How should Forum Owners handle Trolls?


Staff member

Forums are a place which are meant to have meaningful, healthy and respectful discussions. But sometimes the environment in the forum is spoilt by users who try to bully and be rude to others. While moderators are often there to monitor and correct this kind of behavior, sometimes it starts affecting the whole forum when few users continuously flout the rules. It is mostly regular users who indulge in such behavior and this encourages others to also join in. The culture of respect in the community comes under threat and it often becomes difficult for the forum owner to decide how to handle the situation.

This is a simple guide on how forum owners can tackle the trolls and ensure a safe environment for community interaction.

#1 : Don’t let users exploit the Grey Areas

The first step in maintaining a culture of mutual respect on the forum is by clearly defining the rules of interaction. The problem that many moderators face is that the trolls try to abuse the grey areas and continue behaving in the way the like without breaking any rules. This is why the guidelines need to be constantly updated to ensure nobody can get away.

#2 : Give them a Second Chance

Sometimes users don’t think before they post. Sometimes in the heat of the debate, they may use the wrong words. Doing it once is acceptable. Repeating the same mistake again deserves a warning and a clear message that the indulging in the behavior for the third time will lead to a permanent ban. Most users end up controlling themselves and express themselves better.

#3 : Ban users if Required

Sometimes, forum owners feel conflicted when it comes to banning users. They feel that after so much effort put into bringing this user to the forum, is it required to ban them? It is seen in forums that those who don’t heed the first warning, never tend to reform. So it is in the best interest of the community that those polluting the conversation be removed permanently.

#4 : Send a Strong Message to the Community

For a community to grow, there must be positivity and goodwill in the community. When the rule-breakers enjoy a free run, it causes the community to lose it strong bond. This can only lead to the community becoming divided, form groups and keep to themselves. So, the forum owner has to make sure that any impolite behavior is nipped in the bud with words and actions.

#5 : Name and Shame Users

This has been quite a controversial technique employed by quite a few forum owners in recent times. Most of the bullies can be bullies only under the power of anonymity. But revealing their real face can be a cause of vulnerability for them. Forum owners have gone on to reveal personal details of the bullies in the forum. While this is not a practice to be encouraged, this is something which bullies fear the most.