Trolling is a form of online communication where someone posts or comments with the intent to stir up trouble. It is a way for people to deliberately attract attention by being disruptive, hostile, or annoying in order to get a response from others. Trolls seek to provoke an emotional reaction from users and/or readers. The intent is not to cause malice or harm; however trolls may embrace a ‘devils advocate’ position in order to get their point across. Trolls may also be motivated by a desire to be funny or to make a statement.
Trolls tend to use methods that are designed to generate an emotional response, be it outrage, amusement, anger, or even an intellectual response. Common trolling tactics include posting inflammatory or off-topic comments, baiting or provocation, sarcasm, and generally making people angry. Trolls may also use distracting techniques such as intentionally misspelling words or by focusing on irrelevant topics.
Important to note: While trolling can seem amusing to some people, it is important to remember that trolling has the potential to become very upsetting and is best avoided.
Who are Trolls?
Trolls come in all shapes and sizes. They may be highly skilled in provoking reactions or simply trying to get a reaction out of someone. Some popular types of trolls include those who troll for attention, those who troll for fun, and those who simply want to start a debate.
Attention trolls are those who want to draw attention to themselves or a cause. They may do this to bring awareness to a particular issue or simply to do something outrageous in order to get others to take notice.
The aim of fun trolls is to essentially ‘mess around’ with people on the internet in order to have a good time. This type of troll usually doesn’t have any political or personal purpose and usually just wants to watch the chaos that their trolling can create. Often they may not even understand the implications of what they are doing.
Debate trolls are usually people who have a serious interest in a particular subject and they attempt to draw people into a discussion or to provoke a reaction out of people in order to gain attention. This type of trolling is usually reserved for more serious topics and are usually done by people who are attempting to push a particular point of view.
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Trolling in the digital age
Trolling has been around for a long time, but it is more prominent in the digital age. The culture of trolling is more visible now and has been adopted by people who want to get attention or just want to stir the pot. With the growth of social media, trolls can now easily spread their messages to a wider audience. It is often readily spread on online forums, in comments sections of websites, or on social media.
The increasing prevalence of trolls also brings with it certain dangers. In some cases, trolling can lead to serious mental health problems and can even lead to physical harm. It can also be used to disseminate abusive or attacking messages which can have very serious repercussions. It can also cause distress to the innocent victims of trolling, who have had their reputations or feelings hurt.
Tips for Avoiding Trolling
1. Stay vigilant. Be aware of the tone of interactions, and be mindful of the fact that trolls could be lurking. Be prepared to report or ignore anyone who is making you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
2. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Speak to people with respect and remember that behind every online interaction is a real person with real emotions. Avoid escalating the situation and refuse to let yourself be drawn in.
3. Don’t feed the trolls. This means that you don’t engage in debate with someone who is just trying to provoke. It is best to simply ignore the troll and don’t respond to them.
4. Report and/or block anyone who is causing a nuisance. Online platforms and social media sites all have protocols for dealing with trolls and will take action if appropriate.