Concern trolls are people who pretend to be supporters of a cause, but their real intention is to undermine the progress and harmony of a community. They often use the guise of constructive criticism or friendly advice to mask their true intentions, and may feign agreement with the community's goals or values to gain the trust of its members. However, their comments or actions ultimately reveal their insincerity, as they intentionally provoke conflict or distract from the community's main focus. Concern trolls can be particularly effective at derailing discussions, because their comments are often couched in a way that makes it difficult for other members to criticize them without appearing unreasonable or dismissive.
In online communities, concern trolls can be particularly disruptive, as they have a large platform to reach out to the community members. They often use tactics such as presenting themselves as neutral, offering unsolicited advice, or pointing out potential issues to create arguments within the group, thus disrupting the conversation. Online communities often struggle to manage concern trolls, as they may not have a clear mechanism in place to filter out their contributions without also filtering out legitimate concerns or constructive criticism. This is why online community moderators need to be particularly vigilant in identifying and dealing with concern trolls to maintain a positive and productive community environment.