5 Tips for Handling Haters, Trolls and Negativity


Every community has haters. Online we call them trolls, an apt name because they lurk around reading comments or chats waiting in the shadows to jump on others for no other reason than they can. Keyboard courage, using a computer’s anonymity to empower one in a negative manner, abounds in all online communities. If there’s a chatroom or forum close by, chances are there’s a troll hiding under a bridge.

Trolls make things difficult, for sure, but that’s what they’re going for. They live to give others a hard time. Fortunately, there are ways to handle trolls without making the environment negative for all who visit. If you’re frustrated because of crank call ins, or chat or forum trolls, Behold:

5 Tips for Handling Haters, Trolls and Negativity

  1. Don’t Engage: If there is a troll in your chat room or forum, kindly ask that person to refrain from unkind remarks. Don’t engage and request your community not engage. Feel free to delete comments and lock or delete threads if things get out of control.Trolls want you to volley. They want to make things uncomfortable for the rest of your community. Instead, ignore the troll. Hang up if on the phone. Hopefully when he finds out he has no one to push around, he’ll leave. If not…
  2. Contact the “Powers that Be”: Contact whoever is in charge, such as a forum’s administrator, community manager or customer service representative. At BlogTalkRadio if someone is creating negativity in a chat room, contact host services – service(at)blogtalkradio.com. If there’s a problem in the forum or Yahoo Group, contact community manager, Deborah Ng at deborahng(at)blogtalkradio(dot)com. Fortunately, BlogTalkRadio trolls are a very rare breed. (and we’re very proud of our positive, helpful community.)
  3. Have a firm policy in place – It always helps to have a comment or anti-negativity policy in place, this goes for chat rooms too. Offer a warning or a reminder if it’s needed, and anyone not following the rules should be asked to leave. If he keeps it up …
  4. Ban the offending party – Don’t be afraid to ban someone who constantly creates a negative environment. It’s not the troll’s community, it’s yours. Many forum or chat moderators feel that by diffusing a negative situation, they’re only going to make things worse because the troll will get angry. The troll is not in charge, why put him in a position to call the shots?
  5. It’s not censorship to want a positive experience – Many times when comments are deleted or trolls are silenced, the offending parties cry “censorship!”  This is not the case on a privately owned website. The owner of a website has every right to create and enforce the rules.Think of online communities as being in someone’s home. When you have guests in your home, you expect them to be kind of respectful of each other. If they’re not, they’re asked to leave.

No one should ever have to put up with an online negative experience, please don’t feed the trolls.

11 thoughts on “5 Tips for Handling Haters, Trolls and Negativity

  1. the right to hate

    No one can silence you no matter what you want to say… Why should the “owner” of a website be able to dictate what you say in that website ? Ever think the owner of this website is Robert Mugabe ? Or Hitler ?

  2. Deborah Ng

    Actually the owner of a website has every right to ask you to behave. It’s like going to someone else’s house. If you can’t show respect for the other people there, you’re asked to leave. You can say what you want on your own site, but should be in compliance with another site’s rules.


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