As a recent Facebook status update, I wrote:

Always love when a banned member says “you know I can just keep signing up, so stop banning me.” Never.

My friend Chris posted a reply to that update:

I love how they think it’s a game and they’ll “win” if they keep trying. Nothing screams loser more than trying to win at being a troll. lol.

And it’s true. I mean, we all have people like this, that seem like they are competing with the world for the title of biggest idiot ever. If you haven’t yet, just give it some time. I’ve had people, like the one mentioned above, tell me that they can come back if they want and there is nothing I can do about it.

I remember one person telling me that they knew how to take me down and I knew how to take them down (???), so why don’t I just let them back in and we can avoid all that. Really? My response: no response. I’ll close the site down before I let anyone like that on it. I documented the message for me and my staff and that was that. Good luck in crazyville.

On some level, they can be correct when they say they can come back and we’ll never know. They can create a new account with a username, e-mail address, IP address and profile fields that have nothing to do with their accounts that have been banned. They can be careful about the details they disclose and live in secret. As community administrators, we can only do so much. If people want to sneak around, consciously hide information about themselves and live their life that way… well, they’ve got their own problems, but they can probably keep using our forums.

You have to know your limitations. It is my belief that, eventually most people will let something slip that will tip you or your staff off and then you can make your move. They’ll get comfortable enough, they’ll let their guard down. It’s not something you and your staff should watch intently. You don’t want witch hunts. That is what these people want you to do. They want to rattle your cage, they want to make you worry and to make rash decisions. Don’t fall for that. Just be consistent and stay on track.

Passive awareness is all that you want – just keep your eyes open. As a staff, you should always keep your eyes open to odd circumstances, anyway. I’ve had people fool me, before, for a long time where they amassed a bunch of posts – but, eventually, they did slip up.

Troll hacks, global ignore and like minded features can also be very handy in these cases. Ideally, we give someone a chance to leave our community with dignity at least 2 times. And if they persist and they know what they are doing, then it’s time to break those bad boys out.

When it comes to banned users, know when to stop responding. If they want to be the biggest troll, what can you do? If that’s what someone wants to be, then that’s cool… here’s your sign.