If you want to fight trolling, don't make up a bunch of a priori assumptions about what will or won't discourage trolls. Instead, seek out the troll whisperer and study their techniques.
Troll whisperers aren't necessarily very good at hacking tools, so there's always an opportunity for geek synergy in helping them to automate their hand-crafted techniques, giving them a software force-multiplier for their good sense. For example, Teresa invented a technique called disemvowelling -- removing the vowels from some or all of a fiery message-board post. The advantage of this is that it leaves the words intact, but requires that you read them very slowly -- so slowly that it takes the sting out of them. And, as Teresa recently explained to me, disemvowelling part of a post lets the rest of the community know what kind of sentiment is and is not socially acceptable.
Monday, September 10, 2007
How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community