General Etiquette > Techno-quette

When You Suspect Someone is a Troll

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yokozbornak:
How do you handle it?  I post in another, much smaller forum, and there is someone that I suspect is a troll for a variety of reasons (fantastical stories with very shortened  timelines, friends of hers who also started posted but have an identical posting style, lots of details that just don't add up, etc).  For whatever reason, I seem to be the only one that is suspicious.  She currently has a 70+ page thread going, and people are wanting to send her things to help her family get through it.

I am thinking of contacting an admin or moderator, but many of them seem enamored with her stories, too so I am not sure if it will cause forum issues.  I am at a loss for what to do because I don't want anyone to get scammed, but I am also not someone who feels comfortable calling someone out online especially over suspicions.  I would feel horrible if I was wrong.

Any ideas about how to handle this politely would be appreciated.

sparksals:
I have suspected that a couple times here.  I just contacted the mods with my observations and let them do what they will.  Just wanted to get the info to them in case they didn't know. 

demarco:

--- Quote from: sparksals on October 19, 2012, 04:53:39 PM ---I have suspected that a couple times here.  I just contacted the mods with my observations and let them do what they will.  Just wanted to get the info to them in case they didn't know.

--- End quote ---

This and I also might enter the thread to ask some factual questions and see how the poster responds. If she is defensive, evasive or adds even more inconsistent information it provides a heads up to other people.  I hate to see people taken in by a troll. 

BC12:

--- Quote from: yokozbornak on October 19, 2012, 04:17:44 PM ---How do you handle it?  I post in another, much smaller forum, and there is someone that I suspect is a troll for a variety of reasons (fantastical stories with very shortened  timelines, friends of hers who also started posted but have an identical posting style, lots of details that just don't add up, etc).  For whatever reason, I seem to be the only one that is suspicious.  She currently has a 70+ page thread going, and people are wanting to send her things to help her family get through it.
--- End quote ---

This is where I would draw the line. Embellishing stories online to get a reaction or sympathy or attention is one thing, but to accept gifts or donations due to embellished stories is fraud. I would message the moderators and inform them of what you suspect, and provide some examples.

If the mods didn't act on it at all, I might get a bit confrontational and post my concerns in the thread and question the details where everyone else could see it. It might initially make you the bad guy, but at least it might stop others from donating their resources to a scam artist.

Redsoil:
I guess if you wanted to avoid possible conflict, another way of giving a heads-up would be a "softer" approach.  Post up some links about online trolls/stories that may be useful as a Public Service Announcement.  Obviously, care is needed with this approach.  But something along the lines of "My friend sent me these links"  (Hey, if you don't want to fib, I'm sure one of us here could find something to post up or PM if need be, so you can then say it was sent by "a friend".)  Maybe work it in with some other info on general online dangers/phishing/taking care of safety online?

Hoping it all goes well.  It's concerning that people abuse the trust of those who care in such a way. 

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