Transparency and openness are some of the greatest benefits of cryptocurrencies. For example, with bitcoin, you can visit https://blockchain.info/ at any time and look up any block of the bitcoin blockchain and find information about any and all bitcoin transactions that have occurred on the network since its inception in 2009.
While in many cases you won’t be able to tell much about the people behind the transactions because of the way that bitcoin wallets generate public addresses and the bitcoin network protects the privacy of its users, the information about transactions is still open and accessible. However, the openness and accessibility sometimes have their downsides. This is especially true when developers launch a new coin.
BitcoinTalk.org is one of the most popular forums about cryptocurrencies. Typically, a new coin will publish an announcement about its upcoming launch on BitcoinTalk.org. The forum is free and open to the public, which means it is also open to Internet trolls.
The word “troll” on Internet slang means a person who intentionally upsets people, spreads lies and brings up controversial and off-topic issues that simply can’t end well. Trolls can be active in forums, chats, newsgroups or blogs.
The intent of a troll is to provoke readers, to disrupt and to have users start acting emotionally to what the troll is doing. Often, there’s no hidden agenda behind the actions of trolls other than amusement. Sometimes, competition may hire trolls or scammers to disrupt productive discussions in the forums. Despite the best effort of the organizers of BitcoinTalk.org, the forum has a lot of trolls on it, just like most other forums that are open to the public.
Since developers and early investors can make a lot of money during a successful initial coin offering, the stakes can be very high. Disreputable competitors often use whatever tools and methods they have available, including hiring trolls and scammers to attack other coins and discredit, upset and distract their creators during launches.
Because the Internet is a global phenomenon, it is possible to hire trolls that will be active on forums 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The activities of trolls can range from posting false information about technology to pretending to be a victim of a non-existent scam. Some trolls try to blend into new coin communities and destroy them from the inside.
It is important for everyone interested in investing in cryptocurrencies to be able to separate legitimate and honest information from fake troll posts and noise that you will discover when you start doing your research.
How to Identify a Troll on a Cryptocurrency Forum
There are several factors you need to pay attention to that will allow you to somewhat easily distinguish trolls from users who publish genuine information, even when the information is sensational or potentially damaging.
For many trolls, trolling is their full-time job. This means that they spend a certain number of hours on forums such as BitcoinTalk.org. They would also typically log in only during certain times, spend a certain number of hours online and consistently post a certain number of posts a day or a week.
Usually, a troll would have certain days off and not be present on the forum at all during the off days, which is something that’s easy to spot. Real cryptocurrency enthusiasts don’t have a fixed schedule when it comes to visiting the forums and posting on the forum. If you find a topic on the forum that you are interested in, you will be visiting it and engaging in conversations whenever you can, not on a fixed rigid schedule.
Instead, a troll will be shown to work in the morning at the same time and leaving at night at the same time, which will make it easy to determine the time zone of the troll.
If you suspect that someone may be a troll, start with checking their posting history. A troll would typically focus on just a few forum threads dedicated to certain coins because that’s what he or she is being paid for by the competitors of the coins. Also, the troll will be posting tons of useless content and comments.
A great way to identify a troll is to read several threads where the troll posted comments or replies and notice a response from the community. Communities often welcome any legitimate and thought-through questions, even if these questions go against the interests of the community, such as questions that raise the issues of security. Trolls, on the other hand, rarely ask questions to get straightforward answers, which is why a community can quickly become antagonistic towards a certain user. If the user has a track record of different communities antagonizing against him or her, such a person may be a troll.
Another benefit of checking how communities respond to trolls is that the way a community responds will tell you a lot about its culture, momentum, belief in the coin, and the way to communicate with each other and with newcomers, all of which are important factors when you are deciding to invest in a new coin.