Anatomy of a Troll

by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on February 10, 2010

in Blogging,Farts and Other Stuff,WTF?

Definitions:
troll
– noun: (in Scandinavian folklore) any of a race of supernatural beings, sometimes conceived as giants and sometimes as dwarfs, inhabiting caves or subterranean dwellings.
troll
– In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

In other words, a turd.

Just who are these people that feel the need to instigate others through the anonymity of the internet?

Why do they only appear out of the darkness of the shadows of the corners of the interwebs just to pounce on their next victim?

They seem to originate out of the depths in high school social circles. Falling into one of two categories, they have brought their feelings with them into adulthood. The two categories of high school personalities that seem to originate said trolls are the Outcast and the Snob.

The Outcast
Treated in high school as a leper, a weirdo, or just generally a hermit, the Outcast spent years holed up in her bedroom closet scheming against every other kid in her high school. She created drawings of herself killing the other students, typically the “popular” kids. She never felt strong enough to actually follow through with her goal of hurting or embarrassing anyone, but her every waking moment was spent dreaming of the day that she would succeed.

The Snob
Not necessarily a rich bitch, but one who sincerely felt she was better than every other girl in her high school. She had a small group of friends, most of whom looked up to her apparent self-confidence, but who really feared the Snob and her powers. Unlike the Outcast, the Snob had the ability to attack her perceived nemesis outright. She was conniving and outright despicable in her manner of embarrassing others. She was feared by every single person in the high school, especially the teachers. The Snob was not to be crossed.

The common fiber in both the Outcast and the Snob is their incredibly low self-esteem. Their fear and dislike of themselves is overwhelming to the point that they lash out at others. They feel the need to knock every single other person down so as to feel they are the superior being.

This overwhelming fear of themselves moves on to their adult lives, and with the popularity and access of social media, the Outcast and the Snot can now practice their hatred on others ANONYMOUSLY.

They are innately jealous of others’ successes. Their jealousy manifests itself in a way that is intent to cause a discombobulation in their victim’s lives, on or offline. They have now become a Troll.

The Troll
Now that their lives are spent online and away from daily personal face-to-face interactions, the Troll can now attack at will. She can prey on her victims from afar, even making “friends” with other sympathetic and unsuspecting people. The Troll can garner sympathy from their new “friends” by coaxing them into a “friendship” built on a marriage of low self-esteem and unsuccessful internet endeavors.

The Troll does not necessarily have to prey on her victims within the comment sections of blog posts. She can also create her own blog on which to lure in “friends” who think they feel the same way as the Troll. She will build relationships and “friendships” with other online women in an attempt to build up her own self-esteem.

The Troll can be seen around the blogosphere writing fun, happy posts, all of which have a strong undertone of crazy. Some Non-Trolls can see beyond the fun/happy through to the core of the crazy lying dormant for months, even years. Non-Trolls will sometimes warn other bloggers of the impending crazy to be revealed and to stay far away.

The Troll can strike at any time. The trigger could be reading a Non-Troll’s blog about a new job or sponsored trip, or reading a post where the Troll feels she was wronged. The Troll will then lash out at her victim, most often trying to remain anonymous. Brave Trolls will write posts on her own blog exposing her jealousy and rage against the “popular” bloggers or those whom she feels has “wronged” her by being successful on their own. The Troll will find a viewpoint on which she disagrees and thus feels it is her duty to attack the writer for her own personal feelings on that viewpoint.

Trolls are simply sad people garnering way too much negative energy against another person.

It is best not to poke at or feed a troll, unless of course, you feel you can handle the negative energy expended your way from said Troll. If you have the energy, by all means, poke away. However, it is not encouraged to feed the troll too much, for she will then begin her quest as your new personal Troll.

What say you?
Do you have a Troll?
Have you been the victim of a Troll?
ARE YOU A TROLL?

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miss Grace February 10, 2010 at 11:39 am

I haz no trolls.
Well.
Once someone commented that they didn’t like my writing cuz I use caps lock too much and I was like THAT’S BECAUSE I’M YELLING STUPID, and there was one guy who left several comments about how my kid’s not that cute, and my ex has gone through various troll commenting phases during the life of my blog, but no bonafide anonytrolls, really.

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2 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm

those definitely qualify as trolls.

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3 Chibi Jeebs February 10, 2010 at 11:51 am

I had a troll once, that was my own fault: I “fed” the troll by defending a friend against said troll on her blog, so Assmuppet McDouchenugget came to my blog. S/he even went to the trouble of creating a fake LJ account when I turned off anonymous commenting. I deleted both comments, and it went away. I’m not cool enough for my OWN trolls. hehe

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4 Christina February 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Assmuppet McDoushenugget made me spit out my soda. I love it.

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5 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm

dude. me too.

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6 Faiqa February 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

I have had three trolls in my illustrious blogging career (haha). One of them always commented under a pseudonym and only on topics that were political. He (or she) would rant in my comments section about my misguided politics, etc. I finally blocked him when he made some disparaging comments about gays. He e-mailed me and tried to tell me that I was doomed to a sad existence because I couldn’t handle the truth or something to that effect. I was all, “The truth?? You don’t even use your REAL NAME! If you’re going to be a hateful little prick, at least, let people know who you are.”

The other two were just mean. Just mean, mean, mean. Both of them, I think, former outcasts.

I wonder, though, is anonymity a requisite characteristic of a troll? Or could someone who is not anonymous also be a troll?

And does disagreeing with someone (politely but pointedly) and posting a comment to that effect make a person a troll?

Finally, does posting a long ass comment with irritating follow up questions also indicate that one might be a troll?

If so, I would like the record to show that if I am a troll, I may have been “the snob” before I supposedly became a troll. If, may have been and allegedly. Of course. But, dude, I loved myself. Don’t let that girl I wrote a fake love letter to in the ninth grade tell you any different.

Sigh. I’m going to hell.

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7 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 11:57 am

YOU? are not a troll.

“is anonymity a requisite characteristic of a troll? Or could someone who is not anonymous also be a troll?”
NO – it is not necessary to be anonymous. it is simply the anonymity of being somewhere else and not being face-to-face that makes the Troll comfortable to attack.

“And does disagreeing with someone (politely but pointedly) and posting a comment to that effect make a person a troll?”
NO – just because you disagree and you feel strongly enough to disagree does not make one a Troll. the Troll must be antagonistic to be considered a threat.

“Finally, does posting a long ass comment with irritating follow up questions also indicate that one might be a troll?”
NO – i like you.

“I’m going to hell.”
I’ll meet you there.

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8 LeSombre February 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Have you ever heard of PillowPants?

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9 The Husband February 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm

and her evil friend Lister-fiend the mouth troll!

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10 Nanna February 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever had a troll – not that many people read my blog BUT I have certaibly seen them elsewhere. The anonymous thing is wqhat really gets me, cuz, really? We’re grownups here. Whaddaya gonna do – cyber punch me? *shaking my wise gray head*

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11 LAB February 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Nanna: You’d be surprised how many people read your blog. Hello from Atlanta!

Leigh Anne

P.S. You inspire me.

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12 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Nanna inspires you or me?

she’s pretty awesome, but c’mon. i can be inspirational too.

😉

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13 LAB February 10, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Yes you can! …wait, was that inspirational? We’re an inspired lot around here!

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14 Aunt Becky February 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I get trolls. Plenty. Well, not really THAT many. I’m not like FAMOUS. But in the month I worked on that other blog, I got a death threat and called horrible names constantly.

The worst, though, I think, are the people who come by my regular blog and GENUINELY think they’re helping by pointing out things to me. Sometimes? Maybe helpful. Usually, notsomuch. Mostly, though, my people are respectful and sweet. I’m very fortunate.

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15 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 4:04 pm

shut up. you’re famous.

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16 cindy w February 10, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I had one troll. She started off leaving random, semi-nice comments on my blog, but then it all changed when I mentioned my political beliefs on my blog. She started attacking me and calling me all sorts of names. For example, I wrote a post that happened to mention that I’m pro-choice, so she told me that my mother should’ve had a late-term abortion with me. (And btw, the reason she feels so strongly about her pro-life stance is because she’s a Christian. Clearly.) She also called me a deadbeat for being a SAHM (even though I worked part-time), and was just all around insane.

I honestly don’t even remember what her last comment was about. It just pissed me off & I decided that I had had enough. So, I outed her. I took the IP address from her comment, installed SiteMeter so I could match up her IP there, copied the latitude & longitude for her IP address in SiteMeter, pasted that into Google Maps, and “oh hai, troll, I can seez where you works nao.”

http://www.poobou.com/2009/07/08/for-jojo/

I haven’t heard a peep from her since.

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17 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 4:04 pm

you’re hardcore.

note to blogland: don’t mess with cindy.

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18 Miss Grace February 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Dude. Cindy. You rock.

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19 April February 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I am over from Life’s Crazy Joke…is that allowed…to click on your name when you comment and then read your blog? hmm

Well, if not…sorry!!!!!!!!

I have not received a troll comment in blog land…on message boards, oh heck yeah! I had one on a mommy message board that really ruffled my feathers. Looking back, how stupid was I for feeding the beast. She does not post much now, but I am sure she is reeking havoc somewhere. People like that are not happy without drama. I am just happy if I can get through the day without one of my kids melting down.

Love your blog!

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20 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm

uhhmmmmm yeah. you’re SUPPOSED to click over from other’s blogs! that’s why we comment. well, that and for the sake of commenting.

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21 April February 10, 2010 at 1:40 pm

yeah, I thought so…but I have learned that there are rules in this blogland and I did not know if commenting to blog rock starts was permitted…lol

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22 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

“rules”

we don’t have rules around these parts.

just stick with being nice & have common sense.

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23 April February 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I am screwed then……JUST KIDDIN! I have not ever been told I broke a rule, but I have read on other blogs that they have been told. Hmm, maybe they were trolls? And just whining for attention.

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24 The Husband February 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm

If you didn’t marry me I’d probably be a troll because I was totally an outcast. I never plotted against other kids though.

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25 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

you’re my pocket troll.

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26 Jill February 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

My blog is (thankfully) far too “unknown” to have it’s very own trolls. However, I totally used to be a rich bitch and I know I’m crazy because my shrink won’t tell me otherwise.

Maybe I am a troll?

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27 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 4:15 pm

totally NOT a troll.

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28 Tara R. February 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I’ve been lucky and have only had a couple troll comments. The name on the return email (cuz WP doesn’t allow anonymous comments) was even ‘hatemail.’ Loser.

It’s unnerving, but that’s what DELETE buttons are for. I don’t respond and have no guilt over completely ignoring. I’ve never left a negative comment either. If I don’t like what a blogger posted, I just back away.

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29 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] February 10, 2010 at 5:08 pm

total loser who would troll you.

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30 Heather February 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I have had a few trolls throughout my blogging life. And before that, on AOL message boards, I dealt with a lotta drama via trolls. Now that I’m older (read: not 15 years old), I totally get that feeding them is stupid. I have comment moderation, but only for people who have never commented before, and that’s mainly cause if my mom ever finds my blog, I wanna stop her from commenting before she starts 😉

Trolls are stupid, and can be so very hurtful though, when they pose as your friend, but in reality, they hate you. SO STUPID.

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31 Sarah February 10, 2010 at 9:58 pm

One troll. One very vocal troll. And a few people that I know read and talk smack to others but not ever me officially (so screw ’em).

Hate it.

BLEH.

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32 VDog February 10, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I’ve never had a real troll. A couple search engine drive by’s, but that’s it.

I DID have someone troll my comment on a post of Amanda’s (Shamelessly Sassy) once. That was funny.

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33 Cass February 10, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I’ve had a couple trolls on my You Tube account. They made fun of the twins’ disability and accused me of malnourshing them. Trolls give me such warm fuzzies, and apparently don’t stop me from continuing to whore out my adorable children: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAuEO8unYlA

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34 Allison Zapata February 10, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Holy Shit! This post got my heart pumping!!

Everyone looks like a troll to me now.

GREAT GREAT GREAT post!

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35 Mandi Bone February 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I am not a blogger but I have been on a social site for moms. It has gotten REAL ugly over there before. People I thought were friends. People I have met in real life. The internets are a scary place.

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36 Al_Pal February 11, 2010 at 3:31 am

Meep. I can see this took a lot of writing! 😛

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37 TexasRed February 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I had to turn on comment moderation on my blog b/c I kept getting advertisements written in Chinese. Bonus is that I now don’t have to worry about trolls b/c it’s just a matter of pressing “Delete.”

Haven’t had any yet, mostly b/c I write about books and people apparently don’t have the energy to call me a whore for liking the Twilight books or whatev.

I have been waiting for someone to slam us for having a prairie dog as a pet and threaten to contact PETA, but so far just people talking about how cute he is.

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38 Issa February 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm

On occasion I’ll get one for defending someone else on their blog. I had one who I finally bloked who loved to tell me what a horrible mother I was and how I deserved to have miscarriages, because I fed my kids donuts. Yeah, it didn’t make sense to me either.

I do have one that I think must be someone I knew earlier in my life, or I just really rub her the wrong way. This person, loves to show up at odd times and harrass me. Same person has come back and read me for years, even on my previous blog. I almost find it funny. I am so horrible, but she’s read my site for four and a half years?

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39 Two Makes Four February 13, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I have, like, 8 readers, so no trolls for me, thankfully. BUT, on the due date club message board thing I got on while pregnant, it started out with serious, sick-in-the-head trolls galore — all of them were people pretending to be women pregnant with multiples. It really pissed me off because there were a few of us who were legitimately pregnant with twins.

Another happened on a twin-specific message board. This sick, sick girl had a lot of us going throughout the entire pregnancy period and up to NINE MONTHS after her twins were supposedly born.

I felt so stupid when I found out these people were trolls. i tend to be too trusting on the internet. Stupid me.

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