How to deal with trolls like ‘Ahcee Flores’

Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

If "Ahcee Flores" has become the most hated man or woman on the web today, thanks to the comment on a Yahoo! story saying he/she wished a tsunami would wipe out the people in the Visayas, then haters have made "Ahcee" the happiest person on the planet.

That’s because "Ahcee Flores" is a troll.

Trolls, says Wiki, are people who post "inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages…with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response." Someone else called them "spineless commentators desperate for attention would never say in person that which they type in anonymity."

According to Maribeth Oliver of Web Safety PH site, a partner of Yahoo! Safely, trolls also like to:
•    Spread rumors (for example, a noted person dying)
•    Gossip about celebrities (celebrity A is gay or having an affair)
•    Assume the identity of other users
•    Attack people and entities under the guise of their “right to free speech”
•    Bully people who can’t fight back including celebrities, politicians and other prominent people who know it’s self-defeating to engage in a cyberwar with a troll

Types of trolls

Says Oliver, “When a troll’s account has been blocked, they’ll make another one. There is one reputed Twitter troll who made a total of 300 Twitter accounts after being blocked every time by users. Most of these trolls do not care about good reputation for themselves. All they are after is to stir some intrigue so they gain publicity as trouble-makers in the net.”

Today, because the Internet has exploded, the troll has become the cyberbully, the stalker and haters of all stripes. Cyberbullies have pushed teens to suicide. Stalkers and haters have inspired the addition of “Report Abuse,” “Block” and “Unfriend” buttons.

A few news sites like The Huffington Post have employed “community managers” to moderate comments.  They allow readers to comment freely but delete four-letter words and racist and sexist attacks, according to a recent report.

How to protect yourself from trolls
Here are Oliver’s tips on protecting yourself from trolls like “Ahcee.”
•    Do Not FEED the troll. Keep cool. Don’t reply.
•    Ask your friends not to reply to a troll.
•    Block a troll, flag the offensive comment or report him or her to the site administrator. If the troll shows up under another account name, block him again
•    On your social account or your blog, adjust privacy settings moderate comments, or disallow comments, to keep them out.

For more information on Internet safety, visit Yahoo! Safely.