Trolls aren't just creatures from folklore. In the online community, they are people who post offensive comments on many interactive online sites, often baiting hateful dialog.
So, how do publishers manage user-generated comments in a way that respects freedom of speech and promotes community conversation without letting the trolls offend everyone on their site?
Blake Williams, from Topix.com, said discussion forums can drive a lot of traffic to your site but when community members post offensive messages it can have a negative impact on how some readers view your brand.
Williams said that while making users register and post under their own names will likely decrease offensive or agenda-driven comments, it will also likely decrease the number of posts.
Robin Miller, from Linux.com/Slashdot, uses a complex user-generated rating system that he says edits itself, by weeding out users who others find offensive. He admitted this model is not for everyone.
Marc Mercer, from Advance Internet, which manages regional Web sites across the country, said if you can get people to feel more invested in the Web site they tend not to write hateful comments.
-- Lagan Sebert