Trolls of the Internet – these people are easily spotted but are not only within a particular demographic, can be in any culture, race, age, gender identification, economic position, belief structure, education level; you name it, a troll can fit into that category.
They fall into one of four main categories:
The Seemingly Harmless Troll, The Drama-Llama Troll, The Martyr Troll, and The Superior Troll.
Let’s take a closer look at them, and how to spot the warning signs, how to get away from the craziness – it’s not too late!
The Seemingly Harmless Troll
Ways to spot them: the one who knowingly is silly and never engages on a “real” topic, but rather “acts the troll part” in order to elicit some form of a humourous response.
There are good friends who will lightheartedly poke fun at someone from time to time; that’s not what this is about. I’m talking about the actual vicious constant, yet seemingly playful attack on someone.
I’ll give you a for instance:
I had a seemingly harmless troll on my friend’s list a few months back. He had been there for well over two years, and not once in that time had he ever shown one scrap of decency on my wall. I tried to imagine he was doing it to break the tension in an otherwise hard, monotonous, or even painfully boring day in his world.
The problem is, is that your responses feed theirs, and knowing they can “entertain” you can give them the smile they need.. That’s right folks, this seemingly harmless troll is a troglodyte as well. They are insecure. They are petty, they are selfish, and they do not care what your response is, as it will feed a retort that grows in intensity and cruelty under the guise of being playful and even almost casual. It’s definitely NOT okay to feed this one, I promise.
**Like telling me Guardians of the Galaxy was a “STUPID MOVIE ABOUT WARS IN THE STARS, WUT.” (direct quote)
I don’t generally comment about movies or anything for that matter with any great significance on my wall, because the scant few times I do, there’s that nagging feeling in my gut someone’s going to get all snippy or forget it’s my wall and try to dip me in their Summer’s Eve (I’m mildly curious if it comes as a spray? an oil? a salve? is it something you insert or rub on? do you wash it?) << Sorry, I apparently wandered off mentally to think about douches for a sec. I’m back though.
Ways to avoid engaging:
- They do not care about your feelings, but they do care about the laughs. When you see it happening, DO NOT ENGAGE.
- If this is the first time that this possible stranger is reacting like this on your wall, and they aren’t a friend in close proximity, you might want to dial direct and give them a head’s up that it is not cool, and not appreciated that they crack jokes at other people’s expenses on your wall. They want to do that, they have their own wall to do it on, or go to someone they know well enough that it won’t be met with a reaction that they aren’t looking forward to themselves.
- Refuse to let them snark on your wall repeatedly. Shut that shit down! Delete the comment, especially if it is cutting in regards to anything that others could possibly be not necessarily triggered by, but just isn’t morally decent.
The seemingly harmless troll knows no boundaries, and because of that, will not care what they crack wise in regards to on someone else’s wall. I’ve seen them take potshots at someone’s post a friend of mine the troll did not know, but had shared a special memory with me, and made several-in-succession rapid fire super douchey comments. The person who shared the post with me was sharing a mutual friend’s last post, before their death. I privately messaged the troll, and said whoah, WAY over the line there, this person just died and we were sharing a special moment and your comment was neither funny nor witty or even logical. Their reply was to go BACK onto the post and make an enormous deal about how they were being privately victimised (included my private message to them as “proof”) and then went on to state that maybe I or the mutual friend should have shared that shit privately if they didn’t want someone to make jokes about it, because it was a stupid post and we didn’t know how to chill the fuck out.
Delete and block. << That’s the only response I have to that shit now.
One other troll, who I mentioned before, was always busting at me in FULL CAPS ALL THE TIME about everything I posted, especially geeky stuff, and privately was like “I was just kidding, don’t get upset. Show me your boobs, lol jk but if you want to, go for it.” This was ongoing. I stopped putting my picture in my profile again because of that for a good long while, because the CAPS LOCK WOULD GET STUCK on his keyboard apparently and a slew of steadily-worsening derogatory remarks would land on my photos until I either called him out on his bullshit or just deleted it (only to fuel it worse than before).
I put up with the comments for nearly two years. Several times, different people would privately message me and watch as I put up less and less about Doctor Who, and even less about other fun geeky things, because I didn’t want the ridicule or “jokes” as he called them to take away from the fun and excitement that he would try to diminish and outright ruin at mine and other friends’ expenses.
So our fearless Mistress Sarindre, called me on it, about 6 months ago. Legit, asked me outright why I was allowing his abuse to continue. He had ripped apart yet another (rare post) Marvel related geeky thing, and my response was just to delete it. Problem was, four others had already commented on it, and it was a shared Geeks and Geeklets post that instead of getting shared and re-posted on pages, I chose to simply remove it and privately lick my wounds. He was callous, cruel, and downright mean. So how in the fuck could I have seen that as “funny”? Honestly, I never did. I don’t understand the reason to prank others, I don’t ever think that you should be cruel to anyone. I tried to play it off way too often, and one night someone had shared a Doctor Who post on MY wall, and he came at me with both barrels yet again. Boy howdy did Mistress take him to task. And privately, she made sure I was more than alright with the fact that she was sick of his abuse, called him out on his rudeness, and told him to as nicely as possible fuck off back to the stone age.
Then, she reminded me that I was under enough stress and pressure of reality, and adding anything else to that was just making not only worse, but being a massive detriment for my healing process with therapy and my future. I messaged him, and deleted him. The last message I saw before he was blocked (right after I messaged, he replied but I never “saw” it, it was open on my page at the bottom mini chat box area), he said “messaged received, but you don’t have to delete my posts. Geez I was fucking kidding. Lighten up.” AND BLOCKED. Thanks for coming out, you mouthbreathing trog.
Possible reasons for this Troll’s existence:
- This one usually is doing it for comedic effect or so it seems, and privately is a completely different person – which you may or may not ever ever see (or want to);
- Chances are, that person has a few reasons as to why they are “acting the troll” – it still does not give them the right.
- claiming they are acting out from needing to maintain anonymity for where they live, work, belief system, etc. and using this as a cover to still be involved with situations they themselves would be ridiculed about (yes, the defense of “I can’t have access to *this* so I will make everyone else’s lives miserable but make it look like a joke if no one finds it funny);
- imposing their malice on others because they have been hurt and/or scorned/spurned online, and are taking the “you can’t hurt me because I has a tuff” kind of tone, attacking anyone they find weaker or easy prey;
- from being so inept and socially awkward, but trying to become the internet class clown; or
- any other possible insane, asinine, and possible posturing means of assuming that someone is able to be controlled.
No matter what: The Seemingly Harmless Troll is one that needs to be curtailed immediately and not allowed go be given any amount of traction or sustainability.
We’ll talk about the other types in future articles. Stay tuned.