How To Deal With Trolls

I have dealt with social media trolls a lot over the years.

I have found that these things work best:

1) Ignore them

2) Don’t mute or block them

3) Let their ridiculous comments/tweets/etc stay up to show how crazy they are

4) Ignore them

5) Ignore them

6) Ignore them

What they want and crave is attention.

Don’t give it to them.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    yes and no.on disqus, on avc and others i simply block them. I enjoy this community a lot more now that i can curate those that offend me. being pissed off is not the same as learning something take on this:Dealing with trolls…(note to disqus, crazy that your blocking works on web and not on mobile.)

    1. fredwilson

      my problem with blocking them or muting them is that it makes you think they are not there and they still are. i prefer to see their nonsense than pretend it doesn’t exist

      1. awaldstein

        truth is that i can deal with all sorts of crap but not marauding political failure perhaps as a person, but i simply exercise the power to not have them in earshot during my days.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          > marauding political bulliesThat’s like calling Trump a “horror story”, right?

        2. JamesHRH

          Second paragraph is the first thing that I have ever read where you have said something about yourself that is not a humble brag of some sort.Congratulations on your continued journey of self improvement!!!I am stunned that you continue to hold a grudge and ‘ curate ‘ this community.It’s beyond arrogant.

      2. obarthelemy

        Maybe it depends on where. Some sites I go to to learn stuff, those usually have few trolls, and the trolls’ takedowns can be interesting. Some sites I go to to relax among friends, those I’ll ignore trolls on. Other sites… exist for late-night trolling while watching TV. Though my definition of trolling is probably very lame. I think once I called out the exclusive pursuit of profit on AVC.COM ;-P.

      3. JamesHRH

        Plus, you miss out on learning something from outside your comfort zones.Unless you have concluded that you are always right or pure, you have to be willing to expose yourself to everything.The excuse of the elderly ( elderly being a state of mind that is more prevalent in people who are old, but is not limited to them) is that they ‘ do not have energy for that ‘. It’s absolutely the key driver of personal stagnation.

      4. jason wright

        stop looking at IP addresses.’ignore them’ – writing a post motivated by their very recent behaviour seems to be not ignoring them.I don’t believe in ignoring. people can be misunderstood.not letting the authentic troll get under your skin is the secret.there is a thing called the ‘troll tax’. the more successful the blog or forum the more willing one should be to pay it. it goes with the territory.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I, too, have found my blood pressure has benefited greatly since employing Disqus blocking.I don’t use it to block drive by trolls, because they aren’t repeat offenders. But I’ve blocked people who were clearly targeting me for constant, consistently disingenuous engagement. I would walk away from someone who treated me like that, so I sure as hell don’t have to read their drivel in the comments.When it’s personal (bullying, as you say below), it’s completely appropriate and justified to block people.

      1. Anne Libby

        “Disingenuous engagement,” what a great way to phrase it.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          There we go, women proving yet again that they are not equal to men and, instead, in verbal talent are far ahead!In high school, the girls were already good with verbal put downs, but apparently with some time they get better!One reason some boys are nerds: They know they can’t compete with the girls/women with verbal talent! Or social talent! And certainly not the combination!!!

      2. lisa hickey

        Agree with blocking repeat offenders. They often have an agenda that is not visible the first few times around. But if the patterns show an attempt to harm —and it is often in ways that don’t cross any one line, but are trying to manipulate whatever system of rules is in place—then it is absolutely worth blocking them.

      3. ShanaC

        Good term

      4. JamesHRH

        Well thought out and an excellent IRL analogy.Of course, those people come here too, for other reasons. It’s part of life.Different strokes.

  2. JimHirshfield

    So, doing nothing is doing something.But if you see something, say something.Because something is better than nothing.Unless that nothing is doing something.

    1. Anne Libby

      As discussed the other day, lol.

    2. falicon

      I have been arguing that case since I got married…my wife *still* disagrees when it comes to the chores 😉

      1. JLM

        .Pro tip: Been married for 40 years, your chances of winning that argument — unlike fine wine — do not improve with age. Sorry.Lose gracefully. Quickly.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. pointsnfigures

      Seinfeld made an empire out of it.

  3. John Pepper

    To be clear, just because we are at times ignored does not infer we are viewed as a troll, correct? 😉

    1. kenberger

      you’re implying a logical reasoning fallacy of converse, inverse, and/or contrapositive, i can’t remember which one 😉

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Maybe he is saying that a troll might not have good evidence that they are a troll?In high school, when someone doesn’t get invited to a party, there’s no nice card sent that tells them why!!! Similarly later about not getting nominated for some country club!Mom was really good at getting elite women in town offering to nominate her for the top country club. She was really good at social climbing but, alas, not good at teaching her husband or sons!For the country club, Dad was concerned about the cost. If he’d had a business instead of an office job with a salary, then he could have called the fees a business expense!Looking sad and dejected from not getting invited is not a good way to get invited in the future! So, hold the head up! If have good evidence that are right, don’t even think about looking down! Besides, in our pop culture, the average level is really low: anyone with any reasonably solid evidence for their position is near the head of the class.In some cases, can get back at people who dump on others! In K-12, the grade school teachers quickly saw that I was not as good a student as my older brother. My reputation among the teachers went only down from there! Ah, except for some of the state tests in math and science! And I was getting dumped on really just by the female teachers; the two male teachers thought I was a bright student. The females? Well, they gossip, maybe?Ah, revenge! The Math SATs! I shocked every female teacher in the school! Out of 1-2-3, I was 2 and, thus, ahead of 3 who went to MIT.More revenge? I got a Ph.D. in applied math! More? I’ve published as sole author some peer reviewed original research in applied math in some good journals. So, for some of the gossip nonsense, I’ve got a Kevlar lined Teflon raincoat!Once my parents had some friends with a daughter my age. I liked the daughter’s parents because they were really good at art, including music. The wife effortlessly painted really good portraits in the style of Modigliani and knew a lot about music I was still trying to learn, and her husband was a darned good piano player and cook. Well, the daughter thought I was interested in her romantically and was as nasty to me as possible. I wasn’t interested in her! Heck, I was engaged and never interested in cheating. Instead I wanted to learn about music and cooking!Sometimes put downs are from false assumptions!If Trump believed even 1% of the nasty as possible insults from the mainstream media, he’d just resign. But in fact, from all the insults, the worst with any credibility was something about two scoops of ice cream.For the persons passing out the insults, it’s clear they are not being either rational or objective. So, the real shame is theirs!Here at AVC, soon after Trump announced, I praised his potential. So did JLM. But not many more! Well, we were correct, at least through the election!Quite broadly, to be really good, nearly necessarily also have to be really different!When a boy calls a girl for a date and hears that she’s “busy” both Friday and Saturday nights for each of the next four weeks, she doesn’t always tell him why!In one case, later I had good reason to conclude that the girl was eager for the date but that on the phone her mother had been impersonating her daughter. Reason? The daughter was a bit too eager for a date, enough to be of concern to the mother! Ah, the daughter was safe: No way was I going to start a family while in high school! A boy could get away with some of that 200 years ago, but since then a lot of lawyers made boys think carefully!Quite generally, a person should pay attention to criteria much more solid than the usual highly intricate, competitive, and nasty Victorian garden party social machinations!Those garden parties were at about the same time of but didn’t yield Maxwell’s equations, thermodynamics, biochemistry, Einstein’s work, the work of the Wright brothers, the building of US industries in coal, coke, steel, rails, shipping, etc.!I finally concluded what the Victorian mansions in New Port were for! On summer weekends, the family in Manhattan could get on their private railroad car and fairly easily get towed to New Port. Then? Sure, the daughter went to the parties and looked for a husband! The whole thing was match making. Typically the husbands would play cards, take naps, etc. and generally ignore the mothers and daughters as they went about their intricate socializing and husband hunting!

    2. JLM

      .”imply”Sister Scholastica would be slapping you right ………………………. now. I know this from personal experience.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. JamesHRH

      You cannot prove a positive intent from inaction.You’ll never know 😉

  4. kenberger

    Once in a long while, i find it fun as a reader to respond to troll comments. Example:”Rumors of Fred’s (or this community’s) shark jumping are greatly exaggerated.”:)

  5. Vendita Auto

    My personal rule of thumb not that I do not bite sometimes: Never react to an evil in such a way as to augment it” [Simon Weil]

  6. notes

    Fred last year I wrote you a message because I remember you were getting a ton of troll comments on this blog one day just because you had posted an article that supported muslims. I don’t recall the exact post. But I saw in real time how this was happening. The mob attack.Which brings me to the very big problem we are dealing with now, where social media and open comment sections have been weaponized as billboards for propaganda, hate speech and trolls. I used to think this was all about random weirdos with “issues” but now I realize how massively organized this whole thing is. In the near future, unless we shift to a non-text based interface, or if we can manage to remove input boxes from html forms, this will get worse. There will be a re-organizing of public and private space online to protect us from the barrage of coordinated vitriol. The UX will have to change to address this reality.

  7. Erin

    Nice, that’s kind of the Buddhist response to diffusing a tense exchange, although maybe in place of “ignore”, they’d say “Notice your inner reactions, but don’t react outwardly. If you do respond, have a clear mind and heart before you do”. By the way Fred, I did an essay on the GDPR because of one of your September posts for my university class and I just got my mark back and I did really good! Thanks for the idea.

    1. fredwilson


      1. TeddyBeingTeddy

        I accept your challenge…

    2. pointsnfigures

      Great insight. Will try to incorporate. Thank you for that. On Twitter, I mute them. On Facebook, just defriend them. I especially agree with Fred’s #3 comment.

    3. JLM

      .The whole “Notice your inner reactions, but don’t react outwardly” thing is what they teach you in Ranger School in hand-to-hand combat.”Don’t let the other guy know your intentions until after you have finished.””Finished” often means your thumb is in the other guy’s eye.I always thought it had something to do with Buddha.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Erin


    4. JamesHRH

      I am not as big a fan of the ‘ notice your inner reaction ‘ school.Ignore them. Plain & simple.

      1. Erin

        Yeah well if you don’t have a reaction, no problem. If what they say triggers something, it might be worth noticing.

        1. JamesHRH

          So much of this is definitional – trolling to me is ad hominem stupidity, rampant agenda based alternate fact stuff.An honest disagreement – of values, expectations, interpretations, etc. – is not trolling and your advice is then absolutely correct.Enjoy your posts, FYI.

    5. ShanaC

      Old wisdom. Hard wisdom

      1. Erin


  8. Adam Parish

    Good post. I’ve always blocked them.

  9. Josh Wilson

    I think this is a great example of how the internet, and specifically social media, is a massive microcosm of the physical social world. Furthermore, it demonstrates how reflection upon digital social interaction can shed light on physical social interactions, for I think this lesson applies to both. I like this post and I agree with its sentiment.

    1. fredwilson

      Josh Wilson in the comments!!!!

      1. Donna Brewington White

        So cool!

    2. JamesHRH

      Well put Josh.As an example, given Pops’ view of internet trolls and your excellent extrapolation to IRL trolling, what is the obvious way to handle white suprmacist marches?It’s to have the police keep an eye on them and for the public to ignore them.

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Just as studying a foreign language helped with my English language skills I have found that social media has made me a better engager IRL.As time goes by the two worlds seem to merge more and more, as I think it should be. Less fragmentation.BTW, good to see you commenting here!

  10. Tom Labus

    It’s extremely difficult to not return fire. Our political times have created a vicious and toxic mix that is almost calculated to make us numb with disbelieve. Maintain personal balance and good humor if possible. We usually swing back toward sanity and progress and let’s hope it’s soon!!

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      I have a method that I use sometimes where I reply back to the person with something along the lines of “I’m sorry to hear you feel that way. Would you help me understand your point of view better by explaining the thinking behind your position?” From there, the person usually does one of two things: 1) Just stops posting; or, 2) The person actually starts explaining their thinking which sometimes is illuminating and sometimes not. But, overall, it gets people out of toxic cycles.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        Good idea.

      2. Tom Labus

        Thanks for the tip

      3. sigmaalgebra

        > “I’m sorry to hear you feel that way. Would you help me understand your point of view better by explaining the thinking behind your position?”Yup, that’s a lot nicer than my usual “You didn’t give any evidence or reasoning and didn’t make a case. Apparently you are just showing your loyalty to some group.”Yet again, once again, over again, you girls/women are really good with verbal talent and social skills!!!

      4. JamesHRH

        Seinfeld used to ask hecklers to come up to the stage and perform. Problem solved for him.

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          Hahahaha! Love that.

        2. PhilipSugar

          My favorite was the New Year’s Eve Comedienne response to a heckler on ABC. Absolute all time classic on prime time.

          1. JamesHRH

            Which was?

          2. PhilipSugar

            She told the heckler she didn’t bother him while he was working, she didn’t try and knock a male anatomy part out of his mouth. Live on TV they couldn’t edit fast enough. Classic. I forget the other host. His jaw just dropped.

          3. JamesHRH

            Classic indeed.

    2. JLM

      .Knowing you are a thoughtful and serious student of history, I would point out that from the time of the founding of our great Republic, we have been a country of strong, competitive opinions laced with incredible, poisonous invective.So much so, that we used to fight duels over differences and insults. You know, of course, my affinity for duels.The Ron Chernow “Hamilton” book is filled to overflowing with the viciousness of pamphleteers, the anonymous writings of the Founding Fathers of the day, and the resulting duels.What has happened today is that the distribution mechanisms have become more democraticized and broad.I think we are actually recycling the same insults from the time of the Revolution.We are entering a period of incredible prosperity under the direction of a contentious and unlikely President. What is important is not the invective, but the quality of life which results.I predict we will look back on this and say, “Hmmm, that Krugman fellow got a lot of shit wrong. This worked out pretty damn good for me.”There will be no ideological converts, but there will be measurable results and, given the choice, I take results over all alternatives.Hey, Tom Labus, Merry Christmas. It has been a damn good year knowing you.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Tom Labus

        Of course we completely disagree about the outcome of this tax hike and Mr. Krugman’s observations about the consequences. But that’s OK. That’s what we supposed to do and battle it out, I just find it difficult to show trump any respect since he offers none is always wrong. Plus there is the open issue of treason which if you look at the events post Deutsche Bank default is hard to explain awayI’ve gone up to the Weehawken :rock where Burr and Hamilton shot it out. Mr Hamilton did shoot in the air. Huge Ron Chernow fan

        1. JLM

          .Fair play to you, Tom.Pretty hard to defend Krugman. The man said the stock markets would tank. That was what — 6,000 points ago.No, I predicted a 24,000 stock market in writing on 2 Jan 2017. So, I think we chip in for a lobotomy for Krugman.The rest of it, we shall see.I don’t get the treason comment, but let’s see what Mueller comes up with. The guy has spent 4 times as much time investigating the 3 month campaign.Whatever he finds, I am on the side of the law. Let the chips fall where they may.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. JLM

          .Then, there is this — ATT announces a $1B capital expenditure program and $1000 bonuses for its workers, 200,000 of them.Wow, hello, America! This is real.BECAUSE THE TAX BILL WAS PASSED. Their words not mine.…So, yeah, MAGA. I don’t care who does it, how it’s done, just do it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. JamesHRH

        Scott Adams has completely nailed the narrative progression on the Trump Presidency. It’s current stage is “ Effective, but I Still Do Not Like Him. “This time next year, he’ll just be President Trump

        1. JLM

          .Yep, the younger #NeverTrumpers (the Rich Lowery crowd) are already beginning to rally. The old establishment — Bush, Romney, Kristol — never will.A year from now — particularly if NK is solved — it will be hard to find a #NeverTrumper and the old line GOPe will have lost their voices.Every Republican political consultant and pollster will develop amnesia.If the economy hits 5-7% GDP growth even for 10 minutes, the Dems may not even bother to field an opponent.It’s happening. A year ago all this Trump stuff was campaign promises. Now, they are real. Reality trumps everything.It does not hurt that the Dems are being outed for being horny sexual harassers and the attendant level of Clinton corruption.It looks likely that Trump gets exonerated on all things Russia. If so, he gets to crow like a rooster.Still, the Dem chances for the mid-terms actually went up because a Rep in a big Dem state (Cali, NY, Illinois) with high property taxes will have to deal with a very tough local issue.The Republicans will pick up half a dozen Senate seats. Any Dem Senator in a state Trump won is toast.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. JamesHRH

      I only return fire on people I think have shown the willingness to be convinced by logic.Or who can obviously be run off by a serious volley.

  11. jason wright

    that can work. the one who was attacking your wife a few years ago eventually moved on. it was hurtful and unnecessary. pointless behaviour. that was trolling.however, there is the potential danger that the “troll” epithet can be deployed too easily, too lazily. it can become self serving, self reinforcing, and ultimately silo building. troll could be seen as the post modern digital networking equivalent of “commie”. have to guard against that ‘reflex’.

  12. obarthelemy

    I’m regularly branded a troll on Apple fansites because a) I don’t agree with a lot of the PR and b) I think that PR does have consequences, leading people to waste a lot of money and miss a lot of opportunities.I can be rabid about that issue, but try to remain cogent and polite. I’m still being banned though, for arguing that the fragmentation issue is mis-defined and overblown on the user side, that “designed for your hands” was proof of hypocrisy, that toaster-fridge is plain silly, that having the gov’ able to locally crack any phone is desirable… I also get banned on my yearly excursion to The Free Republic, though I try to make ever more gentle posts… that’s reverse-trolling I guess, but the eyes of the beholder…My point is, there’s outright trolling, there’s provocation, and there’s disagreement. We French have this concept of “single thought” being undesirable and worth agitating against even a bit gratuitously. That’s a somehow fine line, but I’m interested in comments that either provide extra data, or extra points of view. Not fawning agreement.

    1. jason wright

      groupthink alert.

    2. JamesHRH

      Excellent trilogy of terms.I am most dissappointed in regulars here who publicly parade their blocking of other regulars who are mostly provocateurs, as opposed to dispeptic, misthanthropic ne’er do wells.It’s below the standard of world class discourse that this site has provided, lo’ these many years.

  13. Frank W. Miller

    You and Brad have similar policies on your use of comments. I have in the past and will continue to think that you are both quite mature and handle comments admirably. Two things.First, I don’t consider myself a troll, but a long term critic that tries to bring a different point of view in a (at least I think) reasonable way, dialogwise. Your obviously have a politically liberal view of the world. However, I continue to be pleased that you are different from just about every other liberal I run into these days, you’re willing to listen.Second, its my opinion that the civility in commenting here has a lot to do with the fact that a large percentage of the people that haunt your blog want something from you. I don’t, to me its just discussion.

    1. LE

      but a long term critic that tries to bring a different point of view in a (at least I think) reasonable way, dialogwiseI think it’s actually very entrepreneurial in many ways to be a troll. [1] The reason is that to succeed in business you more or less have to have a ‘not give a shit’ attitude that will allow you to pursue your dreams when others say or think you are crazy. Or take issue with what you are doing. In short you need to not care what people think. (Customers, yes care about that. Employees, yes care about that).that a large percentage of the people that haunt your blog want something from youNo way to know of course but I don’t believe that is the reason at all. I just think people care what others think and/or don’t feel they are able to express what they think and/or don’t want to waste their time. They are not driven to comment or to react. Or maybe lack of self confidence. Also way to hard to write and edit comments on mobile other than a sentence or two.[1] Of course we would have to define what a troll is. And more importantly what Fred is thinking a troll is which he hasn’t done.

  14. Sarah

    One of the worst phrases for me lately is “like-minded people” because it assumes too much. The trolls (through their uncivilized ranting behaviour and inability to substantiate or dialogue) do dissipate when ignored – over time. I am enjoying the opinions that I read on AVC and even excited when I realize that the arguments made are shaping my thoughts. It takes time and extra “filtering energy” but seeking diversity is worthwhile to understanding other people and their motivations. I do not spend anything extra on an emotional reaction just thought processing power to learn from the perspective of others. The posts around sexual harassment are absolutely helping me make sense of my own experiences and how my words/actions (nod to LE & JLM – who I do not consider to be trolls) are perceived by others. All good value that would not be achieved if I simply blocked the seemingly offensive messages. Glad to know where Fred stands on the trolls and I am a fan of the multiple ignore policy… I would include “observe” as this is where i find the space to figure out how to defuse & deal with what I encounter in my non-cyber world.

    1. JLM

      .I was off to a pretty good day until I found out you do not consider me a troll.Now, I have to ignore you.Merry Christmas.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Sarah

        Willing to edit my comment, if guaranteed to improve your day. From my CDN PNW vantage you offer something that gives civilized context to Trump – even if I still find it all inexplicable. Plus, I sometimes think of your voice & sensibilities when navigating the business world. Ignore all you want but the above is intended as a compliment.

        1. JLM

          .I would tell you, @sarah, that I was “pulling your leg” but in the current #metoo environment (which, for the record, I completely support, see below), I cannot.http://themusingsofthebigre…Please do not edit.In a month, we are all going to have a chance to evaluate the first Trump year AT (AT, like “after Trump”).It will turn out to be a very good year.As to Himself, I have always been a policy guy. I care not a whit whether he dies his hair or has hair plugs or holds Melania’s hand, I only care about policy.Think Frank Sinatra: “It was a very good year.”I am still interested in Canada and the USA merging.Merry Christmas.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  15. vankula

    Silence is golden.

  16. David A. Frankel

    Take note: I think Fred has written a prescription for how we can start to reunite our country.Resist the urge for clicks, eyeballs, likes and follows and stop giving trolls attention and mind share….all of them….

  17. Blair Marshall

    I completely agree with this, yet very few people use this advice for the ultimate troll, Trump.

    1. JLM

      .Is Pres Trump a troll or does he just control the real estate between the ears of the media and the liberal left?I have not watched a single “news” show for the last two years in which there was not a reaction, a violent reaction, either in support of or insanely opposed to something Trump.The guy even dominates the NFL these days.Trolling seems to imply a reactive force.Pres Trump waltzed into the White House because he used social media to initiate, control, dominate the messaging. They will be studying his campaign for the next half century in political science and communications courses.If President Trump is a troll, then his trolling plays trump.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. sigmaalgebra

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.Mahatma GandhiMaybe one step was omitted, they fear you! Maybe a lot of the people being nasty to Trump just fear him.

    2. DJL

      Then troll = Master of the Media. He is playing them like a fiddle.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      “I’m sorry to hear you feel that way. Would you help me understand your point of view better by explaining the thinking behind your position?”

    4. JLM

      .If you think Pres Trump’s a troll, can you imagine what Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi thinks of him?Luckily, while you are throwing shade on him, he was killing the Caliphate, passing a massive tax cut bill, and throwing off the yoke of the Ocare mandate.Is this a great country or what?Wait, did I just troll you? Sorry.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    5. JamesHRH

      This is, in fact, a terrific statement that nails the failures of the Mainstream News organizations.They let Trump set the news cycle agenda. Or, they let someone else set it, but, since his declaration of his candidacy, Trump has been the main agenda settter.I think you meant it differently, but you would be poorly served to ignore the President, as he is completely reshaping the federal government, the federal court system and taking a serious run at reshaping the world order.But, CNN doesn’t seem interested in any of it.

      1. JLM

        .The Judiciary is the big missing element in the debate. I predict there will be no less than 2 Justices of the SCOTUS in the next 7 years. Pres Trump will achieve Roosevelt’s objective of stacking the Court.The Republicans will pick up half a dozen Senate seats in 2018, which means they will confirm his nominees.Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. JamesHRH

          I would like to see the game plan for picking up 6 Senate seats next year.First off, the quality of non-GOPe candidate had better go up (and significantly). Second, the competition is, at least, aware that it has a problem on its hands (80% of the battle). Third, there are some ideas out there that could cause real problems for the GOP ( district gerrymandering being the one I would focus on if I was a Democrat ).

          1. JLM

            .Vulnerable Dems:1. Missouri Sen McCaskill, Trump won Missouri by 19 pts. Tough Rep challenger, Josh Hawley, sitting AG2. Indiana Sen Joe Donnelly, squeaked in when Richard Lugar lost in a Tea Party primary to Richard Mourdock, State Treasurer, Trump won Indiana and there is VP Mike Pence3. West Virginia Sen Joe Manchin, Trump won by 42%, state Gov converted from Dem to Rep, Manchin might do the same, but he is in for the fight of his life, great candidate. Votes and talks like a Republican. Was pissed the Republicans didn’t woo him for the tax package. McConnell decided he didn’t need him.4. N Dakota Sen Heitkamp, Trump won by 36%, but, funny thing, Trump likes Heidi Heitkamp5. Ohio Sen Sherrod Brown, Trump won by 8%, Republican Gov, close race. Brown is a populist like Trump.6. Montana, Sen Jon Tester, Trump won by 20%, the GOP needs a good candidate here7. Wisconsin Sen Tammy Baldwin, last Dem statewide office holder in entire state, Trump won, Republican Gov, GOP needs a good candidate. The Republicans own Wisconsin.8. Florida, Sen Bill Nelson, if Rep Gov Scott decides to run, he wins. Scott has a lot of money.9. Pennsylvania Sen Bob Casey — long shot, but possible10. Virginia Sen Tim Kaine — could be a backlash, but a Dem just won for Gov (VMI grad)., Virginia is trending left because of the DC suburbs.The Republicans have two seats to worry about:1. Nevada, Sen Dean Heller — Heller won a very close race in 2012. HRC won Nevada. Lack of Republican enthusiasm for Heller2. Arizona, Sen Jeff Flake — free for all. Kelli Ward could win this seat easily. McCain will not live past the election. Republicans will win Arizona, but they need to have two good candidates.There is no gerrymandering in Senate races. A Senator runs statewide.The Dems have a very tough problem — WTF do they run on? It won’t be Trump because the economy will be hot as a pistol by then. If they run on Trump then they are running into the teeth of a gale.I predict the Republicans pick up 6-8 of the seats noted as vulnerable Dems and may get them all.I predict the Dems pick up Nevada because the Republicans will run Tarkanian for the 6th time. He wins his primaries and loses his general elections.The Republicans pick up at least net half a dozen.There are a couple of longshots which could really break for the Republicans in Pennsylvania. I think Virginia is a lost cause.I am available for bets.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. JamesHRH

            Hmmm, lack of listing of Rep candidates. Names would be helpful.Aware of gerrymandering being only in House of Reps, but that is a juicy vein to tap – ‘ its rigged. ‘If someone handed me the keys to the DNC, I would run on universal healthcare (funding to states who contract locally), African American reparations, extraction of troops from overseas conflicts, reduction of military (but increase in quality), massive tax increases on passive income made in USA (flow through, carry), continuation of low corporate tax rates, further simplification of tax code, etc.But, their current strength as a party – identity based emotional appeal – isn’t my area of expertise. There is a play there that America should close the gap somehow….but it is pretty skinny, strategicallly.

          3. JLM

            .There are only 8 Rep Senators up for re-election in 2018 and those are the only two vulnerable.There are 23 Dems and 2 Independents.This stuff is fairly scientific.None of the issues you identify are even in the top 10. You have stumbled on the core problem for the Dems. No good issues other than hating Trump.Immigration might have been one, but DACA will take the wind out of that sail.I should make you pay for this kind of expert analysis.JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...

          4. JamesHRH

            You should make somebody pay you, that’s for sure.

  18. JaredMermey

    Even though a lot of attention has been paid to the amount of boys and trolls on Twitter and FB, both of their stocks are going up.Anecdotally we read about how pervasive the trolling has become for verified users and/or when discussing political issues.If the trolling is indeed as statistically pervasive as it seems, when does it beging to hurt these companies value? Clearly they’ve monetized some of this and helped deflect the issues with geographic expansion and/or new products, but how long can that sustain?More succinctly and perhaps more direly said: Is social media on a path to irrelevancy?

  19. Kirsten Lambertsen

    This is exactly right on for the kind of low-level trolling that we see here at AVC.

    1. Anne Libby

      Exactly — and a good place to start. Yet, there are degrees of trolling for which these steps won’t work.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Right. Any variation on bullying qualifies. Bullying isn’t a point of view that I need to consider. I include gaslighting in bullying.

        1. Anne Libby

          Prediction: sometime today, someone here will ask you to define gaslighting. Lol.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            LOL. But I probably won’t be able to see it ;-P

          2. Anne Libby

            Exactly what I was thinking.

          3. sigmaalgebra

            Ah, you women not only gossip, you do it in secret language!

          4. PhilipSugar

            As I said I looked it up. Interesting movie. But I don’t like the term. One could say I was “gaslighting” JLM on net neutrality.Now is there some trolling usually started off as “you women”. Hell yesUnacceptableBut there are views reasonable not accepted here that when people not willing to listen in their echo camber get smacked in the face they just are stunnedWhen you don’t let somebody speak like Milos ahole by burning cars and Starbucks and think you won. You lost.But it is Fred’s place.

          5. JLM

            .Haha, you gaslighted the shit out of me, Sugar. I am still not recovered. Luckily, I have health insurance.Of course, for gaslighting to work, one has to actually consider what the other party says. Think it makes sense.On that front, I am un-gaslightable. Shallow, also. It is a natural defense to gaslighting.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          6. PhilipSugar

            Gaslighting means that you actually believe the other person. Ok, ignore them. It also is similar to using the term “hate speech” Now there is some speech that is truly hateful, but when you use the term loosely because it suits your view it is ineffective.I will express my view to the bitter end on why I think you need net neutrality regulations, but you can express yours. Actually I think people are caught up in getting rid of regulations which I don’t agree with. For instance China has very few Environmental Regulations and their environment is a fricking disaster. But have big sweeping ones, not a million little ones that people come up with to justify their job. I know we agree on some financial ones. SOX just say if there is a restatement anybody making over $500k gets their pay clawed back to that point because it doesn’t matter if they didn’t know because they were getting payed too much to not know. Selling CDO’s on one floor and shorting them on another? Same thing, pay clawed back.What I would like to see Trump get rid of is regulators and administrators, not enforcers.I’d love to see him dismantle a ton of the NSA. I’d love to see him enact Obama’s promise that he would not give government pay raises above $100k, I’d love to see him tell government workers they have a 401k and insurance like the rest of us. The one thing I do like about Trump is that he doesn’t give a shit what people say about him. That is a really strong trait. George W had backbone until he got to DC and had 911 happen, then it disappeared. I didn’t and don’t agree with most of Obama’s policies, but you can see from the one I stated above and the one getting rid of the Patriot Act, that he also got to DC and was corrupted.I don’t mind paying for cops on the street, teachers in the schools, firefighters at the stations, but the amount of bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake is disgusting.My very liberal brother did an internship at the EPA. He was disgusted. Hey go to the Ship Channel in Houston and enforce things not sit in an office and make notes.

          7. JLM

            .The NSA is an incredible asset. They can literally capture every communication in the ether on the entire planet, store it, analyze it, run incredible matrices on it, and produce it with 1,000,000 SF of Cray computers.There are several big problems:They have a black budget and no oversight. Snowden, traitor who needs a bullet in the head, was the first person to ever allow that notion to see sunlight.They are engaged in “inadvertent” illegal surveillance which they store that also.The CIA is based on the premise that they can break the laws of any foreign country in furtherance of their mission. I fear the NSA thinks the same thing, but domestically. Once you give someone carte blanche to break the law, it is impossible to rope them again. It’s a drug.I worry that they know stuff and never run it up the flagpole, in effect, a secret depository of info within a secret agency.Once someone gets inside the NSA, they become a zealot and are unable to remember when they were not there.You are way too kind toward Obama. What is apparent to me is that he was totally incompetent. There is nothing worse than an incompetent ideologue.The proof of that statement is the apparent ease with which Pres Trump has jettisoned Obama policies to great impact. It shouldn’t be that easy.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          8. JamesHRH

            NGO’s and Government are the two least action oriented, most reward oriented types of organizations on the planet.How about is the EPA set the rules and the outsourced enforcement, w incentives? That would be fun.

          9. JamesHRH

            Is McDowell ‘ gaslighting ‘ Ali Velshi here:…BTW, when the Google results come up for this, there are 8 conservative site links w varying level of ‘ destroys ‘ / ‘ schools ‘ wording and then there is the MSNBC link w ‘ Velshi challenges ‘.And, in a single anecdote, you have the issue for Star driven infotainment – the hosts matter more than reporting.

          10. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Are you intentionally provoking JLM and then asking him why he’s getting so upset, telling him he misunderstood you and is paranoid? Are you questioning his experience, telling him he’s imagining things and overreacting?

          11. PhilipSugar

            Ok, see your point. You know me I just come straight at it, not always the most popular view. But in this case I think just ignore is right.

          12. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Sure, absolutely. I’m just suggesting that the definition of gaslighting that you found may not be so spot on if it has you thinking you might be gaslighting JLM on net neutrality 🙂

          13. PhilipSugar

            Got it.

          14. JamesHRH

            How would you describe this comment or thread of comments, in terms of its social implications to others in the AVC Regulars community?BTW, I can’t imagine ever being gaslighted, in the same sense as I cannot imagine being hypnotized. I am not wired that way and, in a rare occurrence, feel badly for people who are not wired like me, in that aspect.

    2. JamesHRH

      Can you expand on ‘ low level trolling ‘?

  20. DJL

    Let’s just make sure we don’t define “trolls” as anyone we disagree with. In a politically charged world, any disagreement can trigger anger and violence (both physical and digital.)

    1. sigmaalgebra

      That is likely the main definition!

      1. DJL

        Tru Dat!! (Happy Tax Bill Hangover Day.)

  21. JLM

    .I remember a commenter saying something ugly about Freddie’s wife. It was way out of line and it made me, at the time, consider how one would deal with such a thing.I believe the real solution is the reinstatement of the time honored tradition of DUELING.Those who know me well, will recognize I am no Johnny Come Lately to this thought.Back when Candidate Trump was insulting his way to the nomination (Yes, Jeb, apparently, you CAN insult your way to the Presidency.), he said something unflattering about Ted Cruz’s wife.Ted is from Texas and talking shit about a man’s wife in public in Texas, will give you reason to review the coverage on your dental insurance.Full disclosure: Teddy Cruz and wife used to live within a three wood of this keyboard and I have often driven into the ‘hood through the intersection at which she had her “episode.”At that time, I proposed the reinstatement of dueling. Laugh, but it is a SERIOUS proposition. I am a serious guy.http://themusingsofthebigre…Today, I say it once again: “Let’s get back to the manly art of resolving our differences — not all, just the ugly on an ape ones — with dueling.”If it was good enough for Alexander Hamilton, then, by God, it’s good enough for me. [Historical footnote: Yes, yes, yes, I know, he came in second in that duel, but that’s not the point.]Not to brag, but I fired EXPERT with an M1911A1 — if you know this pistol, you know it is often thrown more accurately than it is fired. I was forced to carry one, but as soon as I could, I swapped it for a Walther P-38, whose bullets seek the heart of one’s enemies.I also have a sword (cadet saber from VMI), a Fairbairn-Sykes Commando knife (gift from an SAS officer from joint training), and a KaBar USMC fighting knife (another gift from a training exercise).The whole “knife” thing in the military is a real thing. Combat engineers — guys who blow stuff up, what I did — have these great metal “demo” knives. I have one that went to WWII (101st Abn on D Day), Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and A’stan. It went with different people. It is a prized possession. This is why military guys, of a certain ilk, are always gifting knives to each other.I am contemplating a startup wherein I would be your supernumerary (stand in, ghost, agent).Please give the reinstatement of dueling your very best consideration and look for the K-starter campaign on Funding Friday.Now, fuck off. Ooops, totally out of control.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Second? The other guy came in next to last!

      1. JLM

        .It does not take a PhD to figure this math out, Doc.BTW, do you know that every city of a Revolutionary War age has a “dueling ground.”Most of them are located next to cemeteries. Makes sense.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. JamesHRH

      A long time ago, Trolly Founders used to show up and trash Fred or USV.I found it inappropriate and appointed myself bouncer.My all time fave complement received here was, post torching of some Trolly Founder, having someone comment ‘ Dude, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.’Logic dueling, in essence.

  22. JLM

    .In the blogosphere’s commentariat, there is agreement, disagreement, thoughtful discussion without either agreement or disagreement, there are polite exchanges of views.There is discovery, there is challenge to substantiate one’s views. There is a lot of commentary and very little evidence to back much of it up.There is candor, there is experience, there is wisdom, there is stupidity. There is mimickry and there is a dab of insanity.And, then, there is something else — disrespectful, ugly hate speech. Trolling and trolls.The challenge is that often the hateful stuff comes in through the window in disguise or its hatefulness is in the eye of the beholder.Disagreeement, even amongst such polarizing things as President Trump, is not the same thing as trolling. If you start your blog post or your comment with a purposeful incendiary thesis, then don’t act surprised when the place catches on fire.I have to say that on this blog — in my view, the nicest and most civilized bit of thought on the web — there is not much bandwidth dedicated to considering other thoughts when it gets to politics.There is a bit of group think which says one can insult the President at will using whatever vile language arrived with your first latte, but any alternative view is considered beyond the pale and both the message and the messenger are condemned.Personally, it doesn’t bother me a bit. I say, “Bring it on. Your ideas and my ideas can go “best of five” and may the best ideas win.”As a blogger, Freddie is an agent provacateur, a teacher, a VC, and many other things. As a participant, he is a little thin skinned. Not an uncommon or unusual condition, but one that gave rise to a thought to shut down the comments when content did not march in step to his opinion.Same thought process which gave rise to a set of rules which he admitted violating.A very human thing. And, we like our humans, no?One of my 2018 resolutions will be to thicken my skin and temper my rapier jabs. [I am notoriously bad at keeping New Years resolutions.]Merry Christmas and other culturally appropriate holiday greetings.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  23. Is Offense the best Defense?

    I have dealt with shills on the internet a lot over the years.I have found that these things work best:1) Call them out for being deceitful.2) I certainly would mute or block them but I cannot.3) Pillory their ridiculous comments/tweets/etc to show how deceitful they are.4) Call them out for being deceitful.5) Call them out for being deceitful.6) Call them out for being deceitful.What they normally want and crave is power (typically in the form of money and fame).Don’t give it to them.

  24. rick gregory

    I block and mute freely. Not excessively; I won’t block for disagreeing with me. But people who are disrespectful, posting for reactions etc? I mute them on Twitter, block them on Disqus. I have no illusions that this will cause them to change but I don’t care. I’m not about changing them. I’m about raising the S/N ratio in my online life.I have enough stress and challenge in my life without some pseudonymous coward calling me names or repeatedly littering the threads of sites which I frequent with nonsense. I also sometimes block or mute because it prevents me from falling down the time sink of trying to discuss things with people who won’t listen much less be open to altering an opinion.In short, muting trolls isn’t for them. It’s for me.

  25. Stefano Vettorazzi

    How do you distinguish between a troll and someone who just wants to discuss/debate the issue in question? Because I usually notice that people call “troll” to anyone who doesn’t agree with them and they don’t know personally.

    1. fredwilson

      tone of voice

      1. JamesHRH

        That’s pretty subjective Fred.

      2. Stefano Vettorazzi

        Thanks. It may be difficult to distinguish “tone of voice” from text though. However, it makes sense.

  26. Michael Elling

    It starts with imbalance of risk in a settlement free internet model. Add anonymity to that and you have a platform with a lot of unintended consequences; many of them negative. Turning a blind eye to trolls is not the solution. If you want to increase engagement and get gender balance to boot (estimates are that fewer than 25% of commenters are female) you have to change the model.

  27. Luca Hammer

    Ignoring them worked great when the trolling happened on some forum. When they start mentioning your employer, relatives or friends on Twitter it may not be the best strategy.

  28. timraleigh

    …sometimes known also as turn the other cheek.