Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls

GoldMeddle

I don't know if I'm going to make this into a series. I'm planning on making videos soon, but I thought this particular post would work better as a MyTake. Without further ado, I present to you

Misconception Vs. Reality: Internet trolls

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet trolls

Defining Troll

The word troll, used in the phrase "internet troll" is a subjective and controversial term. Many different destructive behaviors are labeled as "trolling" because being called a "troll" is preferable to being called an "antisocial" or a "sociopath." I define trolling as behavior designed to get attention. That's a very nebulous definition, so I'm going to be more specific.

There's a type of internet user known as an R.I.P "troll." The lack of humanity these people possess is unfathomable. R.I.P troll sounds like a person who pretends to be dead. That sort of behavior would be destructive and sadistic; unfortunately, that's not what an R.I.P troll is. R.I.P trolls are people who go around the internet posting horrible things on people's statuses after a loved one has passed away.

Like I say, it's unimaginable how little you must care about others to participate in this. I have no respect for people who do and I honestly don't believe anybody who engages in this behavior is redeemable. In any sense of the word.

There is another type of trolling that people engage in as well. And this is where I have to admit my bias, since I have participated in this type of trolling before.

My career as an internet troll

If you've ever played COD you may, at some point, have humiliated people in gun game (that means demoting them) instead of actually playing the game. I suppose this behavior isn't technically harmless, but on the other hand it comes with the territory. If you're going to play COD don't be surprised if you run into this type of player.

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls

I have done that before. But in addition I have also trolled the internet in other ways. I like to think none of what I did hurt anybody, but you can be the judge of that. Here's an example of some of the activities I engaged in.

-Griefing- that's a term in Minecraft. Basically means destroying something someone built. I didn't destroy anything but I would go into people's buildings even if they did not want me in there.

-Yahoo answers- asking ridiculous questions to get a response. "If I left chicken out for four days can I still eat it." Stupid stuff like that. I probably had/have ten accounts on there, but I've forgotten the password and username info.

-Cursing in Minecraft servers to get a moderator's attention and get myself banned. Coming back with a different account.

-Hiding in COD until I was the last one left. Using a rocket launcher to try to kill the enemy team while other people screamed at me over the mic.

Most of the time I had two goals: Make other people laugh and get other people's attention. I've never told anyone to kill themselves. And that's not me patting myself on the back- most people haven't.

Why I'm bringing this up

Back when I was trolling I was absolutely miserable. I felt like shit most of the time and I had no outlet for my anger. I was unwilling to take responsibility for my own actions and realize the mistakes I had made. I blamed life and other things outside of my control. I blamed my parents.

And one of the interesting things I've noticed looking back on the trolling- much of it had to do with situations I was dealing with in real life. That "left the chicken out for four days" question might just seem random and stupid, but this is directly linked to my fear of food being contaminated and my fear of vomiting (emetophobia). Perhaps that question made me feel better. I don't know for sure why I did that.

Do I feel guilty for what I did? No, not too much. I don't believe I ever hurt anybody when I was trolling and my goal was never to make other people feel bad. I regret it because I wasted my life. I never tried to change because going onto MC and trolling everyday was easier.

To Reiterate

I felt lonely and my goal was to get attention.

How does this fit into the larger narrative?

When people think of trolls they think of fat overweight guys with neckbeards living in their mother's basement.

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls

In reality though, the sort of trolling most of these people do is harmless. When these people troll they usually do it to get attention, speaking as someone who used to engage in that sort of behavior. The goal of these lonely friendless people is usually not to make anybody feel bad.

The sad part is, despite this stereotype, a lot of the people who fit this mold are perfectly friendly. Usually they have some sort of health condition or mental health condition that causes them to live this way. I'm not saying you can't make fun of stereotypes or trying to spoil anyone's fun, I'm just saying that this stereotype is inaccurate. A lot of these people are just looking for a friend.

Why people choose to believe this stereotype

You can be ugly and unattractive on the outside and live a shit life and still have some kind of morals and ethics. Conversely you can be incredibly handsome and attractive on the outside and live a great life and have no morals and ethics at all.

I think people typically choose to think of trolls this way because it is comforting. Much more comforting to picture a troll as someone who looks like this then...

Someone who looks like this...

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls

(Oliver rawlings aka Internet troll who abused an older woman for shits and giggles)

Someone living life to the fullest. Someone, on the surface, who would be perfectly pleasant and friendly but underneath is severely lacking in morals. It might not be such a stretch to call this man a Sociopath.

The reality

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls

When people refer to trolls as mean aggressive people who try to tear others down online, they are basically referring to an antisocial person with sadistic tendencies.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-online-secrets/201409/internet-trolls-are-narcissists-psychopaths-and-sadists

A couple things to point out about this study.

1) they had a bunch of internet trolls fill out questions on a test, and internet trolls are masters of manipulation. Although, if they manipulated this study for fun that may be an accurate indication regardless.

2) These traits were most prevalent in People who said trolling was their FAVORITE INTERNET ACTIVITY.

3) Trolling was not clearly defined. In this case I believe it means being abusive and hostile toward others.

One Massive Misconception

A lot of people believe that trolls are very angry people. And it only makes sense that their anger would stem from somewhere- namely their shitty life. Certainly in some cases this is true. But in other cases the truth is far more disturbing.

Trolls don't attack people because they are angry. Trolls don't abuse because they are looking for an outlet. Trolls attack people and abuse them for FUN. They simply enjoy it. Tearing other people down is a sport to them. You or I might watch a funny TV show when we have some free time. A troll on the other hand, wouldn't enjoy that as much as harassing people on the internet. That's more entertaining to them.

A while ago, some people were calling Leafyishere (a popular youtuber) a Sociopath (an overused term I'll admit- he's a very flawed person, but I wouldn't go so far as to say he's a Sociopath). So I googled it and came across a forum in which people were discussing Leafy. As one person explained, they enjoyed watching Leafy because he "tears other people down and breaks them and it's fun to see the mental breakdown unfold." That should give you an idea of the mindset of this type of person.

Maybe I'll do a separate MyTake on Sociopathy and personality disorders in general, I don't know yet.

The answer is clear

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls

Trolls are not angry people with shitty lives in most cases. The ones that troll due to these factors usually do it for attention but still have some semblance of a moral compass and do not harass or abuse (usually- there are exceptions).

Trolls ARE antisocial, sadistic people. If they aren't angry to begin with it will be hard to piss them off. And if you accuse them of having no life your accusations have no effect on them because they usually aren't accurate. If you call them antisocial they probably won't care much. And if you challenge them, they will respond. So the only option really is to

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls

them.

And this goes for all kinds of trolls, even the ones doing it for attention. It's not up to you to give them that attention. It's up to them to fix their life so they aren't desperate to get attention from some random person on the internet.

In conclusion

Most people are good. Most people don't troll. And most people who troll don't do it to harm others. But there are some out there who are trying to harm others- because it's fun for them.

You must ignore these people, as hard as it might be. If you can't take solace in the fact that they are fat basement dwelling losers at least take solace in the fact that they do not think and feel like you or I do and will very possibly end up in trouble with the law for their actions at some point.

Trolls are the most ordinary everyday people. People need to realize that. Most people do, but some people still stubbornly cling to the comforting idea that trolls are ugly no-lifes.

Some are. But most, aren't. Most are just normal people like you and me.

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls

Misconception vs. Reality: Internet Trolls
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Most Helpful Girl

  • SirenDep
    I just want to say that posting things on the internet is like making them known to the world, especially concerning social media. We tend to forget that. So it's better not to share things that you wouldn't be comfortable for strangers to know, or for someone to make fun of. Or just don't accept friend requests from strangers, and block and report anyone who harasses you. Avoid trolls, and if you see them ignore them.
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guy

  • Waffles731
    I got trolled today on all my active questions, some anon asshole decided to post cartoon porn of futurama and the little mermaid on my active questions and didn't seem to think that when I reported him that he was violating the guidelines
    Is this still revelant?
    • GoldMeddle

      That's really weird, but I suppose it isn't particularly harmful. Just stupid and annoying really.

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What Girls & Guys Said

48
  • SnowHearth
    I have a daughter, who is 6yo, she plays MMORPGs, when people beings to talk about politics she trolls them.
    • GoldMeddle

      @SnowHearth she's 6, so I sincerely doubt she's trying to hurt anybody. That's awesome, good for her XD

  • Saoirse_Nua
    I think we need a broader term base - There are levels of trolling, some are genuinely funny at one end to the disturbingly abusive at the other end - We all have been there where someone parodies another view and sometimes it is my own view but it is done with such humour that you don't mind it or I love when someone gets called out on an extreme view, by a baited funny question. Other times a really good troll when you just don't know, you are half thinking that could be real.
    I don't know the actual numbers obviously but it is like anons, they are good/harmless trolls on GaG but the term is so catch all that everyone is lumping them all together.
    An analogy I would use is the catch all "Catfish" fake accounts but there is a big difference between a grown man pretending to be a 15 year old girl to befriend other girls and a girl who just wants a pretty picture in her profile.
    • GoldMeddle

      @Saoirse_Nua that's true. Trolling can be both fun and harmless, especially if a person's intentions are to make somebody else laugh. I think of it like I think of pranks- on one hand you have those really horrible pranks where the prankster abuses people and on the other hand you have those lighthearted pranks played for a laugh. They aren't the same thing. Certainly some trolling I actually enjoy.

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  • CisScum
    Just take a look at this site, so many unfunny anonymous trolls. That's proof enough trolling is horrible.
    • GoldMeddle

      @CisScum honestly though it depends on the trolling. A stupid question is harmless (usually I answer it even though I'm 99.99% sure I'm being trolled. Aggressive or mean posts are problematic though.

      If I'm not in the mood to deal with trolls I tend to just avoid anons.

  • SovereignessofVamps
    'Someone living life to the fullest. Someone, on the surface, who would be perfectly pleasant and friendly but underneath is severely lacking in morals. It might not be such a stretch to call this man a Sociopath.'

    I don't think they'd be a sociopath, they're avg lol
    • GoldMeddle

      @SovereignessofVamps the guy in the photo mercilessly abused and threatened an older woman. I wouldn't call him avg.

    • @GoldMeddle I meant people like that, I have no idea who that guy is.

    • GoldMeddle

      @Sovereignessofvamps depends on the type of trolling. R. I. P trolling is most definitely Sociopathic. Goofy trolling isn't at all. The type of trolling I am referring to- abusing others for a laugh- is antisocial at the very least though.

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  • JudgmentDay
    What can I say? They sure know how to get the "Lulz" by pissing off others for fun just by posting random offensive shit. And if "U Mad Bro?" then that is what they want, and you give them what they want.
    • GoldMeddle

      @JudgementDay I don't mind the ones who post random offensive shit as much (they're annoying but fairly benign), but the ones who target people are horrible. Especially the ones who target weak vulnerable people. Absolutely disgusting.

      But yeah, if you get angry and rage at them that is what they want. In most cases.

    • @GoldMeddle

      Judgment is without an e. When you respond to them you're giving them what they want and that makes it amusing and fun for them to continue to fuck with everyone with their trolling and controversial topics. That's why they say don't "feed" the trolls and simply just ignore them, as that's the only way they won't be able to have their kind of "fun".

      As for those that target that sounds almost like cyberbullying to me. Don't know too much about that. If it's direct, block and report. Anything else I don't know. Hopefully the mods and admins of a site will actually give a fuck and seriously do something about it and permanently ban those trolls that target weak vulnerable people.

    • GoldMeddle

      @JudgmentDay It is cyberbullying. I think they call it trolling because it sounds lighthearted and goofy so other people don't judge them so much. I don't think the person doing the cyberbullying cares about being labelled a cyberbully but they do care how others perceive them. Cyberbullying sounds much worse then trolling. And the R. I. P "trolling" is most definitely cyberbullying despite being dubbed trolling.

      Absolutely, ignore them. Unless you want to be trolled. Unfortunately someone else who isn't as used to the internet will come along and fall right into their trap. Somebody always does.

      I actually answer a lot of the joke questions on here, even though I'm pretty sure they are asked by trolls. But if I'm not in the mood to be trolled I avoid anons.

  • Other_Tommy_Wiseau
    This sounded more like an aa meeting 😂. Not gonna lie. I also would've thought that picture of that dude on the boat was 1 of my best friends if you didn't point that out

    Anyways, someone trolling just antagonizes to rustle some jimmies. Anonimity is a powerful tool. Give a person cover and you'll see how far they can really go. I personally love trolling on obvious or dumb questions like, "do I look like a girl?" (Insert picture of giraffe)... "Yeah!". "What is 2+2?"... "17.842". Fortunately, or unfortunately, it happens way more times on this site than you'd think 😂😂😂
    • GoldMeddle

      @Other_Tommy_Wiseau I think everybody does that from time to time. Sometimes I'll give a ridiculous answer on a question, but the person who asked the question can tell it is a ridiculous answer and often appreciates it. When I used to troll on Yahoo answers sometimes it wasn't quite so clear that the question I was asking wasn't for real.

      I agree that when people are anonymous they'll act differently. There was a study done where people delivered an electric shock to random participants (not really, the people receiving the shock were actors) but supposedly as far as the shocker knew, the other person was real. When they were not looking at the other person they were comfortable delivering a more intense charge (I think that's what it was- something like that anyways).

    • Do you wanna write this mytake for me? Like, this is the exact type of shit it's covering... I'm just too lazy (I'm also writing 1 on football and another thing that's confidential at the moment). At least I'd know you'd finish it unlike some people 😒

      Oh, yahoo answers was way worse. I didn't have an account, but I read it daily before they changed the format and went to shit. But I stayed mainly in sports, so it was kinda watered down a bit. But yeah. Usually when I'm trolling, it's pretty obvious. And most people typically think it's funny. I'm also usually that 1 person on the poll questions who votes for the other thing 😂

    • Show All
  • TheDevilInside
    And the anonymous function on here makes it easy for them to breed...
  • Aldrich_
    Trolling's fun. It's fun to see what the reaction of a player would be if you humiliate and make fun of them for being really bad at video games or having no idea what they're talking about in an internet argument.
    • GoldMeddle

      @Aldrich_ If your intention with trolling is to humiliate someone, that's a little sadistic. When I pretended I had no idea what I was doing in COD it was to get a laugh from the other team or a "wtf." I would never want to humiliate them.

      And especially if they are kids... fuck anybody who picks on kids in games.

  • Only_Women_Bleed
    I've always found trolling funny but it depends on which kind.

    There use to be this guy who would go on metal videos on YouTube and lecture all the metalheads about why Nickelback were better song writers and my friend and I (both metalheads) would just be in tears laughing at the the intense amount of rage this guy would get.

    I'll always have a soft spot for good trolling as long as you're not trying to really hurt somebody.

    The kind of trolling that ruins people's lives, keep it. For example, I can't stand seeing some of the online bullying teenagers get.
    • GoldMeddle

      @Only_Women_Bleed I agree with you there. Like the examples of trolling I listed- I don't think that's really that bad. I asked one question about making toast in the bathtub and someone said somebody else might try to do that thinking it was a good idea so I deleted it, but that certainly wasn't my intention. I think some trolling is lighthearted and goofy.

      The other stuff is cyberbullying, not trolling. Trolls call it trolling so it seems more lighthearted and goofy despite the bad intentions and serious consequences.

  • YourFutureEx
    Exactly! Trolls ≠ Cyber bullies.
    • GoldMeddle

      Depends on the type of troll really. But certainly not all trolls or even most trolls are cyberbullies

  • Anonymous
    Trolling is fun. It's like a game. How big of a reaction can I get this time? Can I get a downvote record? Can I get this person foaming at the mouth? Can I pit a group against each other while playing the part as an angel?

    It's like an experiment, but with an element of fun. You can learn a lot about people by pushing them to the edge. It's amusing, but exploratory and educational.

    And it doesn't take much time. I don't sit for hours. I can set off controversy, have coffee and fuck my boyfriend, then post for another two minutes to get the rabble going again. I don't know. It's just fun!
  • Anonymous
    Internet trolls really need to get a life. It's so obvious because it doesn't match reality and it's even funnier when they get mad and defensive when I call them out on it. It's so hard to ignore them.
    • GoldMeddle

      Er... did you read anything I wrote? I mentioned that they do in fact have a life (that's a common misconception people have.) The ones who don't have a life troll for attention. The ones that harass and abuse are antisocial and have sadistic tendencies. They may just be pretending to get mad and defensive to get a reaction out of you because most of them don't care.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, doesn't matter. I still think they need to get a life and find someone else to do. They don't get a reaction out of me, I still call them trolls.

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