There are lots of articles around which discuss all sorts of aspects of on line communities. Some better than others, but most apparently talking with complete authority!
The original article certainly has some useful content, but I don't completely agree with it (I do like the author's Internet Writing Guide
though, and have posted a link in a separate thread).
The author of the aticle clearly has experience of running forums and on-line communities, but it sounds like he may have had a hard time. I particularly disagree that all trolling is malicious with the intention of causing real hurt or harm
For some reason, they don't "get" that they are hurting real people. To them, other Internet users are not quite human but are a kind of digital abstraction. As a result, they feel no sorrow whatsoever for the pain they inflict. Indeed, the greater the suffering they cause, the greater their 'achievement' (as they see it).
This sounds like he's just a tad bitter. From what I have seen on usenet, mailing lists and forums over the years there are plenty of trolls who are simply inconsiderate or clueless rather than malicious.
He also says that Troll feeding can be acceptable:
Next time you are on a message board and you see a post by somebody whom you think is a troll, and you feel you must reply, simply write a follow-up message entitled "Troll Alert" and type only this:
The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction to reminding others not to respond to trolls.
By posting such a message, you let the troll know that you know what he is, and that you are not going to get dragged into his twisted little hobby.
This may deny the troll a total victory, but it's still a response which is better than nothing -- a small victory in it's own right.
My advice would be "Next time you are on a message board and you see a post by somebody whom you think is a troll, and you feel you must reply, just don't. Go and make a cup of tea, turn your PC off, do something else foir a while"
For anyone who is interested, and has nothing better to do, there is another interesting article you might like to read called Communities Online: Trolling and Harassment