Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thank-You-Thursday: Internet Trolls

Thank-You-Thursday is pretty self-explanatory: I’m going to pick individuals or groups of people and thank them for something. Of course, my thank-yous will be dripping with sarcasm and neon with passive-aggressive hatred. Such is the way.

This week, I would like to take the time to officially thank the Forum Troll. Without both trolls and witty, genius, fact-suppliers, the Internet would be a barren wasteland of static information; who the hell wants that?

Without the Forum Troll, there would be no need for moderators. Without moderators, there would be no people on forums who secretly feel like the cops of the place. Without people who feel like that, there would be no forums. Thus, trolls are an integral part of any Internet gathering area. They are as much the glue that binds as the people who supply actual, good information. It’s the push-and-pull of good and evil, right there in text form. Shit, that’s awesome.

The Internet Troll does his thing in many ways. Let’s look at three of them:

1. He posts things specifically to piss people off.
When these magic posts work, the thread can go hundreds of pages long, full of replies from everyday people ‘feeding the troll’, so the saying goes. These threads are malignant in nature and should never, ever be replied to.

2. He posts things that make people want to join in, but are useless as far as the forum goes. “What are you listening to now?” is a good one. “What are your other hobbies?” is another popular choice. The information contained in responses cannot, in any way, help the original poster. Therefore, it’s a troll post. Harmless enough, but slightly annoying to those of us who don’t give a shit what someone’s listening to while on the ‘Net.

3. He posts a topic in which he claims he hates himself, doesn’t believe in himself, is depressed, or has the general blues about life. These are the trickiest to spot because sometimes, legitimate posts are created by good and decent people who are just having a bad day or are encountering a rough patch. More than one depressed post, however, and the members of the forum must band together and decide: Is this guy fishing for compliments and ‘atta boys, or is he actually in need of kind words and friendship. The line there is usually pretty clear after a while but again, the fog never completely lifts from that beach.

So, thank-you, Internet Troll! You have touched the lives of many, your post count has risen to 15,000 in the last month, you have actually managed to create Internet jobs, and you spend oodles of time accomplishing nothing.

My hat is off to you; I couldn’t do it, myself. Well-played, Mr. Troll.

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