Do not feed the trolls (DNFTT)



In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.


I’ll be the first to admit that without the trolls, there would far fewer than the 8,391 comments we have on this web site. Nevertheless, if you want to discourage trollishness, the best approach is a a minimal, and non-emotional response. An Internet troll is like someone who pokes an ant hill to watch the ants race out.

So, let’s be human beings, and not ants.

Now if I can just follow my own advice 😉

Trollish techniques, courtesy of aarrgghh:

About Dr. Conspiracy

I'm not a real doctor, but I have a master's degree.
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34 Responses to Do not feed the trolls (DNFTT)

  1. NBC says:

    But Doc, they are so cute…

  2. Cee Cee says:

    Isn’t there some kind of spray that get rid of trolls? Oh here it is….

  3. I would remind long-time readers, and inform new ones that off topic comments may get moved to The Great Mother of All Off Topic Dump pages. One of Promethius11’s comments has been removed for obscenity.

    It may well be that Promethuius11/Demon Cleaner et al is intentionally trying to bring up controversial conspiracy theories (9/11, global warming, swine flu) for the express purpose of hijacking the topics. That will not be permitted. I would ask that visitors not reply to off-topic comments UNTIL AFTER they have been moved to the Off Topic Dump, so that I won’t have to move your replies too.

  4. kimba says:

    Take it as a compliment Doc! Kapiolani letter was a huge blow to birtherdom no matter what they say, so the ants are agitated. Then along comes “The Fall of the House of Birther” thread: a pointy stick in the anthill. Now there’s Swensson’s visit from the Secret Service and Orly’s correction by the SC clerk, the birther anthill is all in a tizzy. When they can answer with nothing but insults and obscenity, you know you’re doing your job. Well done Dr C, maybe they are learning something while they’re here. Would be fun to find out how they found their way here.

  5. Gordon says:

    Doc are you friggin kidding me? I sang in the choir as a child and hated it. I need some back and forth like an addict needs some crack. Where is Heavy D and the birther gang this morning?

  6. Heavy says:

    I’m here Gordo. Just waiting for you folks to say something worth commenting on.

    If you are suggesting that I am a troll, then I guess I’m in for a long wait.

  7. James says:

    Please elect John Smith for POTUS, son of Gitmo Terrorist #25.

  8. NBC says:

    Funny how you seem to believe that children born to gitmo terrorists are somehow natural born children. Or perhaps you believe that super max prisons are somehow breeding grounds?

    All to ignore the fact that Obama was born in the US and thus a natural born citizen. If you do not appreciate the Constitution, then fix it.

  9. I have banished Promethius11 (and his 10 other identities) to Moderation Purgatory for 2 obscene comments and persistent off-topic remarks.

    Obscene comments will be deleted. Off topic comments will be moved to the off topic dump, and the rest approved when I get around to it.

    I return you to your normal programming.

  10. thisoldhippie says:

    I hate to say it, but thanks! I’ve always been scornful of those sites that ban those with dissenting opinions, but in this case the opinion wasn’t dissenting, only loony and disruptive, as well as obscene.

  11. NBC says:

    Thanks, in the mean time, it seems that Orly missed her deadline for filing her response in Liberi v Taitz, and Berg has asked for default judgment. The clerk has entered a default into the docket.

    This is going to be interesting.

  12. I didn’t ban; just added a moderation step. So far, no comments in moderation.

  13. Black Lion says:

    Everyone’s favorite Obama Conspiracy guy has a new lawsuit against the State of Hawaii and the Governor…Basically it is a rehash of his argument that Obama’s personal information should be public record with one additonal detail, that the State of Hawaii has already waived it privacy restrictions by publically discussing the Birth Certificate…Interesting…I am not a lawyer but I am pretty sure that this one won’t fly either.


  14. Greg says:

    Kind of ironic, dontcha think? Aren’t the birthers just the off-line, lawyer, version of trolls?

  15. I don’t think Hawaiian law allows “waiving” anything. The reason the official statement is so unsatisfying as to specifics is that it is carefully crafted NOT to disclose anything ON the certificate, only that it exists. Andy Martin has zero chance.

  16. This is weird. Just the threat of moderation sent this person packing. There was not even an attempt to post anything. I fully expected a major censorship rant, proof that this is a “government site”, and a declaration of victory. Nada.

  17. kimba says:

    Maybe he thought he’d sufficiently schooled us and his work was done here. Or he read some threads and realized there’s no there there. Weird he didn’t test you with a new IP or something.

  18. Uhhh, sticking pins in these Voodoo dolls doesn’t really do anything does it?

  19. “Unless…wait, of course! Why didn’t we think of it before? Volume! Sheer volume! It’s so simple.”


  20. aarrgghh says:

    i consider myself a charitable person when it comes to the opinions of others. one my favorite quotations comes from camus: “is it possible to found a party for those who are not sure they are right? that would be my party. in any event, i do not insult those who are not on my side. that is my only originality.”

    however, after a point, it becomes obvious that one is dealing with the willfully ignorant, and then jefferson becomes necessary: “ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”

    the onion‘s flaying, gutting and dressing of the ideologically entrenched and barricaded explains with surgical precision my utter contempt for all birthers and anyone who thinks like them. my contempt is undisguised, naked and preening; it flashes schoolkids from the porch at morning rush hour. birthers deserve nothing more and will get nothing less.

  21. misha says:

    Orly’s site is good for its entertainment value, but some of the people there are clearly dangerous.

    When does it go from rhetoric to action? Some of their threats are worrisome.

  22. kimba says:

    I hope they took note of what happened when that crazy woman reporter/ high priestess wanted to try to give papers directly to Obama, wouldn’t take no for an answer and was carried away by Secret Service.

  23. I have comments on this blog for several reasons:

    – To gain constructive criticism of my articles.
    – To build a community of online acquaintances
    – To provide a very limited publishing capability for visitors who share interests with the blog
    – To provide a window on “what’s happening”
    – To add credibility to the content by allowing dissenting views to be aired

    I’m struggling with how trolls effect those goals.

  24. Heavy says:

    Please define trolls, Doc.

  25. Heavy, read the article at the head of these comments for a definition.

    I wouldn’t call you a troll, if that’s the question.

  26. kimba says:

    I had a post earlier, but something ate it, about this. My observation is that since plainsradio started passwording and rsol started banning Reality commenters, there has been an influx to OCT of birthers who come and spout old debunked talking and points, often to never return. They seem more like either Poo-flingers or Hive-pokers, than trolls. It’s fascinating that they demand that Reality believers be banned, and when they are, they seek them out, seemingly to antagonize. Perhaps if we answer them with the links to the information that refutes what they say and leave it at that. It doesn’t hurt to allow dissenting views, it’s what makes this site fun and informative. my $.02.

  27. Heavy says:

    I read the article. There are not many trolls here. Stubborn boars, but few trolls.

  28. Greg says:

    I think it depends on what the response is to the trolls. If it’s an FU, that doesn’t advance your goals.

    But, if it’s a reasoned response, it could advance several of your goals.

    I, for one, realize that nothing I say to the trolls will change their mind, however, responding to them motivates me to do the research that I’ve done.

    It’s like practicing tennis against a wall. You know the wall is never going to do something you don’t expect, but you can practice your form.

  29. I agree with AXJ says:

    Who are the trolls? AXJ has 30,000 hits on their thread about the OBAMA family…that is hardly a troll…Orly knows the truth and will spill the beans in Court on 09-08-09 at 08:00AM sharp. He you in court.

  30. Greg, I appreciate what you are saying (and appreciate your saying it). I am well aware of the substantive quality in your answers and those of others that grow out of short answers not satisfying the troll (or moving the wall).

    As I said, you folks are adults.

  31. Somehow you got hung up in the SPAM filter. I’m not sure why it does the things it does sometimes, but it sure saves me a lot of work with the real spam it catches.

  32. kimba says:

    Oh, no worries Doc! It was just such a brilliant thought too…..down the spam hole… ~sigh~.

  33. BlackLion says:

    Keep dreaming…And when she fails in front of Judge Carter I am sure you will make some comment that the Judge is an Obot or the President forced him to make that decision.

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