A few years ago, when I started teaching blogging, I had one student write an anti-gay-marriage post. Another one of my students verbally blasted them in their comments, calling her a bigot. The first student fired back, quoting scripture and telling the second student that they weren't a bigot, just following their beliefs.
Had it ended there, it would have been one thing.
It didn't end there.
The first student continued leaving hateful followup comments to the second student, starting with telling the second student that they were going to hell, and devolving from there.
And then, the first student followed the second student back to their own blog, and clogged their comments on all of their posts--on topic or off--with a lot more of the same.
Since then, I've had to make it clear that trolling is grounds for losing all blogging points for the week it happens in. I haven't really had the problem with it since that I had then. Now, students will snipe back once in comments, then they'll agree to disagree on contentious issues.
Don't get me wrong: they link to each other and write long screeds about why this person's opinion is so different from their own (and why they're wrong), but they remain civil in their comments, and in the comments on classmates' blogs. They simply relate their own side of the issue in their own blog and move on, rather than trying to sway the other person's audience on the other person's blog.
Would that older adults could be as civil as eighteen and nineteen year old college students...
27 minutes ago