16 Mar 2010

Some thoughts about trolling

For me, the usual definition of the word 'troll' needs a serious readjustment. When online, intent is impossible to determine with certainty. They could have a determined intent to be a jerk or they could just be mental. Morality and civility can never be your guide in anonymous environments and is a typical way for trolls to exploit your guilt for 'hurting them' when fighting back or deleting them. They're last tactic is to attack you from another website, but this just makes them look like twits and is free advertisement for you.

So when assessing weak links in your commentbox, the only objective criteria is rationality. A 'troll' must be redefined as: Anyone **for whatever intent** who constantly exploits logical fallacies. Hold your own. Don't back down. Be merciless. Rip the purposely ignorant apart with glee.

Fallacies are the very bread and butter of a determined troll. It's the bug-spray to kill them dead. This also effectively identifies and zaps yappy children, crackpots, spammers, topic-derailers, and the traditional intentful troll. No self-respecting academic-oriented blog wants anything other than sane adults on their blog. Only sane adults add reader value to a blog. Unfortunately, until laws are in place to jail some of the extreme offenders (watch, it's coming), keep in mind that every website is a troll target. No one is a virgin to troll attacks.

Typical trolls I get in my commentbox are as follows:
  1. The pompous no-lifer troll

    It's the idiot that can't defend his position so he hurls invectives like "You don't know anything about [fill-in-blank]". It begs the question why they don't just take their free time to read something better. Answer: they're social rejects.

  2. The language-kook troll

    One nut is still posting falsifiable Vasco-Caucasian etymologies to me for months on end. He fails to absorb that each and every one of his messages has been rejected. Maybe it's time for the meds? No, I'm not interested in how you think that Etruscan is related to Mayan or that you took offense to my position against clumsy protolanguage reconstructions. Get lost.

  3. The neophobic troll

    These trolls try hard to twist any new idea proposed by the blogger as a logical fallacy without facts to support it in a transparent attempt to interfere with open dialogue. It doesn't matter how often you espouse Occam's Razor or explain that it's only a rational possibility to ponder given the facts. But grown-ups know damn well what you're saying or ask pertinent questions when they don't. These people tend to be flakes who have no ideas of their own and due to their deficiency bitterly try to discredit others simply for sharing ideas to bring everyone down to their brainless level.

  4. The free-speech troll

    This is the person that yells "Free speech" whenever you try to shut them up with a deletion or two. Obviously if all commenters are free to blog their own positions, then there is no free-speech issue. The person is just an aimless jerk who is trying to wear down your own inherent freedom to delete his stupidity from your own blog.

  5. The you-hate-all-opposition troll

    Such trolls will say that you can't handle opposition and that you hate everyone, blah blah blah. You're told that you're ornery, you're a prick, you're an aspie. They've got every name in the book for you but no facts. Of course, bloggers have a right to object to factless, argumentative opposition from nutty commenters who pretend that they represent everyone when you're clearly only objecting to their own personal views.
Hip-hip-hooray for the blessed 'Delete' button! The best technological innovation ever!


  1. Don't mind the haters Glen, just do your thing :)

  2. Oh I keep doing my thing regardless, don't you worry. I just want to stir up the trolls since they're so good at bringing me more hits. ;o)

  3. I think I know the guy who talks about Vasco-Caucasian...


  4. FYI to others: Yangg is another kind of troll who goes by the name Arnaud Fournet and has already made racist comments and been all out harrassing on other forums like Cybalist.

    He then makes sure to show how pathetic his life is by copying my entire post, adding extras to it, and uploading it to Scribd three days later as if it were his own work. All that energy for what exactly? Tragically pathetic but the world carries on without him.

  5. Damn, Glen, on reading your blog this wave of nostalgia threw me over again: why on earth didn't I study linguistics, as I originally intended to. I did learn some languages, it's true, and I do have a lot of spare time, being a a schoolteacher (in Greece), but, oh, my, Minoan and Aegean and Etruscan, it's overwhelming. Keep up the good work, I'll be reading you. Thanks!