Getting trolled and don’t know how to react?

I received well over 7,000 comments on my articles the past few years (some have none, some have a lot). Consequently, I received a lot of positive feedback and a lot of grateful responses, which I am always happy about, but the internet wouldn’t be the internet without a few trolls. If you are new to the game of trolling, you might find the following guide to trolling useful.

Some troll responses are fun to read, others are just annoying. In general, there are 4 types of trolls:

Internet Trolls How To Deal With Them

#1 The Annoying Troll (Opinionated Troll)

Annoying trolls are users who will troll at any given chance. They think they absolutely have to share their opinions with the rest of the world although no one really cares. He always insists he is right and that he should be treated like a god. He keeps hammering boards with his troll comments to provoke an emotional response. He feels best when he can provoke other people or prove that he is right.

How to handle him: Either take full advantage of it and let him initiate a (pointless) discussion that draws in additional readers (increase in controversy always means an increase in circulation) or put him on your ignore list. This guy clearly can’t handle it when he’s not getting any attention. If you ignore him he’ll not bother posting again.

#2 The Witty (Or Useful Idiot)

The witty troll is a very intelligent person. His comments are hate-filled (he’s a troll after all), but he spends a lot of time pointing out (sometimes valid) flaws. You should pay a lot of attention to this particular troll and consider it actual feedback. His comments may hurt you if you are new to the game of trolling because they often address valid points, but don’t take it personal, he’s a troll and a bitter person who rarely tries anything on his own.

How to handle him: Instead of reacting with a snappy response and causing a shitstorm, take action. Try to address the problem right away. If it’s a blog article, simply rewrite it a little, fix broken links, deal with whatever he complained about. Don’t give him the satisfaction of replying to him: Trolls show you no respect, so they deserve no respect either, but you can counterattack him by addressing the issue.

If you can’t address the issue and it’s not a real issue in the first place, let your community handle the rest. Other members in the community will often engage with trolls and point out their flaws/lazyness/hypocrisy.

#3 The “Bad Day” Troll

The I’m-having-a-bad-day-troll is your average guy on a bad day. He is a loyal buddy, but on a bad day he turns into an extremely annoying person posting troll comments. Anything that does not work as he expected it will irritate him. He will cry about every little detail because he’s having a bad day and can’t handle the stress.

How to handle him: Give him a break. We all have a bad day. Try to respond with a nice, funny comment. Cheer him up, make sure he notices that you care about his problem and that you will help him out. There’s a good chance you can convert this troll and make him a loyal fan.

#4 The “Jealous” / Anonymous Troll

The jealous troll will do anything to belittle your efforts. He is not interested in sharing his opinion or posting feedback like the witty troll, all he wants is to attack you on a personal level. Because his own efforts always failed he is randomly attacking people on the internet to feel better. He uses the anonymity of the internet as a shield. You will rarely see a jealous troll posting under a real name, they most often have a l33t pseudonynm.

How to handle him: Another candidate for your ignore list. But instead of ignoring him you should take it as a sign that your influence is growing. Other people take offense when you succeed. The jealous troll wants to see you fail and he’s always taking offense when someone is better than him.

In A Nutshell

Trolls are simply part of the internet. Many people are connected to the internet and it will happen every now and then that you will encounter trolls. I completely understand the “I’m having a bad day” troll (who hasn’t complained about something very boldly because of frustration?) and find the witty troll helpful at times, but I have very little respect for the other trolls.

In general if you keep getting hammered by a troll, be nice and polite and try to address his issues. Most people will react a little less emotional when a human being without a pseudonym replies and shows that he/she cares.

How Not To Deal With Trolls / Avoid Shitstorms

Lastly, a few words on bad PR. The worst thing you can do is to respond with a snappy reply defending your position. If you do that you will play right into his hands. A troll’s goal is to get as much attention as possible and make you look as bad as possible to prove his point. Always keep that in mind. If you are having a bad day yourself, it’s best not to reply at all and let your community handle the trolls. This stuff is really basic PR you should always keep in mind.