Internet Troll: In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. (from: Wikipedia.com)
Trolling can be a ton of fun (when you yourself play the part of troll), but for the clueless, emotional victims that fall for it, trolling can be frustrating and embarrassing.
Having done my fair share of trolling on many online venues, I find that the game of hunter vs. the hunted is skewed so far left that it really isn’t fun anymore to sucker someone into a heated debate. If I drop some nonsense on Facebook about religion, politics, or Lolo Jones, I can get 100 simple people foaming at the mouth, ready to “speak their piece” in reply. Smarten up people – trolls are laughing at you!
The following guide is for people who find themselves the victim of trolling on a regular basis and still cannot figure out why it is that people online are getting the better of them in everything.
The Dragon’s Guide To Troll Avoidance
So you went off on someone and your emotional response has made you the laughing stock of the conversation. You want to clarify your response but you are afraid to say more for fear of it doing further damage. People are saying that you got trolled, but you are clueless as to how they knew and you didn’t… Don’t feel bad, it’s all about context and many people miss out on the clues that they are being suckered.
Let’s analyze the situation shall we? You saw someone write something to piss you off and you just HAD to respond to put him in his place. The next time you find yourself hot over a comment use the following process to analyze your opponent before replying.
5 Checks To Avoid Getting Trolled.
If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below then that person may be a troll and you would do better to ignore them.
- Has the person ever commented before? A sniping troll is the easiest to spot…
- Is the person’s comment so out of bounds that a normal person would never say it to your face?
- Will your reply provoke the ire of the entire blog/forum community?
- Are you a member of the race, sex, or sub-culture that the article or response in question is targeting?
- Will your response include a Wikipedia link or Bible verse?
Beyond the checks listed above, there are a few things you should do before going to war with what could potentially be a troll:
- Check their comment history if it’s available and see if they add good insight to conversations or if they have a history of causing trouble.
- Make sure your avatar and/or username does not contain imagery that if used against you will be devastating. Trolls will use whatever info they have on you to destroy you.
- Make sure you aren’t about to respond to a 2-word comment with a paragraph worth of ranting.
At the end of the day, the absolute best way to avoid trolls is to take everything with a grain of salt and avoid replying to anything instantaneously. Don’t take anything seriously and if you are unable to laugh at yourself then avoid replying altogether. The only thing that defeats a troll is a lack of attention but due to the high volume of gullible, emotional people, trolling will be around as long as there’s anonymity and carelessness from commenters on websites and forums.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.