Trollz Antidotes: Part 2 -- How to Enjoy Trolls

(Continued from Part I)

This entire post assumes that you are not going to take the cleaner, clearer "Option #1 -- Starve the Troll" approach, and that you have consciously decided that you want to have fun with a troll.

[Disclaimer: I only use these techniques with people who have proven themselves to be trolls by continuing behavior over time. I recommend that you do the same, lest you become a troll. Fangs, bad breath, eeeeew!]

The key to enjoying trolls is to understand the basic energy mechanics of the troll interaction.

I'll begin with the generic individual troll. This type of troll generally wants one thing: Your donation of time, energy, and attention -- in as large a quantity as it can get it. The more ramped up the Troll can get you, the more energy you are likely to spew it's way. Since most of us don't like to feel "mad" or "scared" or "upset", we tend to discharge these emotions away from us, thus losing that energy. If we laugh (an energy that we generally enjoy), we tend to keep our energy with us. This is the one reason that I would advocate having fun with a troll.

Of course, any self-respecting troll will tell you that they are NOT a troll -- that they've just come for an intelligent discussion of the matter at hand. This pretty much recaps what happens if you dare to believe that:

So, fix this maxim firmly in your head: If you choose to toy with a troll, do not entertain the slightest delusion that you are going to "win" -- the point of having fun with a troll is for YOU to HAVE FUN. As far as I'm concerned, all troll play should include the FEPO disclaimer (For Entertainment Purposes Only).

That said, here are a few fun and entertaining games to play with the average everyday individual troll:

  1. Give it something shiny to play with. Trolls like shiny things. Shiny things could be links to involved statistical websites (if they are a stat fanatic), fascinating wikis, very long video or audio files (like 30 minutes or longer, and include something like "Be sure to listen in to time-mark 24:35 to get what I'm talking about" in your comment). Send it over for a friendly chat with BlogWarBot, but obfuscate the link with something like "Here, THIS is exactly what I'm saying, but the author is way more articulate than I am."
    1. For the html impaired, here's a cut and paste for your "troll-fun" file -- simply remove all the asterisks *:
      Here, <*a href="">THIS <*/a>is <*i>exactly <*/i>what I'm saying, but the author is way more articulate than I am.
  2. Play with it on its own terms.
    1. Play the "Bible Study Game" with Fundamentalist Christian trolls. I generally whip this one out any time a troll cites or quotes scripture. It's really fun, because, as I said before, the Bible can be used to justify almost anything. Don't worry if you don't have a wealth of biblical knowledge -- that what sites like these are for: -- you can simply search on a keyword and whip up a delicious biblical pastiche.
    2. Play the "But That's Not What You Said Yesterday" Game -- Keep a handy note-pad file open while you surf your regular community (one note-pad file for each recurrent Troll), and save the Troll's particularly juicy comments (with date and time included) to that file. When the Troll flip-flops (and they usually will -- especially Trolls who accuse you of being inconsistent), just copy, paste, and voila!
  3. Start a impromptu Virtual Party/Pub with the people that you think are actually making intelligent discussion on the thread -- invite them specifically, offer them a cordial flask of strong drink or a cup of tea -- and request that they ignore the troll completely as you continue the conversation and sip your refreshing virtual beverages. Here's a template: "Hey! I'm declaring a Party on this thread. /*plumping cushions, tapping the keg*/ _______, _____, _________, and _______, will you join me? Let's go over here where we can't hear the troll." (Warning: this must be very consistent -- you must all then ignore the troll's whining about exclusion, freedom-of-speech, the intolerance of regulars to opposing positions, etc.). Make sure that the party includes lots of good humor and serious discussion.
  4. Play Troll Bingo -- there are a number of great issue bingo cards out there -- including rape apology bingo, fat hate bingo, libertaraian troll bingo, etc..
  5. Acknowledge the Troll's service to the view that it opposes. If the troll has truly outdone itself, offer it an award:
If you are uncomfortable associating yourself to the LGC for any idealogical (or other) reason, it's perfectly legitimate for you to create your own organization and awards.

If you aren't that gifted with photoshop, there are also some handy-dandy images here that are great for troll fun.

The first rule of Troll Enjoyment is Have Fun! The second rule is Be Creative! Go wild!

There are also exciting group games that you can play:
  1. Put the Enterprise into self-destruct mode if the troll is very persistent. (It's worked for Captain Kirk several times). Let other regulars know that when anyone types "Destruct sequence 1, code 1-1 A." Another commenter will respond: "Destruct sequence 2, code 1-1 A-2B." A third will respond:"Destruct sequence 3, code 1 B-2B-3." A fourth will respond: "Destruct sequence completed and engaged. Awaiting final code for one-minute countdown. The commanding officer would then state: "Code zero zero zero. Destruct. Zero." From that time forward, everyone leaves the thread for the next 15 minutes. In haloscan, have everyone close their windows, so that the comment thread shows evacuation procedure. Upon return, ignore the troll. Yes, this takes some coordination, but it's really fun. If you're the owner of the blog, you may be able to close the comment thread. Have an agreed-upon rendezvous point if you do this. If you want to know my secret rendezvous point, you have to leave a comment here -- and it's still at my discretion whether I reveal the rendezvous point to you or not.
  2. Have an anti-troll device that you can hand out to regulars. (This is that exciting invention that I've been working on.) Presenting:
The Model 4L -- La-La-La-La Cone of Silence
Yes, outside the cone, the trolls will be saying things like "Hey! No Fair! You're repressing me! Chicken shit liberals! You're just afraid of anyone who disagrees with you!" But inside, everytime they comment, you will be hearing the dulcet tones of "La-la-la-la" (or, you can also program the cone to play your favorites -- Morrissey for Melissa, something from 1776 for Phydeaux, and who can guess for konagod). The comments of cogent, intelligent, respectful and rational people will come through loud and clear!

Just hand out the 4Ls in the thread, /*employing 4Ls in five, four, three, two . . . */ and enter a pure arena of blissful troll-silence. Then, simply move ahead with the topic! Share them with your friends!

A word of warning. Sometimes, when you are playing with a troll, you may actually find that they become so outrageous that you lose your temper. (That just happened to me a few moments ago.) Do not panic. Simply dedicate that rage. Use it. Use it to change the world. Don't let the asshat have it. Tell It that you are ticked, irritated, mad, angry, or raging, and tell the Troll, calmly and clearly, that you intend to use that energy for transforming the world. Thank them for the extra sauce for your activism.

Some of you may find this entire screed just too much to digest. No problem -- there's an easier, softer way to play with trolls. When they start up, simply type these words:

"I'm very sorry, but I told you -- I'm not allowed to argue with you unless you've paid."

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:00 AM  


pidomon said... August 12, 2007 at 5:04 PM  

The Python clip sums it up perfectly

The Lizard Queen said... August 12, 2007 at 6:24 PM  

Masterful use of the BlogWarBot, Argument Sketch, and Cone of Silence. I continue to be impressed with your intestinal fortitude. :) (I tend to stick with the don't-feed-the-trolls approach.)

Phydeaux Speaks said... August 12, 2007 at 10:26 PM  

Any post with a Get Smart! reference kicks ass in my book! And, thanks to you and your profligate use of Python, I had to post the Spanish Inquisition at my site.

Phydeaux Speaks said... August 12, 2007 at 10:28 PM  

I had to, I tells you!

That was never five minutes, by the way....

Brian said... August 12, 2007 at 11:19 PM  

I'd like to add one to your list. Some people will no doubt say it's unethical--I say anyone coming over to a site with the stated intention of starting trouble deserves whatever they get.

On Haloscan, at the very least, the person in charge of the account can edit comments. When we had our small infestation a couple of nights ago, I started changing abusive comments to things like "I like to drink pee," or "I masturbate to pictures of Saddam Hussein eating cake" and then IP banned them. (It is easy to get around an IP ban so don't try it on its own.)

Regardless, once they saw I wasn't simply going to delete comments, or worse, respond to them, outraged or not, they left. I denied them what they wanted most--a reaction--and made them look even more stupid in the process.

Moira said... August 13, 2007 at 8:35 AM  

I've been known to disemvowel especially trollish posts in my threads at Feminist Gamers, along with a comment about the behaviour that resulted in the disemvowelling. It upsets them terribly.

Might it be possible to get an invitation to the Undisclosed Location?

Phydeaux Speaks said... August 13, 2007 at 9:48 AM  

Is an undisclosed location anything like a Secret Lair?

PortlyDyke said... August 13, 2007 at 10:03 AM  

I will forward coded directions to the Troll Fall-out Shelter as soon as I finish up with the brimstone at the entry-way (that way, the trollz will think they're entering hell, and will run away).

And yes, phyd -- it is exactly like a secret lair. ;)

NameChanged said... August 13, 2007 at 7:31 PM  

I too stick to the don't feed the trolls approach, but the pub idea feels nice. I also like to watch those who are skilled deal with a troll in the manners described above, but I do not have the technique yet. Thank you for informing all of us.

TheCunningRunt said... August 14, 2007 at 7:38 PM  

I'm trying a slightly different approach, the one I use with Jehovah's Witnesses:

I'm inviting them in, cooing into their ear, telling them how happy I am they could stop by, stuffing them so full of milk and cookies that they can't move, then popping them into a 375 degree oven for 1:15...

trog69 said... August 15, 2007 at 6:11 PM  

Good evening, portlydyke, and well done! Now I wish I'd read this post a few days ago; my comment on the same topic at The Dark Wraith forums only had one suggestion, 'fishin' fer trolls', 'cause I don't want them to leave; heck I love when they go off the deep end, and I try to keep'em on the line as long as possible. Your devious plans, OTOH, are lots more fun for the whole site, by a long shot!

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