5 Reasons Your Community Needs Trolling

5 reasons trolling

There is a tendency in the Internet to describe every online misbehavior as trolling.

  • Someone disturbing a feminist hashtag on Twitter with sock puppet accounts? TROLL!
  • Someone wrote „1st“ under a new YouTube Video? TROLL!
  • Someone impersonating a celebrity? TROLL!
  • Someone cyber-bullying a classmate? TROLL!
  • Someone threatening to rape and/or murder someone else? TROLL!

These are NOT trolls. These are assholes, criminals or simply bored kids, but they are NOT trolls.

„Trolling is a art“ [sic!]
(most likely Christopher Poole aka moot, founder of 4chan and Canvas)
„Trolls are making mischief“
(Donath, 1999)
„[Trolls] trigger or exacerbate conflict for the purposes of their own amusement / entertainment.“
(Hardaker, 2007)

//German readers may also find some information in my older article: „Konflikte als Entertainment: Trolling“  (Conflicts as Entertainment: Trolling)//

Trolls are an endangered species, hunted by uninformed Community Managers or Social Media Moderators, but every community should have at least one. And here are 5 Reasons why:

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Why “Don’t feed the trolls” does not apply to Community Managers

Troll Feeding as CMAfter my posts “Don’t feed the trolls – Enchant them” and “Konflikte als Entertainment – Trolling“, I was asked why I am of the opinion that “Don’t feed the trolls” does not apply to Community Managers. Short answer:

Community Managers are sometimes described as Piñatas, as Jack/Jills of all Trades – or as zookeepers.

And while I would not say trolls or any other community members are animals; in a zoo no one feeds the lions – except for the zookeeper.

Trolls are Community Members, wether you like them or not. And as such Community Managers have to deal with them.

Konflikte als Entertainment: Trolling

Konflikte als EntertainmentIm Rahmen eines Seminares zum Konfliktmanagement an der FOM Berlin, an welcher ich derzeit International Management studiere, hielt ich einen Vortrag über Trolle. Dies ist die verbloggte Variante anlässlich des #cmad davon.

Die Bilder im Beitrag stammen von Aeleron, vielen Dank an dieser Stelle noch einmal dafür! Übrigens: auch die Bilder für meine Social Accounts stammen allesamt aus ihrer Hand.

1. Was ist ein Troll?

Definitionen für Trolle gibt es unzählige und sehr verschiedene. Einig sind sich alle in einem Punkt: ein Troll will stören, die Folgen seiner Handlungen sind intendiert und bereiten ihm Vergnügen.

Claire Hardaker definierte in ihrem Vortrag „Trolling in a CMC“ zum 5th International Symposium on Politeness den Troll wie folgt:

Troller: a CMC user who constructs the identity of sincerely wishing to be part of the group, e.g. by professing or conveying pseudo-sincere intentions, but whose real intention(s) is/are to cause disruption and/or to trigger or exacerbate conflict for the purposes of their own amusement/entertainment.

(CMC = computer-mediated communication) Continue reading

Don’t feed the trolls – enchant them!

or “How to communicate with difficult users

Enchant TrollsA few introducing words

Trolls are nasty little things that live in the internet. Once upon a time, before I started working as a CM, I even was a troll myself. And oh how I enjoyed it!

I worte it a long time ago and used it at work to train other CMs as well as volunteers in that special forum moderation job, most found it helpful so I decided to finally publish it, as intended, on my blog.

We all know topics like “Telling the Truth about XYZ” or “How our Game is destroyed” etc. Most of them are difficult to handle, written by intelligent people that know well how language works and who will find other users following their words, even though what they write may not include any truth at all.

This is a small guide about how to communicate with difficult users and how to work with them. A user like this may be a burden at the beginning, but if you’re working with and not against them, they will become important members of your community that give constructive feedback and suggestions.

Many things written down here will seem to be obvious, still one often forgets to act according to these communication rules and tools.

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