Best Ways To Handle Internet Trolls and Flame Baiters Online

Ever heard of them? Needless to say these are individuals that are simply out to mess someone else’s day or, if possible, life. The longer the influence they have on them, the more satisfaction they receive. The Wiki definition of an internet troll is the it is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

A flame baiter, on the other hand, is someone who posts a flamebait, which is a message posted on online discussion groups such as a newsgroup, forum or mailing list, which is intended to provoke an angry response (flame) or argument on the topic. A flame baiter’s only interest is in the attention (whatever that may be) inadvertently awarded to him by those who take the “flaming bait”. He or she usually doesn’t care about the topic in the discussion group.

There are a couple of ways to handle these kinds of pathetic individuals.

Don’t acknowledge

Ignoring the troll or flame baiter is the most popular method adopted by the would-be victims. The logic is simple; since trolls find their “high” when someone reacts in any way to their flame bait, doing the opposite will likewise put them down. Furthermore, many find it easier to do this by rationalizing that it is not worth their time at all. Seeing no takers for the bait, the troll eventually fades away.

Full frontal attack

Some would argue that this method puts you (the intended victim) at par with the troll or the flame baiter since you are reacting to the post. Those who do go for this method find satisfaction in one-upping the perpetrator. This is controversial at best but, if done right, does more damage than merely ignoring the perpetrator.  Here, it’s a battle of wits and intelligence.

You will have to understand the psyche of a troll or flame baiter. Some of them are intelligent but most are simply people with the brain power of a 5th grade bully. By simply replying with smart one-liners stating the ineptness of his/her brain, performance, style, grammar, spelling, etc., will throw the “flame” back at him/her. Without them knowing it, they are getting a taste of their own medicine and the effect is usually devastating to them since their ego hasn’t been satisfied. Then again, the more intelligent ones relish the fact that someone swallowed the bait even if it was meant to put them down.

It really boils down to what suits you best. One thing holds true in either method; If you feel the rage, frustration, or anything negative in nature incited by flame baiters or trolls, don’t give in. Sit back and divert your attention to something else (bloopers, online humor, funny pics, etc.). Once you’ve cooled down enough, go back to the forum and act accordingly. Do not be affected by the posts.