Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to block a troll from a Twitter chat

As you might be aware, I host the Digital First Media Twitter chat, #DFMchat, at noon on Wednesdays, in which journalists and anyone who wants can discuss issues as they relate to our current digital environment.

Unfortunately, for the past weeks, a troll impersonating me, @Lvanlajara, which uses a lowercase "l" so it looks like me, with my avatar, has been bombing the hashtag, dropping irrelevant tweets and a whole bunch of curses.

The first thing to if you are encountered with a troll is to block and report, which is easily done on Twitter.

Hashtag blocking can be easily accomplish like this:

On Tweetdeck, if you are following #DFMchat, mouse over the suspect account and click on the name. The troll's identity can easily be determined by bio (if it's similar is a violation of Twitter's terms of service, and the account can be suspended, but in my case it's not). After determining the troll account, mouse over the avatar, pick the bottom right icon, and hit block and report.

If you are using New Tweetdeck (I don't like personally, so I still use an old version before Twitter bought the service), click on the avatar image and hit block.

This makes the troll disappear from the feed.

On Tweetchat simply mouse over the user icon to the right of the offending tweet and hit block.

 I keep the curated, troll-less feed in CoverItLive, so I'm not just auto-feeding the hashtag. CoverItLive doesn't have a function to ban a Twitter user from an automated feed, since it is not its primary purpose, so I just do a search of the tag and add the tweets in real time, sans troll. Here's is today's archive.

I didn't expect to have an online impersonator, but this deranged individual (a local person with too much time, as it is obvious from the tweets) can be used in an unintended lesson on what can happen when you open up as we have.

An alternative would be to host the chat exclusively on CoverItLive, but I want to reach as many people as possible, so I'm willing to put up with the pest in order to reach a wider audience. 

I'm open to suggestions if you have other ideas.