Should Comment Trolls Be Banned? | DomainInvesting.com
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Should Comment Trolls Be Banned?

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I am not saying that I am going to move forward with banning anyone based on the results of this poll, but I am curious to know your opinion on the topic.

There are a number of people that try to spam every single article I write, and I know other bloggers face the same issue. Sometimes the spam is in the form of embedded links commenters add instead of posting their real name, while other times people try to drive attention to their own domain names and/or websites.

By far, the most annoying type of comment for me is when someone with a polarizing opinion attempts to change the topic of a discussion. I call these people “comment trolls” because they seem to troll around domain blogs looking for a place to post their commentary in an effort to change the direction of the discussion. If it’s frustrating for me, I can only imagine it’s frustrating for others.

Aside from being annoying, I am sure it’s alienating some people from commenting, and I would hate for that to happen on an ongoing basis.

Generally speaking, I don’t let link spammers post comments, unless the comment clearly is not just an attempt to get link (although every comment link is “nofollow.”). However, I have been reluctant to ban people who aren’t abusive, as I want people to feel free to express their opinions and I want readers to know that I am posting all comments, whether they agree with me or not.

I want to be fair to all, and I want to know if you think that people who seem to abuse the comment section should be banned from commenting. Please vote below and share your opinion.



About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (65)

    David J Castello

    YES. It reflects poorly on our industry when outsiders visit popular blogs to educate themselves and are confronted with obvious nonsense.

    September 19th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Adi

    Yes, they are wasting your and our time!

    September 19th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Domainsville.com

    Yes, indeed. And that’s why we use Disqus for blog comments. Major domain blogs are now using it.

    September 19th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    RH

    I think comments should be on topic. If you are posting about .co and someone who is “Troll” or Cheerleader posts that is legit IMO.

    But if you are talking about Cheesecake.com then someone posting about .co with an agenda should not get that comment on the blog.

    Its like BigLie on thedomains.com, the guy does have info on DNS and infrastructure but posts 5 times on every article that is not even close to the topic.

    Look if you want to add to a discussion that’s on topic great, if you want to spout your opinion, start a blog.

    The No follow really does not matter, people do get their links clicked on which boosts traffic and that is good enough for most.

    September 19th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Rich

    Yes definitely, its a wait of every body’s time.
    Sorry Robert Cline,i do give you credit that you got the guts to buy 736 LLL.CO , but your input in the domain industry has suck.

    September 19th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Domainsville

    If anything, I’d use Facebook comments. The problem is that if I ever want to change providers or use a theme where it doesn’t work for some reason, I’d lose all comments.

    September 19th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ RH

    Good point.

    The trouble I see is that the comments get approved automatically and people respond. If I then delete the original comment that was off topic, the other comments don’t make sense.

    Perhaps I will block notorious comment trolls to get automatically moderated and I can approve the comments if their on topic.

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Brad Mugford

    Yes. I quit even reading most of the comment section because of the trolls who post off topic stuff, redundant stuff.

    Brad

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    RH

    I think that makes the most sense Elliot.

    Its not censorship, its your site.

    You are looking for people to share an opinion on a topic you wrote about.

    You are not asking anyone to start a microblog in the comments.

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    DomainReport.ca

    How would you ban comment trolls?

    I just approve or disapprove every comment to my blog posts.

    Lately there’s been a big pick up in spam comments with links to domain coupon code sites, but i just delete those.

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ RH

    Very true, but there are some sites that heavily moderate and it’s pointless to even post something disagreeable because the comment won’t be posted. I’d never want people to think they can’t post something that is contrary to my opinion.

    I’ve said this before, but when I first started my geodomain development projects, there were a number of times that David Castello would email or call me to tell me what I was doing was wrong :) Oftentimes the comments that offer a dissenting opinion are most helpful.

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    RH

    I agree if its on topic allow the comment.

    But you posted about Cheesecake.com and some used your blog to be their twitter feed and spout off about off topic things no one reading the post cared about. Again IMO

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ DomainReport

    The way I have it set up is that anyone with an approved comment on my blog (based on name and matching email address) can post subsequent comments without having those comments moderated. For instance, your comment was automatically approved.

    However, if someone posts a comment under a different name or email address, the comment is held for moderation. If I find a particular person is spamming or causing problems, I can have the person’s name, email address, and/or IP black listed so it always gets moderated and then I can decide whether to approve it or not.

    Previously, I moderated (manually approved) all comments but found it cumbersome.

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Leonard Britt

    Any blog you own is yours and thus you have the right to some editorial control over what is said. If you exclude all comments which are counter to your viewpoint, the discussion could become lopsided. Actually, controversy can stimulate discussion and provide written content for your site that you don’t have to write. On the other hand, reading and approving comments has to be time-consuming. Your time has a value. Is it worth it?

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Kevin

    Whenever someone really goes over the line do a poll with all your readers voting to ban or not to ban. Let your audience be the Judge and Jury. That’s the fairest way to handle the worst offenders.

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Uzoma

    No, don’t ban trolls.

    Trolls can be useful to a blogger’s traffic.

    One man’s troll could be another man’s …I don’t know, not-so-big-a-troll?

    I personally don’t like trolls, but as an American, trolls have a right to be heard too.

    Now, a disruptive person should be banned, for being disruptive, not being a troll.

    In the true definition of a troll, I haven’t seen one on Elliot’s blog yet. You have a couple of annoying guys, thtat’s about it. Let them post away, as far as I’m concerned.

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Samit Madan

    You got to ask?

    I could do with your ‘troubles’ tbh.

    I don’t blog regularly, so even normal comments are tough to get, let alone trolls.

    September 19th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Poor Uncle

    This is your blog and this is America. You can do whatever you damn well pleased. If you feel like banning some comments then you should. I have to say though your comments area is pretty clean. Why fix it when it is not broken? If I were you I wouldn’t change anything.

    September 19th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Lda

    I agree with ‘Poor Uncle’ even though I’m not from the good ol’ USA.

    Unless you want to run an open forum, you can do what you believe to be best for your blog thread. This includes not publishing any comments that don’t support your viewpoint.

    It’s your blog, that’s your prerogative.

    Unlike the USA your blog doesn’t have to be a democracy.

    Any degree of dissent you allow between your point of view and outright opposition and/or abuse is purely up to you. You can even run the China dissent rules if you like (sans the executions, one hopes).

    September 19th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Paul

    Yes, please ban.

    Trolls beget trolls.

    September 19th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Jim

    Elliot,
    I can’t understand why you are even asking whether or not trolls should be banned.
    Yours is a very insightful blog that I thoroughly enjoy reading, so, although I find the nonsensical rubbish that these comment trolls spout post after post infuriating, it does not detract from my personal reading experience. However, I do believe it is disrespectful given the time and effort it takes to maintain a renowned industry bough such as this one and if it were my blag there would be no question about banning, I’d just do it.
    Sure, come one, come all. Newbies or veterans. Bring your opinions, debates, contentions, insight, experiences, wisdom and all the other CONSTRUCTIVE elements of discussion that comments allow for, but you shouldn’t post a comment just for the sake of a cheap link or to be deliberately inflammatory or extol the virtues of an extension when it bears no relevance to the subject of the original post. It’s just as annoying as the comment spam that fills up our WordPress dashboards and by allowing it on your blog you’re only allowing it to perpetuate.
    Don’t let these idiots cheapen your awesome blog and waste your readers time, please.

    September 19th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Jim

    Nb – please feel free to correct spelling and delete this. Hastily written on iPad!

    September 19th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Steve

    My guess is that if you banned the 2-3 most obvious & abusive “serial” comment trolls, you’d likely rid yourself of 90%+ comment spam!

    Perhaps set some basic guidelines (e.g. comment must relate to the post); give a warning to offenders (if you feel obliged); and then ban away.

    September 19th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    adam

    Yes and troll number one for me is Robert Cline.
    At the beginning it was even sometimes funny reading him but not any more.

    September 19th, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    BullS

    You can practically do whatever you want…

    if I were you…fine the troll like RCline for $10 to post their comments.

    September 19th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Owen frager

    What no robert cline turning this into a .co thread
    I feel for the folks at .ci he has done more to damage their brand in the domain community

    September 19th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Hugo

    Do you allow comments on your site Owen? I never see any one post comments. Is it because you block comments or just one’s that are unfavoring to you.

    September 19th, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Kevin M.

    “”What no robert cline turning this into a .co thread
    I feel for the folks at .ci he has done more to damage their brand in the domain community””

    Exactly! And .ci isn’t even an extension yet.

    September 19th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    M. Menius

    Having a well-respected, high value blog imo is about quality, thought provoking content, and intelligent points of view. Troll posters degrade the value of a blog. Exercising editorial discretion is not necessarily censorship. It’s quality control.

    September 19th, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    LindaM

    My first instinct would be to say NOOOOO dont ban the trolls, they can be so funny to brighten up a dreary day. Thats kinda selfish though so maybe you could make a special troll naughty corner so it doesnt disrupt the main show but people can still get a laugh, and your blog still gets the additional unique ‘content’. Consider it like a Special Protest Zone that they set up outside the G8 or whatever, so people can exercise their freedom of speech and not get in the grownups way
    :)

    September 19th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Brad Mugford

    “What no robert cline turning this into a .co thread”

    Yeah, I a surprised Robert Clown has not posted yet about how great .CO is.

    Brad

    September 19th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Owen frager

    You can post comments on my blog you just have to register and be verified as a real person using your reAl name which seemsto scare people away

    September 19th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Acro

    Commentators that anonymously attack others should be deprived of a ‘voice’. Want to say something, have the balls to sign it with your name.

    September 19th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    peterh

    @LindaM thanks for the chucklle.

    @Elliot The only way to advance one’s knowledge is by engaging in discussions with everyone. The important element however is that discussions must be constructive in nature if the group aspires to better their understanding on the topic at hand. To allow even the biggest of fools a minute to offer their opinion is necessary; you never know what wisdom might be gained from such an exchange. However, to allow that same fool the ability to monopolize the discussion spouting irrelevant garbage gets the group nowhere fast. Moderate, but do so lightly. As for fb comments, my comment would not have been part of this thread, but, maybe the group would have been better off without it…

    September 19th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Robert Cline

    I love .CO

    You gys are Jealous you don’t as many as I do.

    They are going to be HUGE

    Jackass.co is going to sell for BIG money

    BlogSpammer.co will be HUGE

    Buy some .CO now or miss out

    Big Money in .CO

    LLL.CO selling for $5,000 – $25,000

    Go .CO and thanks for making me rich

    September 19th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    jp

    I’ve pretty much stopped commenting on all domain blogs, and it is a result of what has happened over the last year in the comment sections. As far as I’m concerned domain blogs are all broken. I like then 50% for the articles and 50% for the commentary but the commentary has started to should like what it must sound like to listen a bunch of girls in a hair salon sitting there for hours. If I do feel so compelled to leave a comment I no longer subscribe to the thread just as I haven’t subscribed to this thread. Maybe I check back, maybe I don’t. I usually forget about it.

    September 19th, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Robert Cline

    once you start banning and censoring

    you start to go down a slippery slope

    by definition blogging, comments, threads

    are divisive and controversial.

    half the people will agree and generally

    half the other people will disagree and will be hated for it.

    Now I being a .Co supporter from the beginning have gotten

    a lot of dislike for the sole

    reason that virtually 98% of the people on this board are

    .com people and do not want to feel threatened.

    And many of you are insecure.

    I don’t know what you want to call it, trolling, never heard it before until now,

    but every comment that I have made has always been with an

    idea or thought or point behind it. Some or most .com ers will hate these ideas to protect their own interests.

    So one of the weapons that people over the history have had
    and Elliot is fishing for justification to do exactly that is to throws these in prison, eliminate them, to only then hear what .com ers want to hear.

    It is UnAmerican and impoverishes any discussion when it is all one sided and the chorus plays just the tune most .com ers want to hear.

    Deep embedded in this all is .com ers desire to protect their own interests.

    what ever happened to free speech, if you don’t want to read just easily skip the comments.

    Take away free speech and you become like

    China, where the state will constantly monitor and actively take down posts that don’t sing to their state tune.

    So do you want to become China ?

    September 19th, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    AB

    Elliot said: while other times people try to drive attention to their own domain names and/or websites

    —————————————

    This is by far the most annoying. The blog and the comments get on a roll and then someone posts their names (sometimes totally out of context) and pretty much fishes for compliments.

    Derails a lot of good discussions IMHO

    BTW, I voted yes

    September 19th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    RAYY.co

    Comment trolls can be irritating…but, sometimes it’s quite entertaining…have a laugh…

    September 19th, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    RAYY.co

    Comment trolls can be irritating…but quite entertaining too…

    Robert Cline’s trolls are quite funny…if you look at funny side…make your day laugh sometimes…

    Look…he’s back again…I quite like it…lol

    Have fun guys…don’t take it too serious!…life is too short to worry everything…

    September 19th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    David J Castello

    Elliot, I do believe Mr Cline is testing your resolve.

    On the plus side, Mr Cline, I am recommending to GoDaddy that they star you in their next dotCO Super Bowl commercial. The script is pretty cool. It starts with Bob Parsons dressing you up as an elephant.

    September 19th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Mark

    David C……LOL

    Elliot-Please silence these worthless idiots!

    September 19th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Priv

    Nah, just limit that Robert .co dope to just 10 comments a thread and he’ll kill himself. Problem solved :)

    I think you can figure a way to get the comments from Disquss via an API and save them. Probably FB too, technically they are your comments so I don’t see why they’d make it hard.

    September 19th, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    LindaM

    fwiw I for one would never sign up for a FB account just so I can comment on blogs, this one or any other. Some people probably would see that as a good thing but they can *bite me* :p
    Lots of people, like hundreds of millions, already have been sucked into the great FB personal information, data mining and privacy marketing scam so you would still get plenty of comments from these.

    September 19th, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Uzoma

    Castello,

    That was a good one. For the first time I laffed because of what i read on the internet.

    September 19th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    mt

    Don’t be afraid to ban people outright or block individual posts. Like someone else mentioned, it’s quality control not censorship. It’s your blog and your livelihood.

    IMO, since you’re a domainer/developer, it’s in your interest to have an active, heated, and interesting comment section – but that doesn’t mean you need to allow all of the spam and garbage. Personally, I find it frustrating having to keep scrolling down to get past “Robert Cline’s” double-spaced spam posts that never end.

    SPAM/GARBAGE is different from HEATED/CONTROVERSIAL. Just get rid of the former.

    September 20th, 2011 at 12:15 am

    peterh

    “So one of the weapons that people over the history have had
    and Elliot is fishing for justification to do exactly that is to throws these in prison, eliminate them, to only then hear what .com ers want to hear.”

    This is where the discussion takes a turn for the worse. Under no circumstance did I get the impression that Elliot wants to throw anyone in jail or refuse them a podium, but these outrageous comments are tantamount to graffiti on the fascade of a beautiful home. This blog is in the eyes of many onethat deserves respect.

    @RC “SHAPE UP”

    September 20th, 2011 at 12:50 am

    geoffrey

    Elliot, there are only 24 hours in the day.

    Please ban, and we will be happy. Block IP.

    Dating back to 2003, I stopped all comments. I saved hours of fustration.

    geoff

    September 20th, 2011 at 1:06 am

    BullS

    This RC …I don’t think he owns that many dot co and if he does, I will give him one more year and he will drop all.

    We need one RC to gloat about dot info, dot net, dot org, dot mobi, dot TV….

    September 20th, 2011 at 2:11 am

    RAYY.co

    Banning RC from Elliot’s blog alone wouldn’t work…provided all the domain bloggers ban RC together…it can be difficult…

    RC still can put comments on others blogs…if banned from Elliot.

    September 20th, 2011 at 2:18 am

    jp

    @Elliot, I think I know how to put this the clearest. It’s America right, which so you should embrace capitalism and Market forces right? Do what makes you the most money, or as you would put it, make the best “Business Decision”. This has nothing to do with free speech as your blog is a private enterprise not a public service. As Rick would say, it’s your soapbox. IF banning trolls somehow puts an extra $5k in your pocket a year why te heck not? If it makes no difference then move on. I believe you’ve cleverly already taken the first step in analyzing the impact of this business decision by making this poll and blog post. Good luck and I hope you make the most profitable decision. 

    People who get banned, its America (well for some of you), feel free to start your own blog and say whatever you want. It’s your right (well so long as it does not violate your hosting company or ISP’s terms of service)

    September 20th, 2011 at 3:25 am

    Robert Cline

    be happy, life’s too great

    make the most of <50 years of your life.

    @RAYY.co – peace brother

    September 20th, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Robert Cline

    oh, on the topic of being open to looking at every side of an issue

    A social debate platform which is germane to this thread.

    twosides.co

    peace everyone.

    September 20th, 2011 at 4:14 am

    BullS

    twosides dot co is a “BS site” run by someone in China.

    Spam site!!

    what a waste of dot co

    September 20th, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Robert Cline

    that’s not true.

    twosides.co is based out of silicon valley.

    and it’s going to be a wildly popular site.

    September 20th, 2011 at 4:27 am

    ri.sk

    I think any reply should be generally faithful and relevant to the topic, but sometimes conversation does go “off topic” and I think it’s perfectly naturally that this happens.

    September 20th, 2011 at 4:32 am

    BullS

    Yea ..when they get big they have to buy the dot com version for billion USD…ha ha

    dot com is king

    Should ask him why he did not get the dot com ?

    September 20th, 2011 at 4:34 am

    RAYY.co

    @JP

    “…People who get banned, its America (well for some of you), feel free to start your own blog and say whatever you want. It’s your right (well so long as it does not violate your hosting company or ISP’s terms of service)…”

    I never get ban in anything in my life…not even in night clubs….get horny…still never get thrown out…the bouncers love me long time…

    i’m a social celebrity icon…everybody wants me to show up in big functions in Sydney fashion week…art gallery openings…celebrity gossips…or PR celebrity publicity…and drink all night long…luckily I can drink all night long…just like my dad did…

    They lose business opportunity if they ban me…that’s the deal…

    September 20th, 2011 at 7:34 am

    RAYY.co

    Twosides.co is a very good website!

    I wish I can can do my site like that…

    To me, it’s innovative, creative. imaginative with lot of flare in flash presentation…

    Very loud and powerful…bringing all message out straight to the point with powerful bold keywords….and in your face…i like it…it’s a custom designer label status…not just from Word Press…

    Bright colours, very confident and convincing …and professional…

    I am very impress….I got to learn how to do it…any tips…

    I don’t know why you say it’s a BS site!…may be you don’t like the taste…which I understand…

    September 20th, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Brian Markham

    I think any type of spam should be banned, but my concern with trying to ban “Comment Trolls” is how can you be sure every polarized comment is trolled? Sure, most are easy to spot, but I would worry some sincere commenters could be banned.

    September 20th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Jason Davis

    Absolutely. Everyone has an agenda and when yours is hijacked it ruins the conversation. People come to this site because of your agenda.

    September 20th, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    overloaded

    Elliot- only you can decide what the conclusion is. Its your “business”

    September 21st, 2011 at 3:23 am

    Richards

    Elliot,

    I think its fair to say that censorship is not always the best solution for a problem.

    However, in the case of Cline, he is not adding anything to the conversation and we can guess pretty much what he is going to say.

    I would say more than 80% of my comments have been regarding you .CO articles and I will challenge the comments made by others that flawed or poorly founded. But Cline is interrupting any intelligent discussion to put adverts on your site, which he is not paying you for. Sure they may not be direct links to his sites but the principle is the same.

    What’s more is that he is doing more harm than good to his investments – probably without realising it:

    ** .CO is the new King
    — Shut up Robert, you’re an idiot
    ** You’re just in denial and scared for your .COM
    — Robert, you suck and have no credentials

    Do you really need the above convo or similar in future your articles of various topics? It interrupts the natural flow of discussion and ideas. You’ve taken off Landon White and Big Cheese for writing jibberish and insulting.

    Please, please also relegate him to the other blogs. If he is really wants to share his pearls of wisdom, he can set up his own blog – maybe on the .CO of his Epier.com

    September 21st, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Jp

    So anybody tried to go to ePier.co yet?

    September 21st, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Garquetta

    Do not ban the trolls, just ban the retards.
    Technically, what I am saying is be more practical, do not ban 10000 people just ban Robert Cline. I know everyone’s frustration while trying to make this moron understand, but have you ever talked to an ape and got god results? If you have done it, please continue to deal with “I need attention Robert Cline”.

    Please do not ban the trolls. Let’s get to the point-

    September 23rd, 2011 at 5:23 pm

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