What is a troll? More specifically, what is an Internet Troll?
This is someone who creates an online identity (e.g. Facebook or Wordpress account) with the objective of gaining access to a message-board or discussion group – then they use this ‘persona’ to post unsolicited responses to messages with the intent of ridicule, ‘flaming’ and\or character-assassination. Sometimes they operate in ‘teams’ or will create multiple personas so as to appear as a group of people who support each others' views.
What motivates a troll?
Some of the motivations behind trolling are: a) to garner attention b) to hit out at people or organizations which they perceive as critical of their life-styles c) to boost their own egos by ‘typing-down’ at people they deem to be of lower social\educational\intellectual standing than themselves d) to get revenge for a perceived (or real) hurt which them might have suffered at the hands (mouths) of people who may have acted without adequate wisdom e) to rebel against their parents! f) to satisfy a psychotic (masochistic?) need to inflict pain on others. The latter are known as Psycho trolls.
Sometimes they will join in the activities of other trolls in order to gain entry into the ‘inner circle’ - ‘belonging’ to this group (who consider themselves in intellectually superior) somehow creates a sense of ‘worth’ which they are unable to attain in real life.
How can one recognise a troll?
The most obvious way to identify these people is by inspection of their ‘personas’. Trolls will seldom if ever use their real names. They have a tendency to choose ostentatious or inflammatory pseudonyms and avatars. Their Facebook profiles will mostly only reveal links to ‘friends’ who comprise members of their particular ‘inner circle’.
Even when a troll ‘throws away’ one persona and resurfaces as some new ‘contributor’ to a forum, their literary styles are often a dead give-away as to their actual ‘identity’. Sometimes they will even post (read ‘paste’) responses from previous attacks if they are that obsessed with fulfilling a particular motivation.
Wordpress users have their IP addresses embedded in their messages - so this makes it very difficult for Wordpress trolls to hide. The administrators at News24 can access this information if a particular individual is perceived to be cyber-stalking or to be involved in some criminal activity.
How should one respond to a troll?
a) Ignore them! (Please watch this posting for a hands-on demonstration of how to ignore trolls!)
b) Hug a troll today, because their mothers apparently never did.
Seriously …. just respond with a <HUG>
Please note: Hugs may not and will not be accepted from trolls. A Troll-hug (or t-hug) will turn you into a thug…..
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