Notes on Consulting on Trolls for Tech Companies

This week I worked with a client to prove a long form version of Don’t Feed The Trolls. Writing off trolls with a saying is meaningless when business investors are involved. PR problems require a few pages of diagnosis, explanation and advice.

For this case, I built most of my argument recommending to ignore the social media trolling based on the post formats of the multiple accounts involved. You need to understand the best practices of particular forums and message boards in order to suss out how many people are using a single account or IP to upload.

In this case, I could recommend Ignore as a strategy partly because I have a good reason to believe that several people were using one account to post attacks. There was one account with multiple posters, but I believe all the posts were written by a single person. I strongly suspect that the first person (who has been identified) began to post based on the findings of a second person. Then, a third person began to post from the same account. The language and grammar remained exactly the same as the early posts, but the formatting and style of linking changed. It’s my opinion that the first person started to send their completed posts over Slack to the third person, who would alter the link style (using archived posts instead of direct links) and then upgraded the formatting away from a block paragraph and toward the formatting that marked the user as a regular to that forum.

The term “internet native” is inadequate to describe my role.

To be an effective interpreter of online activity to the normals, you need to be an internet Samoset.

The Abenaki chief Samoset from what is today Maine learned to speak English from fishermen who visited his coastal territory. So it was a surprise to the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation when he entered their settlement and announced, “Welcome, Englishmen!” The first Indian to greet the Pilgrims, Samoset fostered goodwill and trade with the Europeans.

In their conversations, Samoset provided much beneficial information to the Pilgrims, describing the land, the people, places, and distances. In Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers , documents record, “He discoursed of the whole country, and of every province, and of their sagamores, and their number of men and strength.”

In this analogy, hackers would be internet savages, but that’s not PC.

2 Comments on “Notes on Consulting on Trolls for Tech Companies”

  1. Margaret. “Don’t feed the trolls” is a good strategy. All trolls want is attention. They don’t get it usually and then they neg other reputable people to get attention. When you don’t feed them, you don’t give them power. Then they move on to troll other people because they don’t have control over you and there are easy targets. Sounds good strategy!

  2. You have to ignore the trolls on platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch. They crave attention and you just deprive them off it when you keep scrolling and pass them over. Consulting on trolls sounds like interesting work. I would be interested in the long-term findings of the ignore practice.

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