5 Most Effective Ways To Deal With Arrogant Internet Trolls

Saikat Basu 21-09-2011

internet trollThe Internet is without doubt a great invention. Unfortunately, no one so far has been able to develop an anti-troll device that will help to make it a more civilized place. You might have come across this beast called the Internet troll too, in the white of comment boxes, on social networks, and on discussion boards.


In Scandinavian folklore, a ‘troll’ is a supernatural creature that lives in the caves and mountains. On the web, a troll is nothing but a pest who thrives in the anonymity that it provides. The Urban Dictionary has quite a few definitions lined up. But – one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument – is the most point blank.

So, how do you take the war to the Internet trolls? First, by reading the pugmarks and recognizing a troll from a guy who just wants to start a one-off flame war.

Putting A Troll In The Crosshairs

internet troll

Fortunately, it’s easy to spot an Internet troll from a distance. They have their own sets of socially unacceptable behaviors.

  • Trolls generally use provocative and confrontational language. A clever one will mix it up with relevant and friendly posts.
  • Trolls hardly ever stick to the topic; they beat around the bush with the intention to confuse the reader.
  • Trolls of the subtle variety flag off their attack with innocent questions. You will often find them dressed up as new members of forums and chat rooms.
  • Trolls lack understanding of a topic. They will not respond with a proper answer to a proper question.

dealing with internet trolls

  • Trolls (especially the clever variants) use catch phrases to win sympathy. For instance, they may portray themselves as victims or specially challenged.
  • Trolls use web addresses or fictitious online identities that lead to dead ends.
  • Trolls may make desperate efforts to make themselves liked. Sugar coated responses or overt-flattering comments are signature troll moves.

There are different types of trolls. Most are hit-and-miss and are far easier to deal with. Some are more strategic in the way they embed themselves online so as to cause maximum mayhem with minimum fuss. Identifying an internet troll is half the battle one. You can only count on your experience to get one early before you are baited by them. Now, comes the relatively easy part of dealing with these internet trolls.

Surefire Ways Of Dealing With Internet Trolls

internet troll

Thankfully, you don’t have to call 911 to deal with Internet trolls. No destruction of property has been reported yet. Effective troll management calls for equal parts of caution and common sense. Here are a few guideposts to follow.

Avoidance is the best policy: If you can catch them shooting their mouths off, totally ignore remarks left by trolls. Don’t feed the trolls should be stuck up on a yellow sticky always.


Avoid arguments: If you do get on a one-to-one with someone you suspect to be a troll, keep your remarks to an absolute minimum. State your facts and move on. Put the ball in their court. By the second remark or so, a troll would have identified himself.

Don’t let them flatter to deceive: There is a high chance that a troll will pay a compliment or two to ingratiate himself before he starts his attack. This is a tough one as there are many real admirers who do sugar coat their comments.

Ask For Supporting Data: To net a troll in the anti-spam net, you can ask for data that can quickly verified like an email address or domain name. Genuine commentators usually have an online persona to back themselves.

The power of the webmaster: You can use blacklists and whitelists to separate the bad from the good. IP addresses can be tracked and persistent attacks from an IP or a range of IPs can be effectively blocked.


Did Einstein know a few trolls when he said – “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I am not sure about the universe.”

Where do you fall on the Internet troll scale? Check out this infographic for a light-hearted look at internet arguments. has its own list of ways to deal effectively with internet trolls. There are quite a few other resources if you ever fall short of advice on how to tackle this cyber-menace. Like the ones in our Geeky Fun section.

How do you deal with trolls? Do you have a magic potion to use against them? Do you think they are a menace or do you believe that it’s all harmless fun? Tell us (but don’t troll) in the comments.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons; xkcd; Flickr(openfly)


Related topics: Online Commenting, Online Privacy.

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  1. Olha
    May 15, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    There are many ways to combat Internet trolls. Many business companies suffer and because of the negative reputation that the trolls write. This is dirty marketing and fighting with competitors. Some use services to trollface the reputation of competitors.
    On the Internet, there are many tips on how to deal with trolls.
    Sometimes it is impossible to defeat the troll and cleaning your reputation. For such cases, there are useful services that will help cope with the problem. Enter Google search "Cleanup reputation" and get a lot of companies that do it. For example, here is https: // In the fight against trolling, you need to take tough measures, otherwise it can harm your business. I always try to fight trolls on the Internet. But sometimes it's very difficult!

  2. Kristian Pritchard
    November 27, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I usually see trolls on YouTube comments. But when they're on my videos I just report them and automatically removes their nasty comments. Works like a charm. However, I also see trolls on other social media sites and luckily, have options to report and delete comments.

    • Saikat Basu
      November 30, 2016 at 6:28 am

      YouTube is the worst. But they are so blatant you can make them out easily (and remove/avoid them).

  3. Anonymous
    August 3, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Key is to waste more of their time than they waste yours, preferably while sounding sane. Requesting for evidence to back up whatever rediculous claim of theirs will cause the to try and duck around the subject... So corner them. Or, if you want to get creative, use their own logic against them, and, point that out when they start bashing on their own ways of thinking.

    • Saikat Basu
      August 3, 2015 at 4:42 am

      And the trick is to keep your reply to just one sentence while they waste their time writing reams! :)

      Come to think of it, Internet Trolls do have a lot of time to waste.

      • Anonymous
        August 3, 2015 at 4:48 am

        Eyup o.o or, if you're lazy enough, and the troll is desperate enough, even a few simple dots like "..." would work :P

  4. Hot Tub Charlie Machine
    September 25, 2011 at 1:52 am

    You need to warn them about messing with a Warlock.

  5. Troll
    September 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    You gotta pay the troll toll, to get into the boy's hole!

  6. Troll
    September 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Calling trolls out is total BS, and Republicans are fascists and Democrats are communists......

    Just kidding ;) 

    • Saikat Basu
      September 22, 2011 at 1:35 am

      Aha...I think I spot a troll.Where's my magnum?

  7. DeadlyDad
    September 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I should have a t-shirt made up with this simple reply: "Credible source or STFU".

    • Saikat Basu
      September 22, 2011 at 1:35 am

      The geek community will lap it up :)

  8. ITPsycho
    September 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    If I see trolling going on, I simply "remind" the serious posters not to feed the trolls. Trolls being the relatively thoughtless creatures that they are take the bait immediately and deny being trolls which is wholly self-incriminating and sometimes funny.

    • Saikat Basu
      September 22, 2011 at 1:36 am

      Spotting them and avoiding them are the two surefire pills.