Concerning Trolls

September 14, 2009

Trolls are an interesting phenomena in the commenting community.  The equivalent of the kid who like to sneak up behind you in 5th grade and flick your ear, just to see what kind of reaction he would get.  The “wet willy” was also a common method in his toolbox of instigation.  Those boys (and girls) have grown up to become the trolls of the internet that provide us with online entertainment today.  But only if they are not flicking our ears.

Case in point, here is a quote from Afrolib, a known troll at, concerning Kanye storming the stage at the VMA show:

Cons need to go buy a sense of humor from somewhere. Kanye was only kidding around with that Taylor chick. It was all an act. Jeez

Afrolib on September 13, 2009 at 11:42 PM

This evoked a response from someone who sees this particular troll as a horsefly instead of the gnat that he really is:

Get lost.

***********peace on September 13, 2009 at 11:44 PM

Of course, bothered by a gnat long enough, you will eventually tell it to “get lost.”  This really isn’t so bad an example of what to do with a troll, except for the fact that the troll gets his jollies from responses just like this.  But small jollies.  (I know, that doesn’t sound quite right.)

This is where the troll really succeeds, though.  Read this response to the same comment Afrolib made:

…I’m assuming you belong to the school of thought that only whites can be racist.

D*********r on September 13, 2009 at 11:52 PM

DING DING DING!!!  Afrolib is probably ROTFLOLWWU (rolling on the floor laughing out loud wee weed up) about now.  He got the exact response he was looking for:  Someone that is willing to take him seriously and is now arguing with him on semi-intellectual grounds now.  Hook, line, sinker.  It will eventually devolve into a “I know you are, but what am I” argument at this point, where one party (the serious responder to the troll, usually new to the blog, btw) offers up real arguments, while the troll, regardless of his political affiliation (if he has any at all) plays Devil’s advocate to string the other commenter along.  Everyone else just stands by to watch the slowest trainwreck in the world.

Essentially, to be a troll you do not need any sort of political/moral/whatever-the-blog-deals-with conviction.  You just have to know the issues and know how to push people’s buttons.  It doesn’t take much.  And all it takes is one or two mice to be caught so the cat (in this case a troll–hmm… a troll-cat) can play with them a while before he leaves them at the bloggers feet as a little present:  “Ban that troll!” they yell.

Yeah, right.  Trolls are too much fun if you know how to deal with them.  Just sit back with the are folks who are in on the joke and laugh at the kids getting their ears flicked.  Just as long as it isn’t you.