Spend more than two minutes on a realm forum and you’re likely to stumble across a forum troll. You know these brave souls, the ones who not only post anonymously on the internet – they also create a level one alt on some far away server. The vile and hatred that these folks can spew forth is simply amazing, and it can be thoroughly entertaining.
How to beat them
First, you have to understand that you can’t win an argument with a troll. No counter-point can dissuade them, as they aren’t concerned with winning an argument. Chances are their sole purpose is to wind you up, and make you look like an idiot on the forums.
Once you understand this basic point, you can begin to start killing them with kindness and logic backed with indisputable proof (Armory links and such are great for this). Mongrr is especially talented in this department and as Thraxx put it he can “Eviscerate them before they know they’ve been cut”. Mongrr doesn’t fight fire with fire, but rather with cold logic and quotes/posts that are easily found. I swear he keeps bookmarks just for these opportunities.
Comedy is also the anathema for forum trolls. Hate and anger are their weapons of choice, so smothering them with kindness and understanding throws them completely off their game. You have to be careful though, you can’t attack them with it, just roll with their comments. Once they see that they can’t get a rise out of you, they’ll move on to another target.
Of course in my experience on the WoW forums, someone else will generally take up the torch of hate against them, and you can just sit back and watch the fireworks.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always had this Zen like approach to dealing with forum trolls. Several years ago I would have been the first to rise to the bait, and letting them win with the first cast. After dealing with many guilds as a GM, and especially my time in Forgotten Fury with Fyrre, I’ve mellowed out some. Fyrre was by far my favorite troll – he’s one of the few that I’ve actually seen lose an argument with himself.
In house guild lawyers are also a great source of frustration and trolling. These are the players who want to take your every statement apart and twist it to their advantage. My advice is to just boot them early. It’s far easier to deal with any fallout resulting from their removal than it is to go through weeks of discussion and dissention. There are literally thousands (probably more like hundreds of thousands) of guilds out there – yours may not be the one for them (or you).
At the end of the day remember that this is a game, and we’re supposed to be having fun while playing it. Trolling is a special form of raiding for these folks, don’t become their next victory. Ignoring them, or smiling politely as you go on about your way is the best tactic for dealing with them. Eventually they will become bored, and move on to another target. We’ve now had three forum threads about us deleted – one was a congratulatory post about our server first 10m Arthas kill, one was actually a troll post directed at us (this one may still be there), and the third was Ed (not his real name – or is it?) calling out the form mod as actually being the troll. Each of these threads quickly degenerated into a profanity filled name calling session – in which the only winners were the folks who wanted the thread to go away.
Now back to your regularly scheduled Paladin blog.