#CmgrChat 3/16 – Trolls and Troublemakers

Way back when #CmgrChat started in September we discussed the topic of negativity in a community.ย  This week we dived a little deeper into it, and discussed Trolls and Trouble-Makers.ย  We had 416 tweets by 102 people and it was a very interesting and thought provoking discussion. The topic was also suggested by @BlaiseGV and as luck would have it, he was also in the co-pilot seat because Kelly was at SXSWi.


Q1) How do you handle arguments or negativity that arise in your community?

rhogroupee: I like to jump in a try to defuse with humor if possible…

Mitch_M: Everything’s not responded to the same way. Bad language, threats, I delete. Otherwise, I’ll wait to see where it goes.

SocialMedBtrfly: I try and turn my detractors into protractors — I mean, promoters ๐Ÿ˜‰ If they’re not on the #trollpatroll

blaisegv: With a great deal of tact. I think a #cmgr should refrain from getting sucked into one side or the other at all costs.

SueOnTheWeb: One should allow members to disagree as long as there is no name calling/abusive/personal attacks etc.

SueOnTheWeb: I would only step in as a last resort. Once a CM jumps in it can sometimes shut down the convo.

HSirhan: Think about it when you’re using forums – tight moderation is a massive put-off

mhandy1: I actually try to mitigate before and set up a POA (Plan of action) for negativity

IIABNY: Allowing & being aware of disagreements & dissent can help the organization calibrate its approach to achieving policy goals


Q2: What does your crisis management plan look like?

mhandy1: It looks like a flow chart that categorizes behavior, and then moves to a detailed document for each category

rhogroupee: We have a roster of contact info & escalation in case things go haywire, but it seems each situation is different

wahidinwong: Let the conversation grows while others kick in to ‘correct’ is not a bad option. It in fact lite up the community interaction

HSirhan: Its useful having processes in place but ultimately a response often requires *common sense

JPedde: I alert all of the necessary team members, and we collectively decide who to involve, how to react. Try for 24 hour turnaround


Q3: We know all about “Don’t Feed the Trolls”, but can trolls ever be good/useful? Why/Why not?

SocialMedBtrfly: It takes experience to know the diff b/t evil trolls and really frustrated customers. MUST respond to the really frustrated.

AskTim: Well, even a troll is capable of making a good point. It’s just hidden among all the insults.

toxicmenges: Trolls are EXCELLENT at making the community bond together. War time mentality

SueOnTheWeb: No good comes from a troll-But we do have 1 who pops up from time to time who can be very funny-until he wears out his welcome

wahidinwong: in some cases maybe, but most of them, No

LStacey: Trolls come in different flavours and sometimes make valid points that can spark positive discussion.

mhandy1: I try to bring trolls into product conversation and give them an ownership stake… they become amazing advocates

asq_trish: AND – If you can turn the troll to the good – you have advocate for life life(usually)

ASQ_Trish: Trolls can also make you work harder to make your community better for all


Q4: Any tips or tricks to keep negativity down? or to avoid it? How to you maintain a nice atmosphere for all?

HSirhan: Getting interesting dicussions going – and these often can and should be OT

SueOnTheWeb: Kill em with kindness ๐Ÿ˜€

toxicmenges: never patronise your community, they’ll sniff it out, understand them, respect them

wahidinwong: Stay positive and smile sometimes help ๐Ÿ™‚

JPedde: Use as many please and thank yous as you can in interactions. Seriously.


Thanks to all who participated!ย  Make sure to come back to #cmgrchat every Wednesday from 2-3pm EST for more chats!
If you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics, leave comments or get in touch with myself or Kelly!

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. Sheโ€™s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.