Troll Flag

If you have come here chances are that either your comment, or a comment in a ThreadMode discussion you were reading, was marked with a TrollFlag.

the NewHackersDictionary give a TrollDefinition of:

"...a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames. Derives from the phrase "trolling for newbies" which in turn comes from mainstream "trolling", a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite..." (


A TrollFlag alerts unsuspecting readers that they might be getting baited. Note that something marked with this flag is not necessarily intended to be a troll by its author, nor should the comment necessarily be deleted (see DisagreeByDeleting and DontDeleteFlamebait for more) but rather that someone found the comment inflammatory and is giving the author (or a travelling WikiGnome) the opportunity to revise the statement.

It may be that a comment is deserving of the TrollFlag but the WikiZen applying the flag may not be able yet to articulate why well enough to apply one or more TrollPatternFixes. But the wiki will work when another sees that flag, notes and agrees with it, and has the insight to apply the fix. The act of applying the flag will introduce enough mindfulness to alert another to a possible solution. In that respect, it is similar to a FixmeComment in source code. The FixMe badge is inappropriate because there may not be a fix, and TrollFlag is more apposite to the statement. --StevenNewton

The Goal of using TrollFlags

To help us be better WikiZens and help others recognize when they are having their chain yanked. The goal is to improve SignalToNoise ratio of ThreadMode discussions.

This statement could be construed as meaningless argument or deliberate baiting, consider revising (to the author) or (to the one potentially being trolled) consider not bothering to reply." Adding TrollFlag is a way to introduce mindfulness for others. -- BillCaputo

How To Use a TrollFlag

Place next to a suspected comment followed by various rationale to inform others why you felt the comment to be trollish. (Recommended) Wrap the entire item in [ ] so that it can be easily distinguished from the surrounding comments.


"I found foo to be a useful technique."

''"Typical clueless position, You should try a real technique, like bar. It rocks!" [TrollFlag: inflammatory language (clueless), unsupported opinion (bar is a real technique, foo isn't), denouncing experience]

[PositiveDialogCommunity? example: "Consider using bar in this situation. Here's why..."]

How To Correct a TrollFlag

A (very incomplete) list of Troll techniques

This section is a embryonic attempt to compile a list of typical troll techniques (starting with the ones from the example), to aid the TrollFlag user in commenting the use of the flag. If you use the flag, and you find a technique not listed here, consider adding a description of the general case to this list.

More list items are under TrollDefinition.

This "tag" is being misused to distract from valid alternative opinions. I suggest more specific criticism tags be developed since there is no agreed-upon meaning or precision in the word.

Another fix would be to edit the text one finds trollful, increasing its argument while decreasing any baiting or invective.

Please don't use TrollFlag for the following:

If there is repetition, for example, then point out exactly what it repeats and suggest the originator clean it up, or do it yourself without changing the meaning. Similarly, if a topic is created that you feel does not deserve to be created, then make note about why you feel it does not deserve to be created. TrollFlag implies that the above "sins" are being done for evil purposes, and accusing people of evil motivations just starts flamewars.

Whilst repetition by its self doesnt make a comment a troll, it is often used to wear down patience.

See ThreadModeConsideredHarmful, WikiBadge, TrollPatternFixes, ConversationalChaff, TrollDefinition


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