Conference news
Posted: October 18, 2007 07:23 PM
Trolls: Not Just a Fairy Tale

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, 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, 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


This is helpful.
I moderate online forums, and would have liked to attend the conference, but couldn't.
I appreciate the extra work it takes to boil down (what I imagine was) a conference session into a few key points.

Lisa Johnson
CBC News

October 18, 2007 06:33 PM by Lisa Johnson (Permalink)

The talk about trolls is truly interesting, but I disagree with Marc Mercer who said if people are engaged in a site they will "tend not to write hateful comments." I believe even if someone is interested in a site it does not mean they like it. People everyday get involved in topics because it can cause a stir. Someone might visit a website just to disagree with something and start a discussion.
I guess the idea of Trolls is more serious then the general person who comments because they oppose. A Troll can be harmful to the public.

October 18, 2007 08:21 PM by Aprill King (Permalink)

That is not what I said. It is, in a sense, true, but otherwise an oversimplification.

October 20, 2007 05:24 PM by Marc Mercer (Permalink)

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Back to 2007 conference page

8th Annual Conference and Awards Banquet, Oct. 17-19, Sheraton Centre, Toronto

Questions about membership, registration or sponsorship opportunities? E-mail Executive Director Lori Schwab.

Questions about conference lineup or volunteering? E-mail Conference Chair Ju-Don Roberts.

Oct. 19, 2007 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast Discussion Groups (Sponsored by AFP) 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: The Cutting Edge of Online Data 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Finding Your Voice Online 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Business Workshop: Leading the 21st Century Newsroom 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: General Session: Membership Meeting 10:45 a.m. - Education Members Meeting, Expanding ONA's educational offerings, Dominion Ballroom 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m: Keynote: Michael Oreskes, International Herald Tribune 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Lunch on Your Own (Box lunch sponosred by 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Broadcaster Strategies for the Web 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating Multimedia in Storytelling 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Business Workshop: Legal Panel 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Revamping Your Curriculum for Online Journalism 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating User-Generated Content 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Business Workshop: Advertising 2.0 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Coffee Break (Sponsored by Pluck) 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Journalism Next: Impact of Aggregators, Blogging and Social Networking on the Industry 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reception sponsored by 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Awards banquet

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