Don't be Troll Bait: Learn How to Lurk!

I've noticed a fair number of Hubbers saying their farewells to HubPages lately thanks to negative experiences on the Forums. It makes me sad, just like it makes me sad when, for similar reasons, a member leaves the local meetup group that I help organize. I can't really see myself getting into such a position, except maybe in my meetup, because as moderator there, I have to get involved now and then. (Y'all be nice to Maddie!) Here at HubPages, I can be nice, and I can be quiet.

Trolls are everywhere on the Internet. I sincerely hope I'm not becoming one of them, by virtue of writing this hub.

Nah, I know I'm not a troll. I just don't want to be troll "bait."

Let's see if I can find an official definition of "troll bait"....

Definition of Troll Bait


Oh - cool - I promise - no lie - I just thought of this term, "troll bait," as I was writing this hub - I had no idea it was already out there! But here's what Urban Dictionary says:

"a person who attracts trolls and responds to them unknowingly to their scheme; one who falls prey to the phenomenon of trolling in an irc room, forum, or internet voice chat room; a person, place, or website that trolls find a method of attack--especially naive, overly deceptible person."

I do apologize for calling that an "official" definition, what with all the grammar confusion and all....but the other immediate results in my Google search were....well, Troll Bait. So apparently there are people out there actually looking for a fight. Interesting, isn't it, that "Trolls" and "Troll Bait" share that personality trait. I wonder when my husband is going to realize that the Internet was created just for him....Oops....TMI.

A Better Definition of Troll Bait

I like this definition from Cabela's better (and if I stil had an Amazon account, I'd just add a capsule...but that's another hub):

"Pro-Troll bait buckets have a concave back for better control. Attaches from side or top. Built-in handle for strength. Easy open-locking door. Aerates water without drag."

In case you haven't read my other hubs, I like fishin'. Specifically, I like to fish on the Outer Banks of NC. And the only person I like to antagonize, just a little, while I'm fishing, is my husband. I like it when he has to admit that I've out-fished him.

Mostly I like fishing for the peace and solitude, with just the occasional excitement of a bite and the even more occasional excitement of a catch. If I'm unobtrusive and mind my pier manners, fellow fisherman are happy for me when I reel in a fish. My grandmother taught me well.

Ha Ha! Found this thread on the forum shortly after publishing this hub - more hublove for Darkside!

In the Internet world, just like in real life, I like people to LIKE me. I've found one of the ways to get people to like you is to refrain from pissing them off.

Now some people are truly easy to piss off, even when you don't mean to. Some people really can't stand it if people disagree with them. When you encounter those kinds of people, it shouldn't take you long to figure out they are not worth your time or energy.

And others (trolls, as they are known on the Internet....Asses, as they are known in my real life) LOVE it! I've learned not to humor them. I save my logical, reasonable, and even sometimes naive-without-much-substance points of view for those who actually want to listen to me rather than wasting my time to argue with those who just want to insult me.

Why is that so hard for some folks to figure out? I understand getting sucked in perhaps, by what seems like an innocent question. I understand the heartfelt initial reply. But why continue when it's obvious that the other person (troll, perhaps original poster) just wants to argue?

And why, why, why, get sucked into the argument, post after post after post, and then decide you can't stand HubPages and make an announcement that you are outta-here? Don't you realize what a Happy Troll you've perpetuated when you do that?

What is a Lurker?

A Lurker just reads. Now and then, when you want to be a writer, you ought to just read. Just soak it up, understand that the story is not yours - it's someone else's story, and you might, just might, learn something from it.

Again, I apologize for calling this any sort of authoratative is from Wikipedia, but at least it is grammatically correct:

In Internet culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates actively.

Now is that really so hard? And is there really anything negative in that description? Does your favorite author really mind that you have not sent him or her "fan mail" arguing with his/her perspective?

I don't know about you, but I don't have a problem at all with those who "view" (and especially when views convert to clicks!) but do not comment.

My Confession

I love you, Trolls, and Troll Bait. You really entertain me when I'm bored. I seldom venture into the Religion or Politics forums here at HubPages, but when I do, I'm hooked for hours! It's addictive! I'm amused and shocked and dumbfounded, minute after minute! It's just like watching television!

I've never starred in a television series (I've never starred in anything outside my own private drama!), and I try to stay out of the troll expeditions. For that reason, I'm still pretty grounded about what HubPages offers and how I can benefit from it. I like writing what I want to write, and watching affiliate pennies add up, and getting to know the non-Troll and non-Troll-Bait community, and shaking my head now and then at some of the forum topics.

More by this Author


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Wonderful piece dineane. I'm a lurker, sometimes. Most times I just read what I want to read and move on if I don't. I don't understand people leaving because of something like trolls. Thanks for this piece.

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for checking in Frieda! It's confusing....for us normal folks :-)

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

Lurking is a great choice when the subject at hand ruffles your feathers.

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

so agree, Ivorwen! thanks for stopping by!

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I generally don't get involved in the dramas of the forums, and I am not talking about Hubpages but in general,, but.... occasionaly it can be entertaining!

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

I hear you VioletSun, it can be entertaining....but generally only as long as I am not involved :-)

darkside profile image

darkside 7 years ago from Australia

This is very good. Even if it didn't mention me!

Not only was this entertaining and informative, I learned something about hubmaking from this hub!

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

darkside, it's in the little side thingy - an afterthought, after seeing your post :-)

but going to edit now with a link to your profile.

darkside profile image

darkside 7 years ago from Australia

No, I meant I still would have enjoyed it without the mention of me. :D

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

ah - got it on the re-read...Thanks for stopping by, DS - again :-)

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 7 years ago from Sydney

Dineane, I don't think people should have to settle for lurking.  Most of the people who get upset and leave have done something to attract the trolls.  Sometimes it's just that they've been over-enthusiastic (as I was when I first started).  Other times it's because they're too attention-seeking, having swallowed the internet marketers' spiel that they must get themselves known on forums to make money. 

My advice would be - don't feel you have to confine yourself to lurking.  Instead, take it slowly.  Respond to threads by others rather than starting your own, unless you have a question you genuinely want answered. 

It's also not a good idea to make posts attacking people, things or ideas until you've got to know people. Negative expression attracts negative expression.

Finally, if you have an extreme viewpoint ( and let's face it, most fundamentalists or political extremists know they hold a minority view), don't post about it unless you're prepared to attract controversy and abuse.  Extremes attract the opposite extremes, and stir up strong emotions.

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

You are right, Marisa, if you have something to contribute, go for it! And I do pop in now and then on the forums. But does it really take that much observation to figure out when it's a lost cause?

My contrast between lurker and troll is, of course, extreme, but it seems the people who are really getting po'd are not listening to your advice, either! Maybe there really isn't much difference between "troll" and "troll bait" ?

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

This is great advice, dineane, and I also can't understand people who will argue for hours with someone who will never change sides of an issue, and then be all frustrated and angry. Hey, it makes me angry too, which is why I don't do it. This should be required reading, expecially for new hubbers!

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

:-) Thank you, Christoph! Required reading for new hubbers, heh? I'm honored!

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Great hub, Dineane. I'm more of a lurker, myself. Just can't see the sense of arguing with someone in a vain attempt to change their beliefs. I always think that people who do that must be bored and just want something to do.

On the other, I don't understand trolls, either. Good God, isn't there something to do that's about a million times more fun?

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Yes, Shirley, I'm sure we can think of a million things more fun! Though, like I said, I tend to get a kick out of it when I'm just lurking...just not brave enough to jump into the fire and get my own feelings hurt!

As I've hinted in the hub, I'm not as smart about all this "avoiding stupidity" when I argue with my husband :-) Maybe there's something in all of us that craves the chance to sound smart for a....second. I like to think I'm a little more careful about what I argue about when my words are out here on the internet indefinitely!

Thanks for stopping by!

Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

Nice, nice :)

Hello from the heat of the battle ;)

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Ha Ha, Misha - which one? LOL!

Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

Perpetual one Dineane :)

Some of us do this in a good fun, without taking it too personally - but you know it :)

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

I do know it, Misha - it's always obvious, the ones who are having loads of fun and the ones who take it way too seriously! Thanks for your comments!

Donna C Smith 7 years ago

"understand that the story is not yours - it's someone else's story, and you might, just might, learn something from it" Good hub, daughter of mine:o)

Ashley Joy profile image

Ashley Joy 7 years ago

I myself had not even had much luck on the forums. I have posted a few questions at times but the answers I get back are not that helpful and come across like I am dumb for asking. It does not want to make me leave though.

Ms Chievous profile image

Ms Chievous 7 years ago from Wv

I am starting to leave posts when I have something to say.. but I find some forums to be well. weird.. kind of high schoolish.. the conversation will turn well away from the topic and go off into space. Maybe it is because I do not follow all the threads or spend as much time on line as other hubbers I do not know...I

TheMindlessBrute profile image

TheMindlessBrute 7 years ago from Orlando,Florida

I thought I was alone with my views of the forums.I followed one thread for a day,as the conversation disintegrated into "you're and idiot" and "no,you're a moron"I'd rather read hubs and learn something or see the world from a different perspective and I learned much about internet lingo in this hub,thanks!

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Ashley, MsC, and TMB - don't get me wrong - the forums can be...wierd, high schoolish, etc. But I also enjoy them! And yes, sometimes I've asked a question and not received quality answers, but most of the time, if I ask my question in the right forum, I do get helpful feedback. Marisa was correct - you need to get the know the place and the people a bit before you jump in. This hub was not so much a criticism of the forums as it was a question for the folks that seem to let the forums get to them so badly!

Thank you all for your comments!

Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 7 years ago

I guess I'm a lurker too, however I enjoy jumping into the conversation,..Whether I agree or don't agree on a persons statement, it's all good because either way the forum is a great place to learn and exspand my knowledge. Great hub Dineane !!!!

skye2day profile image

skye2day 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

You are funny. I enjoyed your hub. Troll Bait? Interesting. I have not made it to the forums, sounds like you mentioned addicting. Where ever there is good, there is bad. So that is all places. Media, TV, PC, Radio, Church, forums,parks, schools, radio so on. There is usually a drama club and some never do graduate. I am busy on hub pages but will pop over to the drama one day.

I do not care for fishing but the bait trolls are intersting. My oldest daughter is major fly fisher woman, I will e mail the troll bait hub to her. Check me out girl. I need fans I am a newbie to hubs, lovin it. Hugs Excellent writing. You flow Are you sure that was not a fish tale? lol Happy fishin, I will return.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

I am sad many of them left to but I am glad that you are still here. Yes we have trolls in the forums and they continue to pop out of the woodwork including lurkers. I will never look at them in the same way again since I have read this hub. :)

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, AEvans! I'm still here - just not as often as I wish I could be. My time seems to have vanished this summer. I'll never catch up with all the forum drama :-)

Whiskey 6 years ago

Who cares if you piss people off on the internet or real life for that matter!!

DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 6 years ago from Central North Carolina

A+ Dineane!

Faybe Bay profile image

Faybe Bay 6 years ago from Florida

Hi Dineane, this appears to be a truly evergreen topic. I was amazed. I guess you probably know that, being around as long as you have been. I am glad I found this.

dineane profile image

dineane 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, Faybe. It's not a subject exclusive to hubpages by any means ;-)

wingedcentaur profile image

wingedcentaur 5 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

I came here from a Shadesbreath hub on a similar topic -- sort of. Anyway, I voted this hub up for useful, funny, and awesome.

"Troll bait" and "Lurker" are two words I shall have to add to my slowly expanding online vocabularly. I, like you, do not venture into the religion and politics forums (because I, like you don't have masochistic tendencies). Also like you, I do go there and read the discussions and often shake my head with amusement and bemusement and.... I don't know what.

I never thought of this way, but you are right. Reading those forum threads is just like watching television: comedy, drama, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and the like. Anyway...

Well done!

Take it easy.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

thank you dineane for this great hub. As a newbie to hubpages, I announced in my profile that I would not engage in arguments about politics and religion. I agree that when trolls hit threads, it can be entertaining, but can also become a tad bit too dramatic leading to pointless arguments...I can get that by watching reality shows or evening "news" commentaries on TV. I am sorry to hear that others have had negative experiences.

Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I don't go in the forum very much because it seems most want to argue about politics or religion. Arguing isn't my thing.

I have a lot of lurkers on my Blogger accounts and don't mind a bit. Someone reading is always a good thing even if they don't have anything to say.

Great article and good to meet you.

clark farley profile image

clark farley 5 years ago

good to read about the pervasiness of lurkers in the blogosphere, lets me be more comfortable with the number of site visits and the number of Comments (on any given Post).

at least that's what I prefer to believe and the internet is nothing if it is not a place where we can choose to believe (as we choose...)

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Okay, I do not know a thing about these Forums, because I avoid them. However, you have inspired me to rewrite a recent comment. Thanks!!!

Learn Things Web profile image

Learn Things Web 5 years ago from California

I don't particularly like forums either. There are a couple that I visit that are informative that don't have any debating or arguing. I go to them for the useful information. I have written some hubs based on things that came up in forums. Good forums can be a good way to find things to write about. These forums don't have any trolls either.

anonymous 3 years ago

I have been troll bait on three websites. One of them is a depression website where the harassment began. Two other websites were made to insult me and to write lies about me. Slander. Mercyisheretohelp and his other even more disgusting gbcs hatemail site is pure excrement, lies, slander, degeneracy, evil, and stupidity from the lowest bowels of a sewer. Satan the Devil runs these two disgusting websites. Its scumology and excrement. These evil people enjoy harassing and insulting people on depression websites. They have told me and other hurting people to kill themselves. They have written disgusting horrible lies about me on three websites. I in turn have insulted them back and cursed at them. Some of these degenerates besides Mercy are Broken, Pretty Woman, San Antonio Jill, Big Tex, Steve Wilson, El Capitan, Irish Dan, Truth, Timmy, the fake Father Mcnally(an impostor lying corrupt preacher), and the list of idiots goes on. All scum and puke lower than toilet bacteria. Its no exaggeration to say these people are the lowest forms of life. Each one of these dirtbags should have been aborted right at birth and the world would have been a better place. The world is a worse place because of these human cancers. These people are worse than cancer. The evil they write is nauseating. They have written horrible lies and slander about me on three websites. Mercy seems to be the leader of these degenerates. He is the opposite of Mercy. He should call himself cruelty. He seems to be auditioning for the role of Satan. He enjoys harassing and insulting a poor lonely depressed guy on a depression website. How sick and screwed up is that? These horrible evil dirtbags enjoy watching others suffer. These degenerates prove the Devil and evil rules the world and not a loving God.

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