Do I need to crack down harder on trolls? A no-troll, no-MRA discussion thread


This blog has been getting a lot more traffic lately. The downside is that we’ve had a lot more trolls here lately as well.

Because of this, and because of a shitty situation in one of the comment threads earlier tonight involving an abusive troll who I wish I had banned sooner, I want to open up a discussion to everyone here (that is, everyone here who is not a troll or an MRA).

The question is: Do I need to crack down harder on trolls?

Generally my approach has been to let trolls post unless and until they’re abusive. I know a lot of people here like engaging with trolls and taking them down.

The problem, of course, is that these trolls can quickly become abusive. And this can trigger people.

Should I be quicker to ban people — banning trolls at the first sign that they might become abusive rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt (which, unfortunately a lot of them don’t deserve)? Should I be stricter about who I let post in the first place?

There are actually a lot of people I don’t let post here at all; if their first comment is too aggressive or hostile or (obviously) contains a slur I don’t let their comments through. I’m especially strict when it comes to people posting in threads about women who’ve been harassed.

But I could be stricter, and I could ban more quickly if that’s what you think I should do.

Frankly, I gave up a long time ago on the idea that it’s possible to have any kind of “open debate” with these people. Too many of them are abusive assholes for that to work.

So my priority here is the regular feminist and feminist-friendly commenters on this blog, and coming up with a comment policy and procedures that work better for you all. There are people who enjoy and in many cases feel empowered by being able to confront the trolls here. But I don’t want, and I don’t think  any of us want, more situations like the one that happened tonight.

To be honest, I do think I need to crack down harder. I just want to hear what you all think on the issue, and to hear your suggestions as to how to do this most effectively.

The other aspect of this: I think I need to put up more no troll, no MRA open threads. And so I will be doing that.


(I may not be able to get back to this thread for a little while, but I’ll definitely be back later in the evening.)

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on June 13, 2014, in no trolls allowed, open thread. Bookmark the permalink. 297 Comments.

  1. I am a The Cat Empire fan, I admit.

  2. I’m so tired now.
    I really need a long nap.
    Meow meow meow meow purrrrrrrrrrrrr

  3. @LBT — have you considered a metal casting for Aphrodite? if i remember correctly, you are in the bay area? i know there used to be a great place for this in the east bay, but cannot remember the name — moved away 20 years ago. i did find a place in san jose who you might want to consider — take a look at their gallery.

  4. I’m only a sometimes commenter, longtime reader, but I like the idea of slamming down on abusive trolls here, and making the “will become abusive” measurement more sensitive. I also really miss troll challenges; I think there are ways of shifting the balance in a variety of ways to make this a more productive and positive place, even if it isn’t a safe space.

    I’m a huge fan of “happy cute animal” troll demands. I think everyone needs cute, happy animals, especially trolls.

  5. ::waves::

    Hi Deoridhe! :)

  6. It is quite late here,
    I have taken my codeine,
    Cats want me in bed.

  7. The furrnati know best. Hope you get some decent sleep, pallygirl.

  8. Ok, I will definitely do more troll challenges!

    I’m also going to bring a few mods on board. I’ll do another post once I’ve got everyone on board, and explain the new system.

    If you want to volunteer as a mod, it’s not too late to throw your hat in the ring.

    Due to the weirdness of the way WP handles modding I’m going to limit the number of mods to the bare minimum necessary, and will only go with people who’ve been here a while.

    I’ll be contacting all the volunteers I haven’t already contacted shortly.

  9. I don’t have a good answer. But I do think you’ve done a relatively good job. Better than most places, to be sure!

  10. well, i just read the troll conversation on the other thread and am weeping uncontrollably because of my own issues which i am not at all ready to discuss. i can say that i cannot handle that level of trolldumb and my heart goes out to Ally for having had to deal with such.

    David — i think the measures you are putting in place are sound and appreciate it very much.

  11. fauxmy, all the hugs.

  12. thanks, ketthserf.

  13. Have I mentioned I love the pun of your nym?

  14. why no, you had not. thank you kindly :)

  15. I don’t get the pun, is it my kiwi accent that’s stuffing it up for me?

  16. I read it as or “foamy” or “faux my” for the meaning. Would a Kiwi accent affect that?

    I like the joke about Kiwi and Aussie accents – we took all the vowels you weren’t using. :D

  17. Okay, I got that too, so the pun is nothing to do with the avatar image. I keep having Foamy the squirrel come to mind, which is where I got stuck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,141 other followers

%d bloggers like this: