Admiralbill (my nemesis on the Sistertrek message board) had many, easy buttons I knew how to push that would easily bait him into an argument. All of his buttons revolved around the fact that he was a rabid, George W. Bush defending, Fox News watching, Rush Limbaugh listening, conservative Republican. The following is a list of those buttons:
1. I would post a news article that tended to put the Republican / Conservatives in a bad light. I would add no comments but simply sit back and watch the debate unfold. This was obviously intended to push Admiralbill’s buttons but I could always argue that I thought the article was interesting and might stimulate a healthy political discussion. It had the effect of putting him on the defense because he felt compelled to respond to it.
2. I would then keep him tired and on the defensive. I did this by responding quickly and concisely. In general (not just with Admiralbill) when I did post commentary I would keep it short and only address one particular point. I always found it funny when other posters got so worked up over something and took the time to write a long drawn out diatribe responding to every single point in a previous post. I would just choose one point to refute or agree with. This had the effect negating all the work the diatribe attempted to make. I conserved my energy with small posts that took me ten minutes to craft they exhausted themselves with long ones that took an hour. The longer they take to respond, the more rest I have and the more agitation they felt to get a response out.
3. I usually asked questions in my responses. This also put Admiralbill on the defensive because he felt compelled to respond to a direct question and the question framed his response. Thus he never set the tone because he was always responding to the tone I set. These questions also had the effect of pissing him off. I naturally asked questions to begin with not thinking this was strategy but once I realized he did not like it I did it more.
4. If Admiralbill accused me of baiting or trolling I would always deny, deny, deny. This is probably the most important tip for any would be troll out there. Nothing angers other posters more than when someone refuses to recognize the obvious. Instead, I would argue that I had no intent to bait but rather to stimulate interesting and civil debate which he was ruining by resorting to personal attacks rather than addressing the issues. I also specifically stated at times that I did not want Admiralbill to respond in specific threads to avoid conflict. Of course this had the intended opposite effect.
5. I definitely had my share of enemies who sided with Admiralbill or saw me as a trouble-maker but I also cultivated allies on the board who could take some heat off me if I was boxed into a corner. Then when Admiralbill focused on the other guy I could attack back and undermine him. Even if a person has the moral high ground, it is difficult to get frustrated if two or more people are against that person on a message board.
Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.