One of the hallmark tactics of Internet Trolls is to place comments into a comment-thread that is designed with the sole intent of provoking an angry response from one or more legitimate commenters. Their comment may seem relatively on-topic, but it is not intended to contribute to the discussion in any meaningful way. The troll may or may not hold the opinion which they submit, they simply write things designed specifically to provoke and antagonize, and to distract from the subject of the discussion. In this way, they imagine that they have "taken control" of the thread, which gives them a sense of power. They also get a vicarious thrill from provoking other commenters until they make them angry, and when that anger is presented in writing, the troll gleefully taunts them. At that point, the troll has won, and they know it... and revel in it.
Why am I writing about this now? Because, unfortunately, my blog was recently infested by a troll. This individual has admitted that he deliberately makes antagonistic comments to me, for the sole purpose of aggravating and provoking me, while falsely portraying his attacks as legitimate comments. In other words, his sole intention has been to deliberately manipulate me for his own amusement, all the while pretending to be a commenter. His whole presentation was a lie, a cheap facade, and because I have always maintained a policy of never deleting anyone's comments, I was an easy mark. I fell for the ruse. I was the patsy. I received his comments in good faith, and in return, he got his jollies by manipulating me.
Now, in contrast, there exists another blogger for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration, that captain of common sense, Grandpa Eddie. He has a disclaimer on his fine blog that I admire enough to copy and use on mine. It reads as follows:
"Comments from all readers are welcome and appreciated. Open discussion is allowed, trolls are not. As I am the editor of this blog, I am the one who makes the decision on what may be posted in the comments section. Free speech is a wonderful thing, but comments from trolls will be removed...and I decide who a troll is here."That is what is necessary, thanks to trolls like the one that infested my blog. To paraphrase Spiderman, with free speech comes great responsibility. From now on, when I see comments from that particular individual, they will be removed forthwith. I will not tolerate trolling, and I will not have my blog polluted by such repugnant vandalism. I will do what I can to rid the internet of trolls.
To my blogger friends, my stalwart companion Mike of the North, Sar (officially #47), Windspike, WhyNot & Dianne, Grandpa Eddie, Watch 'N Wait, Tina, Ken G, Via, Romablog, and whoever I've forgotten, you're always welcome here. I think you'll find it a little bit more pleasant environment.