The internets are full of trolls. Trolling has a lot of definitions, but I’ve observed that most trolls exhibit these characteristics:
- Anonymous commenters
- Negativity in their comments
- Generally try to hijack a discussion from one topic to another, sometimes tangentially at best
- Tend to have a high opinion of their opinion, but get testy when called on it
- Think of themselves as higher intellectuals than others (especially those with whom they disagree)
- Never become real members of a community (see anonymity above)
- Become shocked (shocked!) when they are called out as trolls
I recently had a bit of a run-in with a troll on another blog. I make it a point not to feed the trolls, but this one got under my skin just enough to call out, because the person was anonymous, negative, picked an inhuman time and occasion to troll their trolling, tried to hijack the post with a senseless observation, and cloaked it all in pseudo-intellectual feces. Basically, your perfect troll.
Unfortunately comment streams seem to be full of them – check out your local paper’s comments (and God help you if you live in Syracuse… I swear, that’s the worst of the worst) or any CNN story, or… sadly most places. I used to enjoy the discourse amongst a lot of Internet based communities, but now I find them to be anti-intellectual.
And troll, if you’re reading this… I invite you to actually discuss your point. I really do. Just pick a different forum than a grieving woman. Or write a blog post. Anonymously, of course.