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Dealing with Haters and Trolls

This was a discussion on some of our experiences with haters and trolls that have been in our projects and/or communities and how we’ve reacted to these situations and what we’ve learned as well as what we hope to do in the future.

  • For the most part, there are types of people that are perfectly friendly in real-life, but as soon as they get on an IRC or on reddit, a side of them loves to lash out and puke garbage

  • When it comes to IRC, anyone can come in, so the channel tends to be busy because it is accessible. However, because anyone can come in, it is also easier to disrupt so it can be hard to answer support questions.

  • Sometimes people try to hide behind the systems to hide their identities, and sometimes they’ll come back and spam. One community decide to use bots to manage spam bots which has been effective to a point but can be really tiring.

  • Because the code is out there, it’s transparent so people can see the changes that are being made. Reactions can go either way depending on how passionate people are about UI changes and the like. Sometimes private projects are built to avoid this, with a Rude Q&A prepared, but this can also backfire. Doing openly or doing privately - sometimes it’s hard to win

  • Another community builds and ships every three weeks, and have been working to be more transparent about their releases. Employees answer personally from their work emails, which shows a more human quality. They learned transparency in shipping after renaming a product, and people weren’t happy that this was not transparent.

  • Another community leader said that being clear about rules from the beginning and having a place wher eyou can easily cut and copy these rules to an email can be helpful.

  • There are pros and cons to having usernames/profiles attached to real people. Sometimes people simply don’t want their opinion to influence who they are, some people might be uncomfortable or have a fear of being ostracized with their real names attached

  • One person said that each time they create a new project or contribute to a new project, they create a new GitHub name because they don’t want who they work for to influence what they contribute to

  • Money is also a different topic because people might be very loyal if someone pays off, while others might be feel a lot of contempt if a business does not pan out as expected. With money, people expect a lot of value. The best you can do in some cases is to really listen to people.

  • There are also people who may have been in a channel/platform/community for nearly 30 years and feel like they are entitled and can come in and do whatever they want. Sometimes you need to let go if they leave because their entitlement is not fulfilled.

  • Being the better person in a conflict is always the best thing you can do.

  • Trolls will move on eventually

  • If someone used to be an active contributor but has been going through a rough time and has changed their personality a bit, it might be best to be more personal in handling the situation by direct/private messaging them or phoning them

  • There are also times when people will leverage a community in order to build their own following. Even though they may need to be kicked out, eventually the community will be ok with it (though they may be angry at first).

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This post was really well written!

However, I am writing this just to get a back-link to our website on white paper promotion. And to know whether member of this community visit it.

Hey folks, have you ever had a customer on your community who was “too helpful”? Too many screenshots, too many steps, too many posts? I’ve had someone like this on my community, and it became a very heated relationship - between both him and me, and also him and our “superusers”.

Eventually he had to be banned, but I wonder how others have dealt with similar types of people. Not exactly a troll, and certainly not a hater, but definitely a trouble customer type on a community. Thanks.


May I ask how that was a problem? Sounds like it could be a bit much but how did that lead to being banned?

We had someone similar in our public forums for awhile. We hired him.

Good question, thanks @FelicianoTech. Because he was wrong a good amount of the time, and would be confrontational when others called him out. And verbose in his rebuttals. All in all, it was a nightmare to navigate his posts, since he would throw EVERYTHING at an issue.

After a few of those, it just becomes noise and not content. Coupled with a few epic battles a more combative forum member (who was also banned), it was clear he had to go. He was setting a bad tone and focus to the community.

Ah I understand now. That’s tough.

As a follow-up, I had to ban this person from the community, as there were several bad interactions with another antagonistic forum member. Normally, I like to foster a good relationship with these incredibly interested people. But you can’t win 'em all.

Reviving this old conversation to ask…

How would you deal with someone who posts to a community in a way that isn’t necessarily against the community’s rules/terms, but certainly is helpful and adding to the community? The specific situation that I’m dealing with is someone that writes long rambling posts with a link to another site in the midst of their post. None of the content (in their post or in the site they link to) is really relevant to the community they’re posting in. My guess is that the user account is possibly a bot or possibly a person being paid to post links. Has anyone dealt with this before?

dealing with haters and trolls always made my anxiety worse… that’s generally one of my worst experience that i get through!

Thanks to for being the kind sponsor for this forum!