Dealing with Comment Trolls

A big fear among newbie bloggers is how to handle things when a rogue commenter starts using your blog’s comments as their own private graffiti board – especially if they start hurling abusive language at you or other commenters. We call these folks trolls.
I’ve recently been strucky by a rather ornery fellow who has left extensive amounts of profanity and invective on my personal blog – many times adding comments several times an hour. Luckily I have this idiot’s IP address.
IP Addresses Are Like a fingerprint or Social Security number for an internet connection – a unique identifier. Every user on the internet right now has an IP address for their connection to the web – as does every server or router connected to the internet. And every cellphone, BlackBerry, handheld – anything that connects to the internet has an IP address.
Most blog software packages keep track of a commenter’s IP address. So when I look at my comment logs I am able to see that this chump has been posting multiple comments as different people but they all have the same IP address. That or all of these people are on a shared internet connection such as a corporate connection shielded beind a proxy server. That or he has a heinous case of multiple-personality disorder. That or he is simply a very bored man in sore need of a hobby (or a date).
But I ran a search on his IP address and was able to see that he is connected through a Comcast connection in the Bay Area (presumably San Francisco). Most folks that have high-speed connections don’t change IP addresses frequently because their connection is ‘always on’. Compare this to a dial-up connection where each time you dial in to your ISP, you are assigned an IP address.
So I banned him by his IP address – or rather, told my blog software that if anyone posts a comment with that IP address, to hold it in moderation for me to approve later on.
Boy is he angry! Hopefully this will cause this dolt to move on to other more exciting pursuits. If this turned towards the more threatening/stalking phase of things I could file a complaint with his ISP – Comcast probably keeps records of the last few weeks of IP assignments and they could track down this guys user account and turn it over to the proper authorities.
It is a strange psychosis that has gripped this guy – he is posting multiple comments and multiple people – but all on the same blog post. I’ve got five years of posts he could be defacing but he is simply focused on a post about the cartoon series Drawn Together. There’s a salty online expression that applies in this case:

GYOFB

Get your own – ahem – blog.
To ban a commenter by IP address:
In WordPress: Options > Discussion > Comment Moderation (add IP address to Blacklist)
In TypePad: Control Panel > Site Access > Comment Banning
In Movable Type: Main Menu > (Your Blog) > Weblog Configuration

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