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June 9, 2017

6 Innovative Ways to Fight Comment Trolls and Spam

vuukle fight troll spam

According to the YouGov poll, around a third of millennial Americans has trolled someone online. Trolls are nasty. So is spam. In a thriving online world, you must have encountered trolls and spam at some point or the other. If you haven’t, you will. As a publisher, your focus is to create news that your readers would like to read. You want to provide the latest update on what is trending and write on topics your readers actually enjoy reading. There is no time to sit through hundreds and thousands of troll messages and answer them individually. You are better off focusing your energy elsewhere.

The days you run low on patience, you decide to mark it as a spam and hope it goes away. But it doesn’t. Here are mean, nasty people who take advantage of the online anonymity to spread hatred and vitriol with an attempt to destroy your online reputation. Would it be easier to turn comment section off your site? Bad Idea! The importance of comment section is far more than the issues you face.

You can’t win an argument with a troll. So why feed it? Click To Tweet

Instead of cutting the branch you are sitting on, it would be a good idea to explore on innovative ways to fight comments spam and trolls.’ Taking a lesson from Sun Tzu’s Art of War, ‘’He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious’’ is not only applicable in the battlefield, but also for publishers websites.

What does a troll actually do?

They spread lies

Disrupts a normal conversation

Damages your reputation

Destroy your self-confidence

Feeds hatred

Takes away your precious time

And then there are spammers who post their links in your comment section, completely irrelevant to the topic in a hope to get some backlinks ad improve their search engine ranking. When a genuine reader goes through the comment section, he would probably think that your site is not up-to-date and may not return again.

If your focus is to nurture and grow your community, here are few things you can do to keep these spammers and trollers at bay.

Remove website URL field from the comment form

This will help you get rid of spammers to some extent. While spammers are constantly looking at different ways to plug in their website link to improve their search ranking, they could still add the link in the comment section. Although this solution will not eliminate the problem, you could still make it difficult for them to share their links.

Avoid them instead of feeding them

Entertaining trolls and spams is a losing battle. It takes away your energy, time and morale. It can be draining to reason out with people whose intention is not to see reason but to create an unpleasant situation for authors and fellow readers. When you sink to their level, it is bound to get messy and your opponent has already won. Always remember, the agenda for trolling is to incite others, disrupt the conversation and/or to destroy your reputation. Never feed a troll.

Use Artificial Intelligence to combat Trolls

What if you could have a commenting system that uses artificial intelligence to understand the intention behind the comment. What if it could provide toxicity level scores for you to decide if a certain comment is worth publishing or not? Users would think twice before posting a comment when they see the toxicity rating. If they are the nasty ones who will still hit the ‘send’ button, you as a publisher or a moderator have the control to have them eliminated right away without having to manually check it. You can now pre-set toxicity scores and only those comments within the set toxicity level will get published. Vuukle is the first commenting system that has integrated a real-time author feedback with the help of Google technology to automatically detect hate speech.

Ask for Name and Email Address

A survey from the Pew Research Center found that 36% of internet users had forgone using a website because it asked for their real name. It is also interesting to note that 25% of adult internet users had posted a comment online without revealing their true identity and 26% of them admitted to using a temporary e-mail address or username. Use a commenting system that captures name and email address

Always have Facts and Figures

Not all comments have to be a troll. Sometimes, the reader may disagree with your point of view and if you have allowed publishing the comment on your site, responding would only lead to a healthy conversation. If someone says ‘your article sucks’, ask them why? Unless there is a good reason to substantiate their standpoint, they might not respond.

Use Witty comebacks and a sense of Humor

While the intention for trolling is to incite anger and hate, what if you could respond with some humor? They might not know what to say anymore and will probably leave the site because they didn’t get the desired response.

Keep your comment section clean and build a healthy relationship with your website readers using Vuukle’s commenting platform.

Bavani Srinu

Bavani Srinu is the founder of two start-ups, Ichiqoo and Swapp. She is also a free-spirited writer, a marketing professional, a mother and an avid travel enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter @bavanisrinu