troll

If a site allows comments, you can be 100% sure you’ll always see comments from contrary, spiteful, hateful idiots – trolls. Who are they and why in hell are they doing this?

Our answer:

(source: www.simplify123.com)

Broadly speaking, “sowing discord” through online comments, is what “trolling” is all about. But there is a thick line between having opposing opinions and expressing them courteously, and blasting offensive, derogatory comments, clearly meant to inflame.

While there are always people who like to disagree for disagreement’s sake – and it’s not always a bad thing – things begin to take on a different dimension when it suddenly appears like these people are everywhere, and seem hell-bent on disrupting even the most innocent and friendly exchanges.

Nowhere are the trolls more visible than on posts or videos discussing “controversial” issues. You can be sure that a troll or two will make their presence known within the first 5 to 10 comments – and they’ll stay with it till the bitter end, upsetting most of the commenters in the process.

Trolling has become so prevalent these days, that it doesn’t take a genius – nor a conspiracy theorist – to posit that there may be more to trolling than meets the eye. Could trolling be related to the almost-equally pervasive “debunking” mania going on around virtually ALL controversial publications?

As it turns out, there is more than a grain of truth to this. Not only are there multiple tightly or loosely-knit trolling ORGANIZATIONS, but there are also comment spam programs which are frequently used by individual trolls who wish to appear as dozens or even hundreds of users at a time! Some trolling organizations are quite public and vocal about their activities. They proudly proclaim their “contributions” to the online dialogue as something positive and desirable…. It boggles the mind.

  1. Trolls are ALWAYS anonymous. There is NO harm in being anonymous online and plenty of justification too. But trolls can not operate in any other way.
  2. Trolls never use positive or constructive arguments. Their signature comments include swearing, offense, ridicule, personal attacks, etc.
  3. Most troll comments on any given post are made either by ONE individual posing as many, or by a trolling organization.

Note that not all posts or comments which are generally referred to as “trolling” are in fact created by deliberate “trolls”. There is, therefore, a degree of subjectivity in this term. But… for the purpose of this post, I can probably safely assume that you’ll know it when you see it – if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…

So how do you fight trolls? You can delete their comments, if it’s your original post. You can refuse to engage in conversations with them, thus depriving them of the attention they seek, or you can report them to the owners of the original post, and ask for their IP’s to be banned (though in most cases Trolls use proxies, so it won’t do you much good).

Ultimately, there’s nothing you can do except increase your own knowledge and with increasing ease be able to recognize these agents provocateurs – and ignore them entirely.

As for WHY are they doing it – the reasons vary from juvenile boredom to political agendas. In fact, there is a lot of strong evidence that the latter is predominant. Allegations abound of trolling organizations being funded by intelligence services. Usually, you can deduce the Troll’s agenda and to some extent his source, by simply looking at the context.

Partial References:

http://anti-troll.org/
https://encyclopediadramatica.es/Trolling_organization (beware of porn links on this site)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2013/09/27/trolls-not-allowed-rise-of-quality-online-comments/
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/online-anonymity-not-only-trolls-and-political-dissidents
http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/weirdwebculture/f/what-is-an-internet-troll.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

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