dConstruct: Don't Feed the Trolls

by September 6, 2013

In her talk at dConstruct in Brighton UK 2013 Nicole Sullivan shared some tips for better collaboration with online communities and why they work. Here's my notes from her talk Don't Feed the Trolls:

  • Trolls are people who seek conflict. Some people are energized by conflict. If you aren't, you will always loose if you play by a troll's rules.
  • Figure out who are: do you like conflict or not? If not, don't work with people or in companies that thrive on conflict.
  • Trolls feed on attention. If you only respond to ass-hats, your life will be filled with ass-hats.
  • The best ideas are often not the loudest. Pay attention to the soft spoken but important ideas. They often get lost amidst the noise.
  • Find the human element in trollish behavior and respond to that. Don't respond to the trollish part.
  • On your blog: you don't have to publish every comment. You are responsible for your readers and the tone of discussion in your space. Nasty comments polarize your audience and result in bad behavior.
  • When you reply to someone who is being a troll, you give them more attention.
  • Recognizing the different types of trolls can help you manage them: Jealous trolls, Grammar nazis, Biased trolls, and Scary trolls
  • Get support without feeding the trolls. Find others in the community that you can connect with.
  • Don't suffer in silence. Sometimes it will feel right to actually confront a troll. Structure your confrontation by understanding what you want.
  • Internal trolls are hard to identify but we are all actually a troll sometimes. Our internal trolls feed on inattention -on us not recognizing our own biases.
  • Group IQ tends to be higher than individual IQ when people collaborate and have diverse groups.
  • We can collaboratively work together to create great communities and not feed the trolls.