Troll Trouble & How To Deal With Internet Trolls?

How to Deal With a Troll on wikiHow

On wikiHow, the goal of many contributors is to achieve wikiHow's Mission of being the world's biggest, highest-quality how-to manual. However, there are some users on wikiHow that unfortunately don't join with that goal, or even join with the goal of preventing that goal from being achieved. If you encounter a troll on wikiHow, the most important thing is to make sure that you give them the opportunity to change their behavior as well as offering guidance, but there are a few other things you should remember, too.


  1. Don't panic.Especially if you're handling a nasty bout of trolling for the first time, you may want to panic, ask others what to do, or so forth. However, you'll want to avoid this. Panicking will encourage a troll to continue their behavior. If they get a reaction out of you, they'll just continue what they're doing to bother you. Even if you're feeling very shaken by the trolling, you need to remain calm on the site.
    • Remember, this isn't the first time there's been a troll on wikiHow, and it's definitely not going to be the last.
    • If you feel too worked up to handle the situation calmly, take a short break. You don't need to be the one to handle the situation.
  2. Assume good faith.Most editors don't intend to troll - even someone blanking out an article or sending strongly-worded messages may be doing so because they don't know how else to handle the situation. There have even been some editors who started off by trolling or vandalizing, but then later turned around and became good-faith editors because others treated them kindly and assumed good faith of them. Don't assume that the person has purely malicious intent.
    • Some users even like to "test the limits" by sending inflammatory messages or vandalizing articles. In these cases, a kind approach and learning about the community policies is usually enough to discourage the behavior.
  3. Take a two- or three-step approach.When it comes to most editing situations on wikiHow, they can be handled with only a few steps - there are even template messages you can use for it. Often, a gradual approach will be enough to discourage a potential troll if their edits are looking borderline trollish.
    • Start by sending a basic message letting the editor know you reverted their edit. You can use a "Coach for Bad" template via , or use a coaching template such as {{test}}.
    • If the behavior persists after more than a few minutes, and you either receive no reply from the editor or receive a troll reply (e.g., something containing slurs or profanity, or calling you a name), send a more firm note, or {{warning}}.
      • While you can theoretically warn a user right away, it's highly encouraged to avoid doing so, as it can encourage them to continue trolling.
    • After the warning, if the behavior still persists, file a report on the ANB. Don't try to further engage the user, even if they message you.
  4. Choose your words carefully.It's surprisingly easy to accidentally escalate a situation by improperly wording something or accidentally putting someone on the defensive. Keep your tone professional, polite, and base your messages on a policy standpoint, without letting personal emotions interfere with how you interact with this person. This will help to avoid potentially egging them on.
    • Avoid accusatory language, such as "Stop vandalizing articles" or "You are impossible to understand". Take a gentler approach, such as "Is there an issue with the article that you're editing?" or "Sorry, I'm having some trouble understanding your message. Could you clarify?"
    • Never threaten, be rude to, or personally attack a user. That's not the community spirit that wikiHow strives for.
  5. Don't feed the trolls.If you run into a troll on wikiHow, you may be tempted to mock them, yell at them, or ask them why they're trolling. However, this usually won't get you anywhere and will only encourage them. If you're ever tempted to respond to a troll, ask whether the response would be interpreted in all cases as coaching; if it wouldn't be, then don't respond.
    • If you're unsure of whether or not to respond to a troll, the best choice is most likely to not respond to them.
    • There isn't a reason to respond to a message that's purely inflammatory, aggressive, or filled with profanity or hateful language.
  6. Use the wikiHow Administrator Notice Board if necessary.If the editor is trolling persistently and hasn't made any indication of stopping, or the situation looks to be getting heated and you aren't sure how to handle it, post on the ANB and ask for administrator intervention. From there, an administrator can look into the situation and take any appropriate action necessary, such as changing a username, blacklisting links, protecting pages, placing a block, or reaching out to the involved parties.
    • Most trolling situations will likely be reported under the "Spammers and Vandals" section, but they can also go under other sections on the ANB. Choose the proper section based on the issue at hand.

Community Q&A

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  • Most cases of vandalism and offensive messages tend to be just someone popping in and disappearing immediately after. Something small like that can easily be reverted and let go of - you may not even have to send them a message.
  • Over time, it becomes easier to spot and manage trolls, especially if you're around frequently and gain some insights from experienced users on how to handle the situations.
  • Know when not to engage. If the editor has been repeatedly warned recently (e.g., within the last few days), if they're clearly a spambot due to operating at inhumane speeds, or they're just repeatedly sending abusive messages with no sign of letting up despite warnings, then you may just want to leave an ANB report without replying to the user.
  • While there's no written guideline for every situation that could ever occur on wikiHow, most cases can be handled with the above steps or administrator intervention.

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Date: 03.12.2018, 06:59 / Views: 32252