There are a whole bunch of theories about dealing with trolls. The most well-known being that you shouldn’t feed the trolls. Here are some others.

  • Be vicious to trolls.  It’s not like you’re depriving anybody of food or oxygen.
  • Be capricious.  If you’re consistent, they’ll know where the line is; if they know where the line is, they’ll skate to the edge of it.
  • Be indifferent to trollish suffering. Being called a facist (not a typo: most trolls can’t spell) who’s suppressing free speech* is not a cause for concern; it’s semantically equivalent to “You’re doing your job.”
  • Be obnoxious. Trolls do it because it amuses them to do it.  Being made fun of is not amusing, particularly when you can enforce a ban.  Remember: they need your site more than your site needs them.

It all boils down to this: every so often you have to shoot a troll, the better to encourage the others. It’s fun!

*By the way: the Internet is not public property. It’s a collection of various sites, most of which are privately owned. You do not have free speech rights on private property. It’s amazing how many ‘libertarians’ don’t get that.