likely be enough evidence to convince at least 1 out 12 people that you had no other option to protect yourself.

Of course, then they get to play the victim. Yep, no win scenario.