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Troll (Internet)

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Troll (Internet)
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Troll (Internet)
This article is about internet slang. For other uses, see Troll (disambiguation).[img]//[/img]In Internet slang, atroll(/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by trying to start arguments and upset people.. They may do this by posting deliberately inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
While this sense of the wordtrolland its associated verbtrollingare associated with Internet discourse, media attention in recent years has made such labels subjective, with trolling also used to describe intentionally provocative actions and harassment outside of an online context. For example, mass media has usedtrollto describe "a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families."
Origin and Etymology
There are competing theories of where and whentrollwas first used in Internet slang, with numerous unattested accounts of BBS and UseNet origins in the early 80s or before.
The origin of the English nountrollin the standard sense of ugly dwarf or giant dates to 1610 and comes from the Old Norse word 'troll' meaning giant or demon. The word evokes the trolls of Scandinavian folklore and children's tales, where they are at times beings bent on mischief and wickedness.
In modern English usage,trollingmay describe the fishing technique of slowly dragging a lure or baited hook from a moving boat whereastrawlingdescribes the generally commercial act of dragging a fishing net.
Early non-Internet related slang use oftrollingfor actions deliberately performed to provoke a reaction can be found in the military—by 1972 the termtrolling for MiGswas documented in use by US Navy pilots in Vietnam.
The contemporary slang use of the term is alleged to have appeared on the Internet in the late 1980s, but the earliest known attestation is from the OED in 1992.
Another claim sets the origin in Usenet in the early 1990s as in the phrase "trolling for newbies", as used inalt.folklore.urban(AFU). Commonly, what is meant is a relatively gentle inside joke by veteran users, presenting questions or topics that had been so overdone that only a new user would respond to them earnestly. For example, a veteran of the group might make a post on the common misconception that glass flows over time. Long-time readers would both recognize the poster's name and know that the topic had been discussed a lot, but new subscribers to the group would not realize, and would thus respond. These types of trolls served as a practice to identify group insiders. This definition of trolling, considerably narrower than the modern understanding of the term, was considered a positive contribution. One of the most notorious AFU trollers, David Mikkelson, went on to create the urban folklore website
By the late 1990s,alt.folklore.urbanhad such heavy traffic and participation that trolling of this sort was frowned upon. Others expanded the term to include the practice of playing a seriously misinformed or deluded user, even in newsgroups where one was not a regular; these were often attempts at humor rather than provocation. In such contexts, the nountrollusually referred to an act of trolling, rather than to the author.
In other languages
In Chinese, trolling is referred to asbái mù(Chinese: 白目; literally "white eye"), which can be straightforwardly explained as "eyes without pupils", in the sense that whilst the pupil of the eye is used for vision, the white section of the eye cannot see, and trolling involves blindly talking nonsense over the internet, having total disregard to sensitivities or being oblivious to the situation at hand, akin to having eyes without pupils. An alternative term isbái làn(Chinese: 白爛; literally "white rot"), which describes a post completely nonsensical and full of folly made to upset others, and derives from a Taiwanese slang term for the male genitalia, where genitalia that is pale white in colour represents that someone is young, and thus foolish. Both terms originate from Taiwan, and are also used in Hong Kong and mainland China. Another term,xiǎo bái(Chinese: 小白; literally "little white") is a derogatory term that refers to bothbái mùiconjunctioniiand"],,0.731615603],["aandzand"],,0.00122707128],["tajandadverbcoraz"],[["corazandiandiaorazbái lànthat is used on anonymous posting internet forums. Another common term for a troll used in mainland China ispēn zi(Chinese: 噴子; literally "sprayer, spurter").
In Japanese,tsuri(釣り) means "fishing" and refers to intentionally misleading posts whose only purpose is to get the readers to react, i.e. get trolled.arashi(荒らし) means "laying waste" and can also be used to refer to simple spamming.
In Icelandic,Ăžurs(a thurs) ortrĂśll(a troll) may refer to trolls, the verbsĂžursa(to troll) orĂžursast(to be trolling, to troll about) may be used.
In Korean,nak-si(낚시) means "fishing", and is used to refer to Internet trolling attempts, as well as purposefully misleading post titles. A person who recognizes the troll after having responded (or, in case of a post titlenak-si, having read the actual post) would often refer to himself as a caught fish.[potrzebne źródło]
In Portuguese, more commonly in its Brazilian variant, troll (produced [ˈtɾɔw] in most of Brazil as spelling pronunciation) is the usual term to denote internet trolls (examples of common derivate terms aretrollismolubconjunctionlublubor"],,0.709106207],["alboor"],,0.20001258],["czyoraniorbądźorczylior"],,0.00181349379],["względnieor"],,0.000519574678],["ewentualnieor"],,0.000300706743],["bobecausenounkolor złotykolor złotyor"],,6.51303651e-08],["złotogoldluborlubczyalboanibądźtrollagem, "trolling", and the verbtrollar, "to troll", which entered popular use), but an older expression, used by those which want to avoid anglicisms or slangs, iscomplexo do pombo enxadristato denote trolling behavior, andpombos enxadristas(literally, "chessplayer pigeons") or simplypombosare the terms used to name the trolls. The terms are explained by an adage or popular saying: "Arguing withfulano(i.e. John Doe) is the same as playing chess with a pigeon: the pigeon defecates on the table, drop the pieces and simply fly, claiming victory."
In Thai, the term "krean" (เกรียน) has been adopted to address Internet trolls. The term literally refers to a closely cropped hairstyle worn by most school boys in Thailand, thus equating Internet trolls to school boys. The term "tob krean" (ตบเกรียน), or "slapping a cropped head", refers to the act of posting intellectual replies to refute and cause the messages of Internet trolls to be perceived as unintelligent.[potrzebne źródło]
In Sinhala Language this is calledala kiríma(අල කිරීම), which means "Turning it into Potatoes (Sabotage)". Sometimes it is used asala vagaa kiríma(අල වගා කිරීම) - "Planting Potatoes". People/Profiles who does trolling often are called "Potato Planters" -ala vagákaruvan(අල වගාකරුවන්). This seems to be originated from university slangala veda(අල වැඩ) which means "Potato business" is used for breaking the laws/codes of the university.
Trolling, identity, and anonymity
Early incidents of trolling were considered to be the same as flaming, but this has changed with modern usage by the news media to refer to the creation of any content that targets another person. The Internet dictionary NetLingo suggests there are four grades of trolling: playtime trolling, tactical trolling, strategic trolling, and domination trolling. The relationship between trolling and flaming was observed in open-access forums in California, on a series of modem-linked computers in the 1970s, likeCommuniTreewhich when accessed by high school teenagers became a ground for trashing and abuse. Some psychologists have suggested that flaming would be caused by deindividuation or decreased self-evaluation: the anonymity of online postings would lead to disinhibition amongst individuals Others have suggested that although flaming and trolling is often unpleasant, it may be a form of normative behavior that expresses the social identity of a certain user group According to Tom Postmes, a professor of social and organisational psychology at the universities of Exeter, England, and Groningen, The Netherlands, and the author ofIndividuality and the Group, who has studied online behavior for 20 years, "Trolls aspire to violence, to the level of trouble they can cause in an environment. They want it to kick off. They want to promote antipathetic emotions of disgust and outrage, which morbidly gives them a sense of pleasure."
In academic literature, the practice of trolling was first documented by Judith Donath (1999). Donath's paper outlines the ambiguity of identity in a disembodied "virtual community" such as Usenet:
Donath provides a concise overview of identity deception games which trade on the confusion between physical and epistemic community:
Trolls can be costly in several ways. A troll can disrupt the discussion on a newsgroup, disseminate bad advice, and damage the feeling of trust in the newsgroup community. Furthermore, in a group that has become sensitized to trolling – where the rate of deception is high – many honestly naïve questions may be quickly rejected as trollings. This can be quite off-putting to the new user who upon venturing a first posting is immediately bombarded with angry accusations. Even if the accusation is unfounded, being branded a troll is quite damaging to one's online reputation.}}
Susan Herring and colleagues in "Searching for Safety Online: Managing 'Trolling' in a Feminist Forum" point out the difficulty inherent in monitoring trolling and maintaining freedom of speech in online communities: "harassment often arises in spaces known for their freedom, lack of censure, and experimental nature". Free speech may lead to tolerance of trolling behavior, complicating the members' efforts to maintain an open, yet supportive discussion area, especially for sensitive topics such as race, gender, and sexuality.
In an effort to reduce uncivil behavior by increasing accountability, many web sites (e.g. Reuters, Facebook, and Gizmodo) now require commenters to register their names and e-mail addresses.
Concern troll
Aconcern trollis a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.
An example of this occurred in 2006 when Tad Furtado, a staffer for then-Congressman Charles Bass (R-NH), was caught posing as a "concerned" supporter of Bass' opponent, Democrat Paul Hodes, on several liberal New Hampshire blogs, using the pseudonyms "IndieNH" or "IndyNH". "IndyNH" expressed concern that Democrats might just be wasting their time or money on Hodes, because Bass was unbeatable. Hodes eventually won the election.
Although the term "concern troll" originated in discussions of online behavior, it now sees increasing use to describe similar behaviors that take place offline. For example, James Wolcott ofVanity Fairaccused a conservativeNew York Daily Newscolumnist of "concern troll" behavior in his efforts to downplay the Mark Foley scandal. Wolcott links what he calls concern trolls to what Saul Alinsky calls "Do-Nothings", giving a long quote from Alinsky on the Do-Nothings' method and effects:The Hillpublished an op-ed piece by Markos Moulitsas of the liberal blog Daily Kos titled "Dems: Ignore 'Concern Trolls'". The concern trolls in question were not Internet participants; they were Republicans offering public advice and warnings to the Democrats. The author defines "concern trolling" as "offering a poisoned apple in the form of advice to political opponents that, if taken, would harm the recipient".
Troll sites
While many webmasters and forum administrators consider trolls a scourge on their sites, some websites welcome them. For example, aNew York Timesarticle discussed troll activity at 4chan and at Encyclopedia Dramatica, which it described as "an online compendium of troll humor and troll lore". This site and others are often used as a base to troll against sites that their members can not normally post on. These trolls feed off the reactions of their victims because "their agenda is to take delight in causing trouble".
Media coverage and controversy
Mainstream media outlets have focused their attention on the willingness of some Internet trolls to go to extreme lengths in their attempts at eliciting reactions.
United States
On March 31, 2010, theToday Showran a segment detailing the deaths of three separate adolescent girls and trolls' subsequent reactions to their deaths. Shortly after the suicide of high school student Alexis Pilkington, anonymous posters began trolling for reactions across various message boards, referring to Pilkington as a "suicidal slut", and posting graphic images on her Facebook memorial page. The segment also included an exposĂŠ of a 2006 accident, in which an eighteen-year old fatally crashed her father's car into a highway pylon; trolls emailed her grieving family the leaked pictures of her mutilated corpse. In 2012, the subject of trolling was featured on the HBO series The Newsroom.
In February 2010, the Australian government became involved after trolls defaced the Facebook tribute pages of murdered children Trinity Bates and Elliott Fletcher. Australian communications minister Stephen Conroy decried the attacks, committed mainly by 4chan users, as evidence of the need for greater Internet regulation, stating, "This argument that the Internet is some mystical creation that no laws should apply to, that is a recipe for anarchy and the wild west." Facebook responded by strongly urging administrators to be aware of ways to ban users and remove inappropriate content from Facebook pages. In 2012, theDaily Telegraphstarted a campaign to take action against "Twitter trolls", who abuse and threaten users. Several high-profile Australians including Charlotte Dawson, Robbie Farah, Laura Dundovic, and Ray Hadley have been victims of trolling.
United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, contributions made to the Internet are covered by the Communications Act 2003. Sending messages which are "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character" is an offense whether they are received by the intended recipient or not. Several people have been imprisoned in the UK for trolling. Sean Duffy, who mocked the testimonial page of a dead teenager, was sentenced to eighteen weeks in prison and banned from using social networking sites for five years. Jamie Counsel was sentenced to four years for trying to incite riots. Trolls of the testimonial page of Georgia Varley faced no prosecution due to misunderstandings of the legal system in the wake of the term trolling being popularized. In October 2012, a twenty-year-old man was jailed for twelve weeks for posting offensive jokes to a support group for friends and family of April Jones. Later that month, The Register said there was a viewpoint that "the Crown Prosecution Service needs to reel in cops who are busily collaring trolls more or less at random ... usually responding to public pressure from media or social media".
Application of the termtrollis subjective. Some readers may characterize a post astrolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. Like any pejorative term, it can be used as anad hominemattack, suggesting a negative motivation.
Regardless of the circumstances, controversial posts may attract a particularly strong response from those unfamiliar with the robust dialogue found in some online, rather than physical, communities. Experienced participants in online forums know that the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore it[potrzebne źródło], because responding tends to encourage trolls to continue disruptive posts – hence the often-seen warning: "Please do not feed the trolls".
A popular early article defining and explaining the issue of Internet Trolls included the suggestion,The only way to deal with trolls is to limit your reaction to reminding others not to respond to trolls..
The "trollface" is an image occasionally used to indicate trolling in Internet culture.
As reported on April 8, 1999, investors became victims of trolling via an online financial discussion regarding PairGain, a telephone equipment company based in California. Trolls operating in the stock’s Yahoo Finance chat room posted a fabricated Bloomberg News article stating that an Israeli telecom company could potentially acquire PairGain. As a result, PairGain’s stock jumped by 31%. However, the stock promptly crashed after the reports were identified as false.
So-called Gold Membership trolling originated in 2007 on 4chan boards, users posting fake images claiming to offer upgraded 4chan account privileges; without a "Gold" account, one could not view certain content. This turned out to be a hoax designed to fool board members, especially newcomers. It was copied and became an Internet meme. In some cases, this type of troll has been used as a scam, most notably on Facebook, where fake Facebook Gold Account upgrade ads have proliferated in order to link users to dubious websites and other content.
The case ofZeran v. America Online, Inc.resulted primarily from trolling. Six days after the Oklahoma City bombing, anonymous users posted advertisements for shirts celebrating the bombing on AOL message boards, claiming that the shirts could be obtained by contacting Mr. Kenneth Zeran. The posts listed Zeran's address and home phone number. Zeran was subsequently harassed.
Anti-Scientology protests by Anonymous, commonly known as Project Chanology, are sometimes labeled as "trolling" by media such asWired, and the participants sometimes explicitly self-identify as "trolls".
See also

- Anti-social behaviour
- Cyber-bullying
- Flame war
- Griefer
- Heckler
- Hit-and-run posting
- Patent troll
- Poe's Law
- Social gadfly
- Sockpuppet (Internet)
- Vandal (Wikipedia)

Further reading
- Bishop, J. (2012). Scope and Limitations in the Government of Wales Act 2006 for Tackling Internet Abuses in the Form of 'Flame Trolling'. Statute Law Review. Online (Subscription).
- Bishop, J. (2013). Examining the Concepts, Issues, and Implications of Internet Trolling. IGI Global. ISBN 1466628030.
- Walter, T.; Hourizi, R.; Moncur, W.; Pitsillides (2012). Does the Internet Change How We Die And Mourn? An Overview Online.
External links
Trolling advocacy and safety
- The Trolling Academy - trolling advice, comment, and training
- The Troll Network - trolling discussion and comment
- Cyber Mentors - youth support group run by young people
- Get Safe Online - free expert advice on online safety
Background and definitions
- Usenet and Bulletin Board Abuse at the Open Directory Project
- NetLingo definition
- Urban Dictionary definition
- Trolling lore and essays
- Trolling news and features
Academic and debate
- Searching for Safety Online: Managing "Trolling" in a Feminist Forum
- Malwebolence – The World of Web Trolling; New York Times Magazine, By Mattathias Schwartz; August 3, 2008.
- Building relationships online with avatars and characters

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