10 Ways To Tell If You’re An Internet Troll (Or Just A Regular Human Being)

What a cute li'l troll! So happy! So smiley!

There are those who comment and those who troll, and the majority of the Internet not only can’t stand the latter group, but often wish that they just didn’t exist.

Wikipedia defines an Internet troll as:

Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Or, in other words, people who have too much time on their hands and a chip on the shoulder about god only knows what. They’re not a fun people, these trolls, and one has to wonder what they might be like in their private life. Do they pull this shit with their friends and family, too? Wait. You say they have no friends and family? OK. That makes sense then.

But the real question that we bloggers often ask is: Do trolls know that they’re trolls? Or do they honestly believe they’re making some sort of valid point that is of the utmost importance and it doesn’t matter how random, cruel and ridiculous it is?

So how do you know, trolls, that you’re a troll?

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    • Lastango

      Troll: “Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous or off-topic messages… with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response.”
      Agreed… that’s what I’ve always assumed a troll does. Trolling is purely a game of deliberate provoking, then sitting back to watch the show and laughing at all the fuming.

      What does a troll not do? Care about the specifics of a post, comment to inform or convince, argue specifics, offer facts, or do research. And because trolls aren’t acutally involved with the topic, they don’t genuinely get angry.

      So, unless the definition of a troll has changed, here are things that don’t make someone a troll:

      == disagreeing.

      == disagreeing a lot.

      == expressing an alternative view.

      == digging to find out about a subject, and reporting what was found.

      Sure, every blogger likes it when someone supports what they say. When the opposite happens, it can be uncomfortable. It can really be a shock to a blogger used to groupthinking environments, where everyone is afraid to dispute the conventional wisdom. But that’s blogging. Besides, who wants to visit an echo chamber?

      • Jai

        You know this because you’ve been trolling this site for months. Troll.

      • mm

        TRUEEE!!! I was going to comment the same thing haha

      • Cee

        Quite true! Bloggers have become extremely hypersensitive about people not agreeing with them. This is probably the third or fourth post they’ve written about trolling. Their next one should just say “agree with me or I’ll call you a troll, see xoJane comments for reference.”

      • MR

        Lastango, I like your comments. I don’t always agree with them, but they are idea based. Jennifer had this posting on feminism over a year ago, and I commented that you ladies need to get your sh*t together – in order to create a united front. Somebody responded to me and said women need to disagree to agree. Us men aren’t as diplomatic.

      • Cee

        Yes! Agree to disagree. Not “don’t feed the trolls.” What the hell is that? Because I have a differing point, that is not meant to be mean, just DIFFERENT I am now a troll? For being good writers “don’t feed the trolls” or “wrong,thanks for playing” is not the most articulate (and probably the most passive aggressive) way to respond. If a commenter are not being an asshole about things, just disagreeing, you should just agree to disagree.

    • Wray

      Woah! Two trolls just trolled your troll post! ha ha.

      • Cee

        Case and point

      • Jenny

        ummm, not to be a troll but the phrase is “case in point” not “case and point”

      • Amanda Chatel

        And you just won the comment thread, Jenny! Internet high-five.

    • Tania

      I troll sometimes, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m the “nice troll,” though, I say something deliberately provocative but in a way that makes me look like I’m too stupid/innocent to understand what I’m saying.

      I spent years trolling the forums of a game I played, and had most people defending me the rare times someone called me out. A friend (met through the game, incidentally!) used to rage at me because he thought it was unfair that everyone thought I was so nice and everyone thought he was a troll even when he wasn’t.

      I never said anything mean/insulting/did anything to hurt anyone’s feelings, so we’re clear. Just to provoke reactions (usually on stupid things people’d say).