In an online community like YMX, there are two types of trolls. One is annoying and the other is dangerous.
- Trolls who stir up the community for fun. This is really just a breach of etiquette more than anything. We actually have seen this fairly rarely during YMX’s existence.
- Trolls who gather information on a member to destroy them. Believe it or not, there are people working in churches as volunteers and paid staff who are evil trolls. Just like Richard Nixon wasn’t a crook to the core, church politics will make leaders do evil things even if they are overall good people. They will scour the internet looking for incriminating evidence against a staff person. It’s never innocent as the “stumble” across something as they are clearly looking for a justification to fire someone when they’ve already decided to do it.
Why am I writing about this?
YMX has always taken precautions against trolling since at our previous host a couple of members had been the victims of trolling. For instance, we have different levels of services and different levels of service will show different areas of the forums to different people. In other words, we don’t allow Google to search the forums making what is written there “ungoogle-able.” Second, for someone to receive access to “premium” areas, they have to pay us. That allows us to know who they are beyond a shadow of a doubt. This forces the troll to identify themselves and proves they aren’t “stumbling” on something accidentally, but showing malicious intent by actually paying to troll.
That said, a truly intent troll can get through and troll if they don’t appear to be violating the terms of service. Has this happened? We don’t know. But my admin/mod team is a good bunch of “troll busters” and if it has happened, we’ll take precautions to root it out.
There are times when my soul just aches because of the working conditions that some churches operate under. The politics of the local church drives many away from the church. It’s sick.