Tip Tuesday: How to deal with trolls who refuse to remain under the bridge


Today's Tip Tuesday is focused on trolls. And I'm not talking the fun, cute dolls with big silly grins that you can twist their hair into wild shapes (yes, I'm old. I know). I'm talking about internet trolls. The trolls of legend used to only reside beneath a creepy stone bridge crossing a stream through a spooky forest. But alas! The trolls have been emboldened and now roam freely amongst us on the web!

Luckily, Vanilla has some tools available to help cull the disruptive nature of trolls. First, I'll share a personal preference on moderation tactics and then I'll share a more tangible tool available to you. Groovy?

As mentioned, this first tip is a personal preference, so as a disclaimer, do what's right for you and your community. Every space is different and only you and your team will know what's best.

Now, when it comes to bad behavior in a community, I prefer to draw a hard line in the sand. To me, there are scenarios where a 3 strike policy just doesn't make sense. If someone comes out of the gate directly insulting, attacking, belittling, or making another user feel unwelcomed, ban them. Immediately. It seems harsh, but that's not what your community is for, so why tolerate any level of it?

If you'd like, perhaps offer an appeal process where, once you've banned them, you send an email notifying them of why you've banned them, reminding them of your policy, and then offering a way for them to appeal the decision.

If ruling with an iron fist seems a bit Targaryen and ruthless, Vanilla offers an addon feature called 'Troll Management'. This feature is actually pretty hilarious because what it allows you to do is mark a user as a 'troll'. A user flagged as a troll is not notified of this new designation, but once this designation has been set all posts from the troll user will be invisible to all other users. Only admins will be able to see users with a troll designation and only admins will be able to see posts from trolls.

It's comical because the trolls still think they're posting, but ultimately, no one else can see it. It strips trolls of their primary motive: attention. Ideally, the troll will become bored from lack of interaction with their toxic dribble and will leave the community. Admins do have the flexibility to remove the designation if they'd like. You can read more about setting up this incredible feature here: