Internet Trolls- Where the Fairytale Ends
According to storybooks, Trolls are disgusting, smelly creatures that live under bridges. Trolls eat goats and small children. Growing up surrounded by fairy tales, what they didn’t explore was a new breed of troll. The Internet Troll. Equally vile and disgusting, if Internet trolls smell, we can’t vouch for that. Nor can we attest that they eat goats or small children. We don’t believe those items appear on their menu. But, we could be wrong.
Moderating a popular forum, we have had to deal with several types of trolls. We would like to introduce you to them now. They are in a class by themselves.
Shock Patroll- Disgusting, and vile, he may just eat goats and small children; we are not convinced he doesn’t. In his resident trashcan he has a vast selection of smut (heavy emphasis on graphic images).
Using popular search engines, he surfs for forums frequented by women and children. Before you can circle the wagons to protect the “wimmenfolk” he attacks.
With deep deception, he opens up countless subjects using innocuous and compelling subject lines; “Help! My 5-year old just swallowed all my medication…!”
Or- “I feel so bad. I just ran-over a dog!”
When the well-meaning folk go running with cyber- Kleenex and support, they are confronted with pornographic images capable of making them heave their cookies.
Dazed and confused they quickly leave, reporting the intruder to the moderators. Worst yet, some folk begin posting on the board: “Eeek! There’s a Troll!” causing the troll to heighten his attack, posting countless porn on the forums. His MO… Target the posts with the most hits. Go in and destroy the thread with smut.
Even the well-seasoned member is sickened by his evil intent. The only fitting punishment is banishment from the community. Or, as Lorena Bobbitt would say: “Off with his head!”
Master of Illusion Troll- Pulling countless white lies out of his hat, this Master of Deceit plays his tricks on the trusting eyes of an established internet community. Targeting those who still believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, his slight of hand in posting can be very deceptive to those members.
Some of the well-seasoned posters are privy to this game of cards. However, trusting souls are sucked quickly into his mind games. The point of controlling his act is, find the weak link in his house of cards, knocking them flat, thus ending his performance.
The Master of Illusion does have a motive. He is looking for personal gain. Either, money for a “sick mother,” or some personal form of satisfaction from manipulation techniques he employs. Perhaps he is searching for those he considers “beneath him,” so he can effectively saw their souls in half with the stroke of a few keys.
The key to defeating him is to discover his bag of tricks and expose the Ace up his sleeve.
The Combat-Ready Troll- This warmonger likes to fight. Hand-to-hand combat, early morning air-strikes, fully armored vehicles, he launches all the weapons at hand with lethal intent. Invincible in his own mind, he spars with an extensive and exhaustive verbal arsenal targeting members and moderators alike.
If the forum has a stated position, he will lock-and-load on that issue, certain that he can change the “enemy’s mind” and alter their Constitution by bending their will, screaming all the while about his inalienable rights.
In this battle of will versus won’t – take no prisoners and show no mercy. The bill of rights only applies with the members who follow the proper rules of engagement.
Hit-and-Run- Troll: An out-of-control Troll his posts can be the speed-bumps of cyber life, His sudden appearance can put the most placid member into a skid as he goes for personal injury and summons up emotional outbursts by all who read his posts. He applies the pressure before fleeing the scene.
Off- road -recovery is to stamp his ticket. Don’t bother pursuing him. He is gone before you can take down his number. His posts have the same effect as stop strips. Once he has posted, his victims leave the scene of the crime stunned that anyone could cause such a wreck. You then are left with the looky-loos who stop to study the debris left by the side of the cyber highway.
The Tonya Harding Troll- In true freestyle fashion, this troll skates on thin ice. Jumping from topic to topic stirring up enough heat to melt a glacier, he glides along effortlessly.
He studies the rule book carefully looking for the judges comments. Knowing that a “back flip” is illegal, he performs it anyway calling it a “lay-out single.” He’ll argue till he’s blue in the face that it really wasn’t a “back flip” after all.
Carefully studying his competition, he brings them to their knees. His footwork may be fancy, but he does trip up occasionally.
Give this skater a low score and spiral him right out of the community courtesy of the banning option.
Toddler Troll- It is elementary when dealing with this primitive troll. He appears needy, wanting to be pacified. His “splinter” in his finger, can turn into a major medical disaster. Not only has the splinter festered for days, but the wood had lead paint on it. Now he has lead poisoning. His “mother” is typing a quick informational post, as the ambulance is screaming its way to the house to rush him to the ER before he dies.
If Toddler Troll doesn’t get the attention he needs, he pitches a classic tantrum posting his fits in UPPER CASE to make a point- though the only points appear to be growing out of the top of his head. Many gullible members rush in to soothe him, pat him on the back and tell him he is a wonderful person.
Moderators in the know however, will simply make this “boo boo” go away by activating the banning option.
The Alien Troll- this person’s brain has been lost in space. His posts are beyond the twilight zone, going where no man has ever gone before. This troll is skilled in weaving horrible tales about his life. He paints vivid and often graphic scenes of abuse and other horrors. He is a victim of his own imagination and boredom. He excels in scaring people that he is going to do harm to himself. He will vanish for days at a time just so people will ask…”whatever happened to …?” This troll belongs to the Darkside. Shuttle him off the board courtesy of the delete key.
The Stalker Troll- Nothing light-hearted about this troll. He is a scary individual. A Peeping Tom of sorts; looking into Internet windows that have nothing to do with Microsoft. This hard-hearted individual is looking for one thing- victims. Unwanted communications soon follow, anything from PM’s to phone calls as most Internet stalkers are cunning. They are obsessed in getting their own way not caring who they hurt.
Victims of the Stalker Troll find themselves shaken and ill-at-ease being on the boards. They often have to change their phone number and email address, or leave forums to achieve peace of mind. The Stalking Troll is calm and in control. When dismissed from the forums, he will try and re-register immediately or launch an off-board campaign against whoever he believes is responsible for his banishment, because after all he CAN’T possibly be responsible for that!
The Holy Troller- We thank Thee oh Lord for granting us the banning key. For allowing us the power to reach out and smite this sinner down…down…down… As we read his words You allow us to see the false witness hiding behind a cloak of Christianity that taints the soul. The Holy Troller believes that he has found a new congregation. He clambers up on his soapbox and prepares his sermon, but we exist to make him an unbeliever…can you say “Amen?”
He’s in his glory, but his glory is short-lived as even the devoutist of Christians find offense at his words. Hell hath no fury than a moderator with a PM box full of reported posts and complaints, and the guidance to find the banning option.
The Pirate Troll- Shiver me timbers, it’s the Pirate troll. An immature raiding party flanked by posts such as “Arrgh, walk de plank”……..or “Aye Matey wanna see my parrot?” Not so much harmful as annoying, the pirate troll plunders existing posts with inane comments that are not seaworthy but also don’t sink the mother ship. Bury their treasure in Under Review and set them adrift in the cyber- sea sailing straight to Delete Island.
The Great Pretender Troll- This troll is all things to all people. No really, All things! Medical problem? He’s a doctor. Debating a topic? He’s your instant- ready–to-greet Politician. Problem with your pet? He isn’t a veterinarian, but he plays one on the Internet. Looking for snake oil? Meet his miracle in a can. Oh, and did he mention the charitable work he does? Only about 100 times! A super-hero in his own mind (though his cape might be at the cleaners).Even Super Poster can’t keep up with him.
The Great Pretender is more of a nuisance than a threat. His x-ray vision makes him pretty transparent. Posters tire of his grandiose early on. Keep him around for entertainment value. He will raise your posting count quickly!
The Politically Incorrect Troll- Putting both feet squarely in his mouth, this troll preaches to a choir that isn’t there. His radical beliefs can be right-wing, left-wing, racist, animal rights, or world domination in content. Full of rhetoric, there is no meaty center to this troll. He believes he is a Big Mac, when in reality he is a Small Fry.
Adhering to outlandish or unrealistic views, he marches over the meekest poster leaving boot-prints in his path. Hoping his posts stick like crazy-glue to popular forums, he is enraged to discover that a moderator has used a magic eraser to remove his graffiti as soon as the forum is tagged, denying him access back into the kingdom he wants so badly to deface.
The “Goodbye You Meanie’s” Troll- The curtain call that never ends, this troll wants all his toys and the rulebook, or he will take all his marbles and go home. But he must have lost his compass, misplaced his map or perhaps he needs a guide dog, because he never quite gets around to leaving.
The members are “mean,” the moderators are “biased,” the rules are “unfair.” Either change the entire format of the forums, and rewrite the rules to his satisfaction, or he will lead a group effort and dictate a mass exodus off the boards. So as you watch him still in tracking, or see his ISP number appear as guest- get this troll out of your life by kicking him in the backside and parking his carcass elsewhere.
These are the Internet trolls that stand out from the rest. There are hundreds to choose from. Our hope is that in describing these types, we have prepared you for future encounters, so your forum members can post happily ever after.