Thursday, August 17, 2006

Trolls and comments

Periodically I get an infestation of trolls here. It's always interesting to me to note that trolls tend to proliferate any time Israel is being discussed.

Those of you who've been following this blog know what I'm referring to when I say "trolls," but for others I'll just summarize by saying that trolls are not just those who disagree with me. Trolls are people who come to a blog only to stir up trouble, move goalposts, get the commenters agitated, instult (sometimes quite viciously and/or obscenely), and ultimately ruin a blog and its comments section by causing commenters to leave or the blogger to shut down the comments function.

I ask the serious, nontroll commenters here, whom I highly value, to please bear with me as this gets corrected. It may take a while since I'm very busy and I use a friend to deal with technical matters such as these. In the meantime, please don't respond to trolls in any way.

I instituted Haloscan comments rather than Blogger some time ago in order to have better control over trolls. This worked for a while, and it still works to a certain degree. But it's relatively ineffective against what I will now refer to as semipro trolls--meaning trolls of a certain sophistication, who use proxies and other forms of hiding in order to avoid being banned.

I am in the process of considering another comments system that will be more effective against this type of troll as well. In the meantime, I will be deleting comments from those trolls who use proxy IP numbers and IP shields, as well as those who post under multiple identities (sock puppets). One example of the first category is "justaguy," and an example of the second is Robert and Dave the Rabbit.

Robert/Dave the Rabbit is an interesting case, because many of his/their comments are not really trollish. But by definition, posting under multiple identities is troll behavior, unless it's done only once in a while for reasons of humor.

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