Posted: 13/10/2010 in Rants


You mad bro?


Coming from a person who spends the majority of life staring at pixels, I’ve noticed recently that more and more people of the internet like to throw the word ‘Troll’ around quite often.  For those of you that don’t know,  the actual definition of an internet troll is: “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument”

Essentially a Troll is an individual who thrives on pissing people off and feeds on negative reactions to start an argument. On 4chan the feeding grounds are the infamous ‘/b/’ channel. On games like World of Warcraft its ‘Barrens/trade chat.’ On games like Call of duty It’s the 12-year-old with a mic who thinks everyone on the server are either ‘fags’ or are ‘hacking’. On YouTube it’s the majority of comments on a clip that slur the video, making you wonder why they were watching the clip in the first place. The potential is few and far between. No doubt if you have been on any online community where people can talk to one another. you’ve witnessed a troll in the act.

There are many different variations of this anti-social behaviour and countless ways to explain them. But from my online experience this is how I can best describe a few of them:

Sniper Trolls – This type reminds me of a sniper in a war, They’ll leave a comment or post a thread on an awkward or touchy subject that starts a pages-long debate among the other users,  though when it hits page 2 you will notice that the troll has stopped posting altogether, leaving everyone else to argue and try and resolve a usually unresolvable matter.

Pyromaniac Troll – This one will start a spark with a heated argument, then brutally flame and insult anyone and everyone that comes into their vicinity(So many puns!). These are the kind of people in real life who you can’t have a conversation with because their opinion is always right based off emotional perspective, not an interpretation of real facts, and all who oppose it are slayed where they stand.

Devils Advocate Troll – Where the person will not actually start a conversation or a thread, but rather make contrary posts to things that don’t really require a contradictory opinion. They enjoy frustrating and harassing users that don’t know how to ignore someone who is clearly just trying to get a reaction from them.

IRL Troll – Finally there is the real life troll, this is the same as trolling on the internet but people who have the guts actually do it face to face instead of over a keyboard. This style of real trolling I have much more respect for. They know how to make a conversation exciting, and can sometimes even make valid or interesting (or amusing) points in the course of their trolling.

The aim of pointing these out is to show just how diverse and varied a troll can be, and there are literally hundreds of sub-definitions describing the types more accurately. Because there is no single meaning to the word, it’s basically a synonym for ass hole. Which broadens it even further. I think the term is used that much, even in mainstream news articles, that it has become as meaningless as the word ‘n00b’.

So by saying that, do yourself and your online community a favour – If you see a comment or a user that you suspect is a troll, don’t bother with your clever “don’t feed the troll” 4chan pictures. Do not try to call out the supposed troll, this is only going to give them what they want, or will spoil a perfectly legit (albeit possibly stupid) comment or thread. Just ignore it, or (as crazy as it sounds) even respond to the post as though it were serious. Who knows – maybe you’ll find yourself in an interesting discussion.


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