Trolls: The Troublesome Side of Cyberspace

Ever since the dawn of the internet forum in 1973 as bulletin board services (BBSes), an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages, trolling has become a persistent problem. The term trolling first appeared in the early 1980s as chat rooms and forums became more established. And as the years rolled by, they have become increasingly bothersome.

These elements of society invade forums and social media platforms and behind the shield of a screen and avatar, do nothing but inflame and disrupt. Upset people as much as possible and tease the rules. Their sole intention is to carpet bomb the cyber world as they sit back and pat themselves on the back.

From around 2009 until 2018 I was a moderator on the controversial uncensored media site Documenting Reality, something I have mentioned before. You name it, we saw it. We also dealt with trolling behaviour. These miscreants were usually dealt with on a three strikes and out system or sometimes immediately banned as per the site rules laid out by the forum owner. The disruption and chaos they caused was pathetic. Because I wasn’t a target, I used to tease them in the Water Cooler (where people were encouraged to settle their differences) by saying the classic, “Does your mum know you’re still up?” or “Have your milk and finish your homework”. It actually made them go all CAPS lock so I said to quit upsetting the forum.

They created multiple free email addresses and usernames to try and evade the system, spy on others and continue to wreak havoc. They were both flagged up on the IP address details and reported by their victims. And so, they were banned each time they tried access. Really vigilant trolls used dynamic IP addresses making it harder to pinpoint them however their obvious behaviour caught them out and each account subsequently banned.

I also witnessed behaviour so severe I wanted to report them to the police but it being a worldwide used forum, a permanent ban was my only frustrating choice.

Here are the main types of troll you’ll certainly encounter at some point whether as a target or observer on any platform today.

And they should be reported if you experience or witness any ongoing cyber assault.

The Insult EVERYTHING Troll

The insult troll is a vicious hater of everything and everyone. Even without a solid reason. They’ll needle anyone in their sight and even go so far as dangerous false allegations. They feed off all the responses from both the victim and those confident enough to step in. And address with even more attacks.

As seen all too frequently, this type of trolling can become so severe it becomes cyberbullying that seems to be becoming more and more apparent. be

Thankfully people are not keeping as quiet about their experiences anymore.

The Argument Troll

This type of troll loves a good argument! They home in on a researched and fact-based subject and particularly enjoy the tiresome conspiracy theory argument just to wallow in people’s often angry response.

They’re right and everyone else is wrong and are determined to have the last word by continuing to comment until the other users gives up. Then they feel they’ve won.

The Grammar Nazi Troll

You know this type of troll well, they pick you up on your misspelled words and grammatical errors. I visualise them sat sucking up the ink of a red pen ready to pounce like my Chemistry teacher did at Bathgate Academy in the 90s.

Posting the correct version of the word in the comments just to try and make you look incompetent. People are not machines and make errors. The worst is if your post is quoted with the correction as their response. What does it even prove to normal sensible people?

The I’m Offended Troll

Controversial subjects, differences in opinion, world views and so forth are forever discussed online and naturally at least one person will take offence. That’s very normal and expected.

But there are troublesome trolls who deliberately claim offence to a joke, something sarcastic, even a personal opinion and take great offence. Disturbingly on other’s behalf too who weren’t offended at all.

They blatantly turn humourous and/or conversational content into an argument by playing the victim in the hope that they can tear down the people who dare post a comment.

These type of trolls were often issued infractions for forum disruption and were told to keep such behaviour confined to the Water Cooler.

The Bigmouth Know-it-All Troll

Very much like the argument troll, the show-off troll is someone who loves to share their opinion in great detail and even delights in spreading rumours. They’ll get involved in just about anything just to be heard.

They incessantly post lengthy and repetitive content rich in juicy details and are quite similar to the argument troll.

The Caps Lock Troll

This one I’ve always found amusing. The “I’m shouting at you!” type who spams forum content with swear words, empty retorts and basically nothing of value whatsoever.

They’re bored kids often too young for the forums they comment on just looking something’s to do. In reality they’re actually harmless.

The One Word Only Troll

A valued contributor to a a forum thread, YouTube video or social media post who types phrases like “lol”, “what”, “k”, “bump” or “666”. And so on. They are harmless enough however disrupt the flow of a conversation or bump older articles on to the first page of a media site.

I used to simply remove their posts and send them a firm but polite warning. It can be classed as borderline spamming however it is nothing more than attention seeking.

The Exaggeration Troll

Exaggeration trolls take any topic or problem and completely blow it out of proportion.

They rarely contribute any decent value to a discussion and will raise problems that aren’t even related to what’s being discussed.

The Off Topic Troll

These are people who posts something completely unrelated to the content being discussed. They are capable of causing a topic to be completely shifted onto something else rendering the original post void.

Off topic posters were almost always pulled over and slapped on the wrist for thread derailment.

The Spam Troll

This is the troll who doesn’t care about anywhere and only posts to benefit themself. Spamming as many sources as possible with advertising or links to offers, downloads and so forth. Everything they litter the internet and social media screams, “Follow me!”.

They used to be banned outright so mission not accomplished.

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© Copyright: Sharon Lawson™

5 thoughts on “Trolls: The Troublesome Side of Cyberspace

  1. Annoying behavior… I suppose these are bored people with some kind of personal agenda… most likely control freaks wanting to produce certain reactions in people for their own amusement. Amazing to think they have nothing better to do with their precious time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Awww man. I actually miss the 00’s when those oldschool forums and actual trolls were still a thing like that. I always found them waaaay too hilarious in my moderating days 🤣 bunch of ignoramusses hahaha!

    Liked by 2 people

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