Wikipedia talk:What is a troll?

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NOTE: This talk page is not for discussing trolling or reporting problems to administrators. Please see Wikipedia:Administrator intervention against vandalism to report repeated vandalism or Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents to report complex issues that require administrative assistance.

This talk page is only for discussing changes and improvements to this essay.

/Archive 1

I've cleared this so that a whole new discussion may take place. Snowspinner 22:21, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)


This article is an ingenious troll. — Alex Anderson

I noticed something[edit]

Feel free to merge in contents from User:Raul654/Trolling effects. →Raul654 01:05, Jan 28, 2005 (UTC)

A troll is someone you disagree with[edit]

That's really all there is to it. It's a pretty normal part of politics to acuse people who disgree with you of being communist/liberal/unamerican/troll (choose your insult) to devalue their opinion. Of course anyone who thinks that there are rogue admins is a troll, and can be banned for holding that opinion. Anyone who advocates reform or change that threatens the current power structure must be acting in bad faith, so they should be banned. It's politics as usual. Spak Bomb 07:12, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Not at all. I have plenty of people I disagree with whom I don't consider trolls. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:59, Mar 31, 2005 (UTC)
I should have been clearer, it's usually not just someone who you disagree with about article content, more usually someone who threatens the current power structure. Of course, the term won't be applied to everyone with whom you disagree, but generally speaking, anyone who seriously criticises the admin system, or individual admins they consider to be 'rogue', gets labeled a troll and driven off. Spak Bomb (lost password) 16:22, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It's true. Here's a definition I found by net searching on trolling:

Don't feed the trolls
A phrase often used on webforums and LiveJournal communities by moderators
and those who think they're moderators. This is generally in response to
someone "trolling" their community, which usually means "having a
different opinion to one or more of the established members". 

Anomo 21:29, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Thought I'd add a little history to the lesson here about the true origins of the word, with respect to its use on the Internet, since it seems to be missing:
The term "Trolling" first came into appearance on the Internet in the 90's, in newsgroups. To "Troll" means to systematically visit groups looking for topics, or comments, to which you can reply or add in a negative and antagonistic manner. Typically, a "troller" makes comments on subjects, about which he/she knows very little, if anything at all. The primary purpose of "trolling" is simply to wreak havoc on the system.
The term, originally, comes from the fishing terminology, "To Troll", meaning to drop a line into the water and move the boat around until a fish grabs the bait...This is what Internet Trollers do as well. They drop the bait and wait for you to react to them.
June 15, 2007 - Anonymous

Yes, I came to this talk page to see if my understanding that the term's origins were in the fishing practice. If one has trolled for fish, one has expectations of internet trolls different from those who have the monsters in mind.
Jlittlenz (talk) 02:12, 20 April 2008 (UTC)


The semi-policy template says that semi-policies are things that are not official but have "widespread support". As no widespread support for this text has been demonstrated (only two people commented positively on it), I guess this is not semi-policy. Zocky 09:01, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

I found the Wikipedia:Trolling poll which was supposed to ratify this. Out of 85 answers, 43 supported it. That's barely more than 50% and the proposed text clearly failed to get consensus. If that is "widespread support" which in enough to call something "semi-policy", I could easily write Wikipedia:Never use styles in biography articles and claim that it's a "semi-policy". I wonder how long it would last. Zocky 18:29, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
The 12 "Troll is unhelpful" votes duplicated other votes - I would consider the more accurate vote 43/28, with some people quibbling over the use of "troll" but not opposing the policy, which, at 60%, seems widespread. In general, I consider things with majority support in reasonably well-publicized polls to be candidates for semi-policy, if certain other conditions (Like being reasonable descriptions of how things sometimes work) are also met. Snowspinner 18:32, May 11, 2005 (UTC)
Not all of them. Without bothering to check all of them, I'd say that it's about half, which makes it about 43:35, i.e. 55%. Even if it's 60%, that's still opposed by 40% of people, which makes it very controversial. Either ammend the template to reflect that or abandon the whole silly notion of "semy-policy". Zocky 18:38, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
No. A) I don't think that people who didn't put their votes under oppose can be counted as opposing, and B) Perhaps you should look into who made the changes to the description of semi-policy and bring it up with them. Snowspinner 18:43, May 11, 2005 (UTC)
BTW, was consensus for having semi-policies ever established? Zocky 18:46, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
No. That was kind of the point. An official policy endorsing semi-policy would be comical. They were introduced to describe practice tthat was clearly already in place. That they have endured is probably a testament to the fact that there is not actually a coherent and internally consistant description of how Wikipedia is run. And I looked at the numbers - the absolute lowest support you can count is 57%, the absolute highest is 61%. Snowspinner 18:53, May 11, 2005 (UTC)
  1. An official policy endorsing semi-policy would be comical. The only comical thing about it is that anybody would think that this sentence makes sense. It's an argument not worthy of a high-school debate club.
  2. Those things are generally called "customs", or in case of wikipedia, guidelines. This page is not semy-policy (meaning half-policy), it failed to reach consensus support, so according to the way wikipedia works, it's 0% policy. If you want to describe practice that's already in place, write guidelines or articles on meta, don't go around masquerading completely failed policy proposals (it's a yes-no thing, no grey areas), as a weaker kind of policy. Zocky 19:09, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
"Semi-policy" is the name used for something that needs a name. There are a lot of simplistic people who can't stand ambiguity and demand that either all rules be firm ratified policy or not exist, but that doesn't match the existence of community practice and so forth. See also WP:POINT - the inconsistency in Wikipedia drives some people wild, but that doesn't actually constitute a reason to try to pretend it doesn't exist - David Gerard 19:06, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
That's completely beside the point, as I'm not arguing agains that. My point (at this point) is that semi-policy is a weasel term. These things are either guidelines or failed proposals. Zocky 19:09, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
Hmmm... I do see your point in the whole thing, but I seriously believe that this approach is misguided. There are plenty of ways to have both rule of law and flexible rules. In fact, that's how most real legal systems work. There are alway rules that are open to interpretation, like "No personal attacks" or even "Use English", but still they are written rules, and that's why they get to be interpreted in individual cases.
The point is, we don't need to have a flexible process for defining policy to have flexible policy. Zocky 19:58, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
When there is no consistent body of policy, it's unsurprising that grey-area terms pop up. Snowspinner 19:14, May 11, 2005 (UTC)
It's the word used for something that needs a name. "A guideline that's strongly supported community practice", then? "A proposed policy that failed to make 2/3 but people seem to follow it anyway"? Bit wordy. If you don't like the actual words "semi-policy", come up with something else. If it's obviously and elegantly better that will cause an "aha, of course!" reaction in lots of people the moment they see it, that will be just fine - David Gerard 19:21, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
There was no grey area:
  • consensus -> policy
  • no consensus to treat as policy, but useful info supported by most people -> guideline
  • proposal which failed to reach consensus and which majority or a substantial minority actively opposed -> failed proposal.
The point is that if there was a substantial minority, there was no consensus, so it can't be accepted as a community standard. "Majority" doesn't mean much on Wikipedia. Zocky 19:25, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
The problem is that it just doesn't work that way. Snowspinner 19:27, May 11, 2005 (UTC)
Again, this is a poor argument. You can't argue somebody who says "A is wrong" by saying "A exists". It's largely not how it works because you changed the way it worked before. What's astonishing in the whole thing is the misunderstanding of consensus rule that this shows. The whole point of consensus rule is that votes don't really count - decisions are accepted by acclamation or not at all. How it originally worked on Wikipedia was that if a proposal gets supermajority it becomes policy until it is changed. If not, it's pronounced failed and moot and the results are used to prepare a new proposal that might hope to pass. If the problem is that not enough policy was passed, then it's probably the proposals that weren't good enough. If the problem is that consensus rule doesn't work, then hold a poll on abolishing it. Zocky 19:41, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
What he's saying is more like "that's a nice theory but it doesn't accord with practice." Or that's what I'm saying, anyway. Hence the current version of the note showing it may not have made ratified policy, but bits are in fact treated as violations of policy or acceptable practice - David Gerard 20:00, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
Of course, exactly which bits are left to the imagination and interpretation of whoever needs to fuel a flame war... essentially making the entire page act as though it were actionable. -- Netoholic @ 20:07, 2005 May 11 (UTC)

<unindent/> ...but bits are in fact treated as violations of policy or acceptable practice.

Are they treated as such because they appear on this page? I suspect not. Some of them are violations of rules on other pages, some are violations of ArbCom precedents. If ArbCom precedents are based on "semi-policy" pages, i.e. failed proposals which are likely to be changed, that's probably not good practice. In fact, if ArbCom decides that it will use a principle which has not been ratified as policy for deciding cases, than ArbCom should state so in its own right, not base its decisions on failed proposals.
This makes the whole concept of semi-policy redundant. When proposals fail to be ratified, any useful info should be salvaged, NPOVed and recycled as guidelines, the rest should be simply archived. Zocky 20:14, 11 May 2005 (UTC)


There is a form of law that is not codified. When a community acts as if a thing were a law for a long time, then this common practice begins to have the force of law. This concept of desseutude came about because of trade disputes. However, I think it applies to the things that WP:POINT is trying to cover. The problem is that no one can announce a "semi-law" in desseutude. It has to be recognized as simply having been that way. (E.g. policy states that VfU is for undeleting and that nothing can be undeleted or recreated until the vote takes place. However, many folks will undelete or recreate and then wait for the vote, as if it were VfD-lite. Law says no. Desseutude says yes.) Thus, no one can make a policy proposal, have it fail, and then claim that it's "semi-policy" because folks are obeying it. Instead, we have to leave frustrated those people who insist that everything be written down and that everything that is not forbidden is allowed. The point of Wikipedia is to be community based in editing and laws, and we all find that inconvenient. We all wish there were a judge and a court that could interpret the wise words of our founding fathers and establish precedent. We'd know what to do, then. A lot of what Snowspinner and others do in the name of "semi-policy" doesn't bother me, as I think it's really a case of community standards, but I agree enough with Zocky to say that claiming that there is a law or policy that's supported by the part of Wikipedia that counts is inappropriate. Geogre 04:16, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

At the beginning of each arbitration case decision page, you'll see a list of principles applied in the case. Some of these quote policy, some attempt to put common sensible practice into words - the idea being to come up with something that wouldn't make people go "wtf?!" Note that if you look at the original proposed decision pages, you'll often see disagreement and discussion between arbitrators in these things. "Desseutude" appears to be the concept in question - David Gerard 16:41, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Renaming this page[edit]

It seems a more appropriate and useful title (e.g. for first-time users seeing it in a list) would be something more active, like "No trolling" or "Don't be a troll". Does anyone have any opinion about that kind of name change? -- Beland 18:23, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Since the question of what is a troll is so debatable, I think that the current title is appropriate. Besides, giving it the title of "Don't be a troll" is just as insulting as m:Don't be a dick, and therefore would violate No personal attacks if you used that article title in a discussion. I would suggest not even creating a redirect to this page using that title. BlankVerse 05:25, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)


What is the process here? I think a radical re-work of this page to be more neutral might help - is this page editable? Involved in trolling 5 July 2005 16:14 (UTC)

Is there a response to this? Norrath 6 July 2005 16:23 (UTC)
My main response was to notice the username and block the account. Snowspinner July 6, 2005 16:28 (UTC)


Trolling is deliberate and intentional attempts to disrupt the usability of Wikipedia for its editors, administrators, developers, and other people who work to create content for and help run Wikipedia.
This sentence should be changed. Since deliberate intent cannot be demonstrated, it is useless to put it in here. It would be like defining dangerous driving in terms of the engine revs, only the driver has access to that information. Removing it, the sentence reads:
Trolling is an attempt to disrupt the usability of Wikipedia for its editors, administrators, developers, and other people who work to create content for and help run Wikipedia.
Furthermore, since the audience of people listed includes everyone, it is redundent, leaving us with:
Trolling is an attempt to disrupt the usability of Wikipedia.
Much better?
Except that we don't define disruption, or usability. This definition covers anything which makes Wikipedia more difficult to use, including requiring accounts, making policy and adding features like categories. Hmmm... Problematic? Norrath 6 July 2005 01:12 (UTC)
What a surprise - when you take out the words that make the sentence work, the sentence stops working. Snowspinner July 6, 2005 01:16 (UTC)

Actually the sentence works just fine, it's just that once you take out the useless flourishes, how stupid it is is apparent. Norrath 6 July 2005 16:15 (UTC)

I've no idea how you propose to get to the idea that deliberate intent is a useless flourish. Your dangerous driving analogy is strange, to say the least - perhaps the better metaphor would be "malice aforethought." Snowspinner July 6, 2005 16:25 (UTC)

The idea is useless flourish because the intent is unknowable. Since mind reading is impossible in personal conversation, let alone on the Internet, the search for intentions leads everyone down fruitless rabbitholes speculating what the intent could be when everyone knows that we cannot establish intent. Your ideas annoy me intensely. I have no way of knowing whether you intend to annoy me, or are honestly proposing things that I find annoying because you believe they are correct. Norrath 6 July 2005 16:30 (UTC)

The intent remains the highly relevent thing, and is frankly, in many cases, fairly easy to divine. Snowspinner July 6, 2005 16:54 (UTC)
Not really - this is the fundamental attribution error. For great justice. 21:44, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Comment from L mooringstar (talk · contribs)[edit]

Genuine dissent is not trolling. Biased editing, even if defended aggressively, is in itself not trolling.

Often, racist trolls, when confronted, will accuse Wikipedia of Marxism or political correctness.

these statements seem to contradict each other. if someone was actually a raceist you couldn't acuse them of being a troll. it would only be trolling if they were only acting raceist to stir things up.

sugested edit

for example, when confronted, a troll pretending to hold racesit opinion, might accuse Wikipedia of Marxism or political correctness.—Preceding unsigned comment added by L mooringstar (talkcontribs)

Slow revert[edit]

A "slow revert" may be a psychologically effective way of dealing with a troll, but it has the slight negative side effect of leaving dubious material standing for the average reader (note, not the average Wikipedian) to come across it... this seems like a bad idea. Palmiro | Talk 23:22, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

"depending on how one counts"[edit]

"Note that some behavior listed here has been taken as disruption of Wikipedia in Arbitration Committee decisions. In the Wikipedia:Trolling poll to make this proposal policy, it received between 57% and 61% support, depending on how one counts." Last time I checked there was only one way to count. 1,2,3,4,5,6, and so on. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 2 Dec 2006


How long can you get banned for vandalising? is there a paid for that? Does it depend on how bad you do it?

Dumoren 09:03, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

No idea what you mean by "a paid", but, yes, it depends on whether the account is used only for vandalism, on the nature of the vandalism, on what is vandalised, on the number of occurrences, etc. For example, a tirade of hate speech in an article about an ethnic group is likely to be dealt with far more severely than someone placing innocuous near-nonsense "graffiti" on a talk page. Anything up to and including a permanent block is possible. As far as I know, we've never sent the thugs around to beat anyone up. (That's a joke. I'm sure we haven't. And when we did, the thugs couldn't find him, anyway.) - Jmabel | Talk 19:44, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

I ment to say, is there a page/article for the punishments, listy of punishments?

No, we don't have a "legal code". We have a loose set of policies, guidelines, and procedures. - Jmabel | Talk 05:01, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

A suggestion for banning trolls from editing[edit]

I have a suggestion to make:

You know how trolls vandalise anything, well i say if they vandalise the same article/page twice or more, there banned from editing. Why, its no mistake, because they delete an entire page on purpose.I suggest they get banned from editing permentaly, especially depending on the vandals targets like: religeon,People, other wikipediansm etc. If the vandal wants to be forgiven, then they must either write a email to an admin, or other important wikipedians. This will reduce the number of trolls and vandalised articles. If however, they delete on accident, which would be unusual, then they need a good reason for doing so.

who aggres with me. Says either support or object?

Dumoren 00:57, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

How do you think the Merriam-Webster became a proprietary dictionary well over a hundred years ago?
Accidents do and can happen given the personal time constraints most working people are under. The “Save page” and “Show preview” buttons are not that far apart and without an “Are you sure?" question its not that hard to submit comments to an article page rather than to the article talk page that was intended.
Perhaps it would help if you understood what happened to the Dialectic. The Dialectic is the concept of opposite positions: Thesis (position) vs. Antithesis (opposite position). In traditional logic, if my thesis was true, then all other positions were by definition untrue. For example, if my thesis is that "all reversions are vandalism" then all other positions (antithesis) are false. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the nineteenth century German philosopher, turned that concept on its head by equalizing Thesis and Antithesis. All things are now relative. There is no such thing as absolute truth to be found anywhere. Instead, “truth” is found in Synthesis, a compromise of Thesis and Antithesis. This is the heart and soul of the Wikipedia and the consensus process.
I know contributors who must rewrite edits ten, twenty or more times before they last more than a week due to the fact that the idea behind a Wiki is based on consensus. If System Administrators were allowed to shove a rag into someone’s mouth for making a contribution they simple disagreed with or did not like instead of using their brains to explain why their position is better then all they would end up doing is converting the Wikipedia into a System Administrator-pedia and that would defeat the purpose and philosophy behind the Wikipedia and not be any good. -- PCE 07:41, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

How about banning trolls from viewing?--Edtropolis 17:07, 16 June 2007 (UTC)


There is a nice new image at commons:Image:Trolls.jpg. It's a pity we can't use it in Wikipedia:What is a troll#Not feeding the trolls or the {{TrollWarning}} template because there already is another image of the same name at, but I've contacted the uploader about this problem. Wikipeditor 2006-09-16

I cant make a new section so Im just gonna say It here (even though Its the wrong place anyway, but Im a troll) I loved the pictures they were pretty good, though Im also offended because Im a troll, please reply to this.

New breed?[edit]

Does anybody know, whether making the article systematically too long is trolling? Real example from Lithuanian Wikipedia: user Pleckaitis makes a lot of articles for small villages in Lithuania without any regard concerning common shape of those articles, he doubles information of templates, violates implicit importance of settlements (eg. London is a city with distance approximately 10,6 km southwards from Chelsea), makes useless subtitles and so on. There a hundreds of those articles, and nobody knows, how to deal with it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 26 October 2006.

Usually, the English Wikipedia is not the place to discuss other Wikipedias. Describing the location of London relative to Chelsea is clearly inappropriate (the City of London is of far more historical importance than the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and Greater London emcompasses Chelsea). Other than that, there is nothing wrong with a detailed article on a relatively unimportant place (see Wedgwood, Seattle, Washington for an example; I happen to live there, but I am not the one who wrote most of this). I have no way to judge in the abstract whether someone's subtitles are useless.
Presumably the Lithuanian Wikipedia has some equivalent of RFCs, mediation, and arbitration. That is probably how you are going to have to pursue this if you want to confront it. - Jmabel | Talk 20:56, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Another view[edit]

Just another view from history of a predecessor article. Worth a debate:

A Wikipedia:troll war is an escalating conflict between multiple Wikipedia:trolls. It is not the same as a flame war or edit war, as those do not involve inventing new troll methods and technologies. These conflicts are especially disruptive as they ultimately result in new Internet trolling methods that spread to other services.

The only known long-term solution to such wars is the political virtues applied via the Wikipedia:arbitration committee. A set of tactics for this was once advanced as the Wikipedia:troll bridge strategy.

It is not really that different from diplomacy as understood between warring nation-states, each of which has their own POV and is not inclined to compromise (see Wikipedia:POV warrior) and is inclined also towards technological conflict escalation.

A major problem in Wikipedia is abuse of administrative powers in over-reaction to troll war - often called by trolls themselves "sysop vandalism": using technological powers to try to force a solution in a troll war by favouring one side or another.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Crekshin (talkcontribs) 11:42, 13 November 2006

Nearly off topic, and not very useful, in my view. I would be against re-adding this. - Jmabel | Talk 06:36, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


We should add a comment on the psychology of trolling. For example: "Good trolls prey on the deepest insecurities of other readers and editors, exposing their inferiority complexes." 02:16, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Something that interpretive would likely be original research. Feezo (Talk) 04:34, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Does WP:OR apply to essays? I'm pretty sure that's only mandatory for articles. --Aervanath 17:52, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Whoops, you're right, I thought this was the talk page for troll (internet). Feezo (Talk) 20:13, 31 January 2007 (UTC)


The introduction to to this essay contains a lot of words. This is all well and good, but I believe there to be a single criteron that seperates the troll from the non-troll:

A troll is primarily interested in the response to his or her edits, not the overall quality or veracity of a page.
Corollary: An earnest editor will not be put off the Wikipedia project by a lack of response. In fact, if their edits go unchanged and unchallenged, they will probably regard this is a good sign.

Vranak 22:00, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Mod As Troll[edit]

I believe that One Night In Hackney should be removed as a mod/sysop. Why? Because he trolled all the wrestling move pages, giving them delete tags because he doesn't like wrestling, and nothing more. I am surprised that no disciplinary action was taken, and there should be. --ChrisP2K5 06:57, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

That user is not an admin. Please note that this is not the place to report such issues. Please try resolving your issue with this user on your respective talk pages. If that is not possible, you may open a request for comment or request assistance on WP:ANI. Thank you. --BigDT 05:52, 23 January 2007 (UTC)


In and out of spanish internet, there are "Verso" performers. A "Verso" is a Story or Swindle that a verso-group performe against someone in internet or everyday life. Verso origin in Buenos Aires. Anselmocisneros 09:44, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Ideogram's WP:POINT rewrite[edit]

I reverted the incongruent edit made to the page by Ideogram. It seems to have been written to merely prove WP:POINT. Opinions welcome. --Irpen 18:55, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Let's read WP:POINT, shall we?
In this situation, it is tempting to illustrate a point using either parody or some form of breaching experiment. For example, the contributor may apply the decision to other issues in a way that mirrors the policy they oppose. These activities are generally disruptive: i.e., they require the vast majority of nonpartisan editors to clean up or revert the "proof".
Please explain to me how my actions were "disruptive". Please explain to me how editing an essay, not even a policy, is a breaching experiment. Irpen always had the option of taking it to the discussion page, instead his first reaction was to revert the edit and accuse me of WP:POINT.
I hope all parties concerned realize that we cannot have a rational discussion if one of the parties is engaged in baseless accusations of policy violations. We are either going to discuss this edit as a good faith edit or we will not have any discussion at all. --Ideogram 19:04, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Very simple, Ideogram. Your activity has been characterized as trolling by a multitude of users (more here). You were unhappy about that which is understandable. Instead of self-reflecting on the feedback given to you by many editors, you decided to rewrite the essay about trolling itself to make it say that all those who call trolling as such should not do it. This is WP:POINT. Please do not attempt to tie me into another cycle of this. --Irpen 19:10, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

From my perspective it is also very simple. If you want to discuss whether my activity is trolling or not, you take it to a neutral third party, such as the ArbCom. Otherwise you are engaged in character assassination. Instead of self-reflecting on whether you and the other editors are truly neutral parties in this case you continue to assert that your opinion speaks for the community as a whole. I am not engaged in WP:POINT, I defy you to find the section of WP:POINT which is applicable. And if you don't want to be "tied into another cycle of this" you can very well leave the essay alone. --Ideogram 19:15, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Irpen discuss[edit]

I will be happy to discuss any specific objections Irpen has to my edits here. So far, the only hint I have from him is his edit summary which accuses me of POINT. --Ideogram 18:56, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Let the record show that Irpen is not interested in discussing these edits as good faith edits. --Ideogram 20:07, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

I think it probably best if this conversation is terminated. Giano 20:34, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
If he doesn't want to discuss it, he doesn't get to edit it. --Ideogram 20:45, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Proposed addition[edit]

I am proposing that the following text be added to this essay. Irpen keeps reverting me, but he refuses to discuss his reasons with me. I hope that other editors can weigh in with their opinions. --Ideogram 06:06, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

The term "trolling" has been abused by a few editors to discredit people they dislike or disagree with. Consider the possible responses by a person accused of trolling. If they are not a troll, they will say "I am not a troll." If they are a troll, they will say "I am not a troll." Of course, if they are really a troll, they will be lying. But if they are not a troll, there is nothing they can possibly say in their defense, because by calling them a troll, you implicitly assert they are lying.
The solution is simple. Don't use the term. Especially if you are emotionally involved. Because the term is subjective, it should only be applied by community agreement among neutral third parties. Ultimately this means the Arbitration Committee. If you want to call someone a troll, think carefully: Are you prepared to prove your case before the Arbitration Committee? If not, don't use the term.

This seems unnecessary and oddly specific to a situation you are currently dealing with. I might be willing to consider this, but it seems like an emotional edit that is coming out of anger because a few people have called you a troll. Instead of unnecessarily changing this essay, perhaps you should examine your own behavior. AniMate 06:16, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Please examine the discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Proposed policy on removing alleged trolling on talk pages. Note especially the concrete example given near the bottom. --Ideogram 06:19, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

There it already section Wikipedia:What_is_a_troll#Bad_faith that essentially covers the proposed info. The proposed text in my opinion does not add anything useful besides vagues threats. Besides it is probably incorrect, the last time I check the Arbcom was the last step of WP:DR not the first one. The topic of Dispute Resolutions is already covered in the section Wikipedia:What_is_a_troll#Misidentified_trolls, no need to promote WP:CREEP in the other places. Alex Bakharev 06:28, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I've examined the discussion. My opinion isn't changed. AniMate 06:43, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I think it's fine as it is, per Alex. I also think it's a bad idea in general to rewrite policies and/or essays that people follow as guidelines when a major debate is going on. It could easily be perceived as POV, and the nature of language is such that adding words or changing the context even slightly can totally revise the meaning of something. TheQuandry 18:06, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I think I have made my point sufficiently elsewhere so I will not prolong this argument. --Ideogram 01:52, 30 January 2007 (UTC)


Would it be worth adding this template to the "see also"? --Nate 10:23, 21 March 2007 (UTC)


Dealing with edit war trolls Of course, sometimes trolls cannot be ignored without compromising the integrity of an article—particularly in the case of edit war trolling. In these cases, "err" on the side of improving Wikipedia, but always remember the principle of Wikipedia:Staying cool when the editing gets hot and do not hesitate to appeal to the Wikipedia:Dispute resolution process. Remember the three revert rule. If someone is trolling an article you will get support from others in restoring the article. Eventually, the troll may give up or a consensus may form for dealing with him or her more firmly.

i dont know what is supposed to be there

A proposed edit to "Not feeding the trolls"[edit]

Consider "in a community of any substantial size" instead of "in a community of any size." A community of any size could be very small and virtually immune to trolling.

Change to "Misplaced criticism" section[edit]

I have changed one sentence in the "Misplaced criticism" section. Previously, the sentence read: Criticism of the project, made constructively, is welcome from established contributors when shared in an appropriate place. I have removed the word "established" as constructive criticism shared in an appropriate place is welcome from any user, not just established/experienced ones. I don't view this as a particularly controversial change, but see no harm in sharing it on the talk page. Cheers, Black Falcon 05:25, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

wikipedia trolling definition seems a bit unconventional[edit]

"Trolling refers to deliberate and intentional attempts to disrupt the usability of Wikipedia for its editors, administrators, developers, and other people who work to create content for and help run Wikipedia. Trolling is deliberate violation of the implicit rules of Internet social spaces. It necessarily involves a value judgement made by one user about the value of another's contribution. (Because of this it is considered not to be any more useful than the judgement 'I don't agree with you' by many users, who prefer to focus on behaviors instead of on presumed intent."

I've seen a lot of trolls in a lot of internet forums and projects of all sorts and I got to say that I'm not sure if even one of them gave the tiniest thought to whether their actions had an effect on the usability of the projects or forums they were trolling. In fact it's quite hard to imagine any of them let alone most of them having so sophisticated an aim as disrupting usability, whether for spite or some other obscure motive.

Rather it has always seemed that what the troll craved most of all was to provoke as strong and as many responses to their actions/messages as possible. In fact I would dare say that essentially every last troll if given the option to totally destroy the groups they torment would certainly refuse. That would ruin their 'fun'.

Trolls are indeed the enemy. Like any enemy to battle them you are well advised to try to understand them. I have to say that as written the current essay is currently quite misleading about what makes trolls tick and that could conceivably hinder our efforts to deal with them. Trolls crave reactions not disruption or destruction.Zebulin 10:48, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Edit to "Bad Faith"[edit]

At the beginning of the section, it says "Trolling is a deliberate, is an attempt, in bad faith, to disrupt the editing of Wikipedia." This almost seems like bad grammar or otherwise improper English. I figured I should check here first before editing, but I think this first statement should be reworded to "Trolling is a deliberate attempt, in bad faith, to disrupt the editing of Wikipedia." Minor revision, but it seems like better English to word it this way. Anyone agree/disagree? I didn't want to change it without approval from someone first, as this is, after all, a WP page. --6xB 17:12, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I changed it to the old version; your version is fine too. —Centrxtalk • 02:44, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Is Trolling a Subset of Vandalism?[edit]

Is Trolling a subset of Vandalism, or vice versa? Mathiastck 09:13, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

I would say that trolling is a subset of vandalism. Vandalism includes all manner of acts, whereas at least traditionally trolling refers to a certain kind of being inflammatory or pestering, such as in discussions, in order to evoke an over-active response. Page blanking in itself, for example, would not be trolling, whereas an actual troll is purposefully trying to be disruptive. However, someone thought to be trolling may not actually be trolling, but may just be misunderstood. —Centrxtalk • 15:51, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Great essay![edit]

This is a really good essay. I commend all editors who put this essay together. Unfortunately I noticed that the page did not get enough support to become a policy, I wonder why? However, the best thing to do is to try to improve the article further so it can become a policy, and the next best thing to do is to band an anti-troll committee, if it's feasible. Again, great work, and I'd love to help whenever possible. –Imdanumber1 (talk contribs  email) 18:33, 3 June 2007 (UTC)


Throughout this article the term "newbie" is used repeatedly. Isn't there a better term? It seems like some people might take offense to it. Just my opinion, thanks!WacoJacko 20:47, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Newcomer is more appropriate?. —Imdanumber1 (talk contribs  email) 03:18, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it does seem much more appropriate, thanks!WacoJacko 00:27, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Edit Warring[edit]

Edit warring

The archetypal example of trolling is the deliberately inflammatory edit or post — saying something controversial specifically to cause a flame war. Inflammatory edits usually come from users who have a minority or controversial opinion and who sincerely believe that this view is inadequately represented by Wikipedia; trolls, however, will generally not seek consensus but will instead insist on a position without any regard for compromise.

If the first example of trolling, is actually trolling, that's not setting a good example. From how I read it, it sounds like "Anyone who sincerely believes a minority and controversial opinion , would be considered a troll"

That should really be fixed IMO. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:26, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

There is a user on this called Gurch who creates edit wars. He kept on deleting my APPROPRIATE thing and i kept on having to put it back again. He carried on until i got mad and insulted him. I then got banned temporallily because of it and he got to go free. Stay away from this Gurch if you don't want to get involved in edit wars.

Not sure about wording[edit]

I have corrected what I see to be an error in the "Not feeding the trolls" section... phrasing was previously:

it is easy to deal with those things.therfore suck my dick.. because i am a shark

and I think that someone might have vandalized this line, but I am not sure. If I made a mistake, just revert it... I really don't know much of the formatting here... I'm used to other wiki sites. (talk) 01:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Ahh, looks like someone already fixed it. (talk) 01:35, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Deliberately using the epithet "troll" in order to shut down discussion[edit]

I disagree with this reversion, as I believe the preceding paragraph shown in that diff does not adequately warn against being taken in by people who use the epithet "troll" as an ad hominem ploy to get people to stop listening to someone's ideas. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 21:12, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I disagree but if you want to include it, leave out "This is especially effective if there happens to be only one vocal opponent. This phenomenon is well-documented.", as this is not beneficial to the page in any way. Replace it with some guidance how to deal with people who apply such invalid labels. Equazcion /C 21:16, 13 Mar 2008 (UTC)
Let's see, what is the best way to deal with accusations of trolling? Like chess openings, each option has its own set of counterattacks. For instance, if you counter with "No, you're the troll," they can easily reply with, "Nuh uh!" which typically leads to "Uh huh!" followed by a repetition of moves and stalemate. On the other hand, if one replies with, "Yo mama's a troll," depending on their repertoire of yo mama jokes, they may easily trump it with any variety of replies forking off of, e.g., "Yo mama's so fat..." "Yo mama's so dumb..." etc. Yes, I can see this section is going to take a lot of work, perhaps it should be split off into its own article in order to avoid running into page size limitations. Obuibo Mbstpo (talk) 21:26, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
How about "Labeling someone a troll is easy as it allows you to avoid having to actually come up with an answer. If you really can't or won't come up with one, I won't force you. I'll just wait until someone else can." I don't know if this is proper to add to this essay but it's what I would say were someone to label me a troll. Equazcion /C 22:04, 13 Mar 2008 (UTC)

"(c.f. MeatBall:ForestFire)"[edit]

What's "c.f." stand for? It's not in just says things like "cost and freight" William Ortiz (talk) 07:52, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

"cf.", from Latin "confer" means ‘compare’ (from It's very old and commonly used in traditional areas, and is of the ilk of i.e., id est (L.), that is (to say). --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:04, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Patent troll[edit]

I was looking here to find the answer whether a "patent troll" is always bad faith. Or is it just a synonym for a "non-producing entity", either good faith or bad faith? (Bad faith includes (among other things?) entities that harrass companies with dubious claims, yet propose a settelement that is a little bit cheaper and/or considerably faster than a true court case - which takes a lot of time, and is very costly, in particular in the US). Rbakels (talk) 11:36, 3 August 2010 (UTC)