- This page addresses a parallel concept to vandalism, that of trolling. Wikipedia:Dealing with vandalism sets up policies for vandalism: for attempts to disrupt the usability of Wikipedia for its readers. Note that some behavior listed here has been taken as disruption of Wikipedia in Arbitration Committee decisions. In the Wikipedia:Trolling poll to make this proposal policy, it received between 57% and 61% support.
Trolling指特登去搗亂維基百科於其維基編者、操作員、技術員等等工作者嘅可用性。 Trolling 係專登違反互聯網上街坊嘅唔成文規矩。呢樣概念牽涉一個維基友畀另一個維基友嘅貢獻嘅評價(value judgement)。 故此，有好多維基友認為佢唔比就咁話「我唔同你意」有用，因佢地寧願注意行為多過假設嘅動機(presumed intent)。
Trolling 未必係破壞(vandalism)（但破壞都係troll嘅一種方法）。破壞友只鍾意畫花一版嘢，侮人地，或者用唔正當嘅方法散布個人觀點。而 troll 就特登利用人性弱點或線上社羣弱點來激嬲人。
The idea of defining trolling is in many ways comical at best. The nature of trolls is to slip from any definition intended to constrain their actions and to find new and innovative ways to be aggravating. What follows are some comments that point generally in the direction of what a troll is and what trolls do. But it is not possible to identify everything someone might do to deliberately try to wreak havoc on Wikipedia. For this reason, no enforcement whatsoever has been set up against trolls.
Trolling is a deliberate, bad faith attempt to disrupt the editing of Wikipedia. Ignorance is not trolling. Genuine dissent is not trolling. Biased editing, even if defended aggressively, is in itself not trolling. By themselves, misguided nominations, votes, and proposed policy are not trolling. They are only trolling when they are motivated by a program of malice rather than ignorance or bias. This requires a judgment of the personal motivation for another's action. Such a judgment can never be made with anything approaching certainty. This fact should always be kept in mind when one is tempted to label someone a troll.
When you try to decide if someone is a troll, strive to assume they are not. Explain errors politely and reasonably; point them towards policies, the manual of style and relevant past discussions. Don't conclude they are a troll until they have shown complete inability or unwillingness to listen to reason or to moderate their position based upon the input of others. Even in that case, it is likely better to remain silent and let others conclude the obvious instead of calling someone a troll and creating even more mayhem. It is better to humor a troll for too long than to drive away a sincere but misguided user. Remember and apply the principles laid out at Wikipedia:Don't bite the newcomers.
All of these identify behaviors that some trolls do engage in. It does not follow from this that all, most, or any given person engaged in these behaviors is a troll. It also does not follow that a person who has not engaged in these behaviors is not a troll. An important part of the definition of "trolling" is that it is always something someone else is doing.
The archetypal example of trolling is the deliberately inflammatory edit or post — saying something controversial specifically to cause a flame war. Inflammatory edits usually come from users who have a minority or controversial opinion and who sincerely believe that this view is inadequately represented by Wikipedia; trolls, however, will generally not seek consensus but will instead insist on a position without any regard for compromise.
Not all edit war trolls will choose subject matter that is obviously controversial. The defining characteristic of a troll in this case is not the content of the edit, but the behavior in discussing the edit, and the refusal to consider evidence and citations or to accept consensus or compromise.
People who passionately believe in what they are writing also sometimes behave in a way that may make them appear to be a troll. Many non-trolls refuse to compromise, and, at times, compromise may not even be the best solution.
Uploading inappropriate content改
Some articles are created and some pictures are uploaded with the sole purpose of offending the readers or other Wikipedians. In such cases as copies from shock sites, this is more appropriately treated as vandalism. However, if an article with clearly inappropriate content is aggressively defended pretending that it is a genuinely encyclopedic article, this may qualify as trolling.
Deliberate misuse of processes is a favourite troll game. Examples include continual nomination of articles for Wikipedia:Articles for deletion that are obviously encyclopedic, nomination of stubs for Wikipedia:Featured article candidates, baseless listing of users at Wikipedia:Requests for comment, nomination of users who obviously do not fulfill the minimum requirements at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship, "correction" of things that are already in conformance with the Wikipedia:Manual of style, and giving repeated final vandalism warnings to innocent users. When we say that something is "obvious" or "baseless", we mean that anyone acting in good faith would agree with that characteristic. Beware that sometimes something may seem obvious to you but be quite non-obvious to others, and characterising someone as a troll who simply disagrees with you can cause disputes which can be very damaging to Wikipedia.
Usually, even if the behavior clearly breaks policy, this is just someone unaware of policy. Look at the user's response to being pointed towards the relevant policy. If they accept the policy, or seek to change the policy at the appropriate location, they might not be a troll. If they declare the policy "wrong" (but make no effort to amend it) or simply ignore it, it's possible they are a troll. Remember that "policy" on Wikipedia is not a black and white issue. It is sometimes very difficult for a new Wikipedian to understand the complicated system of authority which Wikipedia uses, and this system is not really detailed anywhere (or even set, to some extent). If a user challenges that an alleged policy really is a policy, perhaps it's best to utilize the help of other users. Encourage the newbie to use the village pump, and point them to the IRC channel, where experienced users may be able to help get the newbie acquainted with the system.
Another form of trolling can occur in the form of continual questions with obvious or easy-to-find answers. Of course, sometimes what's obvious to one person is obscure to another. If a user seems to be asking stupid questions, try to give them the resources to help themselves. You can also send them to the help desk. If they persist, politely explain that you'd love to help but you're rather busy. If they continue asking the question even after you've clearly answered it, or begin complaining that you won't help them, there's a chance of them being trolls. Or they could just be lazy or confused. Of all the kinds of trolling, this is the most important kind not to get bent out of shape about. Remember: Wikipedia is a source of knowledge. Be friendly about providing knowledge to people. That said, in extreme cases, this can be a method of trolling, and it is not inappropriate to ask someone to leave you alone once you have made a reasonable attempt to answer their questions.
Some trolls are critical of the project, its policies, its users, its administration, or its goals. Often, this criticism comes in the form of accusations of cabals, ilks, or campaigns, that are typically invested in a particular POV, invested in maligning a specific user, and other similar claims. Often, racist trolls, when confronted, will accuse Wikipedia of Marxism or political correctness. Criticism of the project, made constructively, is welcome from contributors when shared in an appropriate place. It is unwelcome when crossposted to a wide variety of places (c.f. MeatBall:ForestFire), or clearly inappropriate locations, such as article pages and established policy pages. This is very similar to posting any controversial issue — if it's done to improve things and foster discussion, it can be a great benefit. If it's done with malice and in bad faith, it can be a problem. Of course, a new user who gets treated roughly can easily interpret that as Cabalism, especially if there seems to be no appropriate forum for these complaints. What criticism is 'constructive' is very much in the eye of the beholder.
The nature of trolling is to be disruptive, and one of the most disruptive things that can be done is to find new ways to cause trouble that aren't quite against the rules. No matter how great your definition of trolling may be, a dedicated troll will find something you haven't thought of yet.
This, then, is something of a catch-all category — if a user is being continually disruptive, and no amount of politeness, consensus, mediation, or anything else is reining them in, they are trolling. When a user, in a conflict of any sort, insists on the letter of a rule while grossly violating its spirit, this is often a sign of trolling.
In these borderline cases, however, it is more important than ever to try to assume good faith, and to seek consensus not only in your opposition to whatever you think is being trolled about but on the issue of whether or not someone is a troll. A good start when you are faced with creative trolling is to come to this page and propose an amendment to the types of trolling section. If people agree that it's trolling, then you can go back to the conflict with this on your side. Failing specific additions to this page, however, the arbitration committee should be the only ones to ban users for "creative" trolling.
A common piece of advice regarding trolls is "Please do not feed the trolls." It is sometimes abbreviated as "DNFT" or "DFTT." While many seasoned veterans of online communities consider this advice useless, because in a community of any size, someone will react to the troll's posts, others still consider it to be the only effective method for dealing with trolls. Not fanning the fire will, at the very least, not make the situation worse. If the behavior escalates to abuse, vandalism, etc., it's easy to deal with those things.
Dealing with edit war trolls改
Of course, sometimes trolls cannot be ignored without compromising the integrity of an article—particularly in the case of edit war trolling. In these cases, err on the side of improving Wikipedia, but always remember the principle of Wikipedia:Staying cool when the editing gets hot and do not hesitate to appeal to the Wikipedia:Dispute resolution process. Remember the three revert rule. If someone is trolling an article you will get support from others in restoring the article. Eventually, the troll may give up or a consensus may form for dealing with him or her more firmly.
Dealing with inappropriate content改
While in Usenet, chatrooms, and other online communities, it is probably best to ignore trolls; this does not work with content uploaded to Wikipedia. Even if you ignore it, it remains in the database and is visible from the Internet. Inappropriate articles that do not qualify as speedy deletes should be taken to AfD. However, one should keep every debate strictly factual. A heated deletion discussion, possibly fueled by inflammatory comments by the troll or his sockpuppets and allies, may increase the troll's motivation.
The value of slow reverts改
At Wikipedia, one of the most effective ways of dealing with persistent misuse is through slow reverts, that is, permitting the abuse to stand for a period of time (usually a day or so), and then reverting it. The lack of any kind of immediate response denies satisfaction to the troll and leaves them with nothing to do, and the eventual revert removes the effect of their contribution. It allows time for the troublemaker's editing patterns to become clear and to come to the attention of other Wikipedians. This is a sort of 'Don't feed the trolls (too much)'.
The main problem with slow reverts is that they are difficult to perform on frequently edited articles since there may be intervening edits.
Dealing with misuse of process改
Unlike trolls who vandalize articles, the majority of the damage caused by those misusing process is indirect. Generally it is best to simply state your opposition and leave it at that. In many cases someone else has already gone through an explanation, and you can simply say you agree. If a nomination or listing is obviously going to fail, "piling on" explanation after explanation or personally attacking the nominator is not going to change anything; the listing or nomination will fail anyway. If the number of listings starts getting excessive (even if they are on separate pages) then you might want to use the dispute resolution process. Dispute resolution does take a while, though. If the number of nominations/listing is very high the most damage will be done if there is no emergency block put in place. In general, let the process run.
Since the judgment that someone is a troll is a subjective one, it is always possible that someone will be misidentified as a troll due to his/her behavior. If you believe that you are being accused of trolling when you are being sincere in your editing, consider these possible solutions.
- "Don't do that then." If people are saying you're a troll because you do X, don't do X.
- Assume good faith. An optimistic approach will keep you out of a lot of hot water — you don't want to be first person to act in bad faith. Often, people really do have good faith intentions and wish to resolve any disputes amicably.
- Back away. Let the issue go for a week, let tempers cool down, come back and try discussing the matter again calmly and reasonably.
- Consider methods of dispute resolution such as Wikipedia:Requests for comment and Wikipedia:Requests for mediation.
- Rephrase. Often one is accused of being a troll because one is phrasing one's views in a particularly hostile way. Consider: are you openly advocating trolling on your userpage? Are you cursing at people or engaging in personal attacks? Are you accusing those who oppose you of being in a cabal? If you stopped that, people would probably respond better to you.
- Concede. Sometimes, no matter how right you're sure you are, the consensus is going to go against you. When this happens, let it go. Maybe someday someone else will come along and raise the same issue, and the discussion can begin anew, and this time turn out differently.
If, no matter how much you try to be reasonable, you are still being accused of trolling, you may be tempted to create a new user account and "start over." Please see Wikipedia:Sock puppet regarding this, and note that it is strongly discouraged. It is better to rebuild trust in your existing name, than to appear to be evading a negative reputation. You are more likely to build up a reservoir of tolerance if you act in a consistent way that people can comprehend and anticipate — and keeping the same account name is part of that.