Why do people choose to troll on websites?

Why do people choose to troll on websites?

OABPO Blog Team Published on October 7, 2014

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By now you re already aware that there are individuals out there who invest time in purposely disrupting your forums and comment sections. Internet trolling is a common problem faced by website owners and content moderators alike. The most effective way to combat trolls is by outsourcing content moderation services to an expert team that has solid experience in protecting online platforms. But, as someone who may not be trained in upholding digital security, you may or may not understand why such anti-social behavior exists in several corners of the Internet.

Internet trolls purposely divert people s attention to either off-topic or non-productive discussions. There are several things that could motivate trolls to intentionally attack other Internet users. Here are some of them.

Why Internet trolls prey on others

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Most e-commerce websites are prone to being attacked by competing brands that give fake reviews to gain leverage over these sites. Since most consumers check on what others have to say about a product before purchasing it, fake or biased reviews can discourage them from buying from the website being attacked. E-commerce trolls will often direct people s attention to their own sites or describe their products as better alternatives.

Political or ideological trolls, on the other hand, are individuals who participate in forums to indirectly argue on a certain stand or view. They may appear to be sympathetic at first, and then begin to raise questions that can sow doubt among followers of the opposing side. They may fabricate stories, exaggerate details, or present isolated cases just to highlight their own cause.

Some trolls attack Internet users just for the sake of defaming individuals. This activity may serve as their way of venting or releasing of emotions, breaking social conventions, or asserting power over other people. Since they can hide under the veil of anonymity, trolls see forums as perfect avenues to gain attention, even if it s mainly negative.

The case of unintentional trolls

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Trolling, however, is not always intentional. Although most trolls have underlying motives, some Internet users can also become unintentional trolls. This is likely especially when someone is experiencing stress or having a bad mood. You may post something out of impulse and regret it afterwards. Unintentional trolling occurs when we do not put much reflection on the things that we publicize online.

The problem with unintentional trolls is that they may engage in such negative behavior repeatedly without being aware that they are already trolling. Some people may think of posting irrelevant puns or slurs as witty or unconventional. Some may pattern their behavior from actual trolls. Some may think that the Internet is a free ground, so they can just post anything they want and we all have to deal with it. These unintentional trolls are the same people who would be surprised if they are banned from forums because of trolling.

Even if unintentional trolls do the act just because they lack social sensitivity, this doesn t mean that they are less worrisome. This is because their posts can still result to the same effect on your platform s online interaction. They can sidetrack healthy and useful discussions into heated exchanges of words. In other words, whether intentionally or unintentionally done, trolls can destroy your threads.

Trolling is an abusive behavior that can tarnish your online reputation. If you want your forums, comment and review sections, and inbox to be free from damaging content, you need some damage control measures. Hiring a content moderator or appointing loyal subscribers as forum moderators are good ways to start. Internet trolls will never go away. So you need a good plan to reduce trolling and minimize its impact.

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