Dennis Knight

Dennis Knight
Whittier, California, USA
December 31
I'm the typist of those little labels you find in the pockets of your new trousers.
I own several ant farms, but the little fellas haven't produced a single crop.


NOVEMBER 6, 2009 11:19AM

Trolls and Their Codependents

Rate: 52 Flag

trolls & enablers

The problem with trolls is they attract attention - like a librarian with Tourette’s.

Drivers slow down to observe wrecks. It’s a sad practice - and often causes delays and harm to others - but most of us do it, even knowing we may see something we’ll really regret. Same with trolls. And spontaneous combustion.

Trolls cannot exist without enablers. They need attention. They require a response in order to stay nourished or they die. Picture a Chia Pet shaped like Sean Hannity. Do you really want to water that?

What exactly is a troll?  Someone who provokes others with the goal of redirecting the focus to themselves.

For a troll it’s all about them, all the time.

When confronted for their behavior, trolls shift blame, hurl personal insults, and taunt with belittling names. Pretty much your standard kindergarten variety mini-thug behavior.

There may be lots of reasons why people continue to respond to and enable trolls. I can’t pretend to know them all - I can only mention a few I’ve observed and been guilty of.

• It’s fun. It’s like giving a dog peanut butter and it’s cheaper than the movies.

• Some folks have “last word” or “been bullied” issues. They may have missed a chance to cyber thrash someone who got the best of them but God help the next halfwit who even hints at impertinence.

• Others  continue to respond to trolls for reasons related to their particular personality. They enjoy the back and forth - like playing catch - even though it’s really more like bouncing a ball off their own forehead.

• Others see the troll problem as a free speech issue. “Everyone has a right to express their opinion.” Trolls rub their hands and lick their chops when they hear this. Any pretense of “intellectual debate” offers them the limelight and the opportunity to bray at the wind they crave.

• Then there’s the “Usual Suspects” syndrome.  I’m not accusing anyone of anything. But if you consistently find your avatar at the scene of the crime - firing off comments regardless of the kerfuffle du jour - you may want to think about the possibility of troll-codependent issues.

• Lastly there’s the “Martyrdom” complex.

Martyrdom is really not a valid concept in cyber world. Real martyrdom is a one time gig.

Nevertheless many who engage in regular online quarreling fancy themselves defenders of a truth or a cause worth dying for - or at the very least worth flouncing for.

One thing usually works in regard to quieting trolls. Ignore them. Don’t respond in any way to them. Let ‘em twist in the wind - alone.

Starve a troll of the attention they covet and they’ll lose their motivation to jabber.

The opposite holds true. Give a troll one tiny foothold of attention - one crumb of a nod from the table of dialogue - and they’ll grow like “The Blob” in the campy Steve McQueen flick.

Heated debate, argument, and goofing with others are not at all what I’m addressing here. Civil debate and horsing around can provide some of life’s sweetest interactions. What I’m addressing is enabling abusive people and continuing to give them a platform to speak instead of ignoring them, starving them, and exiling them to a lonely, excruciating, cyber death.

So, that’s my little tirade. I want to state for the record I seek neither to condemn nor criticize anyone for feuding with trolls.

I also understand why this advice will - in all likelihood - go unheeded. And I blame no one. Far from it. I understand the temptation to duke it out. I do it myself on occasion. Ignoring aint easy work. But in the long run it’s really the only thing that quiets the village idiot.

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Well yes, as a matter of fact, I would like to get watered by that. My very first italics from the italics master! Yippee! I hope it works. Otherwise, I will feel completely humiliated.
"For a troll it’s all about them, all the time."
Yup. So annoying...
Well said Dennis.
You talking to me>, Kitty?
Thank you, Dennis. I got drawn into something yesterday that I usually walk away from. I fed a troll, and worse--I descended to his level--which made me feel, well, icky. But one thing about trolls is that sometimes, (not always) they can come off as threatening, and if the person they're trolling is someone you feel compelled to defend from that kind of bullying--well, that's when it gets ugly.
But, my mantra, which I've gone back to chanting religiously is, "don't feed the trolls. "
Thank you for a fine analysis of one of the consistent problems in the blogworld.
I learned that lesson long ago. But thanks for the reminder.
My experience with trolls is that they are very demeaning, hostile and sometimes crude in their comments. If I try to reason with them, find some common ground, they persist. At that point, I ignore because as you said so well, "Do you really want to water that"? My mother used to tell me "don't throw your pearls to swine" (I think it's a Bible verse). There's much wisdom to that. "Trolls" don't anger me. They are somebody's son, daughter, perhaps spouse, sibling. They may suffer from some form of mental illness. There is so much hostility and meanness to their comments, I can only imagine that they must not feel good about themselves in those alone moments when it is only between them and them.
You opened with a simile that was like a smile. Contagious. Damn you're good - not that I'm starting anything.

Very much appreciated.
"What exactly is a troll? Someone who provokes others with the goal of redirecting the focus to themselves. For a troll it’s all about them, all the time. "

While I normally ignore trolls, or even people with extreme opinions with which I disagree, I have to say, with regret, that I commented about a troll last night and TO him this morning.

As you say, "Ignoring aint easy work" ... but it's necessary. It's the only way.

(Especially egregious is what I did this morning, which is get into a meta-thing about What Is Trolling with a troll - that's craziness squared...)

I go now, chastened...
Fascinating. Just learning the term, and sounds like you've got the psychology identified!
Yeah Cat - "Do you really want to water that?"

Note - pissing on something is all-same watering it, when it comes to trolls.
You're forgetting the garden variety PTT, or Paid to Troll. The RNC spends big bucks paying people to stir up anti-Obama sentiment. Their goal is not to change minds, but to convince the left wing "base" to stay home on election night. That's how they got Bush in the first time... Remember all that "Bush and Gore are pretty much the same" bullshit? Many of them pose as lefties, too, and will give you some line about Obama not being liberal enough, so it's best not to vote and let Sarah Palin win the next election. Yeah. That'll worked SO well from 2000-2008.
WSFTC--I'm honored that we share the same prenom. I was named for the song by Nat King Cole. Do you know why you were?
Hello, I am not familiar with your blog, but this title is catchy, and so I bite.

At the risk of being dismissed as a trollop, I would like to add that the definitions, as we now understand them (thank you very much) are broad--they could be applied to even the most popular of bloggers around here. Trolldom--and the deeming of such--is subjective. As I said, I've witness (and could produce on demand) names, dates, and blog titles of many a blogger with high ratings to boot who often engage in trollishness. Do they consider themselves trolls?
To troll or not to troll....that is the question.
I'm "heeding you!."
My dog LOVES peanut butter!
I’m happy to add to your arsenal. Use it mercifully.

Your italics are great. But matter of fact-ly wanting to be “watered by that” when the “that” in my sentence refers to a Sean Hannity Chia pet is... well... disturbing.

Thanks for your kind reply.

You’re very welcome and thank you.

Thank you for your kind comment. I so seldom get called “brilliant” I was wondering if I may copy your comment down and use it when needed?

Lorraine flw,
I thank you for your comment and for your transparency about what you’d rather have done. I’m not sure any of us who don’t trolly can understand a mindset that seeks to lure people into arguments and studies how to provoke. In my opinion, DNFTT is the best advice anyone can heed online.

As one who is still learning I sincerely appreciate the hope contained in your reply.

As usual, I find myself in harmony with what you have voiced. I wonder and feel deeply concerned about trolls for the same reasons. “An argument going somewhere to happen” does not begin to cover the plethora of mental and emotional issues a troll must be bound with. It’s sadder still that kindness rarely if ever works to stop these individuals any more than gas can appease a fire.

The first line was my favorite as well my friend- just because of the imagery. Thanks for your kind words.

If you go chastened so do most of us here. Hopefully we all can learn from our welts - both received and given. Thanks for your reply.

Thank you for the encouragement. My psych profiling was tongue in cheek. But I do wonder... :)

Thanks for taking the time to comment and for the insights you offered. I really didn’t forget the Trolls for Hire crowd. It’s just they would require a whole other section and this one tipped in at 650 words already.

Thank you dear lady for such kind words. I’m grateful.

Ha. Giving peanut butter to the dog. Always great fun for them and us. Well with the italics you did young Padawan learner.

ghost writer,
I think the whole troll definition becomes more subjective when looked at it through a Hatfield versus McCoy’s lens. Most commonly accepted definitions of trolls usually include: rude and crude behavior, the hurling of pejoratives, and gross attention seeking immaturity - regardless of which side of the fence they claim to be on.

Thanks so much for the encouragement. I’ll try to follow suit.

And Lorraine,
I so did not wreak havoc - polite or otherwise. But you get style points for “Thingamabob.”
omg. my dog just got through eating one of those kong things filled with peanut butter. she's teething. Isn't it funny that someone just mentioned peanutbutter?

And Bank Teller Lorraine--Funny story. I suppose it might explain why there were so many Raquels running around for a while.
Not all the trolls at OS are right-wing and/or grey heads. Several are specialists in victimhood, using mental illness as a club to bully and manipulate, plus other unsavoury attention-getting devices. What baffles me is why so many people encourage and enable them to keep repeating the endless cycle. And yes, trolls should be neither fed nor watered and I resist the temptation, at least most of the time.
Like Emma said. Goes double for me. And fortunately I have not encountered any trolls here, but then, why would they care about my dirty haikus, recipes and gramma stuff. Not too much for them to sink their teeth into there. I used to fear that there were trolls under bridges, for real...when a kid. That thought lingers.
Okay....I knew that....
Wasn't it Joseph Conrad, in Heart of Darkness, "There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious trollery in the night…” Or did I just make that up?
I don't think I have been using OS to be able to identify troll behavior. Can you give an example, even if it is fictional...or is it simply a know it when you see it kind of thing. I think I have seen it...but I am not sure...
We have dog and peanut butter shows here at our house. But you’ve got me thinking about charging for them now.

I appreciate your use of the word “victimhood” in the context of those who bully and attempt to intimidate others. Online communities seem to have more than their fair share of folks seeking to live out a reality TV type of existence before a “live” audience. As with most things, false claims of victimization and heavy drama tempt others to raise an eyebrow at people who really are hurting and question the legitimacy of actual wounds. Bad results all around.

Your posts a lovely dear Lady. Those trolls under the bridges, however? Sorry to tell you. They’re real :)

Yeah. Sure you did.

Harlee Girl,
You have me at both the quote and the Novel by Joseph Conrad - having, I’m ashamed to say, never read it. But I take your word for it and doubt very much you would have made that up. Besides you managed to fit the word “lugubrious” into your comment and that is no small achievement :)
You've pretty much summed up what moves people to interact with troll-dom; well-done. I'm guilty of engaging with them sometimes myself, and depending on what week it is, for more than one of the reasons you've listed here. The main motivator for me though is usally "It’s fun. It’s like giving a dog peanut butter and it’s cheaper than the movies." I hate being guilty of anything so cheap and childish, but there it is; I am what I am as Popeye says:)
I could offer you several examples of this very thing taking place on posts here at OS but that would be the same as inviting the miscreants here.

If I may, then, please allow me to summarize trollish behavior in this way: Intentional provocation of the author or “commenters” to hijack the objective of the post, cruel and abusive language, name calling, drawing attention to themselves or another topic rather than the topic the author has in mind, and repeat appearances on any and all posts pertaining to the same issues while behaving in the exact same way.

That’s why my poor attempt at humor here, in regard to ignoring them, is something I feel can help. Thanks for your thoughtful question.
I’ve found, as a general rule, the person who feels or admits they are the guilty party is not the one being addressed. There are very few of us who have not been guilty of enabling trolls. I think what matters most is whether we have a genuine desire to edify and bless the community we’re part of or just tear it to shreds. That’s the difference in my book.

And by the way my man, it’s actually, “I yam what I yam.”. I’m almost a vegetarian, so Popeye’s creed is dear to me (yams and spinach). Thanks for your comment and encouragement. I appreciate both.
I was trying to be polite, subtle and gentile in my reference to "that" so as not to draw attention away from what I think is a cogent and important post. And, thank you for coming to my defense while I was away and for always maintaining the behavior (or, for Cat's sake, behaviour of a true gentleman. I appreciate it. Always.
Thank you for giving Melissa Miles McCarter a wonderful example of what a troll actually does. I’m in your debt.

You really shouldn’t mock my reading level. My teacher is very proud of me. I’ve almost finished “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. You ought to read that one, you, you, you ... Canadian!
Dear God I loved this. Rated with enthusiasm.

What Emma said in spades.

I try my best at all costs to avoid it, know exactly what it is, but have been sucked in under certain circumstances - a suggested new line to add:

- *false shiny star* they appear to have reformed, so you try to do the kind thing and just be nice and then, you get bit in the ass harder than a pitbull amped up on puppy chow. A troll is a troll.

And, kudos to your advice, let them twist in the wind.
P.S. I'm ignoring duking it out - it's really hard. But, the high road is usually the lonely one. Fuck it.
What a great post, Dennis. I find myself wanting to name some trolls, but that would be to give them attention. Best leave them under the bridge and try not to let them get your goat!
Wow, I thought I was a troll until I read this. I just like to cruise and comment, but not be mean. I'll have to come up with a new name for myself --- cruiser? Rated-
I think I knew that. Thank you for your kind words. I really can’t even spell gentleman but I’m working on it.

I’m having a hard time believing Canada would ban “The Lorax.” Here in the U.S. sure. On this side of the border some folks wanted to put more clothes on Barney.

You’re not really a Canadian at all are you? I bet you’re using dial up somewhere on Malta.

Thanks very much for your generous comments. I do know the “false shiny star” you’re referring to. Kinda like the slasher horror flicks where you think the killer is dead but ... nuh uh. Props to you for trying not to duke it out.

Thank you for your kind remark. I wish you’d posted that earlier so I could have proved to Cathy there still really are trolls under the bridge.

As long as you’re not about tearing the place or the people up cruiser sounds fine to me. It beats “lurking.” Thanks for the comment and rating.
I don’t know about that. I think you do a pretty good job. What’s that old saw about us being “our own worst critic”?

I agree that bullies need to be stood up to. I really do. The anonymity available in cyber space often makes that so difficult. Those who would run like frightened mice if confronted face to face use the cloak of obscurity and pretense to be what they clearly are not. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
There is something very strange about you folks. You constantly talk and worry about these mythical "trolls". It is strange. Very, very strange.

Are you all aliens? Or maybe you are the trolls speaking a secret troll language. I think that might be it. You are the trolls and you're out to get non-trolls. Oh my God! That's it, isn't it. I knew it.

I think Will Somone Feed The Cat is the leader of the trolls. She's always saying weird things in an obvious attempt to seem hip and quirky. It's too obvious. She's a troll!

That is freaky. Ok, I'll get with the act. I'll act like you guys. Just don't get mad at me. I can change, honest, I can.
Rated for the picture alone. It was so funny! Coffee and pizza anyone? Except none for the trolls, right Don't feed the trolls.
I was drawn into a pointless argument with Trollditty Troll McTroll the other night. I just told her, don't troll here trolly troll troll. And then I totally ignored her.

Thanks for writing this awesome post, Dennis. It is so true!
but you dont address that the quasi official mascot of open salon is...
Freaky Troll.
maybe you're the humorless one :p
Ironic in a way. I mean I agree but it's kind of a crumb intself.

WSFTC- you always seem to be so spot on! Love your comments!

Dennis, Ironic or not, so very well put! Thanks for sharing! Wonderful analysis and frightfully familiar!
Trolls want to play a game. They set up the rules so that no matter what happens you lose. You lose time, you lose peace of mind, you lose dignity. You correctly identify how to "win" their game -- refuse to play.
Nothing wrong with a game of Whack-a-Troll. It's a waste of time, but sometimes we have time to waste.
Like all things in nature, trolls serve a purpose. Political post trolls serve as a proxy for the right wing movement, and whacking them is at least a little cathartic. If not for those trolls one of us might be tempted to eliminate their leaders in various ways...such as exposing Glenn Beck to a deadly dose of Intelligence.

I offer this defense of trolls because I believe in Free Screech.
Tiger Sonora,
Thanks for your kind remarks and for your input. It’s much appreciated.

I really like your reply. It’s so true that refusing to play the game is really the easiest and the only way to win. Thank you.

As I wrote in the article, there are various reasons that we respond to trolls. One of my favorite saying is, “Sometimes while digging through a pile of manure you find a gold ring.” However, when it comes to this issue - and after many piles of manure - I’ve come to believe the ring is rarely, if ever, there.

Thanks for your comment. It’s sadly ironic that the right kind of attention is so willingly given if only the pursuit for the wrong type of attention is abandoned.
You made me both smile and laugh with your reply. There’s some great tutorial posts on OS - written by some savvy members - on how to create italics, boldface, and so much more in your comments and posts. Use the search function and type in the letters “html” to find them. Thanks for your funny comment.
Emma put to pen my thoughts above.

I confess that there have been times when I know I have ventured into troll-like behavior BUT it was beyond my control.

You see, I have recently been diagnosed with a chronic, incurable mental condition: ITS. You may have heard it mentioned here a few times, maybe you laughed (many people do), maybe you thought to yourself that this was just another crock, etc...
I am here to tell you that ITS is REAL. Our numbers are much larger than I originally estimated when I created this disease, but hey, the more the merrier.

Butt ITS is very real.
I’m often the last guy in the room to get the joke but since you said you “created this disease” I’m gonna guess you’re going tongue in cheek here (I’m certain someone somewhere is shouting at me: “Duh!”). Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to read the post.
Had to come back and say thanks for doing this post. It is up there in the ratings, along with Ms. Peel's post, and I think more than a few people are tired of the incessant troll like behavior. I think you brought up a great point - the codependents. It is like the people who buy the tabloids. Why do people "feed" the ones who are so obvious? I don't get it. Yuck.
Martyrdom is really not a valid concept in cyber world. Real martyrdom is a one time gig.

(That better come off as italics!)

Anyway... words to live by. R.
Paul O'Rourke had funny comment - free screech indeed (tho here in Canada 'screech' occasionally refers to a kind of raw rum, seldom free tho quite cheap
Thanks for stopping by again. The “codependents” thing was really the point of my post. We really can’t complain about the monster we create. Ask Dr. Henry Frankenstein.

Thanks for the encouraging comment. And the italics came off just fine :)

I confess I my eyes were tired last last night and I missed that wonderful “Freedom of Screech” play on words that Paul posted. Thanks for pointing it out to me. I’m grateful.
"When confronted for their behavior, trolls shift blame, hurl personal insults, and taunt with belittling names. Pretty much your standard kindergarten variety mini-thug behavior."

There's this thing called adulthood which has become sadly underrated these days. Anyone over 20 years old may want to give it a shot. After that age, online tantrums becomes spectacularly unappealing - unless, of course, your aim is to become the Grand Poobah of the Nimrod Contingent.
Monsieur Chariot,
Thank you for your usual insightful remarks. You consistently offer a wonderful example of combining wit and wisdom in a civil and approachable manner.

“...unless, of course, your aim is to become the Grand Poobah of the Nimrod Contingent.” Someday I will write like that. I hope.
I have neither the time nor energy to deal with trolls, and I have no desire to give them attention, which, as you so rightly point out, they feed on. I delete 'em. Sometimes with a comment that reads, "I ruthlessly delete comments from trolls," sometimes not. And I keep deleting them until they go away. Amusingly, the level of invective goes up until they realize they can't win; it reminds me of the Wicked Witch's I'm melting... speech.

When I first started here, I wondered if that was somehow against the unspoken rules. Then I stopped caring.
Oh, and by the way: italics and boldface. Kiss my ring, acolytes.
Lord of the Trolls: Coming soon to OS. A grand, sweeping fantastical adventure about a comment thread that never seems to end...until the inevidible 'comments closed' demon comes crashing down.
It's going to be a snooze.
I like Toll House cookies.
Floyd, I would make a different suggestion with respect to deleting the comments of trolls. Leave the comment and state your intention not to respond to them further. Why? It allows the community to spot the troll for themselves and see what this person is all about. When you delete a comment, you make it easier for the troll to play vicitim by decrying your "censorship" of him.

Contrary to some folks' assertions, the readers of OS are not sheep and are capable of discerning which members make constructive contributions and which ones are there to get attention for themselves. Letting everyone see just what a troll the troll really is by leaving his comment intact actually benefits the community.

I don't think I have ever deleted a comment. The only time I would ever do so, I think, is if someone made an unrelated, slanderous screed about someone else on my blog. If someone wants to get up in my face and call me names, go ahead. My skin is thick enough to take it. But I won't let my "house" be used to harm others. Alot of this attitude is in part a "free speech" issue. I believe enough in my ideas to believe that they will withstand being assailed by a stupid troll. I don't need a "delete" button to demonstrate the superiority of a well-communicated, well-reasoned argument. If I've done my job as a writer, my writing will do that work for me.
>>I don't need a "delete" button to demonstrate the superiority of a well-communicated, well-reasoned argument.

Ah, but everything I write is snarky bullshit. You see my problem here?

Letting everyone see the troll's comment is exactly the problem, Liz. It buys him or her attention, attention that they can't get in their own blog or life. Deleting them denies them that. And they can bitch about censorship all they their own blog, which I won't read, and which will not get them the attention they crave. If they do it in my comments...well, I delete 'em again, some more. It's like they never existed. They hate that, since they suspect they don't exist.
I believe that one's blog is to do with what they wish; if a troll comments, leave it or delete. Sometimes crude comments create a lively virtual debate. Meanness can be defeated with both retort or silence. There is no place for intolerance directed at sexism, illness, racism or religious preference; those remarks I'll continue to delete.
Hilarious, beautifully written, and necessary. I'm just trying to do a little reading and writing here.
Floyd (x3),
Thanks for your comments. I can’t tell you how many times while editing this post I wanted to put that comment from The Wicked Witch of the West into play. Thanks for dropping it in your reply. Hey, and extra props for the bold italics. I take my place as a humble acolyte.

Thanks very much for the rating and facebook shout out. I’m grateful.

Chuck (x2),
You and me both - on the toll house cookies and the right a person should be able to exercise over their own blog. The wonderful thing about hearing advice as adults is none of us are obliged to follow it. This little diatribe of mine was just that - advice with some miserable attempts at humor.

You and I are on pretty much on the same page about this. I think the clearest way for intentional belligerence and folly to be revealed is to allow them to speak for themselves. And the best way to turn up the volume so others can clearly discern what they’re hearing, is by silence. Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Thanks for your very kind comment. I appreciated reading and rating your work as highlighted in Lorraine’s weekly wrap up. Your tiara was well deserved :)
I fire off one or two but try to avoid a full on war
That pretty much makes you like all the rest of us. This post is humble advice for those who are weary of the gunfights. Thanks very much for your comment.
I came back to this because it made me think about the first post I ever wrote, and how it got EP and Dugg, so all sorts of people commented and joined OS just so they could comment. That was my first encounter with the term "troll," and I didn't know how or if to respond to the mean ones, so I pulled the post down. I still don't think I'd respond to mean ones, but the trolls make me gun-shy to post anything remotely provocative. I admire those who do. I also admire those who don't take the bait. As for the super annoying trolls... well... as you said... starve them.
So, would anyone be bold enough to post a "troll" list? People who are known for this behavior? It just seems frustrating they get isolated on little blogs, here and there. What about a blog for the trolls, and anyone who wants to nominate someone, can. Or, would that just get ugly, ugly. Probably ugly. Hmmmmm.....a
I can understand being hesitant to open up a topic because of past experiences with online cage fighting. I’m sorry you took down your first post, but get why you felt you wanted to. My advice is post what you feel led to and ignore those who show up only to tear the place apart. There are many extremely constructive and critically thinking folks here who will offer great comments and increase the value and effectiveness of your post.

Lorraine (WSFTC) just gave you some you terrific advice (don’t tell her I said that though okay?). I’d add this:

The idea that a list of trolls would help is sort of addressed by the old adage, “Give a man a fish you feed him once, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” It’s better to learn to recognize behavior intent on tearing down, disrupting, and drawing attention to the perpetrator than it is to focus on a list of names which would have to be constantly updated and revised anyway.

Another thing she pointed out to you is vital. Trolls are cowards. The anonymity of the internet provides trolls with skirts to hide behind. It takes real courage, real heart, and real integrity to hold a civil discussion based on facts rather than making faces, hurling pejoratives, and blowing bronx cheers.

And L? I’m going to steal that “eternal students” line.
What Cat said. If you advocate that people should sink or swim on their own with no help from government, then don't expect me to feel sorry for you when you are sinking and hold out your hand for government help. If you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Otherwise you're no better than a hypocrite, which is what most trolls are anyway.
Excellent. I completely agree.
Thanks for your kind encouragement.
I think we should have a block option but these suggestions are good too...for the first time, I found myself deleting a comment last night...the night before, I deleted a comment that I had written because I felt I was knee jerking...good advice, thanks...
What a brilliant post! I probably need to read it every day.
Leonde Delmare,
I appreciate your comment. Thank you. I wish we had a “review feature so we could see our comment first before sending it out to be mocked. It’s funny, you made me realize the only comments I have ever deleted were my own. I read them and thought, “The nerve of that bastard!”

Thank you very much for your kind words. You and me both.
there is a natural symmetry between trolls and "anti trolls". there is an old terminology, "crank and anticrank". both are annoying....
"never argue with a fool. people may not be able to tell the difference" --abraham lincoln.
you dont cover the issue of overzealous deleters-of-comments, of which there are many here on OS.... is that feeding the trolls or not??? I would argue it does tend to "feed the trolls" in some cases....
Trolls are narcissists. I have years of experience with them. (See my earlier post. Or not.)
If you give a troll an inch, he's going to take a million miles. (Hey, I see a poem in that statement.) Never give an inch to a troll, and never, EVER lose one precious iota of energy on trolls. They feed on it. Who wants to be responsible for feeding the troll, after all?
but-- will someone feed the troll?
j lynne,
Thanks very much for your remarks. We’re definitely in agreement. In my many years online I have yet to find a more effective way of dealing with folks whose purpose is to disrupt.
They're awful. They make me question the virtues of democracy. When I have time, I'll read a whole thread, write down the names of those whose comments are most offensive and make my own postpost my own comment bestowing them with my "highwayscribery Award for for Civic Discussion and Scholarly Discourse". I thank them for their sensitive and insightful comments and finish with... (not). Then I never look back. They're not worth my time. I wish others would join me and cleaning up this scourge. There's nothing worse for them to be hit-and-run with a comment pointing out just how low a road they've taken.
Dennis, yours is a calm voice of reason. Thanks for the analysis and the advice.
I dido agree what Coyote Old Style said.
Except ... Ya so kind and compassionate.
If you 'pass away' some day? At a Wake?
What will Ya 13-ex lovers say to others?
Bio- I bet Ya get jailed for serious crime.
Ya tore off the tag on Your new pillows,
mattress, and that's against landlady law.
Soon we can buy new warehouse Serta's.
Remember:`Vet Mattress Discount Sale!
Buy one pillow and get a free head boar.
I see the Pillow Sale ads on Open Salon?
Buy a bottle jug of Pepsi soda. Feed folk!
Give vets who are homeless sleeping pills?
No. They sleep under the PTSD bridges!
When I do that mark '!' ... I break finger!
I find it's a honest manner of vet-venting.
One of the tensions inherent to true democracy is that it requires me to vigorously defend the rights of others to speak even when what they believe is loathsome to me.

Trolls should not be given the honor of being looked upon as wanting to participate in democracy any more than someone who tags a wall with graffiti is exercising freedom of speech.

Trolls are verbal arsonists. The cool water of silence is powerful in putting out such flames.

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I’m grateful.

Thanks for your witty prose-ful comment. You’re an OS treasure if ever there was one. I hope you know I admire you and your writing. But how on Earth did you know I tore the tag off my mattress?!! By the way, I’m interviewing for a job writing fortunes for fortune cookies. My experience composing the “Inspected by #45” labels for new garments may give me an advantage.
Dennis, wonderful post and, well, too close to home...sometimes I do get on my soapbox. Had a wonderful friend in LA, gone now, who described an argument he was having with his paramour. She reproached him with, "Ah, I see, your pile of shit is higher than my pile of shit!" After a pause, laughter ensued. Don't we all take ourselves way too seriously at times? Thanks again for your writing and HOW you write.
Thanks very much for your kind comment. I hear you loud and clear. And I believe that my pile would be higher than either of your friends.
As Ben Kenobi once said, "Who is the bigger fool? The fool or the fool who follows him?"

That has no relevance to this article. I just wanted to quote Star Wars.
I think Obi Wan has as much relevance to this topic as just about anything else that could be said. As Yoda might say, “The dark side beware. Much fear there is there.” I have ear hair (braided ear hair some would argue) so I get to quote Yoda any time I wish.