What is a Troll?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Coffee Lounge forum

Forum topic by RandyM68 posted 04-19-2012 04:25 PM 3674 views 0 times favorited 66 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 3527 days

04-19-2012 04:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor resource

The term derives from “trolling”, a style of fishing which involves trailing bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The troll posts a message, often in response to an honest question, that is intended to upset, disrupt or simply insult the group.

Usually, it will fail, as the troll rarely bothers to match the tone or style of the group, and usually its ignorance shows.
Why do trolls do it?

I believe that most trolls are sad people, living their lonely lives vicariously through those they see as strong and successful.

Disrupting a stable newsgroup gives the illusion of power, just as for a few, stalking a strong person allows them to think they are strong, too.

For trolls, any response is ‘recognition’; they are unable to distinguish between irritation and admiration; their ego grows directly in proportion to the response, regardless of the form or content of that response.

Trolls, rather surprisingly, dispute this, claiming that it’s a game or joke; this merely confirms the diagnosis; how sad do you have to be to find such mind-numbingly trivial timewasting to be funny?

Remember that trolls are cowards; they’ll usually post just enough to get an argument going, then sit back and count the responses (Yes, that’s what they do!).

Troll – Angler or Under bridge Dweller?

How can troll posts be recognized?

No Imagination – Most are frighteningly obvious; sexist comments on nurses’ groups, blasphemy on religious groups .. I kid you not.
Pedantic in the Extreme – Many trolls’ preparation is so thorough, that while they waste time, they appear so ludicrous from the start that they elicit sympathetic mail – the danger is that once the group takes sides, the damage is done.
False Identity – Because they are cowards, trolls virtually never write over their own name, and often reveal their trolliness (and lack of imagination) in the chosen ID. As so many folk these days use false ID, this is not a strong indicator on its own!
Crossposting – Any post that is crossposted to several groups should be viewed as suspicious, particularly if unrelated or of opposing perspective. Why would someone do that?
Off-topic posting – Often genuine errors, but, if from an ‘outsider’ they deserve matter-of-fact response; if genuine, a brief apposite response is simply netiquette; if it’s a troll post, you have denied it its reward.
Repetition of a question or statement is either a troll – or a pedant; either way, treatment as a troll is effective.
Missing The Point – Trolls rarely answer a direct question – they cannot, if asked to justify their twaddle – so they develop a fine line in missing the point.
Thick or Sad – Trolls are usually sad, lonely folk, with few social skills; they rarely make what most people would consider intelligent conversation. However, they frequently have an obsession with their IQ and feel the need to tell everyone. This is so frequent, that it is diagnostic! Somewhere on the web there must be an Intelligence Test for Trolls – rigged to always say “above 150”

Where are you likely to find trolls?

Wherever they are tolerated – this means forums and networking sites that have loose or lazy moderation, and places like Usenet (newsgroups) where there may be no moderation at all.

Where trolls are successful is a slightly different issue – some forums allow members to set an ‘ignore’ function, so they just do not see troll posts, after the first one, and some specialist forums are tightly focussed so that troll posts stick out a mile and are ignored – it’s larger, more general forums that have issues, as it only takes a couple of members to be drawn in for the whole forum to suffer. They also thrive on ‘opinion’ sites, such as politics and religion, where feelings often run high anyway. But, again, only if moderation is weak.

Usenet has a special problem, as moderation is impossible; for trolls to be controlled, requires committed members using their killfiles effectively, and avoiding accidental cross-posting – which is all too easy with many newsreading software setups.

Some career trolls have set up their forums to exchange notes. These rarely thrive, as most trolls are not team players, and they simply fight among themselves. in other cases, they become centers for cyberbullying (see stalking); while that’s a sad development, it makes it easier to have the sites closed.
Who is at risk?

Any newsgroup, bulletin board, forum or chatroom can attract trolls, but they don’t have the brains to attack nuclear physicists, and they are drawn to the quick response where sex, religion and race are found; so politics is easy prey.

One troll famously tried to infiltrate a mensa group; the results read like 100 trolls and one regular, it didn’t have a chance – but it was stupid enough to persist until removed.

When Should You Be Concerned?

Usually, no, though fractured funny bones and occasional waves of nausea have been reported.

When a troll become persistent and personal, you may need to consider the possibility that it has fermented into an Internet Stalker – equally pathetic, if not more so – but sometimes requiring weedkiller.
The term ‘Internet troll’, originated in a comparison with the angler who ‘trolled’ a trailing bait to catch a fish. But for non-anglers, the mental image of a troll is the slabby, thick, moss-laded creature of Scandinavian folk lore, further popularised by Terry Pratchett in the Discworld novels, and J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books. This sad figure of fun lived under bridges and startles the unwary, but is easily outsmarted by anyone with any intelligence, or a small dog.

The truth is somewhere between the two.

The Internet doesn’t have ancient slimey stone bridges, but trolls lurk around in quiet corners of the internet; while they can pop up almost anywhere, they thrive in distant relatively uninhabited corners.
Social Interaction

Trolls don’t have friends. On the internet, because they interact with human beings, they can convince themselves that they are important, the centre of the universe – that, to them, is better than any friendship. Don’t forget, the troll thinks he is always right, and therefore better than other folk. In real life, exactly the opposite applies. the troll has no friends and virtually no interaction with other people.

If he’s a teen (many are), then he lives in his bedroom, trolling, playing computer games with ‘friends’ (who he doesn’t know at all), and joining roleplay sites, where – of course – he is a hero, or a powerful villain, who is respected in an inverse ratio to the respect he feels for himself.

If he’s an adult, then he has serious social issues. He may work, where people think he’s a weirdo, and avoid him, he may sponge off his parents or be ‘looking for work’, which means he blames everyone for his problems. Except himself.

Most people who are out of work are nothing like the stereotype; most want to work, and gain their self respect through work and being part of the world; but the troll IS the stereotype whining scrounger, to whom the world owes a living.
Sex Life

Almost every troll is male; I don’t know why this is.

The troll has few social skills, and most have never had a girlfriend, many never will.

There’s a clear pattern among trolls; they are much more likely to ignore posts known to be from women. And when they do respond to women, they are much more likely to be brief, abusive, condescending and patronising.

This is almost certainly more due to fear than misogyny – they just don’t know any women. Except Mom. But their attitude rather reduces their chances of reproducing, which is probably a good thing.
Mental Health

It would be easy to dismiss trolls as mentally ill. Easy and wrong. Most would not score significantly on mental illness assessments. But most are simply immature. Fair enough in a teenager, and they have a chance of growing out of it (though the longer they leave it, the harder they may find it to break the habit). But in adults, it’s simply sad.

Once upon a time, they would have been called ‘inadequate psychopaths’; attention seeking loners, forever feeling sorry for themselves, but too bone idle to lift themselves out of their self-selected mire. Some live in a fantasy world, and find it hard to concentrate on real life; they can’t make eye contact, and will say just about anything, frequently contradicting a previous statement.

Most trolls are pretty thick. Let’s face it, it doesn’t take much intelligence to sus out that the troll life is a pretty pathetic one, and given the choice, even a gerbil would choose a more rewarding lifestyle.

You don’t have to be highly intelligent to be an angler, though some would say that it’s difficult to be a successful angler without intelligence. Trolls have all the basic skills, and some are successful, though this is often due to negligence by their victims.

Trolls lay a variety of baits. The real idiots go for single lines, such as religious bigotry in religious groups, overt misogynism in nurses’ groups, and mind blowing subtly, such as “BILL GATES SUCKS” in microsoft support groups. Darwin tells us that if they get a response at that level, then why would they bother to expend what little brain power they have on a better post?

If basic bait fails, then the troll may use a variety of techniques, from sheer twaddle to mild insults, from a controversial view to completely irrelevant questions. Anything to get a response. The human flaw in a troll is a failure to tell the difference between “any response” and “approval”. So insulting them merely encourages them. Invariably.
Playing the Fish

The skilled troll will then focus on a key responder; possibly the rudest, possibly not – but the one the troll thinks is most likley to keep responding. At this stage, other responders may be ignored. But if the original target drops out, then troll may turn to others. Few trolls bother to play more than one sucker at a time. They can always come back later.
Tickling the Trout

Experienced trolls do not respond at random. Once they have a sucker in their sites, they control the conversation. One post may elicit a long, detailed and perfectly reasonable response, but that is not what the troll wants. So they’ll often complete ignore the main argument (which they started!), and focus on one careless detail – a date wrong, a misspelling for their next attack. And then the same trick again. And again, so long as the sucker responds.

When all else fails, the troll will do just what lazy anglers do: they’ll drop explosives in the water, clean up and go home. The failed troll can be very abusive indeed.

Trolls have no life, no power; but by manipulating others, even if for just a couple of exchanges, they have control.

If they can catch an acknowledged expert, so much the better for them.

There’s no need ever to get caught by a troll, though it is amusing to see Mensa members frothing at the mouth.

Exploit their weaknesses, as they’d exploit yours.

Attention Need

Trolls are nothing without attention, just a monster under the bed. While the first post may be camoflaged, it really doesn’t take rocket science to identify an active troll. The best response from fellow members of the group is simply to ignore it. And the best response from moderators is to delete their membership; quickly and cleanly, with no negotiation or second chance. The group is more important than one idiot.
Socially Inept

Trolls have no self respect and low self esteem, and cannot cope with normal human interaction; start with a bit of flattery, and they may be stuck for a response. Even if they recover, they will not able to react appropriately, which should convince everyone of their trollism.

Trolls focus on their target, not the issue; additonally, most trolls can only pick on one person at a time. This leaves them wide open to paralysis when you talk about them, but not to them.

—Tim,Lim,Bim,Olay,Fataaang,zoop,biscuit barrell,fruit bat…...Tea Party

Just as long as I didn’t hurt your feelings, sweetheart.
Love always,
Jethro Starsandbars

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

66 replies so far

View bonehead's profile


45 posts in 4130 days

#1 posted 04-19-2012 04:59 PM

You should really cite the resource when you copy some one else’s work. Otherwise it is plagarism.

-- All lessons are repeated until learned

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3902 days

#2 posted 04-19-2012 05:04 PM

^anyone with a mullet gets points with me.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4383 days

#3 posted 04-19-2012 05:27 PM

why not take this into the PM (Private Message) world.

I don’t believe anybody but the two of you truly finds it interesting, valuable, or worthwhile, so …. ???

Just a thought.

-- -- Neil

View chrisstef's profile


18133 posts in 4215 days

#4 posted 04-19-2012 05:33 PM

they see me trollin ….. they hatin’.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 4092 days

#5 posted 04-19-2012 05:48 PM

lol Neil: “Brandy” They would make a good couple, and then maybe they could do their profanity laced posts in the comfort of their own home.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 3527 days

#6 posted 04-19-2012 05:49 PM

Randy took it upon himself to target me..I didn’t invite this..but I will not back down. He charges head long at the bullies, but has no idea why everyone picks on him.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

View bandit571's profile


29532 posts in 3892 days

#7 posted 04-19-2012 06:01 PM

Hey, who changed the channel??? Same old show, different location. Jethro and his Blunder dog, at it again. maybe you should go look at the stars, and find some new star cluster to “discover’ . Better yet, take this show to a reputable magazine, like Star, or maybe Globe. Maybe send a video of you two to America’s Funniest home videos?

“Trollin’ trollin’, trollin’, keep that doggie trollin’ and hide…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View dakremer's profile


2771 posts in 4300 days

#8 posted 04-19-2012 06:03 PM

You can’t just yell “self defence” to cover up your attack whenever it’s convienent for you. You attacking people has nothing to do with defence at all really.

On another note, you seem to label everyone as a troll except for yourself. Kind of one of those “look in the mirror” type situations!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View dakremer's profile


2771 posts in 4300 days

#9 posted 04-19-2012 06:11 PM

I think you called me 7 the other day for my harry potter reference? That makes you how old? big man can drop F bombs on a Internet site. Oooooohh. Tough guy. Ur just making yourself look bad, “bro”.

Oh….ur jealous. It’s pretty obvious

I’m not being passive aggressive. You can tell by the sound of my voice

Just haven’t been cussed at yet today… Needed my fix – knew I could count on you

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View dakremer's profile


2771 posts in 4300 days

#10 posted 04-19-2012 06:17 PM

(hehe… flag!!! Ur doing great!! This doesn’t count as a comment because it’s in parentheses)

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 3713 days

#11 posted 04-19-2012 06:20 PM

Has anyone seen the girl on the tv show Storage Wars? I think her name is Brandy. Hot!

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View dakremer's profile


2771 posts in 4300 days

#12 posted 04-19-2012 06:24 PM

What’s a looser? Must be a term us “higher educated folk” aren’t learned of.

This is fun

Ok back to my life. I enjoyed this time we’ve spent together.

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 3527 days

#13 posted 04-19-2012 06:44 PM

DKV, I love that show. Brandy does have a nice rack, but she ain’t easy to be around either.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

View BobM001's profile


388 posts in 3539 days

#14 posted 04-19-2012 06:51 PM

THAT’S IT!!!!! “Keyboard Tough Guy”. Now crawl back to your CAD cubicle and munch on your tofu and alfalfa sprouts pita.

-- OK, who's the wise guy that shrunk the plywood?

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 4345 days

#15 posted 04-19-2012 06:51 PM

Sadly, there is no shortage of posters making themselves look bad.
Mean spirited insults and name calling is childish behavior.
Pushing someone’s buttons for personal entertainment is intensly self-centered.
Many of these posts speak volumes – about the poster.
Take a break, take a breath, take a look in the mirror.
Are you really as nasty and petty as your posts?

-- Greg D.

showing 1 through 15 of 66 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics