22

We're still in beta and the trolls have come out of their caves. I suspect in the weeks and months to come they will multiply like rabbits. The subject matter at hand is going to breed them like there is no tomorrow.

It looks like this: You put up your great-well-researched-answer. You are passionate about it and you think you explained it well. There are other answers along side yours with dissenting views, but all is hunky-dory until the inbox alert lights up. You have a comment. Rejoicing that somebody thought your post worthy of feedback, you click through.

Inside you find the greasy slobber that a cave troll left after devouring your answer with no appreciation for its finely spiced arrangement of dishes.

Your frustration boils -- he didn't even read your supporting text, he just objected to the premise. The trolls own philosophy isn't clear and the premise of his objection is untenable. However answering him properly and setting the record straight would take much more than the 600 character character limit on comments.

What other options do you have? His comment hasn't said anything personally offensive, he's only insulted your viewpoint not your person so you can't flag it. He hasn't posted his view in an answer himself so you can't down-vote it based on it's lack of merit.

You remember the adage Don't feed trolls, but what option do you have but to fire off a reply? What are the options other than firing off a comment to say that he's still in the dark ages?

TL;DR: What is some sage advice for dealing with comment trolls?

(Links to other meta sites where people have experience are welcome.)

18

Flags fix these quite nicely. If you make a single or a couple of replies and the argument is going in circles flag the comment as too chatty and a mod should come along and clean it up as unproductive. Comments are completely disposable and should be scrubbed regularly.

However if you have an issue with a single user continuously trolling your posts it might be time to get a mod in on it in a more serious way. Try pinging an SE employee (for now) or a site mod in chat and talk to them about it. They can analyze it from an objective perspective and possibly talk to the user about it or if necessary take more serious action.

  • my thoughts exactly – DForck42 Aug 30 '11 at 15:47
-1

First, how bad are these "trolls"? Links or it didn't happen.

Second, this is rampant on every site that requires an opinion (that is non-Stack Overflow sites).

I have seen this many times on other SE sites. You write something decent and then you get faced with a comment that requires another 10 comments to explain your answer.

I found after a while no matter how intelligent, factual or wise your comments, you are screaming in the wind. Save your breath and your sanity and just ignore. It is likely not trolling, just someone who is naturally infuriating.

You will also find that their crazy comments get upvotes. But it is a no win situation for yourself by entering into discussion.

Just rest in the fact that you are correct and they are just annoying.

  • 5
    The fact that you don't think its a problem is actually just evidence that the community is doing its job. We've nuked the worst of it, down voted and closed some and edited and salvaged others. – Caleb Sep 7 '11 at 7:35
  • 1
    @Caleb - Where did I say I don't think it's a problem? I said show me there's a problem. If there's no problem then there's no need to ask the question. You obviously seem to think there is a problem otherwise you wouldn't have asked, right? I think your comment above is a good example of what you are complaining about: people leaving comments that don't even relate to what the answerer said. I suggest you reread my answer and point out to me where I say "I dont think its problem". I provided a decent solution to your problem: get over it. – going Sep 8 '11 at 2:03
-2

Jesus had to deal with troll (ie pharisee) type questions all the time. Get good at shooting off replies in the same spirit and quality (as the Lord). Obviously, you'll never quite measure up to Him, but we should try, no? That said, there are times when we ought not to answer (Pro_26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.), so it will require wisdom.

  • 8
    So start with You brood of vipers! and work from there? – dancek Sep 6 '11 at 22:24
  • Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. (Prov 26:5) – Dɑvïd Aug 13 '16 at 8:55

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