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Web/Blog Trolls

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Web/Blog Trolls

Post by dianeh on Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:01 am

Over the years we have seen many many trolls and when I read this column by James Delingpole, I recognised the traits of these trolls. James classifies them into categories.

It is a good read, particularly if you think about the trolls we have come across (sickening I know) and match their particular characteristics. Some meet a few criteria at once (stalker troll, failablog troll, pedant troll - does that ring a bell). Many have been 'Just dont get it trolls'. The political blogs tend to get the spambot trolls and they are so annoying with their talking points of the day. Interesting, in the early days of the Madeleine forums, there were people who acted like spambots but they were not being paid, they did it probono, such was their hatred of the McCanns.

Anyway, here it is for your entertainment.

Seven types of troll: a spotter's guide

By James DelingpoleEnvironmentLast updated: July 31st, 2011

2483 CommentsComment on this article

Don't feed the trolls (Photo: Reuters)

As we all know just because you’re away on holiday doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about the nasty things in life. That’s why I’m dedicating this post to the menagerie – or, if you will, infestation – of trolls which lurk below this blog and who seem to have grown even more active in my absence.

There’s an argument which goes that we bloggers need our pet trolls almost as much as they need us. I’m not sure I value them that highly myself but I do find them a fascinating case study. What intrigues me is their psychopathology. I mean, it takes a certain sort of mentality actively to seek out columnists with whom you disagree and lurk below their blog being spiteful and angry and disruptive. Maybe I’d respect them more if they weren’t cowering behind the mask of anonymity, or if ever for once in their sad, deficient lives they actually strove to engage with the arguments made. But they never do, for such is the nature of trolling.

In the early days, I admit, I used to get quite upset by the horrid things trolls said about me. I mean, I’m just a blogger making a case. It’s not like I’m misusing public money in the manner of, say, a UEA “climate scientist”; it’s not like I’m a politician making bad laws or some rent-seeking landowner blighting my neighbours’ views with wind farms. But it’s OK, I’m over it now. What I’ve since learned to appreciate is that the problem with trolls is not my problem: it’s theirs. These are psychologically damaged creatures, eaten up with an awful lot of rage and sense of their own inadequacies. Below are some the varieties of troll I have identified. I’m sure you’ll have fun deciding which avatars best fit into which category.

1. Just Don’t Get It Troll. Just Don’t Get It Troll is the feeblest form of troll life. In fact he hardly qualifies as a troll at all because he doesn’t understand what proper trolling is about, or indeed what the interweb thing is really for, or anything. He’ll often begin his rants with “I can’t believe you get paid for writing this rubbish” or “How disgraceful that a fine newspaper like the Telegraph should allow its reputation to be sullied by such bilge”. [Yeah, like you're in a position to complain when you read the stuff for free online] Or they’ll have a go at you for writing in too casual a style, or for promoting your books, or for not writing about the subject they wanted you to write – or at least not in the way they would have done it had THEY been writing the piece. That’s why they’re called Just Don’t Get It Trolls: because they Just Don’t Get It.

2. Failoblog Troll. Failoblog troll’s dream is to have a blog as successful as the one he trolls. Unfortunately – as you can see for yourself if you’re foolish enough to follow the link he provides to his tragically unread blog – he is incapable of expressing himself coherently, interestingly or amusingly. His tone is bitter, thwarted, envious: like Iago, only without the quick-wittedness or charm.

3. Stalker troll. It takes a fairly sick mentality to want to be a troll. If you were in any way healthy, you would prefer to hang out the blogs of people you agree with, rather than maliciously setting out to disrupt those of people you hate. Stalker troll is the sickest of the lot. He becomes obsessed with every last detail of life of the person whose blog he infests, in the hope of gleaning titbits which he can use against his nemesis. For example, one of the regular trolls on this blog makes frequent sneery references to the fact that I suffer from depression. This is bizarre. The reason he knows I suffer from depression is because I have written great big articles about it in the Daily Mail and The Spectator. Presumably this means, then, that my depression is not something I consider a weakness (Winston Churchill? Stephen Fry? etc) nor something I find embarrassing.

4. Pedant Troll. In his imagination, pedant troll is the very exemplar of reason, balance and moderation. He feels effortlessly superior to the ridiculous, extremist, purblind fool whose blog he haunts, and whom he likes to put down with his killer sarcasm, weapons-grade pedantry and niggling little quibbles masquerading as constructive criticism. If he were really as brilliant as he thinks he is, he would at the very least have a major blog of his own by now, and more likely be King of the World. Strangely, he has yet to achieve either of these things.

5. Spambot troll. Spambot troll is on a mission – quite possibly a paid-for mission to judge by the frequency with which he posts. His job is to sabotage the comments section by filling it with cut-and-paste postings of little relevance to the debate in hand. He was probably sent straight here from CACC – which also sums up the quality of the stuff he writes.

6. Cuckoo troll. Like most trolls, cuckoo trolls are tortured by a terrible nagging fear that no one will ever take what they have to say very seriously. This fear is well justified. Cuckoo trolls try to get round this by mimicking the values of their host community. So, for example, they will seek to mislead with comments like “What makes you think I’m a Labour voter?” or “Actually I’m very open-minded on the subject of climate science. I just….”. The purpose is to make them come across like reasonable other people, instead of the hard-left/deep-green activists they in fact are.

7. “I didn’t read what you said but here’s what I think” troll. He doesn’t read your piece. He doesn’t need to: he knows what he thinks already and what he knows is, he hates everything you stand for and you’re wrong and he’s going to say so, every column you write, regardless of the fact that the paucity of recommends he gets prove him to be a total Billy No Mates.

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Re: Web/Blog Trolls

Post by calcite51 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:04 pm

Diane, this is quite interesting and I recognized some of the traits.
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Re: Web/Blog Trolls

Post by Catkins on Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:33 pm

LOL think we have come across all of the above...
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