Trolls, Griefers, Sockpuppets & other Unpleasantness

Not sure why, but I’ve been getting a number of questions lately about misbehavior in public internet environments. I found a nice simple overview in Slideshare by Chris Applegate.

The end is the best part:

“‘Virtual’ and ‘real’ are now meaningless. Our ‘real’ & ‘virtual’ lives now intertwine. Pushing social boundaries in cyberspace has social effects in meatspace, too. Web 2.0 allows these efforts to be distributed and collectivised.”


“To sum up… Trolling isn’t just an internet problem any more, it’s an everything problem. The tools we use to do cool or fun stuff with are morality-agnostic. Troll-proofing should be as important as anti-spam or security. (But let’s not get obsessed about it!)”

Shouting LOL in a crowded theatre: trolling, griefing and Web 2.0 dickery

Have you spotted a problem person in a space you manage? Here is one of the best protocols I’ve seen for identifying and managing problems.

Air Force Blog Assessment

Here are some addition resources on this topic.

CureZone (Educating instead of Medicating): “Netiquette Guidelines”: Internet Troll / Forum Troll: What is an Internet Troll/ Forum troll?
NOTE: Long and pretty detailed, includes descriptions of the most common strategies used by trolls to engage and prolong discussion, how to block the strategies from working, the logic (or lack thereof) of the most popular arguments (such as “free speech”), and when/how to disengage.

StateMaster: Sockpuppet:

How Stuff Works: How Trolls Work:

eHow: How to Become an Internet Troll:

The Onion: I’d Love This Product Even If I Weren’t A Stealth Marketer:,11189/
NOTE: A fake news parody describing methodologies for falsely presenting yourself.

New York Times: The Hand That Controls the Sock Puppet Could Get Slapped:
NOTE: A real news example of sock puppetry that backfired on the CEO of Whole Foods.


One response to “Trolls, Griefers, Sockpuppets & other Unpleasantness

  1. Pingback: Social Media Policy Tools & Resources Revisited « Emerging Technologies Librarian

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