Whether you start a Discord server or have a Facebook group, you will deal with internet trolls at some point. A troll is a person who infiltrates your social channels and generally causes havoc. At best, they harass you and your friends endlessly. Long story short, you don’t want trolls in your presence. In this blog, we’ll be going through 8 tips on how to keep the trolls at bay and deal with the negativity.
1. Decide What Comments are Acceptable
If you establish a set of rules and guidelines for your community, then you have a valid reason to stop the trolls. One of the things that trolls will use against you is arguing that they have “free speech rights”. However, when you have rules in place, you can have a valid reason for silencing a troll. No one in your audience can disagree with you sticking to your rules.
2. Don’t Provide a Platform for Trolls
Depending on the platform you’re working with, you may be able to stop the trolls from coming out at all. This works especially well if you are running a website or message board, because you can manually approve comments before they get posted. The easy answer here is to just utilize your rules that you set up to moderate comments before they go live. Don’t give the haters a platform, and they won’t take hold.
3. Don’t Block Them
While it may seem counter-intuitive, blocking a troll is one of the worst things you can do. Silencing a troll this way motivates them to come back in force. When you shut down one, two more brand new accounts will rise up in its place. Or worse, they will bring their friends in to the fight.
4. Use Trusted Admins and Mods
It’s going to be impossible for you to keep away all the internet trolls yourself, especially if you are running a larger community. It’s important to appoint a trusted set of server admins so you can rest easy not having to worry about always keeping tabs. If you don’t know how to go about selecting these people, read our blog on choosing trusted server admins.
5. Don’t Engage the Trolls
One of the best pieces of advice is to just ignore internet trolls. They will likely just go away if no one replies to them, because they thrive on attention. The first method you try should just be to ignore any comments that come through. This includes leaving up trolling comments as long as there aren’t too many of them flooding your feed.
6. If You Do Engage, Use Truth as Your Weapon
If you do feel compelled to engage the trolls, do it wisely. First of all, stay calm; do not stoop to the low level of the trolls, who rely on anger and hate. Instead, focus on hard facts and indisputable truths. This still may not assuage the troll, but there are many who will not be able to come up with a witty comeback when the truth is staring them in the face.
7. Find an Outlet
Rather than engaging with the trolls, find another outlet. This could just be a video game that you’re good at, or a friend that doesn’t mind you venting. Either way, you need a healthier way to blow off some steam, without biting the head off of a troll. As mentioned earlier, you can’t stoop down to their level. It will only make matters worse, but you will definitely be tempted.
8. Listen and Admit Mistakes
It’s a stretch, but there is a possibility that a troll has a point. Now, most trolls are just making baseless accusations or pointless spam, but you shouldn’t just assume that every one has terrible intentions. Some rude comments will stem from a place of not liking your content or your message, or some other aspect of your personality. They may have constructive criticism hidden in their rage, and you should pause to see if you can learn something. If you do, maybe the trolls will go away, as you adapt to something that more people can enjoy.
Trolls are a part of internet life, which is unfortunate. Dealing with them can be a challenge, and we genuinely hope that these 8 tips will help you in your online communities to keep the trolls at bay. Especially if you choose to promote your server, you will run into trolls. If we missed something, let us know in the comments how you deal with the haters!