Beware the Forum Troll
This is a reminder for those of you who participate in forums, whether they be for personal interest or for professional and/or business purposes. It seems like every forum has (at least) one Troll. They are inherently anonymous and come across as a know-it-all on any variety of subjects.
Usually a Troll knows enough to appear knowledgeable – whether they are or not. They usually have enough information to “bait” other forum members – and serve to “fan the flames” of dissention among serious forum members. They may even have a high post count that can also be misleading. They can “usually” be recognized because they try to always have a “last word” on a discussion – even when said discussion appears to be at an end. The Troll will try to fan the fires to keep the discussion going at a level of dissent that does no one any good – except to feed their own (overinflated) ego.
Recognizing a Troll: If you get into a discussion with a troll it may seem never-ending. THAT IS THE TIME TO END IT. To continue responding to the Troll’s posts only feeds them with more incentive to keep fanning the flames. The Troll wants you to continue the argument for a two-fold purpose. It makes them feel “big” but, in reality, it is designed to make YOU LOOK BAD.
One thing for sure is that they are anonymous – continually hiding behind a curtain of anonymity. Remember: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” from the Wizard of Oz.
Can a forum moderator be a Troll? Sure. That is one reason that a truly professional forum will not allow Mods to hide behind a “curtain” of anonymity. Social fora? Sure, they can have Mods with a “Handle” and/or avatar and nothing identifiable. However a forum with a professional Raison d’être will have transparency among the staff. The forum will require it. If they don’t – proceed with caution – they are not being professional. Unless, of course, your standards of professionalism can be compromised. And we don’t want to go there…