A guide to trolls

by thetigglesworth

“Trolls” have been a common topic among many different media sources, from newspaper and magazine articles, documentaries, news stories, talk shows, and the like over the past few years, growing in concern over the effect they have on other internet users.  An internet troll, by definition, is somebody who intentionally irritates other internet users by saying things they don’t agree with, and/or saying mean or hateful things over the web.  Trolling, when done in harmless ways (which there is much controversy over anyway, whether or not there is any “harmless” way to do it) usually doesn’t tend to do very much harm, other than slightly annoy other internet users, which they’ll normally just scoff and ignore; however, to certain extents, trolling exceeds (what I consider) “acceptable” levels of trolling, and turns more into a problem.  I, myself, enjoy the art of trolling on the web… and sure, hate me for saying that all you like, but I’m going to explain myself here, and teach you how to protect yourself against trolls!

Note: content beyond this point may (definitely fucking will) contain language that those with younger ears aren’t “supposed” to hear.  Or read.  Just an FYI, there’s no real proper way to explain trolls without a lot of offensive language.

Trolls are kind of like the internet’s moron detectors.  Say, somebody goes into a Super Mario discussion forum, and makes a new thread entitled “sonick is betterr thn marrio”, and then go on to write a half-assed, terribly-spelled article with really silly points just to be ridiculous and stupid.  The people who reply to this thread with their angry, hateful comments about how that person must be mentally challenged to have those views are the morons.  God damn motherfucking red light right there bitches.

Troll:

sanic iz de bettr pokemon bcuz maryo runs slow3r

Morons:

MARIO IS BETTER, HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU EVER THINK THAT SONIC IS BETTER YOU FUCKING MONGOLOID, AND GO TAKE AN ENGLISH CLASS AND LEARN TO SPELL YOU PATHETIC STUPID FUCKING WORM PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE THE REASON ALIENS WON’T VISIT US WAAAAAAH MOMMY SOMEONE HAS A DIFFERENT OPINION THAN ME

Troll:

Ur an noob niggr fite me irl

Morons:

*gets more upset and says more angry things and cries like a bitch, etc etc etc you get the idea*

Okay…. who is the bad guy here?  The one who went into this community looking to upset a few kids by stating an opinion they should have just been able to accept, or the ones who react to an opinion with hate and anger?  Of course, the trolls don’t actually type like that when they’re not trolling, and maybe they don’t have the opinions that they express online while they’re trolling, but they’re still opinions.  People just get upset and uncomfortable with people who have different opinions than them.  The kind of trolling I have described here is exactly what trolling should be: harmless, not personally offensive to anyone (except perhaps the troll), not personal at all.  You set out the bait (an unpopular opinion for the place you’re in), and you wait for idiots to flock around it like seagulls around a rotting mouse.

On the other side of the spectrum is what I think of as a pretty low-down and personal kind of trolling.  Say, like going on someone’s ask.fm every day of the week every two hours or so and saying something negative like “you’re fat” or “you’re disgusting”, “you’re a slut”, etc.  Or going on someone’s music covers and telling them they have a terrible singing voice, and to please get their voice boxes clipped.  Or harassing somebody enough on their own Facebook page that they’re forced to abandon it.  That’s intrusive, that’s interfering with that person’s life, and their interests and goals and happiness.  When you start to mock their existence and make their suffering a game, being just relentlessly mean, that’s not cool.  Trolls are supposed to be playful, never with the actual intention to cause anything other than a little frustration to someone.  Nothing personal, nothing long-lasting, nothing genuinely hurtful or mean.

I was never asked to plug their blog (and I never asked to, either), but I’m going to do it anyway.  Serendipity is a good fucking blog, and I recommend it highly for a lot of interesting and compelling posts about art and lots of other interesting things.  They recently wrote a blog about trolls, and a problem they had with trolls (or a singular troll, as it seems).  This post was kind of in response to it, because those who haven’t been around internet communities where trolls are regarded more as artists than annoyances don’t really understand why trolls do what they do.  They don’t understand why they like to make people’s lives miserable, and they don’t get why there exist people who could be so mean.  Truth is, most trolls are pretty friendly folks who like to joke around in a very different way than you.  Maybe some people fuckin’ hate it, but there’s not a whole lot that can be done.  So like… sorry about that.

And now, for the long-awaited answer for how to spot and deal with trolls:

Trolls are easy to identify because of a lot of things.  They follow patterns, most of them tend to act very similar because there’s a bit of a process to it.  Trolls like to share screenshots of the results of their trolling for humour purposes, so there tends to be a lot of inside jokes in the content itself (like “Jimmy Rustles”.  Never believe anyone who says their name is “Jimmy Rustles”.).  When you see people spelling way too bad, and it’s not even believable how poorly they spell, you’re probably dealing with a troll if they keep trying to start shit.    If people are throwing around racial slurs like punctuation, and trying their best to get people upset with them in that way, they’re definitely fucking trolls.  If anybody states a really absurd and ridiculous opinion, or tells a crazy story that definitely can’t be true and claims that it is, and stuff of the like, they’re trolling.  Trolls aren’t incredibly difficult to identify.

How do deal with them, though?  Don’t pay them a shred of attention.  If you’re on a site where you can block them, do it right away.  If they make another account to troll you, block that one too.  It takes way more effort for them to make another account than it takes for you to hit the little “block” button – they can make all the accounts they like, it’s only wasting their own time!  If not, don’t say anything.  Maybe drop them a comment like “obvious troll is obvious” or something along those lines, just telling them that you’re aware they’re a troll and you don’t particularly give a shit.  If they can’t get reactions out of people, they’ll go somewhere else where they can.  Reactionless people are boring.

-Tigglesworth

Advertisements