Have you ever been harassed on an online forum? Have you ever been bullied while playing a video game? If so, you may have been the victim of an online troll!
A troll is an individual that enjoys to partake in different online activities in order to either offend you, annoy you or harass you. The latter being the worst type of troll you would ever want to encounter. A good portion of online trolls are sociopathic or narcissistic in nature (this is especially true for those who love to harass other people). Others only troll out of boredom, but in the end they don't do it just to get a reaction from someone else on the daily-basis and are otherwise harmless. It is theorized that the usage of the word "troll" in that context dates back to 1980 in UseNet.
Trolls are widely present in medias, ranging from online comic books (e.g Homestuck) to movies (e.g the Troll movie made by Dreamworks). The first-ever depiction of a troll comes from the Norse mythology around the 16th century in which they were seen as ugly cave dwellers. The first online depiction of a troll was from a comic called rage face comic with the one representing the troll having a very wide grin. Other medias with the troll/trolling trend attached to it is the song "Я Очерь Рад, Ведь Я Наконец Возвращаюсь" better known as "trolololo", made by Russian musician Eduard Khil.
Different types of internet trolls
There are several different types of trolls to take notice of.
- Bad faith arguers - They are a series of trolls with different trolling techniques, but are generally all about pushing an agenda during discourse. Those trolls will use logical fallacies, pretend not to understand the argument or use memetic speech to their advantage.
- Baiters (See Baiting) - They love to start controversies by saying nonsense on social medias, simple as that. This is how they get their attention.
- Bigoted trolls* - Not only do they share all the qualities of an edgelord (See below), but they are also known to have genuinely horrible beliefs and wishes harm upon people they do not like based on outside aspects such as which groups they belong in. That being said you start to wonder whether they are trolls or just assholes since trolls just say terrible things to be inflammatory and get attention.
- Brigaders** (See Brigading) - They love to both witch hunt other people or raid communities by spamming, then liking their own spam as a means to boost it to the front page. The terminology "Brigading" is popular on Reddit because simply reposting a Reddit post can cause people to start downvoting and posting inflammatory comments under said post.
- Raiders (See Raiding) - Raiding is similar to brigading, but one major difference is that they often plan out a raid and target websites, forums and online groups in very large gatherings to troll the people on there rtather than target specific posts or niche small communities. Raiding is far more damaging than brigading.
- Bullies* (See Bullying) - Unlike the categories above, it is in general one single person acting tough online and attacking random people for no reason whatsoever.
- Childish trolls - A new method of trolling that was invented by the arrival of Super Minecraft Kid which consists of acting like a kid and saying nonsense to get attention. Basically it is a baiter, but more aggressive.
- Contrarian - A troll who has the opposite opinion compared to everyone else, most often relative to the forum they are on.
- Defamation trolls/Smear merchants - A troll that loves to craft fake evidence of wrongdoings by someone else. Oftentimes, the troll will either use HTML editing to make the person say something they never said or take something that they said out of context.
- Edgelords* (See Category:Edgelord) - A troll who makes excessively disgusting comments on social media, said comments are often filled with slurs. Its motto is always "I have the right to Freedom of Speech bitches", or insulting other people by calling them "SJWs", "snowflakes" or "pussies" online.
- Harassers* (See Harassment) - Trolls that love to continuously target one specific person, either in response to controversies (e.g: The Steven Universe fans attacking one of their own for not drawing Rose Quartz correctly) or because they love to hurt people. This type of troll is often closely related to bullies (See above) or brigaders (See above) and they love to humiliate their target(s).
- Griefers** (See Griefing) - There are two known definitions of this type of troll
- Exclusively used in creation games such as Gmod, Minecraft, Terraria or Starbound. This type of troll will always try to annoy other people by breaking/ruining buildings other players made. These trolls may be related to raiders or harassers (See above) in many aspects such as attempting to ruin a community's fun by coming in groups.
- Widely used in other games, it means self-sabotaging. For example, team-killing is a form of griefing. These trolls may be related to raiders or harassers (See above) in many aspects such as attempting to ruin a community's fun by gang banging a single player.
- Illegal trolls* - I had half in mind to separate the hackers, the doxxers and the DDoSers, but since all of this is illegal I decided to make the category "illegal troll". It is a troll that has advanced knowledge in hacking and social engineering and it is the type of troll that can ruin your life. You must avoid them at all costs!
- Impersonators* - Make themselves appear to be someone else and starts acting in a horrible manner to indirectly defame and harass that someone else.
- Two Faceted trolls - Trolls that pretend to be a part of a community just to paint said community in a bad light. For instance, a troll pretending to be a feminist to make feminists look bad or a troll pretending to be a religious man to make religious people look bad. These trolls can invade any community they want just to try and destroy it from within.
- Neo Nazis** - A great range of trolls support Adolf Hitler for some reason, they are called the nazi trolls or neo nazi trolls (See 4chan for further documentation).
- Professional - Trolls who are paid or who make a living out of trolling and being deliberately offensive or provocative (a latter example is Katie Hopkins)
- Propagandists* (See Propaganda) - Mostly tied to 4chan's trolls, this type of troll likes to start propagandas for their own good.
- Shit-talkers* (See Shit-talking) - A type of troll that will talk behind people's backs. They love to make hurtful comments about said people.
- Spammers* (See Spamming) - A type of troll that loves to promote themselves or promote someone else by posting off-topic or posting self-promotion when it is generally against the rules of the community. Reddit is often the victim of spammers.
- Stalkers* - A form of harassment where the troll will frequently visit someone's profile page (Not to be confused with "fanboy"). There are multiple reasons behind that behavior, however, they tend to do that for the sake of finding more information on you.
- Retroactive Stalker** - A troll that will go down your Twitter profile to find anything that can be described as "offensive, but was cool a decade ago" (Let's assume you said the N word in 2009) and then screenshot that tweet and make a commotion to spread the inflammatory screenshot as far as possible and create either a cancellation or an outrage.
- Troublemakers** - These trolls love to cause havoc by making one person do something stupid. In general, the person concerned ends up being banned, but not the troll itself.
- Snipe Hunting - Similar to troublemaking, this method of trolling is widely used to make a person waste their time by making them do something useless and search for a solution that does not exist.
- Smear Merchants* (See Defamation) - Term coined by Sargon Of Akkad to label individuals that spread rumors about someone and attempting to drag their name through the mud. Although it was coined by a clown, it is still noteworthy since there are actual trolls that defame people on the daily-basis on social media.
- System abusers - Trolls who abuse a legal system or the TOS of a website in a way that is unprecedented.
- DMCA abusers - They are trolls that weaponize the copyright law to take down content that they do not like. It is very common on both Youtube and Deviantart.
- Patent trolls* - Trolls that make tons of lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent patents. They use patents as legal weapons to gain money off of lawsuits. Patent trolling is more often done by businesses rather than a specific individual.
- False flaggers - Trolls that take down content by reporting it massively or through bribery.
- Schrödinger's Douchebag - Trolls that commit one of the acts above, but then claim "it was just a j0ke [email protected]". See also "For Laughs".
- Witch hunters* (See Witch hunt) - Groups and organizations of trolls that will harass one person specifically. The troll mobs will sometimes start a defamation campaign against the targeted individual to get more people to participate in the harassment (Rent-A-Mob type of troll) in which case the witch hunt will grow louder and more powerful. There are many synonyms to Witch hunt, such as "Lynch Mob", "Harassment Campaign", "Mobbing", "Cancel Culture", and "Outrage Culture".
- YerATroll - "Everyone's a troll, except me!"
If a bullet point has an asterisk * then that means the activity is not unique to trolls and can be performed by everyday people voluntarily or involuntarily. If it has two asterisks **, then it is the same as previously mentioned, except the case that it is not a troll and actually genuine are far FAR rarer.
A troll has different known behaviors that must be taken notice of on any written article on Trollpedia whenever possible.
- Active trolls - Trolls that are actively trolling.
- Inactive trolls - Trolls that are not active, but that are not deemed as "dead" either.
- Dead trolls - When a troll ceases all activity and decides it's time to get a life are considered to be dead, either that or they actually died in real life.
- Former trolls - Trolls that kept their troll profile online, but who have decided to use it not to troll other people.
- Busy trolls or Behind-The-Scene trolls - Trolls that don't show much activity at first glance, but that are actually active by using an alt to troll or by planning raids (Trolls that use alts must be placed in the category Puppeteer).
- Failtrolls - Trolls that are actively trolling, but that don't receive much recognition from it.
- E-Begging - Some trolls use their online persona to raise money for themselves (Trolls that do such activities are considered active and must be placed in the category E-Beggar).
The troll lexicon
- Anti-trolls or Troll hunters - They are basically white knights who attack the trolls by reporting them or by calling them out. In rare occasions, they actually manage to wipe the troll out of existence, but again it is very rare.
- Victim or Target - Self-explanatory.
- 4channer - A troll that uses 4chan.
- EDiot - A troll that uses Encyclopedia Dramatica.
- Kiwi - A troll that uses Kiwi Farms.
- Sinner - Codename for "anti-troll" or "target" used by religious impersonations on social media (E.G: Preacher Gerald White).
- Kek - Variant of Ok, used by 4channers the most. Also see Kek deity.
- Lulz - Variant of Lol, used by 4channers the most.
How to spot the troll on forums
- No, or very little, contribution - Troll accounts are usually new since each and every troll account gets banned rather quickly. That being said, do not be rude toward new users of any internet forum whatsoever.
- Suspicious IP addresses - If two accounts share the same IP address, then it is likely to be two accounts made by the same person.
- Syntax and grammar - To put it boldly and simply, if person A and person B both speak the same way with the same vocabulary and same quirks, then it is fair to assume that they are the very same person.
Similar species to trolls
- The strong and violent cousins of trolls, they are often portrayed as being taller than them.
- Annoying little pranksters who like to pull pranks on random people, generally in enclosed spaces like caves or homes.
- A similar breed to gremlins, they dwell in gardens, caves and forests where they play pranks on unsuspecting victims.
- A similar breed to trolls, but much more malicious, instead of being just annoying, they like to eat human flesh and steal riches.
- Similar to ogres, however, they are most colmmonly considered to be "demons" rather than mythical creatures.
- Wise cave dwellers who like craftmanship.
- They like to do shores in exchange for food.
- Eastern breed of trolls, famous in places like China or Japan.
Age range for most internet trolls are from their young adolescence aged 13 to 60s for middle aged adults born in the baby boomer generation, as trolling was not popular nor was the internet existent during the period for the elderly born in the 19th century to early 20th century, people born during that time are not usually trolls. Although trolls can be little children aged 6 to 12, they are not mentally mature or smart enough to process the concept of trolling and logic of internet culture, taken for granted and are usually not taken seriously due to their immaturity, harmless threats, and fall under the category of immature/childish trolls.
It is strongly advised to ignore trolls, just giving them a reaction is what they desire, ranting or responding to them is what they feed on.
Trolling a troll does not work either, and will only make the troll more prone to trolling
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_hmaDADRJ0 TheMysteriousMrEnter's advice on internet trolls.
https://www.ipredator.co/troll/ <- Worth reading!
Admirable Animation #31: "Troll - Shane Koyczan" TheMysteriousMrEnter's video on internet trolls. This video stirred controversy because of his comparison to trolls and cyberbullies, and of course attracted more trolls.
Are Internet Trolls Psychopathic? | Sadistic, Narcissistic & Antisocial Personality (Internet troll described by a real psychologist)