Talk:Internet troll/Archive 1

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Why is the initial paragraph (the rest of the article being too long and thus unread) worded angrily and incoherently with faulty conclusions? The lack of clarity doesn't outline the basis of trolling very well, that being the essence of trolling being the *pretend assumption of viewpoints taken up strictly to undermine social retardation*. plz correct. also, gay niggers should be ungagged.

Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not true. Maybe some trolls are trying to "undermine social retardation", but many, if not the majority, simply wish to get their jollies making other people miserable and/or angry, like the schoolyard bully who feels strong by making others feel weak. And in my experience, "gay nigger" is the mark of a troll simply trying to, as the article says, draw emotions from people. So yeah, you just proved the article right.

Internet trolling affecting mass media

Jenkem and People believe this shit because major news networks have been trolled. A section in this page debunking these two myths would be helpful.

...the hell? "This shit"? "Major news networks have been trolled"? Would you mind giving us any proof? If it "would be helpful", why don't make it yourself?

Vicious cycles/vicious circles

Vicious cycle is an incorrect usage of the phrase "vicious circle," which refers to a fallacious circular argument as invented by logicians.

And yet someone edited it back to cycle again...


Help, trolls recently in action!

If you need any proof of there antics and how, they can disrupt a sight then read the links below. You should see what they did on the B.B.C. webs sight, how many were there, I've lost count! Most of their off-topic, malignant flaming has gone, thanks to me and another bloke on another BBC board, but some still remains. The history board was hit by a massive troll-fest that finally lead to some of the members taking a stand against it all. I thought this might be a helpful source of info on trolling and it's effects on a British board. If this is not evidence of trolling, then I dont know what is! I list my recent (May-September) and bitter experiences by category below-

My comrade defines identifying and tackling trolling as-

A note from the BBC moderators to the message board-




Wilfully off-topic to disrupt-

Read them and find out what hell it was, trolls are a real headache to live with if your a British measage board user!

(Homer slips- 04.14 UTC, Nov' 3, 2006).

Computers Misuse Act (1990)

In the UK case discussed above, it would seem more likely that the troll was locked up for a inciting racial hatred and making indecent images of children, rather than trolling per se. Can we find a citation to an example where somoene was convicted under the CMA for an otherwise non-criminal troll (rather than just appearing to interpret the law)?

Summary & Explanation

The summary should be longer and include more examples of online trolling. There was a version in 2005 which was much longer and comprehensive. Also the intro is too long and cluttered. There is no need to explain the difference between troll fishing and the mythical creature since we're talking about internet trolls. It can be worded much more fluently.

Giveen vs. Timothy Campbell

Timothy Campbell's Guide To Internet Trolls seems to me to be much better thought-out than Giveen's Guide To Internet Trolls. While the latter contains some good ideas, particularly the idea of categorizing trolls, at least one of the posts on the Giveen's page has some of what seems to me to be derogatory and unfair stereotyping, and consists of posts from a variety of members of a group, rather than a coherent essay like Timothy Campbell's guide.

Possible citation source?

I'm just leaving the link here since I'm a wiki newbie and not sure what qualifies a "suitable" example, but there is a bit in the usage section that cites the use of "Do not feed the troll" signs needing an example citation - would this be suitable? [2]. Being a wiki in itself the link should remain permanent for all intents and purposes.

Just thought I'd lend a hand ^^


Trolls are thought by some, including themselves, to play some role in the limiting of groupthink, and the prevention of forming any kind of false consciousness. For instance, someone who believed that wikipedia collaborators did not form any kind of 'community' but were instead a 'cabal' would be likely to behave as a troll in forums devoted to community topics.

24, please provide a reference for this claim. AxelBoldt 07:22 Jan 13, 2003 (UTC)

I don't know who you are, or who you think you're talking to, but the statement is pretty obvious as it stands. Why don't you take a break from censorship, AxelBoldt? You seem to see ghosts under every rock, friend.
It's so obviously wrong to delete reasonable passages and demand some kind of authority for them, and it's so obviously your habit, that there's no reasonable response other than to ignore you. You, AxelBoldt, are a troll.

As the above exchange proves, the noun form of "troll" should be avoided. The article now says so. Should not the term 'troll' refer to a message or an activity, rather than 'a person'?

I am sure that those who 'have trolled' or 'posted a troll' are not actually living under bridges all the time IRL. But, judging from the above, maybe some are. Also it's impossible to know whether most troll messages are actually a person or not, and will become more impossible as trolls get more automated.

Who votes to redefine 'troll' as a verb or as an adjective referring to a message?

I don't, no, thanks. Typically we (at wikipedia) report on usage as it is, instead of trying to steer it. People use "troll" as a noun; it might be incorrect or unpalatable to do so; we should report on it anyway. Koyaanis Qatsi
I agree, in common usage, a troll posts trolls ('Mod that poster down, he's a troll!')

moved from article

"For instance, someone who believed that Wikipedia collaborators did not form any kind of 'community' but were instead a 'cabal' would be likely to behave as a troll in forums devoted to community topics. The troll thereby develops his/her own false consciousness and spirals into a hell hole of delusions of grandeur.

It is safest to use the term "troll" to apply only to insubstantial irritation, or when a repeated pattern of behavior characteristic of trolls is obvious."

I find this stuff dubious, and highly POV. Im general, I think the quality of this article can be improved. I am considering listing it on peer review, and I would appreciate any substantial additions anyone can make. I am only just learning about the concept, and the article isn't exactly profoundly informative. Jack 08:32, 1 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Please see: Wikipedia:Mention of Wikipedia in articles. Note that this is an official policy.
We try to be brutally honest here, even at the risk of offending someone. If someone removed, for instance, a link in an article explaining "cluster fuck" and citing wikipedia as actually 'being' one, it is especially important to put it back, see Wikipedia:profanity and continue to assert that wikipedia has these undesirable characteristics. ... Wikipedia has no credibility if it cannot discuss itself with the same even-handedness as it discusses everything else. It is extremely important ... not to accept the groupthink of the 'community' without a fight. User:The Cave Troll
Nonsense. A page written by a banned user is about as far away from "official policy" as you can get. Angela. 19:42, Feb 6, 2004 (UTC)

Quote from me

"They will not compromise, or listen to reason, but focus rather on flamming (calling other people trolls, for example). From what I understand of the concept of trolling, it's not a person who happens to aggresively champion a POV, or have an alternate interpretation of whats best for an article. Strong sentiment is not a bad thing. Were all a bit of a troll, in some small way or another, whenever we dislike someone, or do something theoretically disturbing. Whats important is that we compromise where neccessary, and resort to references and arbitration (always trying to follow wiki-Rules) rather than name calling and hatefullness when we attempt to handle these cituations we happen to have some feelings about. Many trolls are simply vandals. But from what I understand, a troll is someone who fights over something they do not care about. They are rather interested in harassing a certain user, or upsetting others" Jack 12:27, 1 Feb 2004 (UTC)


Should the definition of a troll involve intent, or not? What about people who are inherently contentious and difficult? I'm not entirely sure from the article if someone who doesn't intend to be difficult, but ends up being so is a troll, or not? Seems a vital distinction to me. Sam Spade 10:37, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)

from my POV, intent is a vital part of the definition of a troll. -- The Anome 10:47, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I think its best for it to be defined that way, because otherwise nearly any of us could be legitimately be labeled a troll due to others perceptions of us as being difficult, regardless of our intent. I'd really like this term to be narrowly and precsisely defined, so that its use as a common flame here on the wiki can be minimized and delegitimized where necessary. Sam Spade 10:52, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Since I'm here, I will add some comments on that querry about "people who are inherently contentious and difficult". Accurate articles on the latest findings in human behavior are one of Wikipedia's big weaknesses, and they are a group of articles that might best assist in developing a collaborative process. Human behavior is only recenty being defined in terms of biological systems, but that research is heavily slanted toward conclusions that contradict traditional views of moral choice and self-control. Research is discovering a biological basis for recent behavioral findings that suggest behavior is a product of context, not of character.
I can't help but suspect tensions over the slang concept summarized in this article arise from fear of loosing familiar folk-lore concepts that facilitate group control before more accurate premises are thouroughly understood in this setting. A few might let go of the noun "troll" but it is not as easy to let go of assumptions about people being "inherently difficult." Still, the difficulty is usually more inherent to the person in a particular situation than to the person in general. This probably threatens some people because it suggests they could do more to change the behavior of others if they only understood better ways to change the situation. That is hard work we as a people don't yet know how to do very well, and it is easier to play "you broke the rules, you're inherently bad". Stardotstar 07:16, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

having engaged in somewhat troll like behavior

A troll is a hacker for social systems/networks (<> computer systems).

As there are blackhat and whitehat hackers, there are destructive and there are provocative trolls. A provocative trolls goal is to communicate the insight of the weakness and thus make the social system (and possibly others, if the experience is passed on) immune to the observed weakness. A destructive troll has the goal to damage/destroy or get control of a target in order to experience and/or demonstrate his power. Using similiar means to reach their goals, those two groups are theoretically antagonists. But, as far as I know there is no trolling culture (like there is for hackers), so there is little motivation to stay true to your principles.

There is the common misuse of the word, being part of a method to destroy any unwanted/controversial discussion, for example to maintain a powerful position in the community. Trolling is defined by intentions, not by means.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no more effective way to communicate weaknesses in social systems other than exploiting them until they get painful. There is no full-disclosure mailing list for trolls to post in, and for communication-platform-admins and -users to read. Trolls usually have a history of failed communication, of punishment for positively motivated criticism. A fact that supports the development of blackhat trolls.

"Real life trolling"

I removed the lengthy post regarding "Real life trolling." This article is about Internet trolling. Real life trolling should be discussed in its own article. Kingturtle 16:52, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)

role of trolls


The role of Internet trolls is also disputed, some viewing them as playing some role in the limiting of groupthink, and the prevention of forming any kind of false consciousness by acting as devil's advocate. One proposed explanation, in light of what was said earlier about "ad hominem" labeling, is that some people label others behaviours that they do not deem suitable as "controversy" or "trolling". Consequently, for instance, someone who believed that Wikipedia collaborators do not form an ordinary 'community' but were instead a 'cabal' would be likely to be labeled as a troll by people who take the Wikipedia seriously.

Attribute to a named advocate, such as a sociologist, perhaps, a famous usenet performance artist, or similar. Martin 02:02, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I agree this is a poorly written paragraph, but asking for a named source is inconsistent with general practices in Wikipeda. I'm not going to restore it or refactor it either, but I do want to note that if Martin is interested enough to bother removing large chunks of text it would be more productive to spend time refactoring or attempting to comprehend the contribution. Anybody can go about removing content. That reflects no skill at all, and is treated as vandalism when done by less popular members. The edit contributes nothing to either the community or to the encyclopedia. Stardotstar 06:12, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
removing dodgy text and asking for citations is standard practice. Martin
Occasionally, joining in with those accused of trolling can expediate their departure or change of behavior if they assume victory in their favor sooner or become confused.

I'm just confused trying to figure out what this means... Martin

Labeling participants in Internet discussions as trolls can serve to perpetuate the unwanted behaviors. A person who failed to find acceptance by a group, for whatever reason, might readily embrace an identity as a "troll" if the group more readily accepts that identity. An affirmative strategy in dealing with "trolling" behavior is to describe preferred behaviors, to affirm the capacity of a person to perform according to those expectations and to recognize the value of the preferred behavior. This is often difficult for those who use this term because it requires that they lend aid and comfort to those with whom they might disagree. Nonetheless, in most conflicts, for parties to articulate the interests of another party in terms the other party will accept is widely recognized as both a tool of conflict resolution and of persuading opponents to accept an unwelcome viewpoint.

A true opinion. Needs attribution, as above. Martin 02:09, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I restored this paragraph. Anyone familiar with the psychology of conflict resolution can recognize this as a synopsis of basic advice offered in family or marital therapy sessions, in workplace counseling and in counseling settings for other generalized situations where conflict resolution is appropriate. Since this is an article about a slang term in the context of Wikipedia, the demand for precise sourcing is especially disingenuous. It is not consistent with generala practices on Wikipedia, and it is no less sourced than anything else in this article. Stardotstar 05:58, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

As a disinterested observer, I should tell you that you are dead wrong about citations. Please see Wikipedia:Cite your sources. →Raul654 06:01, Apr 11, 2004 (UTC)

You are referring to the article that states There is currently no consistent Wikipedia citation style.
The idiom "dead wrong" and the claim of disinterest don't contribute to your argument. While the one meta-article you cite reflects a proposal of how some people would like to see Wikipedia develop, a review of the vast majority of articles reflects a different practice. Try clicking random pages ten times and see how many unsourced facts are in Wikipedia, compared to how many sourced facts. A demand for sources would seriously slow growth of the project, perhaps to great advantage for quality over quantity. But starting to delete information on this page because it is unsourced is probably not part of a campaign to remove all unsourced material from Wikipedia. A genuine effort to remove unsourced material would be evident in a user's edit history. Perhaps the article you cite as reason to include sources needs to be updated. Or perhaps you can cite articles you have written in which more than half the content is attributed to a specific source.
For the record, I would be more comfortable with a format that relies more on sources, but that is not what is happening, and I am suspicious of editors who selectively delete text based on a non-existent style, especially when they confirm the validity of the information. i.e. "A true opinion." (actually not an opinion, though, but instead it is a therapeutic practice based on controlled research) Stardotstar 06:12, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
We don't require citations of sources when articles are written. However, in practice, when someone else challenges an article's claims, the onus is on the person who added it to back it up with reliable sources. If you can't, it gets removed.
As far as the validity of the article I cited, it's not an "unsourced opinion of some people". First, after checking the page history, you'll see that it was written by *many* people (I stopped counting at 12). Second, it's not opinion - that is a policy page. It tells you how you are supposed to do things. If you want to contribute here, you must abide by it. (And now that I've pointed it out to you, you cannot claim ignorance). If you don't like the policy, you can start procedures to get it changed, but I doubt you'll get very far.
Now as far as what I said about you being wrong:
(Your claim) "the demand for precise sourcing ... is not consistent with generala [sic] practices on Wikipedia"
(Wikipedia policy) "Use proper references. References and external links relevant to an article should be collected at the end of the article, with complete information and clearly separated from the rest of the material; see below for a proposed style."
You're right - we don't have sources for a lot of articles that we should. However, when someone asks you for your sources, you had better be able to provide them, or the contentious claims get removed. →Raul654 06:27, Apr 11, 2004 (UTC)
Your tone is quite uncollaborative. The validity of the presentation of common psychological approaches was confirmed by the person who removed it. I am not here to get something. I am here to give. Being impolite to contributors, and piling on legalistic rules in a generally open process betrays something other than disinterested observation. Have you consumed alcohol this evening? Other impolite practices include spell flaming which is citation of others spelling errors in an environment where typographical errors are common. Stardotstar 06:43, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Also, you are citing the policy article out of context. The article states "When external sources are consulted in the writing or verification of an article, provide a list of references." No external sources were consulted. The information is so widely recognized that any experienced counselor, as well as the person who removed the text in question recognized its factual basis, so there was no controversy. Stardotstar 06:49, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
And, the phrase use proper references does not imply "always use references." In an environment where references are optional, it asks that referencing not be abused by citing personal essays and such. Wikipedia encourages submissions by authors who have experience in a subject that does not comprise original research. That is what allows Wikipedia to thrive on the contributions of knowledgable editors who can summarize general knowledge without either plagiarizing or conducting original research. I reiterate that demanding compliance with flexible, ambiguous policies interpreted according to the most restrictive of several possible interpretations is an uncharitable response to charitable contributions. Stardotstar 06:58, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I'm impressed at your knowledge and well-thoughtout criticisms of wikipedia after less than one day on Wikipedia. Well done. Kingturtle 07:23, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Are you suggesting Wikipedia does not routinely attract writers able to quickly review subject matter and present coherent analysis? There appears to be some sort of hidden message in Kingturtle's statement, suggesting intentions on your part that in no way make me comfortable as an experienced writer and analyst offering contributions to a public document. Does this group really have such a difficult time reaching agreement about definitions and social implications of slang terms? It appears to me, especially in light of the follow-up response below, that leaders of this community are afraid they may loose one of their favorite slurs in favor of language requires them to offer mature analysis when working as community leaders. Kingturtle's response can be classified as hazing. Chocolate bar 00:39, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Kingturtle has answered this for me. (Thanks King) Martin 13:23, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Scare Quotes

Please leave the scare quotes out of this article. Find words to express what you are trying to say with them. Kingturtle 06:33, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

May I ask who you are addressing, and what you are referring to as "scare quotes"? Stardotstar 06:45, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I note that Kingturtle did not resolve the above ambiguity in which vague language was used to demand precise language. Chocolate bar 00:47, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I think Kingturtle may be confusing "scare quotes" with what I call "mentioned" or "term" quotes (these terms themselves come from <a href="">TEI</a> <a href="">tags for semantics and such</a>). Words are often put in quotes or italicized when being mentioned as words rather than being used as themselves. ("Troll" is a word that refers to..." vs. "He is a troll."). "Scare quotes" on the other hand, if I understand you, are those trendy quotes meant to call attention to a word as not-quite-what-you-want-to-say or as somehow "problematic."

fundamental attribution error

Generally, the term suffers from the fundamental attribution error in that it attributes behavior to a person's nature or personality rather than examining behavior in the context of events surrounding the behavior.

This is an opinion (and a wrong one). One may believe that trolls troll because of their innate personality (which would be the f.a.e. if wrong). Alternatively, one may believe that trolls troll because of situational influences. Personally, I know that someone may troll on one forum and not troll on another. All this does not invalidate the word "troll". Similarly, someone with two jobs may be a "manager" in one job, and not in another, and calling hir "manager" while sie is a manager is not a case of f.a.e. Martin 13:26, 11 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The fact that the term is slang invalidates it. In analyzing the slang, the verb troll stands, as you say, as a generally accepted slang reference to a somewhat recognized category of behavior, though little academic literature validates the classification. It is a folk taxonomy at best. As a noun, yes the term usually suffers from the fundamental attribution error. Even on the second job, peers would recognize the person as a manager, qualified by experience to manage business in another context. Troll conveys inferences that suggest character attributes as a cause for behavior, wherease manager infers experience and qualification gained through professional development. I will place the sentence in the draft version with the qualifying terms such as infers and usually, then we may debate the merits of the qualifier. Chocolate bar
Surely one could say the same about almost any insult? "the term idiot suffers from the f.a.e., as it attributes behaviour to a person's idiocy rather than examining behavior in the context of events surrounding the behavior". Really, this says more to me about the f.a.e. than it does about internet trolls.
Also, I genuinely don't believe that "troll" carries such inferences - or at least, not to me. Perhaps this is down to your prejudices about troll, rather than about the word itself? Martin 01:28, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Re: Surely one could say the same about almost any insult?
Exactly. Not one, but most sociologists say exactly the same about most insults. It is so common, they called it fundamental. If you don't accept the fundaments of sociology, but recognize troll as a valid behavioral descriptor, I don't believe you are editing an encyclopedia to honesly reflect the status of human knowledge. If you recognize troll as an insult, as you infer in the phrase "almost any insult", then as a noun it necessarily does infer a problem with character, and hence use of the term suffers from the fundamental attribution error.
I suggest this article is not about what your appreciation of insults says to you about the fundamental attribution error, Martin, but rather it is about what scholars have to say about how insults are used in our society. Nor does it have to do with a prejudice on my part about this particular derogatory term; it has to do with what scholars say about insults.
Judging from the stubby appearance of the article on insults, I might assume writers here so far have not shown much interest in the findings of academic inquiries into that form of behavior. When I get done reviewing some other articles on behavioral medicine, maybe I can help out further with articles on language, sociology and behavior. Chocolate bar
Should I change my name to "Fundamental Attribution Error"? JRR Trollkien 10:17, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The Internet troll page has been protected; I have started a draft version at talk:Internet troll/draft that should be linked from Internet troll as per policy. Please note that failure to participate the draft editorial process will result in said page taking over upon unprotection without your interests included. --JRR Trollkien (signature added later)

The above unsigned post does not reflect any policy I have been able to locate in Wikipedia. The stated policies imply that articles remain available for improvements by the general public indefinately. Suggesting that the only accurate version will be one created during an arbitrary pendency established by administrators with a vested interest in the content of the article doesn't invite me to return with whatever knowledge I might have to contribute, to this page or to any other part of this project. Chocolate bar 00:43, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)
For what it's worth, it was *not* an administrator who said that, it was user JRR Trollkien . →Raul654 00:50, Apr 14, 2004 (UTC)

Obesity of trolls

65-- You added obesity as a characteristic of the stereotypical troll. Would you say this is true? My understanding was that the troll stereotype was normally a very thin, nerdy guy (a la Steve Urkel) usually with an axe to grind due to a lack of romantic success.

Certainly, it's possible that trolls are obese, but I don't think it's part of the troll archetype. Comment? Mike Church 20:19, 6 May 2004 (UTC)

65's addition was inappropriate. In no case should a slang noun be used as the subject for description in an encyclopedic article describing the function of the slang term. Troll is neccessarily an object in this context. JRR Trollkien (see warning)

This is very foolish. User:AnGelaIs a Troll|Anlaoll 19:58, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

Edit War - Heph, Rick, JRRT and Mark Richards

Please discuss this on the talk page. Mark Richards 01:03, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Is there a guideline that states admins should discuss reversion of vandalism on the talk page first? - Hephaestos|§ 01:05, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

No, but why do you think this is vandalism? If anything, LT's edits are an improvement. At worst they are no more POV than the existing versions. They are far from vandalism. Mark Richards 01:10, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

For example, why is changing this:

Trolls are usually caricatured as socially-inept, obese teenage males, but may just as easily be bitter, disillusioned middle-aged divorcées. Indeed, since intentional trolls (there are no other kinds) normally knowingly flaunt social boundaries, it is difficult to typecast trolls as socially inept when they have proven adept at their goal of inciting conflict.
to this:
Trolls are often caricatured: such prejudices are an example of the fundamental attribution error (attributes behavior to a person's nature or personality rather than examining behavior in the context of events surrounding the behavior).
vandalism? I don't understand what you are doing. Mark Richards 01:10, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

The latter is a completely false apologetic placed into the article in an attempt to justify disruption of this website. The former is entirely accurate and NPOV. - Hephaestos|§ 01:13, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

What? Socially inept obese teenage males or bitter disillusioned middle aged divorcees is your idea of a "neutral point of view"? That passage is totally inapropriate - can you show evidence of this 'usual caricaturing'? I think this whole passage has to go, but if you want it in, the second version is prefereable to the first. Mark Richards 01:15, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Heph - please discuss reverts on the talk page before you make them repeatedly. You can't get away with claiming your POV as fact. Mark Richards 02:05, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Nor can you. If this continues we'll have to request page protection. - Hephaestos|§ 02:08, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

There will be no need for that if you discuss your reverts on the talk page. I object to your characterisation of the intent and motivation as a fact, when clearly it is a point of view. Why do you disagree with that? Yours, Mark Richards 02:16, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
What other intents and/or motivations would you postulate? - Hephaestos|§ 02:19, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

I would not speculate, but there are plenty of other motivations listed lower in the article. There is also debate in the article about the merit and purpose of trolls, as well as the definition. The point is that there is not one definition, motivation or role of 'trolls', and the article should reflect this diversity, not merely your point of view. Mark Richards 02:28, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

The "diversity" you're talking about is simply a difference between actual trolls and those who are not (Devil's advocates, confused new users, etc.) who might be mistakenly identified as such. This is fairly well addressed in the article already. - Hephaestos|§ 02:32, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Well, clearly that is your point of view, and clearly there are others who disagree. Trolls frequently self identify themselves as having other motivations. There cannot be a statement of fact about another person's motivation, you simply can't know - it is always a point of view. Your circular logic of 'if they beleive this they are trolls, if they don't, they are not' is no use at all, since we cannot know another's motivation - we must go by their behavior. Mark Richards 02:39, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
I'm somewhat amused that you think the "others who disagree" and "trolls who claim to have other motivations" are doing something other than simply lying. That's kind of the point. Please read the article and try to gain an understanding of what a troll actually is. - Hephaestos|§ 02:49, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

I'm somewhat amused that you are able to say that anyone who denies the motivation you are ascribing them are lying - surely you can see that motivation is an inherently POV area? Mark Richards 02:54, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

I might be more inclined to if you'd produce any possible motivation besides the one described in the article, which you haven't. - Hephaestos|§ 02:55, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Under the section titled 'motivation', the article lists these:

  1. Anonymous attention-seeking: The troll seeks to dominate the thread by inciting anger, and effectively hijacking the topic at hand.
  2. Cry for help: Many so-called trolls, in their postings, indicate disturbing situations regarding family, relationships, substances, and school. Some believe that trolling is an aggressive, confrontational way by which trolls seek a sort of "tough love" guidance in an anonymous forum.
  3. Effect change in user opinions: A troll may state extreme positions to make his or her actual beliefs seem moderate (this often involves sock puppeteering, where the "bad cop" is a sock-puppet troll) or, alternatively, play the role of "Devil's advocate" to strengthen opposing convictions (with which he or she usually actually agrees).
  4. Test the integrity of a system against "social attacks" or other forms of misbehavior: For example, blanking a Wikipedia page in order to see how quickly it will be reinstated. (Please don't do this.)
  5. Amusement: To some people, the thought of a 70-year-old Internet user being sent to a sexually explicit or gross image is genuinely funny. Individuals of this sort are generally thought immature and annoying.
  6. Fight "groupthink": Many trolls defend their actions as, when a sort of conformism settles, shocking people out of it.
  7. Satire: In these cases, the individuals do not think of themselves as trolls, but misunderstood humorists.
  8. Personal attacks against one particular user or group of users.
  9. Self-promotion.

It is clear that there are many possible motivations, not just the one you ascribe. Maybe everyone else is lying though. Mark Richards 02:58, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Sorry, I should have said "besides the ones described in the article." So what's wrong with the article again? - Hephaestos|§ 03:04, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Your last edit was inaccurate. The article clearly states in what circumstances one may appear to be a troll without being one (see the paragraph beginning "Of course, not everyone..."). Trolling is not a "clever way of improving discussion" as its effect is to disrupt discussion. - Hephaestos|§ 03:08, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Well, my problem is that you are still saying 'anyone who is motivated the way I think is a troll, anyone else is not', which is a circular definition. If it looks like a troll, and quacks like a troll, for all practical purposes it is a troll, because we can't know its motivation. Disrupting discussion could potentially improve it - the meaning of 'improve' itself is highly pov! Mark Richards

OK Heph, let's step back from this, because I am sure we are both trying to be reasonable. I was under the impression that, in the first paragraph of this article, you wanted to define trolls as folks who were motivated by causing conflict. I wanted to define trolls by their behavior, and not get too into the motivation. Trolls generally do cause conflict, but their motivation may or may not be the causing of conflict per se. I'm not really sure what you're getting at here, but want to back off from an edit war, since I don't think we are being very productive here. I'll come back to it tomorrow and have another look. Take her easy, Mark Richards 03:12, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

OK you too. See you tomorrow maybe. - Hephaestos|§ 03:13, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Trolling and Terrorism

OK, here we go - talking point. Take a look at terrorism. You and I can agree that a terrorist is bad, and that their motivation must be to cause chaos, but from their point of view, things are very different. I think I feel that this article should treat trolling (frivilous by comparison) in a similar way. Most reasonable people would consider it is bad, but those doing it think differently. Let me know what you think. Mark Richards 03:18, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

First paragraph POV

I changed Trolls and their defenders suggest that trolling is a clever way of improving discussion; however authentic trolling merely derails discourse and erodes civility. to Trolls and their defenders suggest that trolling is a clever way of improving discussion; however their detractors insist that authentic trolling merely derails discourse and erodes civility.
I can't get my head around why you think this is established fact - can you point to any evidence? without that it's just your opinion. Thanks, Mark Richards 15:26, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
That last edit works, thanks. - Hephaestos|§ 16:27, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Cool. Mark Richards 16:36, 21 May 2004 (UTC)


I like your edits Thomas - this page needs a lot more cleanup and streamlining! Thanks, Mark Richards 16:48, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

-- Thanks! Tom ---

Usage of Slang Monikers

JRR has reinstated the paragraph in usage saying it's about the usage of slang terms -- apologies if I misread this as about motives for trolling. However, I still can't understand the paragraph:

Reasons for the use of slang monikers in Internet-mediated discussion explored in peer reviewed literature include a sense of anonymity or impersonal perceptions of others, which tend to reduce perceptions of the value of another person in a dialogue. On the other hand, customs of discourse, or etiquette, that originated in physical communities, where people are actually exposed to some danger of bodily harm (cf. epistemic community), are often applied naively by newcomers who are not used to the range of views that people are often comfortable expressing online, especially anonymously.

I'm still uncomfortable with the phrase "explored in peer viewed literature" appearing without citation. Also, I don't understand how the general usage of slang is relevant to this particular discussion or how this paragraph fits into the rest of the usage section. Is there an article about internet slang in general where this would fit better?

Can JRR or someone else please clarify how this fits into the discussion of the usage of trolling? I'll help fit this into the rest of the section, but first I need to understand what it means and how it relates.

Tom ---

We should not use the phrase "peer viewed literature" without citing sources. I'd say remove this unless we can make it more intelligable and reference it. Mark Richards 18:51, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
Please see above discussion. A format that relies more on sources would be a good thing, but I am suspicious of editors who start deleting informations from this page because it is unsourced, without a genuine effort for adding proper references to all unsourced information on Wikipedia.
I don't believe Mark Richards or I were advocated deleting the information because it was uncited; we were simply discussing the use of the phrase "peer reviewed literature," which implies academic rigor, without the citation that traditionally justifies said implication. I have tried to edit the section in question so that it doesn't include this phrase but still represents the theories expressed. Once we can attribute the theories to particular pieces of "peer reviewed literature", there won't be any problem.
See above discussion: "The fact that the term is slang invalidates it. In analyzing the slang, the verb troll stands, as you say, as a generally accepted slang reference to a somewhat recognized category of behavior, though little academic literature validates the classification. It is a folk taxonomy at best."

I don't understand your point. If it is 'peer reviewed' we should be able to cite the references, if not, lets not call it that. We should eb able to attribute these theories in some way, otherwise it is just speculation. Mark Richards 19:10, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

bodily harm

The point of mentioning bodily harm is to distinguish between epistemic community with no-body at risk and real physical bodily communities where some-body needs protecting which have etiquettes, governance, politics etc. Confusing the two leads to a very oppressive ideology called virtual community.

I'd consider it if it was explained a little more clearly - can you site anything to support it? Mark Richards 20:00, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

anti-shock phenomenon

I suggest moving this section to shock site, which is a more specific article. It doesn't really fit into the general discussion of Internet trolling.

I agree - it serves no purpose here. Mark Richards 20:56, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

I took out the alt.syntax.tactical link because there is no article for it. Are you going to write one? Mark Richards 21:05, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Different trolls in different internet media

One thing that springs to mind for this is that trolling is a very different phenomenon in different media. Usenet trolling is totally different from Slashdot trolling, diferent again from the trolls a wiki gets. This article needs to make this distinction. An interesting article I found is here. Mark Richards 23:38, 24 May 2004 (UTC)

Ah, *internet* media. At first I thought you meant all "Different Media," so I wrote this: observation on Gadflies: Some trolls think they're fulfilling such a role. And speaking of different media, that's where the claim may carry the most merit: I'm thinking of newspaper columnists, and other commentators. Interesting that the actual gadfly page is about the insect. Perhaps it needs some elaboration.... done. :) Krupo 03:58, 26 May 2004 (UTC)

Now I've added in some comments based on that article. Interesting, I hadn't thought of things that way before... Krupo 04:13, 26 May 2004 (UTC)


As Internet bots improve, they are also increasingly able to play troll, increasing the probability that the responder is being drawn into some kind of time-wasting trap or marketing scam. For instance, an actual person engaged in a hot debate with a troll may be suddenly backed up by another real person, who later on uses the trust gained to sell worthless insurance.

Is there any evidence of this? Mark Richards 21:58, 25 May 2004 (UTC)

I've seen 'normal' newsgroup people design automated scripting software that uses a dictionary of terms to spit out amusing insults/trolls. Never seen this done on a serious scale, though. Haven't seen an actual bot, that's for sure. Krupo 03:58, 26 May 2004 (UTC)

Grammar is absolutely, atrocious

the grammar on this page, is absolutely atrocious. can we clean it up? please

Your grammar is, too. Check your comma usage. - 07:00, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Trolling in Mass Media

There have been two internet trolls that have been believed my the media. There is plenty of evidence out there that confirms the CNN story on the Jews did WTC conspiracy theory and the Fox news story about jenkem were the result of these organizations falling prey to internet trolls. This is definitely noteworthy as it shows how far a troll can go. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xxiconoclast (talkcontribs) 04:09, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

I saw the GNAA logo at the bottom of the screen during the CNN story. . .Look it up on YouTube.

Citation Needed re posting images

With regard to the statement early in the article that trolls may post images, I've removed the tagged part saying that the images are '(usually indirectly relating to the individual in person)', I could have changed it to something like 'sometimes indirectly relating...' but to be honest I don't think it really adds much anyway. - Shrivenzale 10:52, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

On why people troll

I haven't changed the article, but I troll on slashdot so I thought I could offer perspective for this article. I noticed that nobody understands why we do it, and the answer is simple: it's fun. That's it. You toss an idea out there that is so ridiculous, and you see if somebody bites. Today I posted a comment on slashdot that got moderated up to +3 Informative before somebody else pointed out that it was just a broken link involving hot grits had any of the moderators bothered to follow it. I'm still laughing about it. Once, I informed slashdot that Big Business invented the internet and we have them to thank for open source software - I got over 100 replies! I still smile about that one. I am a member of the community, and I do contribute to it in a positive way, but once in a while, I like to have some fun, and the only thing more fun than trolling is pouring hot grits down your pants. Thank you.

That has got to be the best comment in the world. -- That was an excellent summary. Must trolls seem to be pranksters like you, in it for a giggle. It's a pity they aren't tolerated more, I guess most people can't take a joke :p I think it is a wonderful part of the global internet culture, a streak of larrikinism and mirth that is often lacking in the 'serious business' that is the internet. Of course, they do get annoying fast...Nazlfrag 08:55, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

This definately is a better fit to the behavior of trolls than the current concept in the article of "obnoxious online persona". Not all obnoxious behavior is trolling and not all obnoxious people online are trolls. Trolling requires baiting and catching not merely annoying people.Zebulin 00:46, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

I troll because I hate people and enjoy making them suffer. If anything, the troll is varied in its motives. -Anonymoustroll

The occassional prank is fine, especially if others recognize it as a humorous joke and that user is well-known. The trolls that I find amusing are the ones who speak incoherently. That is one particular joke that gets old after a while. The ones who are a real pain are the ones who are consistently express themselves in an in-your-face manner and is clearly being intentionally deceptive to upset people.Trekkie1981 19:29, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Removal of Image

I have removed the image of the "troll" with a big nose coming through the monitor. It is not of a factual nature and therefore has no place on Wikipedia.

  Can someone remove the stupid "no troll" Sign. It's stupid. Thanks

I like it, It realy summed it up for me. I put it back, in a much smaller size, because I thought it realy summed up there bad attitude toward other users. (Homer slips, 05.19 UTC, Nov' 3, 2006)

FWIW, I think pixel's image is funny and expressive. Informative, even. betsythedevine 11:39, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

The "do not feed the troll" thing is incorrect, that is a leprecon not a troll. And besides, that is not the troll being talked about.

Yes it is, why do you think they call internet trolls "trolls"? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:58, 9 May 2007 (UTC).
Because they "troll" like a fishing boat for attention and bad reactions? Duh. You don't know what you're talking about. A "troll" isn't a noun referencing a monster, it's a verb for fishing for a certain reaction, luring "fish" ie users into their net- that verb is used as a noun to refer to the persona and tactics of that trolling. The troll may also refer to the troller, the one who trolls.

Good trolling takes skill. It could be very useful on Islamic forums to get them fighting among themselves or doubting their insane religion and their crazy leaders. Trolling is a nebulous term. Troll tactics are something that is more easily understood. I have been called a troll many times and I suppose I am. Generally what happens is I make a statement or ask a question that makes the sanctimonious members unconfortable because it creates cognitive dissonance. They come back with some phoney moral outrage and they really become the troll. Some of the best forums to troll are fat acceptence, diet forums, body building forums, religious forums, and political forums. What often happens is threads get really hot and the moderators shut them down. What is really going on is censorship. When that happens you complain and that starts the whole thing up again. It is about control. They want to keep speech out and you want it to be a free for all. Eventually paranoia set in and they start thinking everyone is a troll.

Is this unethical? I think not. As long as you are polite and not insulting, people should be mature enough to keep their cool. I was on a Catholic forum and I posted a picture of the Pope dressed up like a NAZI. I got death threats! That's what I call trolling!


The Smashing Pumpkins messageboard has been receiving an overwhealming number of trolls recently, shall it be mentioned? In a message directed to a dynamic IP number, received this:

-- The information is not really encyclopedic nor significant enough. I'd suggest reporting it to the troll reporting service on the Global Reporting Information Tallying System at 14:33, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Recent Edits

If you want to discuss an article, the appropriate place to do it is on the discussion page for that entry, not in the entry itself. Please do not add commentary and your personal analysis of an article into Wikipedia articles, as you did to Internet troll. Doing so violates Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy and breaches the formal tone expected in an encyclopedia. If you would like to experiment, use the sandbox. Thank you. Baseball,Baby! ballsstrikes 09:19, 17 July 2006 (UTC) Tone does not come through printed media. Commentary and FAQ style entries seem appropriate to the topic of controversiality and the exploitation of it. Even if someone is moved to delete my comments, they should find a way to include them in a reframed or paraphrased sense if they are relevant. The alternative is stepping on toes. The alternative encourages a contentious nature in wiki. 10:31, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Tribalism as a Major Factor

I believe this entry needs reworking to acknowledge the fact in many Usenet groups, tribes of people "take over" or assert that they have done so, despite the group being open to all by definition, and then use their tribal "status" to abuse newcomers, dissenters, and generally to bully. It is in their doing this that they label others "trolls" almost irregardless of the validity of what their victims might say.

Additionally, tribalism creates a paranoia among "members" about the motives of any unfamiliar person is saying anything, which again is an excuse to condemn them as "trolls".

Hence the language in the current entry about outsiders upsetting an "established community" is really a typical but clever justification by tribalistic types to bully dissenters and outsiders. It is an example of bullies posing as victims of their victims. Yet their bullying is, like all bullying, based on narcissism and cowardice.

  • This may be a valid point, but I removed the "tribalism" comments from the introductory paragraph because they don't belong there, and they were POV. This tribalism idea could be discussed under the "vicious circles" section (and it already is, in a way). Matsurika 23:59, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Unless I am very much mistaken, you (and some Wiki administrators in many places) are using the Wikipedia epithet 'POV' to mean MiPOV (Minority Point of View), and 'NPOV' ('Neutral Point of View') for MaPOV/MaiPOV (Majority/Mainstream Point of View). Is there a mechanism at Wikipedia whereby we can even establish what is the MaPOV?

"You are old, father William," the young man said, "And your hair has become very white; And yet you incessantly stand on your head Do you think, at your age, it is right? Etaonsh 19:03, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, there is. It's called consensus, and it's one of the pillars of Wikipedia. Please keep your comments to the page's content, and put your comments about wikipedia elsewhere. --InShaneee 01:20, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

'Consensus' is a whole can of worms in itself, as indicated by Chomsky's 'manufactured consensus.' Re 'elsewhere': could you please be more specific?

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before, And you have grown most uncommonly fat; Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door Pray what is the reason for that?" Etaonsh 06:55, 19 April 2006 (UTC)


Is gerund a word most readers will be familiar with? If not, it probably doesn't belong in the opening paragraph. Wikipedia is here to clarify, not confuse. Delete it? Rearden Metal 05:38, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

gb2 school then, and take English classes

Reworking Internet Trolls

I feel this entry needs serious breaking up.

Examples of sections that need their own wikis:

  • Examples of trolls
  • Examples of trolling
  • Troll Boards
  • Troll History

They cannot possibly remain all in this one entry any longer. Borgs8472 00:25, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure about the punctuation/grammar in this sentence. ----In the long run, they found encouraging trolling and flaming only trolls is a fruitless task, duals and spammers now abound.---- The link to "duals" seems to have expired as well. [[[User:neobubblegirl|neobubblegirl]]

Dammit, I'll have to do something about that... Borgs8472 12:03, 28 September 2005 (UTC)


This article has been a victim all kinds of agendas, and is a complete mess. I'd like to suggest a reorganization, but can do it on a sub-page if it's going to drive anyone into a frenzy! I'll go ahead, if it drives you crazy, I won't be offended if you revert it and put it into a talk subpage for discussion! Mark Richards 21:15, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I so wish I hadn't left my copy of Flame Wars by Mark Dery in Australia. Anyone got this book? It's the closest I can think of to a reference for this article - David Gerard 21:46, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Whilst most of the material is good, it does need an full overhaul, there's some duplication here as well Borgs8472 13:23, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes I completely agree, it does need an overhaul and significant simplfication. It is verbose and a complete mess. There are way too many external links (not that this is bad in and of itself) but the information in the external links could readily be included in the article itself (or the relevant portions). In any case there is a specific place for posting up external links regarding certain topics. A relevant quote from the external links pages says the following on this topic:
Rather than creating a long list of external links, editors should consider linking to a related category in the Open Directory Project (also known as DMOZ) which is devoted to creating relevant directories of links pertaining to various topics. (See troll/Archive 1 Internet troll/Archive 1 at DMOZ.) If there is no relevant category, you can request help finding or creating a category by placing {{Directory request} (two curly brackets are required surrounding the words 'directory request' not just one, as in the previous example (in bold) - I have used only one curly bracket to prevent an actual request appearing on this page.)
I would encourage a complete overhaul. --ToyotaPanasonic 11:56, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

The term troll was used extensively very early on by the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban but was more of a good-natured term, to fish for "newbies". I personally was hooked by Barbara Hamel (now Mikkelsson) who now co-writes the well-known urban legends site, She posted something very silly and I asked her for her source. Well, that was enough to expose me as someone who wasn't in-the-know. I was informed shortly thereafter that I had been trolled by a few posts by other alt.folklore.urban denizens that simply said "YHBT.HAND"... acronyms which I needed to look up.

I don't know if the term "troll" actually originated there but I feel it was first popularized there. InsultComicDog 04:40, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

As far as I known YHBT.HAND means "You have been trolled. Have a nice day". YHBT redirects to this article, so maybe its meaning should be mentioned. --Joshtek 15:07, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

This alternative view is interesting

Here, plus, interesting evidence that the term is starting to gain currency in the real world - reality trolls - here. Trigger 04:02, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • You should write up what a reality troll is then, no such artical. I wrote an alternative view, because I really feel (negative) trolling is a direct consequence of overmoderation, not an independent evil force Borgs8472 13:20, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
No volunteers for this one yet? I might have a go! Trollé 23:35, 6 October 2005 (UTC)


I would just like to say that's recent edits, consolidating the dictionary-like intro into a normal paragraph, look pretty good to me. --Yath 07:45, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I would like to inform you all that I have recently seen a new term being used on the net to describe people who follow others around on the internet and harass them. These "people" are called Stalkertrolls.

For example: if I was to edit an article on Wikipedia and someone else changed it all would be well, even if this was done multiple times. However if this person made an effort to follow me about wikipedia and revert anything I posted they would be acting like a Stalkertroll.

  • Please show us an example of that? Are you sure it's intentional? I can imagine it happening though. There are plenty of nuts about. And then there are those that don't read properly on some times of the day... :) I was confused by the lack of a "signature" here. Did you omit it because of the stalkertrolling? Wit 12:47, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  • So write it up then! Borgs8472 13:24, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
  • For example, I might make a statement in support of a particular presidential candidate. Someone who finds my reasoning preposterous could then end up using that agaisnt me for weeks, months, or even years, when opportunities present themselves. Another example of a stalker troll is someone whose sole purpose of posting on a message board is to harass me or take issue with what I have to say in a confrontational manner.Trekkie1981 19:34, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Just a comment, I've seen this behavior described as "wikistalking" but afaik there are no references to it in "encyclopedia quality" sources. 11:44, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


I wonder whether the etymology "trolling for fish" is not POV. The example given further down clearly shows that the first use referred to the creature from fairytales.

Agreed, needs to be added Borgs8472 17:42, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. It's not only POV, it's RW (right wing) POV, the characteristic right-wing tactic of using a crass, para-racist [3] condemnation of opponents while trying to bluff it away as an innocent 'fishing term'(!). Glossing over the online 1980s (a still exclusive decade for Internet access) transformation of 'troll' from a little-known verb to a well-known homophonous (and therefore ambiguous) noun does Wikipedia no credit. Etaonsh 09:50, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

By way of explanation to the above reply, I added a new Wikipedia entry (my first!) entitled 'Para-racism' (hence the failed link) but it was 'speedily deleted' by Jni within an hour or so without detailed or coherent explanation: Etaonsh 13:27, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't see why there are so many explanations in this section. Clearly the term comes from trolling, as in throwing out some bait, dragging it along and seeing what bites. It's comparable to being "Fished in" as Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World" are so fond of saying. By the way, we used the term on BBSes back in the mid 80s. Believe it or not, people were getting together and communicating as groups long before the Internet became popular. BBSes weren't archived so it's difficult to prove, but I'm pretty sure it even preceded the time I was using EchoMail or Citadel discussion boards.Jimberg98 20:59, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Trolling in Wikis

I'm not really excited about this sentence - Sometimes wikis get vandalized--as can be seen happens often in the history of this wiki. It just seems pretty self absorbed. Aside from the fact that vandalism is not really the same as trolling (although I think it still wouldn't be that appropriate on a page about wiki vandalism to reference the history of the page) it seems self absorbed and self referential. If we must, can we reference a specific example of trolling, if possible on another wiki? I took it out once, but it got put back in. Can someone else look at it? Trolls are involved 06:41, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

It needs to be mentioned. Write it however you want. Thodin 15:24, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
There's actually a guideline on this: Wikipedia:Avoid self-references. In general, phrases such as "this wiki" and "check the history" should be avoided. — Asbestos | Talk 00:53, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
Ah, you have good logic. That makes sense. Still, I think it should be mentioned somehow, by disguising the self-reference, like referring to wikis in general. I like what someone did by saying sometimes wikis get vandalized. Thodin 00:59, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Who are these critics?

Critics have claimed that genuine "devil's advocates" generally identify themselves as such out of respect for etiquette and courtesy, while trolls may dismiss etiquette and courtesy altogether. - Who claimed this? Can we reference them? These sound like weasel words. Trolls are involved 06:46, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

  • Agreed, that's rubbish Borgs8472 13:28, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Deleted sentence

We had a request (via Jimbo) to remove a reference on this page. I've done so because it doesn't really add a lot to the subject anyway (and was an external link in the body of the article). See the page history for more -- sannse (talk) 10:39, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I agree both the sentence and the external link don't belong here, but I don't really understand the request. John Gabriel is the in-comic alter-ego of one of the comic's authors, and I doubt the people behind PA object to the link or the sentence. Even if someone else with the same name is offended having their name linked with the term fuckwad, what do they hope to achieve by removing it here? It's hardly going to effect the dissemination of popular edition of the comic. Also, where does User:Trolls are involved fit into all this? --W(t) 10:54, 2005 Jun 8 (UTC)
Ah, not being a reader of the comic, I wasn't aware of the coincidence of names and took the complaint at face-value. I agree the removal is rather pointless in the wider scheme of things, but as I felt the sentence could easily go (and would actually be an improvement of the article rather than otherwise) I saw no harm in complying with the request. As to where "User:Trolls are involved" fits in - no idea -- sannse (talk) 16:58, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

From Troll

This was added by to the troll article. See if you can use any of this. --Salleman 03:30, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

Trolls on the Internet

Internet Trolls are people who purposefully post content intended to annoy people. Trolls will use various tactics to achieve their goals including but not limited to spoofing, flaming & flooding. Trolls are generally considered malicious yet some have been considered entertaining. The most accepted cure for Troll activity is to ignore the Troll entirely. Though this may be impossible in case of a personal Spoofing attack. It is also widely accepted that any response to a Troll will merely encourage continued activity. For a more insightful article about Internet Trolls visit the site "Internet Trolls" [4] authored by Timothy Campbell.


Goodness gracious. A troll is a troll. --VKokielov 02:54, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

I disagree Borgs8472 12:34, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
I will have to agree --Salem XIII 10:22, 29 June 2006 (UTC)


It took everything I had to not put SNAPE KILLED... right after "Posting plot spoilers to popular movies and books without warning, sometimes surreptitiously buried in an otherwise innocuous message." It took even more to keep me from putting it in a commented out section. Thank you. Hipocrite 00:12, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

  • I removed 'posting spoilers' as a troll technique - surely it's not? Borgs8472 13:18, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Isn't it? I always thought it was an established device. For instance, opening a discussion about C++ by saying "Aerith dies at the end!" followed by an asterisk, and then a footnote in small print: "Spoiler warning." Classic troll, in my opinion.


Link removal and discussion of another link

Removed “The Bible Of trolls” link since it is a repeat link to

I’d also like to bring into question the link to Trolls Only.

The board serves as a refuge for web developers and other programming related users who have been banned from tech and programming sites. The members of the forum do not appear to participate in any trolling activity. Also the rules of the board are not consistent with other troll related boards found on the Internet.

List of rules on Trolls Only here.

(Grandtheftcow 02:33, 16 September 2005 (UTC))

If no one has any objections I’ll remove the link to Trolls Only tomorrow since it does not fit in with the definition of an Internet troll board. (Grandtheftcow 18:18, 19 September 2005 (UTC))

Types of Trolls

The lengthly section on Types of Trolls, in particular the long discussions on how wonderful, intellectual and charismatic "King Trolls" are, is rife with POV. The other types of trolls mentioned are almost inexistant on Google. I think the section should go. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 11:24, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

It could use its own section Borgs8472 12:18, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm quite sure that whole chunk of text wasn't there before. I bet it's the work of one person who's just injecting their POV into the article. --Jacj 16:27, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
The section was replaced by User:Archival McTannith without comment, and it is four times as large as it was when I first questioned it's validity. I'd say it contains nothing but neologisms, especially since Archival had no problem replacing the original term 'King Troll' with 'Master Troll', and kept a section that's just as fawning. The rest of these, "Grammarian Troll", "Xenophobe Troll", "Sheep Troll", "Staff Troll", "Misleading Troll", "Sentry", "Shill", "Tool", "Runaround Statements", "Frame Looping (thread knotting, point knotting)", "Frame-up", are just getting ridicuolous, and clearly sounds like someone sat down and thought off the top of their heads a typology of any type of personality they could think of. I'd say their all neologisms and original research. The little "conclusion" of that section, "Broad definition of a Troll" is pointless since that's what the rest of the article seeks to achieve. I'd say it can pretty much all go. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 16:32, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree entirely. It is unsupported original research and so boring that I couldn't read it all. Even if it was not original research, it is so poorly wikified that it would need major work to get it to an acceptable level. 14:30, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
I know the guy who added this stuff. It's good stuff, but he's not yet familar with the conventions of Wikipedia. As I said, the material needs to go in an as of yet unwritted trollkingdom wiki or a who section on TrekBBS trolls Borgs8472 21:54, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

I've now removed the section which was edited entirely by User:Archival McTannith. I feel bad removing twenty paragraphs worth of work, but it was all original research and POV, and I had requested on the author's talk page that he engage in some kind of discussion. This article is one which by it's very nature attracts POV and self-proclaimed experts, so a large amount of work doesn't necessarily correlate with encyclopedic material. — Asbestos | Talk (RFC) 22:04, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

I don't agree that all those paragraphs should have been removed, because those descriptions of types of trolls are actually very relevant and give insight into the type of ill-intentioned forum and Wiki users most users have to deal with, and may help well-intentioned users learn how to deal with them. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:03, 20 December 2006 (UTC).

Some notes:

A few days somebody deleted the following sentence under the "Wordforge" section.

"According to others, it kills any chance of intellectual debate."

I guess it indeed doesn't belong in the Wordforge section. However, I think it should be mentioned somewhere else. I for one agree that trolling kills any chance of intellectual debate. :)

Also, trolling happens through email as well. Especially when a bunch of people are emailing each other through "Reply to All". This works almost like a forum.

Furthermore. Maybe there should be some reference to the psychological reasons people start trolling. In the dutch wikipedia there's a definition on "Intrigant" that has a nice explanation. I'll translate it to english:

However, an "intrigant" can also be motivated by negative emotions, not seldom because of feelings of inferiority. When a person doesn't feel comfortable with his social surroundings, he can so to say take revenge by disturbing the satisfaction of other people. One side-effect of this is that the "intrigant" gets attention from other people. Also, "intrigants" will gain trust from other people because they never take sides in the conflicts they create. This causes the "intrigant" to gain a feeling of acceptance.

(Translated from

I'm sorry that I don't know the english word for "intrigant". I just thought it seemed very explanatory for trolling behaviour.

"I for one agree that trolling kills any chance of intellectual debate." - have you visted Wordforge? :p Borgs8472 07:19, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
No, I haven't. However, I have had experiences where intellectual debate got destroyed by trolls at other places.
Sure. But that's why wordforge gets the special mention as an exception. I don't feel it's inevitable that trolling kills debate though, it may chase people off and cause ACCUSATIONS that debate's gone down the toilet however... Borgs8472 16:43, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
The goal of a troll is to troll and not to provide constructive arguments to a debate. Therefore I fail to see how this contributes to a debate. It seems to me that in any case, trolling will always cause counter-productive distortion. In the case of Wordforge. I can only imagine that the high tolerance towards trolling takes out the fun of it for most trolls and thus provides an environment for trolless debating. Anyway, I think the point: "that trolling kills any chance of intellectual debate" hasn't got anything to do with Wordforge specifically.
You seem pretty biased against trolls. There are definitely situations in which trolling does not "kill any chance of intelligent debate"; trolls can often introduce logical ideas to a discussion which would otherwise go unconsidered due to bias. --Jacj 14:50, 4 October 2005 (UTC)
With regard to intellectual debate I indeed consider trolling a bad thing. (Unless you're "trolling" with constructive intentions. But then you wouldn't call that trolling.) Maybe it's true that trolls sometimes introduce logical ideas that might (or might not) contribute to a debate. However, I consider this neglegible to the amount of damage and distortion the troll causes. We're talking about people that feel successful if they can cause a debate to fail!
Trolling might actually promote "intelligent" debate, assuming "stupid" users debating "stupid" things will be alienated by the trolls, and that "intelligent" people are less likely to catch the bait. And it is likely harder to troll most "intelligent" topics of discussion because of the experience level required. —Philip N. 17:16, 4 October 2005 (UTC)
With trolls, stupid users are more likely to cause an unwanted flame war. Also, I don't think stupid people are more likely to be alienated then intelligent people. You're right that it's harder to troll intelligent topics so you're less likely to find trolls there. I consider that a good thing. (Apparently you do too?)
Yes, you are right, "intelligent" people will identify the trolls faster and leave (or take action, or whatever). Also, please sign your posts ;). —Philip N. 14:33, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

Several edits Oct 3-4, 2005

In response to the invitation to copyedit this page, I made several edits Oct 3-4, 2005 (UTC). Also, I made the edit designated in History as 01:38, 4 October 2005 while logged in, so I don't understand why my User name is not attached to this one. I characterized many of my edits as minor. However, because some do affect substance, and in consideration of the many Wikipedians who are following this page, I am posting this notice. Finell 03:02, 4 October 2005 (UTC)


It is my strong and unwavering belief that the sections on 'usage' and 'use as a pejorative' need to be merged, to form one, unfied, and glittering section, enlightening us on the usage of the word, and, in part, it's use as a pejoritive! Trollé 23:18, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I may give it a try. Finell 04:10, 8 October 2005 (UTC)


Now, tell it sightly for that "troller handbook" to appear? Can Wikipedia keep its neutrality here?  ;) --VKokielov 03:55, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Troll Boards

I’ve removed Trolls-r-us link since it seems the owner John Ford has closed the board. I’ve added Troll Kingdom back to the links, someone removed it as a dead link when the board was experiencing server problems.

I would also like to work out what a troll board is.

I’d define it as a message board or organization in which the planning and invasions of other forums is carried out. But we have a political centered message board (Wordforge) and a programming and computer centered board (Trolls Only). Are these really troll boards? What makes a troll board?

Also the link I placed to my own message board Fear Factory was removed. Would it be a result of the board being new and currently having few posts? Grandtheftcow 20:46, 16 December 2005 (UTC) seems to be a rather small and recently founded board, as well as a pretty bad example of actual trolling, as far as I can see. Remove it, maybe? --Pasolini 02:11, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

NPOV tag

An NPOV tag was recently added to this article, but there hasn't been any discussion about that addition, nor did the person who added it give a reason in their edit summary. Having just read through the article, I don't see anything non-neutral about it, so I'm taking out the NPOV tag. Naturally, others are welcome to put it back if you think it belongs, but how about using the discussion page to, you know, discuss why you think it belongs? KarlBunker 12:33, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I don't recall putting the NPOV tag there myself at that time, but I agree with it. Since you made the above contribution, plenty of discussion in support of such an addition has been included (see 'Etymology;' 'Removed Paragraph' etc.). Etaonsh 05:59, 16 April 2006 (UTC) How would you know that a neutral point of view is for the topic of censorship and blacklisting? Is a big difference between being censured on USENET and being censored on wiki? Nah. Find a looser crowd. Tersen it. Sing it in person. Then sing Ignore All Rules while streaking into the mental hospital. 8-> 09:52, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I see no one supporting the tag, so I will remove it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by THF (talkcontribs) 13:18, August 26, 2007 (UTC)


Did not hear the broadcast info itself, but a San Antonio radio host, Chris Duel of KTSA AM 550, stated that new(ly enacted, or newly considered for enaction) legislature will criminalize internet trolling. This was not said for a joke, and I see nothing about this. Any validity out there? Author782 02:37, 10 January 2006 (UTC) (apologies, I wasn't signed in when I wrote this)

Breidbart Index

It would appear that there is now a mathematical index measuring what might be termed loosely the 'spam index' of a troll. This page* covers the details. I was drawn to look this up courtesy of a brief view of this page which is purportedly a FAQ for those wishing to know more about trolls (and how to deal with them). When that latter page mentioned "trolls posting at a BI of 20 or higher" I simply had to find out more, so here is the information for your delight and delectation.

Incidentally,, I'm still trying to find a page that I've since lost, which is in effect a Troll Taxonomy page, complete with cartoons in which all of the hideous nuances seem to have been elegantly captured by the cartoonist. If anyone knows of this page and can provide the link, it may be useful to add it to the article. I recall recognising some of the subspecies of trolls featuring on that page ...

My mistake - apparently the BI is already known and has a Wikipedia page of its own. That'll teach me to read past the first Google link :) Calilasseia 01:22, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I removed a broken link that now goes to an external page filled with ads; as Cailasseia suggests, you can find more information in the article here Breidbart Index. betsythedevine (talk) 11:52, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

George W. Bush section

I've reverted the addition of that section as it does not appear to be relevant, and appears to only be an attack against him (and whether its a violation of the first amendment is not related to being an internet troll), either by labelling him a troll, et al. It bears slight slight relevance to the fact posting "annoying messages" might affect it, but it looks like it will have little jurisdiction. I will not re-revert if this is contested. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 05:18, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

It's not relevant that anonymous trolling has just been made punishable by a two year prison sentence!? I'm not trying to make Bush look like a nanny-state authoritarian- he does a fine job of it all by himself. I may attempt to rewrite a 'milder' version, but honestly I can't find anything wrong with my original version.

Trolling for hard time? On January 5th, 2006, U.S. president George W. Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity. [4] Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison. The new law has been criticized as an obvious violation of every American's First Amendment right to free speech.

Source: Perhaps you would like to rewrite this, so we can agree upon a mutually acceptable version. Rearden Metal 05:49, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

OK, I (slightly) rewrote the paragraph by removing the word obvious. The new law is indisputably relevant to this article. If anyone wishes to add the pro-nanny state, anti- constitutional rights stance/justification, ( It's For The Children, perhaps? ) feel free to do so. Rearden Metal 11:27, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Incidently, I really am trying to keep the addition NPOV. If not, I would have added this part:

This is what bad governments do, and always have done: Enact legislation which makes practically everyone a criminal, and then selectively enforce these laws against those people whom they wish to oppress. Rearden Metal 11:37, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes, but the section title and tone was inappropriate, and I was unsure of the impact. I will try to rephrase. The use of second person ("without disclosing your true identity") is also a tad unprofessional. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 14:30, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

I understand your concerns, and I've kept out the second person phrasing. Your four grammar mistakes and one spelling mistake were also a 'tad unprofessional', so I've corrected them. Rearden Metal 00:58, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm aware that most Americans are content to sit idly by as the Bill Of Rights is rapidly erased, and the country descends into fascism. However, the section on this newly enacted law, which clearly makes internet trolling punishable by two years in prison needs to stay. This isn't a joke- the law is real. It fits right in with the government's policy of pushing to effectively make everything illegal, in order to render everybody vulnerable to government oppression at the whim of any official with an axe to grind. Rearden Metal 01:23, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

There's a place for conspiracy theories called Anarchopedia. Rearden Metal, I'd rather see WikiPedia articles free of paranoid propaganda, be it from the left or right wing. The section was deleted to maintain neutrality, and that's that. If you're concerned about what the government is doing then you can write a letter to your local Congressman, or you can leave the U.S..-- 03:22, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

U.K. Internet troll found guilty of thought crimes, sentenced to 30 months in prison

I warned this would happen, and my words scornfully dismissed.(See above section) Still think it's "paranoid propaganda"? Rearden Metal 05:05, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

A man who posted racist messages on a website set up in memory of murdered black teenager Anthony Walker has been jailed for two years and eight months. Neil Martin, 30, of Maghull, posted the offensive remarks just days after the 18-year-old student was killed with an ice axe in Huyton, Merseyside.

He pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to publishing material intended or likely to stir up racial hatred. Judge Henry Globe QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, told Martin he had "trespassed and intruded on the grief of the Walker family". "The intention of the website was innocent, honourable and well motivated," he said.

"You accessed that website and you abused its use. You posted highly abusive, insulting and racist messages on the site."

I don't see how vandalism and slander are thought crimes, they seem like real crimes to me. Not all trolling is criminal, but you can definetly troll to the point you are breaking laws. It does not seem directly related the this article. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 17:24, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

What are....

What are the exact details of this "anti-troll" law ? Martial Law 10:10, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

The section about it has a link to it on the Cornell Law School website. Unless I've misread it, it only covers sending messages that contain obscenity or child pornography. I'm going to go and change that now. Yeltensic42.618 don't panic 21:03, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
No, if you send a message intended to annoy -- and you don't use your real name -- they can (allegedly) sue you. It's just an expansion on earlier legislation to cover the Internet, essentially. What do you want to know Martial Law? // paroxysm (n) 21:07, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually, maybe you're right, after rereading that. The grammar makes it ambiguous. // paroxysm (n) 21:09, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
In legalese, the grammar is always ambiguous. Yeltensic42.618 don't panic 21:53, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
BTW, hypothetically, you can sue people for anything. Yeltensic42.618 don't panic 21:53, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Just to clarify: This law doesn't pertain to lawsuits at all, but to criminal prosecution. A lawsuit is a civil action, while criminal prosecution is an entirely different branch of law. Rearden Metal 01:22, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

General Comment on Article

Sorry if this isn't an appropriate place for me to say this - I figure it's the nearest I can get since it's the Talk page, but I don't know if what I've got to say would be considered a contribution or just opinionated carping. The thing that bothers me about this article relates to my biggest doubt about 'trolling', and accusations thereof - which is that I suspect (although obviously I can't provide firm evidence) that trolls are actually a lot rarer than is generally believed. I actually tend to think that the majority of people labelled 'troll' are, however unpleasant their views or the way in which they present them, quite genuine in their intent. And I think, though again it's only my opinion, that the sheer number of different characteristics included in this article, especially under "Attention-seeking trolls", tends to support this, since I think that it's been necessary to expand the definition to include all these characteristics in order to make the definition fit the sort of things that're posted by the people we'd LIKE to think of as trolls. "Claiming to be someone they cannot possibly be" - but if they genuinely believe that's what they are, then are they a troll (consider the Jedi, for example)? "Intentionally naive questions" - who decides what's intentionally naive? "Politically-contentious messages" - what someone considers "politically contentious" likely depends greatly on their own point of view. Does that determine whether someone else is a troll or not?

I think the article is a little weighted in favour of a notion that seems to be widely accepted on Usenet in particular: that disagreement equals trolling - or at any rate, that accusing a challenger or opponent of trolling is always a valid tactic against them. The article here itself says that trolling is extremely subjective - but I don't honestly think it stresses this strongly enough, or touches sufficiently on whether the term 'troll' is really of any use any more.

Again, I apologise if this edit is considered inappropriate, and I will quite understand if it is considered necessary to delete it. Adaru 02:25, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm a bit worried that the article reads a bit like a 'how to' of trolling... more analysis and less description is good! 12:33, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Quote on IMDb?

"There is a quote on IMDb that the common troll does not understand the words 'opinion' and 'leave'," OK... what's the quote and where is it to be found exactly? Esquizombi 14:17, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Removed paragraph

Mr Comaish goes as far as to moot that the use of the term is a throwback to the early days of the Internet, when access was largely an exclusive, ruling class phenomenon. Despite assurances that the word is an 'English fishing term' he feels that the more obvious connotation, that of mythical Nordic untermenschen, clearly drowns the latter out, along with its credibility, and that the use of the term is therefore unacceptable in an inclusive online community.

Who is Mr Comaish? What in the world does this paragraph mean? ("so far as to moot"?) I've removed it; if anyone wants to improve it and put it back, be my guest. -- Calion | Talk 03:05, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

And who, might we ask, is 'Calion'? And what's the problem, don't you know what 'moot' means? Etaonsh 11:24, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Also removed these paragraphs added by Special:Contributions/Cybersongs on 9 April 2006 from the Etymology section:

*Note on hidden agenda types:

Add this to that definition in wiki: A troll is a mod who calls someone a troll in order to justify his sense of authoritarianism. Obviously, a troll accusation means that one is not even human, a rather second class citizen stigma attached by those who consider others to be less than three fifths of a person. A McCarthyism, to call someone a troll when there is no defense of one's actions. An irresponsibility toward developing social skills. A completely unjustifiable accusation bred out of mores of the latter half of the 20th century and self-proclaimed computer experts having no qualification to do so other than their hacking abilities. See: hacker. Examples of profesional misactions known as trolling: "And the mod and site owner exercised their superior authority by calling the discussion participant one single word 'troll' which immediately placed the participant on a blackball list."

Most scholarly researchers and scientists agree that there is no such thing as a troll, that it is entirely an imaginary creature, used to tell scarey tales to frighten children along with other horrid faerie tales. A troll is therefore the figment of someone's imagination, but does make a useful accusation when the accuser cannot defend his position otherwise.

It's main purpose in the accusative is to excommunicate and censor and make the accuser seem superior.

The edits don't seem to be about the origin of the term. Perhaps they belong in another section. --Mercurio 00:26, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

It is now becoming blatantly apparent from the above removals that Wiki admin is now attracting intolerant, censorious, authoritarian types who violate the avowed purpose of discussion pages to turn them into a 'Censored' bin. Etaonsh 11:28, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Klerck picture

The current location of the picture does not seem to add anything to the article. Or am I missing something here?JoshuaZ 18:37, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I've removed it. It adds nothing, there's no caption/explanation, and it ruins the layout of the page. 06:41, 27 April 2006 (UTC)


It is a very productive and entertaining actvity to do. I troll on many forums and people call me the best troll ever, I fit most of the catergories you defined by I only troll on forums and other chat places not on wikis. -- 02:00, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Ha, ha! Actually I find it very hard to believe that anyone really would set out to do that quite so intentionally, in the demonic terms suggested by this (now passé?) 80s term and our current, credulous Wiki definition. But even in the context of a witch-hunt, I expect there were always some who would turn themselves in for 'correction.' Etaonsh 16:10, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Well there is always Troll: the Provoking.[5]--DCAnderson 04:10, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Famous Trolls

Even if these trolls were "famous" which they aren't by any standard definition, it doesn't belong in this article. 17:38, 2 June 2006 (UTC)


No one has mentioned crossposting as a topic yet. JAF1970 18:56, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

- - - - True. Crossposting on Usenet groups, whilst not being "trollish" in and of itself, is practiced a lot by trolls. There's nothing much to say about it, really, as it all depends on whether or not the groups being crossposted to have any relevance to the strategy of the troll.

Certain scripts exist that can pick random groups to crosspost to. Some trolls seem to manually pick groups at random, and crosspost, while others often post to the same, "troll hijacked" groups. Hopeless. Crossposting should be undertaken intelligently for the best effect.

Simple example - "There's nothing I like more than sitting down with a nice, big plate of pork sausages and watching an animal-snuff-porn movie".

Crossposted to (groups not necessarily real) alt.vegetarian; alt.islam; alt.animal.rights; alt.anti-porn.crusaders. There's really no need to add or, is there? Well .......


Why is there no mention of banning in "Resolutions and alternatives"?

--Because most serious trolls use proxies to avoid bans.-- (talk) 23:23, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Harmless/passive trolling?

This article portrays trolling as always disruptive in some way. But I have often used the term (and have heard others use also) to refer to the innocuous actiivity of merely searching for something. I scour Wikipedia sometimes just reading articles and call it trolling. In one episode of Family Guy, Loretta accused Quagmire of "... trolling for booty all the damn time". The article makes no mention of the word being used in this way. Am I using it incorrectly? Should I be using a different word?

To troll does mean to search for something. But this article is about internet trolls—disruptive individuals who cause trouble most of the time on message boards. If that definition of troll (to search) belongs anywhere, then it belongs in troll; but definitely not here. 05:45, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree ... assuming that "to troll" does not mean "to search something" especially in the Internet. -~~

KK- Actually, that form of trolling is from the usage meaning to mull over slowly, oftentimes used by fishermen as opposed to using their engine. It is to feel out a situation or hunt with slow, straight, methodical intentions.

A petty topic for an article?

Reminding ourselves that, altho online, we are still basically on the same planet, can anyone imagine a Wikipedia article entitled 'nuisance' getting this amount of attention, discussion, and application? --Etaonsh 19:25, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Ah, Poles?

Is a link to a page on the alleged antisocial habits of Polish internet users REALLY relevant?

Why d'you ask? --Etaonsh 09:03, 16 August 2006 (UTC)


This rubbish article don't even have its sources cited. How pathetic. Meanwhile, there's another article which needs much more attention than this one... >CLICK< --Scotteh 19:54, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Term in relation to ebay buyers

I find that many ebay buyers are simply trolls, some just buy without intention of paying and only to troll. They're not the good kind or amusing kind of trolls either, no, they're the most offensive and nasty kind. I want to call them trolls but the term feels out of place there. Any ideas? Anomo 04:33, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Very good article!

Thank you to everybody involved in the curent version of this article. It is one of the best I have read at Wikipedia. The best books, essays, or articcles teach me something about a subject about which I did not know I had anything to learn. Has it been considered for "good article" status? --Sean Lotz 01:00, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

What do you mean, good? This is the stupidest thing I have ever read.... No, sorry, an attempt at humor which just won't work. I can't pull off the troll thing very well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Queezbo (talkcontribs)

I have some friends that are going to totally troll wikipedia in a few weeks

i cant stop them i am sorry
You wanna go ahead and give me their names so I can get them blocked on sight? -- Omicronpersei8 (talk) 04:29, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Ahem... (Big foot123456789)...Ahem, Ahem... -- bulletproof 3:16 04:36, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

This thread is trolling. Anomo 08:25, 9 September 2006 (UTC)


Revert battle about list of trolling sites

IMO, somebody's list of a few "trolling" sites is information that some people who come to this article want to find out. I'm going to look at the sites on the list and then (probably) undelete the list. If you want to delete the list, please explain why on this talk page! 15:22, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:External links guideline, point #9: "Blogs, social networking sites (such as MySpace) and forums should generally not be linked to unless mandated by the article itself". — Matt Crypto 15:41, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree, that sounds like a good policy. But IMO at least one link to a trolling website would fall into the category of "mandated by the article itself." A brief search to see if Slashdot had a relevant thread we could link to didn't turn up anything. betsythedevine 21:11, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. Thank you for the restoration. Trolls are more likely to turn up in bbs message boards. Links to message boards where trolls group themselves is downright necessary. conchaga 17:57, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Troll Sites and External Link cleanup

I have put together a list of sites that should be considered for entry in the troll sites section. Those sites are as follows.

This site, should be moved from the external links to the troll sites. Though, it's a bit sub standard in my opinion.

Also, I propose a cleaning up of the list of external links. A few of them are a bit superfluous. Any ideas on how we can clean it up?

conchaga 00:34, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Entirely new definition

How about replacing all the garbage, the whole article, with this:

The word or concept of trolling has no objective definition, and most believe that none is possible. Definitions based on the belief that someone is engaged in deliberate antagonism rely on assumed motives. Definitions based on offended or angered correspondents put the onus on the author to anticipate any possible interpretation of every possible statement. Definitions based on majority point of view are necessarily prejudicial to any particular minority point of view.
Each and every attempt to define an Internet troll as anything other than "an ordinary user who said something I didn't believe or did something I didn't like" has failed. Basically, the term is a pejorative that has no meaning whatsoever - it is wholly reasonable to simply say that all users are trolls and be done with it. This is the basis of troll-friendly wiki best practice as practiced at an increasing number of large public wikis who recognize the power struggle that is inherent in permitting a subjective word to be used to make administrative and editorial decisions that affect participation. Breakdowns in troll-friendliness lead directly to administrative sysop vigilantiism and editorial sysop vandalism.

With appropriate redirect from all users are trolls and equivalent statements. (said somebody from IP

We've all seen the word "troll" thrown around inappropriately in web debates--just one of many reasons I really like Wikipedia's policy about "No personal attacks." WP:NPA Maybe you'd like to add a section to this article about "objections to the concept of trolling"? betsythedevine 13:02, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

I definitely find the beginning definition totally off base and not really supported by any of the links in the article. The idea that trolling is just an effort to be disruptive is new to me. My experience with the term is that a troll is someone whose sincerity is questioned. That is to say someone who is not posting their personal beliefs or personal understanding of the facts but rather is *pretending* to support or advocate something entirely to observe the reactions of others. The first link already almost qualifies as a good reference for this definition but I'll see if I can find a better one.
Do people seriously believe that someone can be a Troll when posting their sincere beliefs in a forum? I strongly suspect that Troll must have entirely different meanings in different online communities.Zebulin 20:12, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Mod rewrite needed

This article definitely needs some major rewriting. From what I've seen, most of it is just an essay on what motivates trolls and superfluous examples of trolling (e.g telling other people that you are a samurai in order to gain attention). Seriously, this is one of the worst articles I've seen in terms of encyclopedic content. I'll probably do the rewrite myself in a few days.--Rouge Rosado Oui? 05:58, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

This is an interesting article, but I have seen lots of articles just as interesting deleted as original research. A would-be troll could learn lots of new tricks, or a trolee could find was to spot them, but that would make it a "How To" article. The references are only links to Wiki articles or to websites or blogs. Surely there are some reliable and verifiable sources to support the article? It is far too interesting to be AfD'd. Could it be merged with Wikipedia:What is a troll?Edison 16:33, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Another type of trol is the 'Delete-monger' who unessaseraly and serperflusly gets a mass of posts simeltanously deleated and moderated in order to over-load the Mods and anoy the forum users. A intresting artical could be writen on Delete-mongers. Homer slips- 1.36, 3 Nov' 2006 (UTC).

I'm not sure if you're insinuating something, but the text that I removed doesn't have to be permenantly deleted (I would be regretful if it did, since the author obviously put a lot of time and effort into it.) It could be transfered to WikiBooks for example as a guide to internet trolling.--Rouge Rosado Oui? 00:22, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


I do not feel that a merge to shock site, is needed or valid, However This article needs some help in various areas.--†hε þяínce öf ɒhaямa Talk to Me 00:55, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

It's utterly ridiculous to consider merging with shock site.

agreed. Debivort 06:15, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't think a merge would be beneficial. Trolling spans a much wider subject than shock sites. Regarding improving shock site: some material could be found here ReidarM 10:06, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

"utterly ridiculous". that puts it better than i could ever phrase it.-- ExpImptalkcon 16:32, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree, don't merge.--Triple-Quadruple 02:23, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

proposal for new image


--Pixel ;-) 23:35, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

I added it to Wikipedia:Don't feed the trolls. It isn't appropriate for an article, though.

It's a clasic picture. --Homer slips. 04:29, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

It looks retarded. There is no need for it since it isn't factual.

Popular interpretation of "troll" seems "ass-backwards"

Quote from the main article: "The image of the troll under the bridge in the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" emphasizes the troll's negative reaction to outsiders intruding on its physical environment, particularly those who intend to graze in its domain without permission." -- I recently tried to add some comment/correction to an article, but each time I did so it was quickly removed by someone else. Finally they suggested I needed "a reference". So I supplied a very respectable reference, but then was told that it was not applicable since it was dated 1971. This "guardian" wanted a 2006 reference.... This kind of jealous guardian, forever protecting their inviolable article from outside comment --- isn't that just what the above quote refers to? Therefore, a "troll" would not be an obnoxious outsider trying to intrude and interfere by offering unrequited changes or comments --- a "troll" would be just the opposite: the obnoxious "insider" forever protecting their little turf from anyone else's interference.Jakob37 00:51, 10 November 2006 (UTC)


"YHBT YHL HAND" is a page that links to here, but I had to go off-site to google to get it explained to me. Perhaps someone should put an explanation in the article; I'm not sure where to squeeze it in. —ScouterSig 16:40, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Notice about images

Please do not re-add the two images that I just removed yet again. This page is an encyclopedia article, not a guide to internet trolling and those images don't present any encyclopedic information on internet trolling. Also, they are both used already on Wikipedia:What is a troll?, which is a guide to internet trolling.--Azer Red Si? 16:42, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Trolling in games

I troll on Socom, I was the one who added "Trolling in Games", I felt it was necessary that Trolling in Games be mentioned and as a fellow troll mentioned above, we do it simply because its fun, we find it so darned funny to annoy the hell out of everyone and get lots of feedback from people.

I am very proud of you, but in order for information on you trolling exploits to be on Wikipedia we must have reliable sources for that information. The trolls themselves are not considered reliable sources. Please take a look at WP:RS for more info. --Daniel J. Leivick 03:48, 21 February 2007 (UTC)


I find it very interesting in Wikipedia's definition of a troll, the "key element under attack by a troll is the forum or group's hegemony."

One example of this was a "liberal-minded person" posting on a right-wing neo-nazi site. Putting aside the fact that "right-wing nazi" is a neologism, I found this inflammatory and proceeded to change the example to the opposite sense, where a "conservative-minded person" posted on a liberal site (to which I did not add any disparaging qualifiers).

My example was much the same--I pointed out that as soon as the person was detected not to be a liberal, the person was called a troll. (I added that such a person was sometimes banned right away, which was, I'll admit, inflammatory of me!)

To prove my point, someone almost instantly reverted the definition to its original sense.

So I am using this talk page to provide an alternate definition, which is the definition that I believe is used on conservative-minded sites. Here a troll is someone who argues in bad faith. This is usually someone of the opposite point of view, true. But what is key here is that not all those who disagree are trolls, not by a long shot. On the sites I know, someone gets to be called a troll after ignoring counterarguments, tossing in irrelevant comments, and generally not answering points put to him or her.

"Group unity" is valued by liberals, not necessarily by all people. And my experience is indeed that on *liberal* web sites, as soon as one is revealed as not part of the group, one *is* considered a troll.

Trollfully yours, RX1045 22:29, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

I actually reverted your original edit, it had nothing to do with the switch in political affiliation. I found that the change in wording changed the meaning a little and didn't add anything. Your subsiquent edit was a good compromise I think, but I think I will tweak it a little. You are right in that there is no reason to mention particular groups in the example. --Daniel J. Leivick 22:34, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually after reading over the article more carefully I found that I was incorrect in thinking that your initial edit changed the situation. However I think the above user is mistaken in saying that we are using some kind of liberal definition of trolling. This article illustrates a number of behaviors that may be termed trolling. The situation in question is one in which the term troll is used, this may be in your opinion an incorrect use, but it is a use nontheless. --Daniel J. Leivick 22:48, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I did not suppose that the definition of troll was found in some liberal dictionary, but rather that it was the product of liberal minds. (Notice how I am the first person to object to the inflammatory example.) My own experience, FWIW, is that the label "troll" is used differently on left and right web sites, and that is what I intended to convey here on the discussion page. Consider it food for thought. (This goes for the researcheers who are quoted on the main page as well!) 22:57, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Can only noobs be trolls?

A simple question. I'm wondering if it's mandatory to be going to one of those websites for a long time before you can have controversial opinions. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:09, 2 March 2007 (UTC).

If you are asking if immunity to accusations of trolling or immunity from being labeled as a troll can be acquired by frequenting a forum for a sufficiently long period of time I'd say the answer is no. No amount of seniority at a forum is sufficient in and of itself to grant such immunity. Many forums have notorious trolls who have been trolling since the creation of the forum.Zebulin 09:23, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Still, there is a difference between noobs and newbs. --Luigifan 12:23, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
not here there isn't (click your link). explain the difference you perceive.Zebulin 18:46, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

trolls as willful vandals vs trolls as attention seekers

We've had the following definition or minor varations of it as the lead to our article for some time:

"In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who enters an established community such as an online discussion forum and intentionally tries to cause disruption, often in the form of posting messages that are inflammatory, insulting, incorrect, inaccurate, absurd, or off-topic, with the intent of provoking a reaction from others."

By this definition someone like the fools who go about blanking wikipedia articles are engaging in trolling even though they have in fact made no statement of any kind. In fact since the troll must by this definition be intent upon 'disruption' to qualify as a troll then it would follow that trolls are comprised entirely of those individuals who desire disruption or damage to a forum or community as an end in and of itself. Since "disruption" has no purpose apart from destruction of order this definition would seem to require that all trolls are intent upon damaging the communities they frequent and are indeed motivated by spite.

The definition is unsourced and so until a properly sourced definition can be found (and this has proven very difficult) it is ripe to be challenged.

I'm sure we are all familiar with the following common usage of the term troll "Do you think he's trolling?". By our current definition this would be asking if "he" is disrupting the community. However, most responses to this question do not comprise evaluations of the evidence of disruption of the community by the putative troll but rather involve evaluations as to whether the poster seems to be sincere in their discussion as opposed to simply making a pretense of sincere discussion to observe the reactions of those potentially being "trolled". The "trolls" responses are examined to see if someone might realistically be expected to make such replies if they were sincere or if instead the replies are more likely an attempt to elicit strong reactions from the community.

The most important thing this article needs is a useful source for the definitions of troll that it gives. In the absence of such sources it would seem prudent if nothing else to insure that the provisional definition is broad enough to encompass most if not all of the extant interpretations of "trolling".

Do we really have consensus that usage of the term "troll" generally refers to someone attempting to disrupt the forum? The ultimate form of disruption of a community or forum would be the destruction or cessation of activities of a forum. Such disruption is absolute. Do we really believe that such a common term reflects only such spiteful activity?

I have attempted to broaden the provisional definition of troll through the following wording:

"In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who enters an established community such as an online discussion forum and intentionally tries to cause disruption, often in the form of posting messages that are inflammatory, insulting, incorrect, inaccurate, absurd, or off-topic, with the intent of provoking a reaction from others rather than an honest effort at sincere discussion."

Which differs from the previous provisional definition by the addition of the qualifier "rather than an honest effort at sincere discussion." to the end. This was simply a modest attempt to encompass at least part of the focus of the alternative interpretation of troll in the definition by highlighting the absence of an honest effort to engage in sincere discussion as a characteristic of a troll without necessarily challenging the existing definition.

Why is it necessary to continue to remove this qualifier?Zebulin 00:32, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

How about this definition from PC magazine [6]?

Zebruin, I don't understand why you wrote that summary in the discussion page and not in the actual entry.

"Posting derogatory messages about sensitive subjects on newsgroups and chat rooms to bait users into responding."

It seems to capture both interpetations, it is sourced, and is succinct.Zebulin 00:43, 26 March 2007 (UTC)


The following paragraph under the Etymology section is absurd

The origin of the phrase has been discussed in oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the related term "patent troll" (eBay v. MercExchange, 29 March 2006):

JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, is -- is the troll the scary thing under the bridge, or is it a fishing technique?... MR. PHILLIPS [attorney for eBay]: For my clients, it's been the scary thing under the bridge.... JUSTICE KENNEDY: I mean, is that what the troll is? MR. PHILLIPS: Yes, I believe that's... what it is, although...maybe we should think of it more as Orcs, now that we have a new generation.

please correct it or remove it

I have NOT taken the time to check this quote. However, it sounds like a perfectly plausible exchange at a Supreme Court oral argument. Finell (Talk) 15:03, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
You can find information about that patent troll case here: betsythedevine (talk) 18:16, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

YTMND is not a troll group

Max Goldberg has repeatedly stated that he does not condone trolling and in fact has trying to delete people who are involved in such behavior. At one point, the people on the YTMND forums were heavily involved with trolling but Max Goldberg has deleted the forum several times and right now that forum isn't even part of the main site anymore. I don't really think it's fair to label YTMND as a trolling site because the admin has been doing all he can by himself to stop people from creating trouble. In fact, in a recent post he states that trying to control what people do on the site is impossible. But, you have to realize that a very small minority of people are involved in trolling. Most of them were with the old forums which are now not as big as they used to be. The majority of the trolling is done by the group of people on the YTMNSFW forums and the forums that splintered off of it. Calling YTMND a troll group is like saying GameFaqs is a troll group simply because of LUE. Just because a small group within the website involve themselves in malicious behavior does not mean that YTMND (or even GameFaqs) itself is a trolling website. -- 14:41, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Citation Needed

I'm trying to be a good troll. Here I go look up trolls on wikipedia I see a strong anti troll bias. Well anyway, I'm pruning everything I can find that has been reasonably marked as citation needed as someone else, or just removing the flag. Mathiastck 06:41, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Don't feed troll picture

please remove the "don't feed trolls" picture. It isn't needed.

Done. Pipatron (talk) 14:14, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Inserted back the picture per reference to Wikipedia:Don't feed the trolls. Igor Berger (talk) 14:34, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
That's not a reference. The point of a reference would be to prove the actual common usage of the image in conjunction with the term. Equazcion /C 14:36, 14 Mar 2008 (UTC)

What about the troller of trolls?

Urkobold. He has his own blog.[7]Highnumber 21:15, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Suggested page move to "Internet troll"

It's less clumsy than "Troll (Internet)". Anyone else agree?--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 14:59, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

This is in line with policy to avoid bracket names whenever possible. Since Internet troll currently exists, I will request an admin to make the move. Eleland 12:16, 5 August 2007 (UTC)


Unfortunately this article is positively littered with original research and unverified claims. Just going from the first few paragraphs:

  • It would be highly unusual for any internet poster to claim the title of troll...
  • It is thought to be a truncation of the phrase trolling for suckers...
  • Another plausible derivation is...
  • The word likely gained currency because of its apt second meaning...

None of these statements have sources. I would go on to try and list them all, but, I would basically be copying the entire article into its own talk page. Eleland 04:07, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Well does every edcated statement in Wikipedia need to be sourced? Someone who has been on Usenet for a long time would know that few people ever claim to be trolls, a search on Google groups will find very few people identifying themselves as trools.
Sorry but there is not a lot of literature on the term troll and Wikipedia is going to be an original source.
The real problem with this article, which is deeply disturbing, is that most of it seems to take a common insult as a real term, as if going to an article about the word "nigger" would give you a article about african americans and not race hatred and hate crimes. Unsigned by at 03:20 5th August 2007 Eleland 12:15, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Requested move

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Per HisSpaceResearch above, it is less clumsy. Eleland 15:37, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Support, don't () if we don't have to. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:16, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose, because its name is not "Internet troll" but "troll". --Yath 20:24, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose, the subject of this article is one of the primary meanings of "troll" and the subject is almost exclusively referred to as "troll" in an internet context, rarely as "internet troll". Skomorokh incite 11:18, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it be moved. --Stemonitis 16:37, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Troll definition too narrow ?


To summarize roughly from the article and from some of the comments, the genuine definition of a troll is 1) someone who consciously sets out to irk people for fun, as in a game or a sport. -Less legitimately, “troll” is also 2) used as an ad hominem attack, aimed at hollowing out someone's points. -Finally, “troll” can, also illegitimately, be 3) used against someone who is not of the right allegiance, such as liberal posting on a conservative board, or someone holding unpleasant opinions (which touches on the ad hominem attack).

But I wonder if, though the first point presents a definition of trolling that may be true to the original usage in newsgroups, it might just too easily dismiss a broader definition that has come to be used in blogs and discussion boards, and that is more legitimate then the simple ad hominem attack.

Here, I mean people who post on boards but categorically refuse to comply with conventions, agreed upon standards of civility and rules laid out for discussion flow. People who, in conjunction, tend to impose their “style” on others, regardless of the negative comments they receive on their manners. Especially, such posters would tend to get overly self-righteous when others tell them that their behaviour is being frowned upon, thus doubling their efforts to make their viewpoints across, claiming for example that they are so right that that is why others are trying to "censor" their opinions.

Initially at least, such posters might genuinely want to partake in the ongoing discussions and think they have plenty to contribute. They might also be of the right allegiance. But they will refuse to follow conventions (or lack the social intelligence to understand those conventions?...) : refusing to be courteous, themselves using ad hominem abundantly, storming the board by replying 3 times for every other post, posting overly long messages, etc. And they will generally create the annoying consequence that every thread they participate in will end up revolving around their person, as they keep being successful in bating some people who will try to either make them comply or leave. (Thus prompting the “Do not feed the troll” reply by others.)

In short, a “troll” here would mean someone who disrupts the flow of conversation by ignoring every social rule and by self-righteously and adamantly insisting they are right against everybody else.

This kind of behaviour routinely grants people to be called “trolls”. And I would believe genuinely so. (Or is there a different term used for that particular behaviour?) I'd be curious to know what you think.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Pra Phnom 04:08, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

This article is completely multiple-personality with contradictory assertions and little evidence for many of them. One minute it's essentially saying that a troll is someone posting things to get a reaction. The next minute it's saying that people calling someone a troll is an ad hominim attack and implies that troll is just a term people use to unfairly discredit someone else and there aren't such things as trolls.

It seems like it's more useful to explain what trolling behavior often consists of or why people perceive certain behaviors as trolling and the people as trolls (such as posting directly contrary to community beliefs, values and standards to which a large portion of the community will react). This also avoids the question of what a troll's motivations are since they can't be easily verified anyway. The question of trolling motivation should be minimized unless it can be objectively verified.

If someone posts derogatory and racist statements to a civil rights site then what's the difference if it's being done in order to stir up a reaction or whether the troll is a genuine member of the KKK who believes every word he's saying and is trying to enlighten everyone? In either case, the troll presents an opinion opposing community beliefs and standards. It will be considered trolling in either case and people on the site aren't going to make a distinction based on the motivations but will consider it trolling since it pretty much directly violates community standards, norms and viewpoints held by the group and for which the group exists. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, August 27, 2007 (UTC)

lol wut

Removed the lines "The exact reasons as to why people troll are moot. There is also reason to doubt that much of what is called trolling is in fact trolling." because it makes absolutely no sense. Maybe on Enccyclopedia Dramatica or Uncyclopedia but not on Wiki.

An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts messages suggesting anyone who reads this is gay in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, with the intention of sparking an intelligent and sophisticated discussion. [1]

WTF? This is a travesty! The "anyone who read this is gay" part seems to have been blatantly patched in the sentence by some cretinous 12 years old boy. Gay should not be used as a pejorative term in a serious article. Amd anyways, the whole sentence is completely wrong, we can see a Troll passed to modify it. Worst part: "with the intention of sparking an intelligent and sophisticated discussion". That's the total opposite of trolling! This part doesn't seem editable by non-suscribed user, so I ask, please, get someone to repair this! It's awful!

P.S: the whole article is very bad. It's just trying to explain the etymology of Trolling, without really explaining what is considered trolling ('cept that part about "good trolling", which makes me really wonder how it got in there. )

( (talk) 21:52, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Article should be about trolls, not about the word "troll" and how it can be misapplied

Leaving aside the problem of unsourced statements and "original research, this article is falling apart because it jumps back and forth between two different topics.

The original topic of the article was the history and activities of a Usenet subculture that still thrives on the Internet-- people who intentionally disrupt online conversations and may or may not gloat about their successes to one another afterward.

The emerging topic of this article is the misuse of the word "troll" as an insult to devalue someone whose comments have made you angry. That is, instead of being an article about the thing "troll", others want this to be an article about the word "troll." Much of this seems to come from people who have had their feelings hurt by being unjustly called trolls.

Some of this material might fit into the wiki page [8]

In my opinion, all the expanding commentary about how people misuse the word "troll" and etc. has no place in this article except maybe in a section called "controversy." This article is about trolls. betsythedevine 07:58, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Troll (Wikipedia)

Will someone please define the above somehow, somewhere, sometime soon? Ludvikus 12:46, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Fark as a Trolling Subculture

I disagree with the view that trolling on Fark is "flooding rather than trolling".

Farkers view a troll as: "Someone who disagrees with ((the consensus of the thread) | (their own views)) in order to provoke a (negative) reaction from other posters". I feel this is in-line with the definition of Troll (Internet) in general.

I think that if Meow Wars (early Usenet) and goatse (dead except for mirrors) are included in the list of trolling subcultures, Fark should be included as well as Slashdot, as it has a current community that includes a wide selection of trolls in the current time frame.

I welcome counter views from other Fark users (or User:Sunray) who say that Trolls (as defined by Troll (Internet)) are not present in the Fark community.

Skrrp 02:45, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

The links in this section are supposed to be examples of "trolling subcultures." How is Fark an example of a trolling subculture? Please explain. Perhaps leave aside the others (Meow, Slashdot) for now. We can deal with them once we get this sorted out. Sunray 15:05, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

original research

Hey all. I agree this article needs to be improved. Can we focus on particular subsections that contain OR, instead of tagging the entire article? This will move things along much faster. I've removed the OR tag at the top of the page, and I encourage people to tag individual sections and sentences instead. Sdedeo (tips) 17:53, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

That is a sensible approach. Sunray 15:42, 29 October 2007 (UTC)


This page should be Troll (internet), with lowercase internet, per WP:NC. I won't move the page because maybe there was an earlier discussion which decided otherwise. If there was no such discussion, please move this page. -- Ynhockey (Talk) 14:45, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Ann Coulter

If she isn't a media celebrity - she would most likely be an internet troll... Her statements has all the earmarks of what a bad troll would say in forums - attacks without fact. I've had to deal with such people - there were plenty of those on the Yahoo forums before they took it down.

18:19, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Disconnected sentence on homeless as "trolls"

Under Etymology one line states that the homeless in Santa Cruz were described at "trolls". This is unrelated to the origins of the word in the context of the internet. It is unsourced in any case. Removing. --Bridgecross 18:16, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

This is true, but totally irrelevant. Good riddance. :) --GentlemanGhost (talk) 09:34, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

RINO as a troll?

I think this reflects a particular viewpoint. It is a pejorative term for a moderate republican and I think that to view them as trolls is POV. It needs to be reworded and citation added or else it should be deleted. (talk) 00:49, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Echo

Why is troll (internet) a member of Wikipedia:WikiProject Echo? Joeking16 (talk) 13:14, 29 November 2007 (UTC)


Troll's seem to get a bad rap in this article. Why is it? Perhaps some in the wiki community dont realize wikipedia isnt a serious source of reference. Try to use wiki as a source in college or university and you'll get laughed out the proffs office. People troll here because half the information isnt factual. It's a joke site for jokers to visit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:24, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

This article has an ongoing problem, which people keep trying to fix from one side or the other. I just made a new attempt to clarify what I see as the issue. First, there is a specific kind of internet behavior called trolling, and the article should describe what that behavior is. Second, the word troll gets used as an insult and accusation, often against users who are not engaged the the kind of behavior originally called trolling. But even though the term gets misused and broadened, it still has an actual meaning. People accused of "trolling" are being accused of something rather specific. That's my opinion, anyway. betsythedevine (talk) 09:15, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Big trolls have little trolls
Who feed off their inanity
And little trolls have lesser trolls
And so on to insanity (talk) 19:57, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, it doesn't help that many people seem to be editing this page in direct response to accusations of trolling on Wikipedia. It does seem that Wikipedia's definition of "trolling" is "abusive disruptive behavior in general" rather than what I understood it to be, namely "knowingly advancing ridiculous or gravely flawed arguments in order to elicit angry reactions." That may have spilled over into article-space. <eleland/talkedits> 20:32, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
A "troll", from the Wikipedia definition of trolling, is someone who makes "bad faith" edits. Just to quote the definition, Ignorance is not trolling. Genuine dissent is not trolling. Biased editing, even if defended aggressively, is in itself not trolling. By themselves, misguided nominations, votes, and proposed policy are not trolling. They are only trolling when they are motivated by a program of malice rather than ignorance or bias. This requires a judgment of the personal motivation for another's action. Such a judgment can never be made with anything approaching certainty. This fact should always be kept in mind when one is tempted to label someone a troll. If all these things are not trolling, then what is trolling? In the context of Wikipedia, and again I quote, Trolling is a deliberate, bad faith attempt to disrupt the editing of Wikipedia. Obviously, this definition is specific to Wikipedia itself. In the context of a discussion board about Honda cars, trolling would be a deliberate, bad faith attempt to disrupt the discussion of Honda cars. In the context of a comment thread on somebody's blogpost, trolling would be a deliberate, bad faith attempt to disrupt the use of blog comments to exchange ideas and information. For example, supporters of candidate X may post intentionally disruptive comments on a blog for supporters of candidate Y using such well-known troll strategies as concern troll or strawman sockpuppet. betsythedevine (talk) 18:44, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Bullshit betsythedevine, Eleland is correct. The term troll has not been used for the past twenty years as a general purpose replacement for "malicious intent". There are countless ways to "de-rail" a thread, and trolling is just one of them, not all of them, as betsythedevine's recent edit indicates. Yes, trolling has the effect of de-railing the community purpose, but that relationship cannot be reversed. Ie. Trolling is de-railing, but de-railing is not necessarily trolling. For this reason, your edits will be undone. I realize you probably had good intentions with that edit, but you've effectively hijacked the definition of internet troll for the purpose of describing a wikipedia troll. Feel free to recreate your definition of a wikipedia troll on a new page; the one you changed was for internet troll. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:31, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
betsythedevine, please see . It appears you were simply lost, and were on the "internet troll" page, when you thought you were on the *wiki trolling* page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:45, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
My quoting Wikipedia's troll definition was a response to Eleland's comment just above it--that is, he said the Wikipedia seems to define trolling as disruption in general. I wanted to clarify that Wikipedia's definition of trolling requires bad faith. Your response is unnecessarily adversarial. I agree with you that wiki cruft does not belong in this article unless such terms of art should rise to the level of showing up in media like Salon or Time or Newsweek. Exactly this rise to notability has occurred for the term "concern troll." To clarify my edit: I believe that "bad faith" is relevant to the internet troll article because "concern troll" is part of this article and is a term coming into increased use in mass media, for example quite recently in Salon. I have been trying to clarify the definition section and would welcome your help, especially any citations of the terms usage in encyclopedia-quality sources. I would like the definition to emphasize, as you do, the original and long-term meaning of insincere postings with the intent to bait others. But the definition should accept the increasingly wider generalization to other kinds of postings made with malicious intent such as "concern troll" or strawman sockpuppet. The definition should mention but (in my opinion) deprecate the use of "troll" as a general insult for postings anybody dislikes for any reason. betsythedevine (talk) 16:19, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
The expression patent troll is another example of using "troll" to allege that somebody is acting in bad faith. betsythedevine (talk) 18:24, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
When media begins to misuse a term, you don't change the meaning of the word to suit the improper usage. The purpose of labeling the particular type of disruptive behavior trolling refers to is to discourage the disruption. By changing the term to also encompass the proper and socially acceptable practice of provoking a mere "response", you're uprooting the term and undermining its purpose. It's damaging to the effort of promoting civil forums. My attention was brought to this wiki page after noticing inappropriate labeling of civil posts on controversial subject matter as trolling (in fact, on the part of moderators in one case). So the damage is evident. Everyone who wants to discuss a controversial subject is now a troll, even if they have no intent to upset, provoke flames, or play on emotions (and emotion is an essential component, noted in the alt.troll faq). From a utilitarian standpoint, the current definition must change. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:48, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
This article nowhere defines "Troll (Internet)" to encompass "the proper and socially acceptable practice of provoking a mere 'response.' " The misuse of terms like "troll" or for that matter "whore" to hurt people who don't deserve such insults is a human behavior I doubt Wikipedia caused or can repair. The widespread and increasing usage of "troll" to describe a wider range of bad-faith web behaviors deserves to be documented in this article. betsythedevine (talk) 00:42, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


Why no mention of them?Tailsfan2 (talk) 21:17, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Of who? Feel free to add a section or sentence about them if reliable enough sources exist. --McGeddon (talk) 21:25, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
A bunch of youtube trolls. That is the problem. I am unsure where reliable material can be found. They are some of the tougher ones. Threats are not uncommon. My board got trolled by them today. (talk) 22:43, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Soliciting arguments is not trolling

Logical arguments are healthy for a discussion. It senseless to brand someone who solicits logical and non-emotional argument a troll. It also deviates from the meaning conveyed in the alt.troll faq, and internet newcomers are beginning to throw the term around abusively because of it. There has been a recent surge in the practice of branding someone a troll who practices clean argumentation theory. The wiki definition was overly broad and likely responsible for some of this over zealous use of the term - which has lead to damaging forms of censorship. It enabled the erroneous labeling of someone not looking to cause emotional outrage, so I added the word "emotional" to the definition. Emotion is an essential component. Although the definition is now accurate, it's tempting to simplify it without losing meaning. I suggest something as short as "to provoke flames intentionally", and from there simply ensure that the wiki definition of flame is accurate.

I'm not sure if Wikipedia can really be blamed for the misuse of the term. Even as the article states, it is very common to accuse people who disagree with you of being a troll as a form of ad hominim. —Memotype::T 17:09, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

"Trolling" for women

I believe that the term "trolling" should also include chatroom users who post the same "singles ad" text repeatedly in the room. I can't think of where I would cite such a definition, but in the past I've observed it being used heavily to describe the "horny net geeks" who are "trolling" for women in a chatroom.

Perhaps, but I would certainly propose it as a variant of trolling, because this would be an atypical application of the term. And what you describe is closer to spamming than trolling. "Spam troll" or "spam trolling" sounds reasonable to me. I think it would overly complicate the basic definition of trolling to include your chat spam case. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:40, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that use is covered by this definition; it's just being used metaphorically. --DocumentN (talk) 07:52, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Early history example is not trolling, it is sockpuppetry

The example of "Joan" cited here is early but it is an example of sockpuppetry not trolling. Why is it here? Was the word "troll" used in the early Ms. article cited? betsythedevine (talk) 17:55, 25 December 2007 (UTC)


I see an external link entitled: "Unconvential approach of feeding trolls, not killing them by Henk van Ess"

This leads to an Ad landing page on a domain that doesnt host the article. The article is in French.

I would at least like to change the link so that it leads directly to the artcle, or completely remove it since this is the Englisg version of wikipedia.

If youre against it speak up Bl4h (talk) 03:43, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like it should be removed... but maybe also archived here so it isn't lost and someone might translate it or find an english version somewhere. —Memotype::T 17:06, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Pre-Usenet trolling

The current article doesn't seem to acknowledge that trolling could take place in any context other than an internet forum. Wouldn't the paper described at [9] (note title text) be an example? --DocumentN (talk) 03:55, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Are you saying the comic is trollish or the research paper they're referring to? Honestly, I don't see how either is trollish, even though I might personally disagree with the premise of each. —Memotype::T 17:05, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
The paper was "meant as more 'provocation' than 'well-reasoned argument'"; isn't that basically the same as a message written "with the intention of baiting other [people] into an emotional response" (current revision)? --DocumentN (talk) 07:49, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia Troll

Is an editor that is so tedious and tenacious that he or she will go through loops to desrupt WikiPedia to prove WP:POINT. While a dedicated editor who cares about WikiPedia project as a whole is not a Troll and should never be called such, an editor with a hidden objective my be consider a Troll. Still calling an editor a Troll is very derogative and should not be done without proper justification, because of the negative ramifications that may follow the calling event. for Wikipedia essay see Wikipedia:What is a troll

  • I would like to add this paragraph to the Troll (Internet) article. Although there is reference to the Wikipedia Troll esay on top of the article the reference is very small.
  • May editors inclduing admins are calling other editors Trolls, this is degorative and insalting, so we should educate oureslves as well as the the public users what are Wikipedian Trolls.
  • By having prominent reference to the sub article and a summary of the essay is Folksonomy of Wikipedia. Igor Berger (talk) 07:44, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You've got a good point. Probably the objection is that it crosses the line between Wikipedia namespace and article namespace. DurovaCharge! 19:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
And, as with many see also pointers, it has a place in the very first line of the article. This proposed paragraph seems like original research to me. It could belong in the troll essay, but it does not add to an article about internet trolls, in my opinion. MKoltnow 01:50, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Trolling or percieved trolling is a very big problem and has a negative affect on Wikipedia. Highliting - making reference the notable information to the subject at hand is what Wikipedia is about in the first place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Igorberger (talkcontribs) 01:56, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, giving a subject undue weight in an article is dangerous, because it treads into areas where we have problems with neutral point of view. What you want in this article is at the very top of it. Making a bigger deal, in articlespace, about what Wikipedia trolling is and what sort of a problem it is, gives it undue weight in an article about internet trolling in general. This is not an essay or policy, it is an encyclopaedia article in mainspace. MKoltnow 02:10, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
A prominent SEO/Social media consultant Andy Beard refers to Jason Calacanis a founder as, "Wikia Troll" Googling for WikiPedia Troll returns 416,000 page results How more notable do you want this to be? Igor Berger (talk) 02:24, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Wikipedians calling over users Trolls is a very big problem. It is labels and we all know labels. We need to point an eye on the issue because the world is watching us. Igor Berger (talk) 02:50, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I recommend to put it in and if and when a consensus changes it can be taken out or modified. Igor Berger (talk) 03:05, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
  • You seem really convinced that your contribution is important. Maybe first you could have another read of this whole Talk page. It repeatedly talks about issues of original research and point of view. If you're satisfied that what you have still needs to go in, I suggest you use your spell-checker and put in what you want. I don't know whether you don't understand what other folks say, or you choose to ignore it. But in this [10] you claim that Durova endorsed your addition to this article. In reality, I think you were given moral support--your idea is good, but this is perhaps not the right namespace. (correct me Durova, if I am wrong) When I challenged your contributions as being original research and not adding to the value of the article, you suggested that Wikipedia was about highlighting the notable information about the subject at hand. When I suggested that might give it undue weight, you made an unrelated argument about notability. Your entire argument seems to be original research--an overreaction to being called a troll? I don't know. I don't see why what you're interested in does not belong in the troll essay. Perhaps someone else needs to chime in now; I don't think this is worth much more effort on my part. MKoltnow 03:16, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

The fact of the matter is that the text that is being added does not conform to the verifiability policy. While it may be true, independent reliable sources must be provided to back up the addition. Since none were provided, I have removed the section as original research. Just because this is Wikipedia doesn't mean that the subject of trolling here notable enough for mention in the encyclopedia article without independent sources to back it up. Unless some can be provided, I suggest that this section stay out. Ioeth (talk contribs friendly) 18:51, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Excuse my steping in here. Right now I think that mentioning wikipedia in a article is not proper unless the article is about wikipedia or one of its parts. Even though wikipedia does have its trolls, giving undue wieght to the article is unnecessary and should be avoided. Compwhiz II(Talk)(Contribs) 14:50, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Maybe we should have a new unit! Not Spam patrol or vandal patrol, but Troll Patrol..:) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Igorberger (talkcontribs) 08:10, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Autoadmit a trolling subculture

Can someone please tell me why autoadmit is listed as a trolling subculture? I tried removing it yesterday but it was rv'd as vandalism. I'm just really curious... the wikipage for Autoadmit doesn't call it a trolling subculture. I propose that if we're going to be listing arbitrary forums as trolling subcultures we should list Wikipedia as well. —Memotype::T 15:09, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I imagine it's listed as a site that has a trolling subculture. This isn't a particularly coherent section of the article, and needs work. I see that you've added Wikipedia to the list to draw attention to this talk page section, though - please don't disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. --McGeddon (talk) 16:14, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
So is the policy on this section to list forums and web communities which have trolling subcultures? If so, then why is Autoadmit the only forum listed? Would you not agree that there is a trolling subculture on wikipedia as well? As for WP:POINT I think you are putting words in my mouth by assuming that I have some point or agenda in mind. I'm just saying that if Autoadmit is to be listed then by the same rule Wikipedia should be too. —Memotype::T 16:53, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the section because it has no clear purpose and very little content with no sources

== Specific trolling subcultures ==

Memotype::T 00:41, 11 February 2008 (UTC)


Does anybody object to this? I will impelemt it if nobody objects. Compwhiz II(Talk)(Contribs) 14:51, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Please keep my thread (just above this one) in the main talk page for at least another day or so because it was a recent edit. Also, you have yet to respond to my threads on here and on your talk page. I will interpret your lack of objection to mean that you approve of my edits. —Memotype::T 23:20, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

The 17th century definition as knave should be removed

By the poster's own admission, it has no provable relationship to the modern use. "Troll" was an offensive anti-homeless term in Santa Cruz in the 1980s, but neither is this documented. --—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:26, 1 March 2008

Meh. It's interesting, related to the page and apparently verifiable; that's good enough for me. --DocumentN (talk) 23:00, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

I removed vandalism...

From the second paragraph. This was apparently done by user I'm new to Wikipedia, so I didn't know what to put on the user's talk page for a warning, (Lv. 1,2,3, etc). I'm not sure which applies, and whether this IP address should be reported given the circumstances. If someone could take care of that, i'd appreciate it. I need to read more about vandalism on Wikipedia :) Thanks. MoeJade (talk) 06:16, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Igor Chudov and Bill Palmer famous usernet Troll incident

How come we do not have Igor Chudov in the Troll (Internet) article? He got 1996 Troll award of the year his website Read this also The original group Maybe we should do a section on this? Igor Chudov and Bill Palmer Troll incident. Igor Berger (talk) 12:13, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Sports trolls at sports fora

Scanning this talk page I see no mention of sports trolls; simply put, at a forum or blog that is more or less dedicated to a certain team, a sports troll willfully represents an opposing team. Sports trolls are not considered to be much of a problem, they are usually considered to be just "part of the game," more like dragonflies compared to the aphids and weevils described here. --Mr Accountable (talk) 10:05, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Trolls and invasions

We should mention something about 4chan. The great habbo raid, the COS raids, the hal turner raids, the internet hate machine. This is an example of high level trolling.YVNP (talk) 18:51, 15 May 2008 (UTC)


Removed section as it was highly POV with no source

The following, especially this part: The term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often used to discredit an opposing position, or its proponent, by argument fallacy ad hominem.

The page is about what trolling IS. "Potential misuse" is utterly irrelevant here. The argument could be made for just about anything really, but again, this is not the place for it. Edit the page "ad hominem" if you want though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:34, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

I think this section needs rewriting, shrinkage, and some legitimate sources rather than deletion. If you look back over the history of this Talk page, you will see that many commenters are very upset about this word's misuse to discredit opponents in online debate. My experience with similar contentious issues in other articles is that new people show up, look for some text addressing the issue of interest, and if they don't find it just add their own new versions of it. If we could find a "real" media source discussing this phenomenon, that would be the best possible solution. betsythedevine (talk) 04:06, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Here is an interesting and relevant quote from an online article: "I would also add that accusing people of “trolling” adds nothing useful to the conversation...For goodness sake, ALL blogging is trolling — if we didn’t want to engage other people in our ideas, we’d write them in a notebook and hide it under the mattress." betsythedevine (talk) 04:13, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
IMDB also has some very good troll-related advice, including advice about false accusations of trolling: [11] betsythedevine (talk) 04:28, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Self reference and/or useful information?

The question is whether or not this article should include a reference to the WikiMedia article "what is a troll?" My feeling is that this link has been in the article since more than 1000 edits ago so it has been considered useful and relevant by at least some other editors. I also think the link reflects what at least some and possibly many people will be looking for when they come to this article. For a similar example of second-guessing what people may want, the top of the article RSS includes a line "For RSS feeds from Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Syndication." betsythedevine (talk) 13:59, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

The Usage section

I feel that the Usage section needs to be reworked. I don't agree that the fact that the conversants are not in immediate physical danger means that they are naive to expect civility and common courtesy. Anonymity can provide a certain freedom of expression, but it is not a license for rudeness and verbal violence.

It may not be a licence, but anonymity is a large factor behind people trolling...
Agreed. It makes one feel invulnerable - "They can't do anything to me because they'll never find me." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, 31 July 2008 (UTC)


All that discussion simply because I contested the trite meaning of the foremost header for "Troll."

They can dish it out, but they can't take it.

If there's a law on Internet Trolling, add that to the other Sedition Law, The Patriot Act.

It's quite true, what they're saying, this generation knows how to memorize multiple choice to pass a test, but none know how to think anymore.

You can censor me all you like, but like an ancestor, Thomas Jefferson, I'm not going to stop saying you're wrong, not even at a price of one hundred thousand pounds on my head. Why? Because you opened the can of worms, you decided to provide the weapon of namecalling to the visitors here, and that alone makes you fit your own definition.

A "Troll" was, and will remain, a German mythical being. A creation to be told to small children as a scarey story. A Grimm's Faerietale. Borrowed from Norse legend. Were they the little people, the Romans and Brits that the lanky Germans and Saxons raped and pillaged after the sacking of Rome, and Brittania, or were they imagined creatures made up a thousand years afterwards based on tales taught from father to son? Are they from Midgard or Middle Earth? Like the Trojan War, "The Illyad" and "The Odessey," they are discounted as "myth" and "legend" by all but the most persistent intellects. Heinrich Schliemann would have totally disagreed with your position, and would have proven you wrong, at his complete expense, just as he did academics and scholars of the past in first finding Troy, and then founding Archaeology itself.

But one will always wonder: What is a troll, really?

You can pass laws to impose censorship, but you can never win its wars.

And you cannot define "Troll" without including all of its definitions, roots, and its complete history. The modern day definition is simply "epithet," a dirty name you call someone when they displease you, or, it simply pleases you to bait and switch them. It is the act of namecalling that is the mark of the "Troll" and the epithet is the word "Troll" itself; the completely Pavlovian transference of your personality onto something else. Behavior modification, torture, at its most subtle.

You put food in front of the dog, who is in isolation, torture, then you "teach" your victim to "ring the bell" for survival. Which is the troll, which is the "controll," which is the "bad," the captor or the captured?

Troll is a nice piece of bait, but the moment you use it, the only one you're going to catch is yourself.

That may be so - there may be a level of pot-kettle-black here, but on the other hand, everything needs a name. Someone who forces someone to have sex with them is a rapist. Someone who kills someone is a murderer. Someone who is rude, off-topic, and abusive on the internet is a troll. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Etymology: evidence?

The etymology section states that "The contemporary use of the term first appeared on Usenet groups in the late 1980s", but where is the evidence for this? Footnote 5 gives a 1990 example but acknowledges that even that example is unclear. If the term first appeared on Usenet in the late 1980s, then let's see it; if not, change this. The Oxford English Dictionary's first examples are from 1992, from alt.folklore.urban, for what it's worth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

New York Times Article

I have a link to an article on NY times which could be useful for improving this article Zippy117 (talk) 23:49, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Dead guy's photograph

By the way, where is your "Reproduced with permission" for the photograph of the dead guy?

Because there are real laws about copyright, and the rights of family members, and every movie company and newspaper knows you better have permission, in writing first, it's not only seen as in very bad taste, it's also a legal liability to post such photographs without license.

I don't think you know this. Being in Entertainment, Music and Movies, I do know that that law is far stronger than any law you can cite on legitimatized censhorship, i.e., Sedition Laws.

But to name him as a troll, is both injurious and detrimental, not just to him anymore, but to everyone who is related to him, was a friend, or other associate, and any newsman would recognise instantly that publishing the picture with the accusation, is a libelous act.

A great deal of talk goes on here about things like publishing, the Press, various freedoms, including Freedom of Expression, but little is said about the responsibility to play fair.

It's very reminiscent of the Marth Stewart Case. I have advised Martha to turn around and sue, and ask that those people in the government, particularly the ones who locked her up for lying, should themselves be called into account and tried on this whole last five years thing since 911. Otherwise, it's a double standard, isn't it?

Did Gonzalez lie? Absolutely, and at least two witnesses have come forward in the Valerie Plame case. They say the head honcho is the liar and that Gonzalez backed him up. Aside from bombing babies, blowing their arms and legs off, for which the American people are actually responsible, since they approved and paid for it, which are all war crimes, they "trolled" Joe Wilson, and took it to the level of physical action against his wife, Valerie Plame. This evidence was not presented lightly, especially by those who should know and those who knew for a fact, the C.I.A., after it was attacked by the same group and many of its members' lives put in jeopardy, but is proven.

Yet the biggest trolls set the example, don't they? And if they can get away with it all, then perhaps this encourages others to try.

If you turn a blind eye to any side discussion, if you disallow what may be and what actually is the truth, then you've no credibility whatsoever.

And censorship is seen as the sole defensive autonomic reaction left to you, simply because you have nothing left to say in defense of your actions, thus you end discussion by saying "I don't want to talk about it." Classic regression.

You have two choices: live in the bubble, or get out and fix your environment. Ignoring this problem is not going to make it go away with hiding out and having no opinion at Wikipedia.

It's all been seen before, as you say, from before the PC brought you the Internet. As early as the first year of the first computer ever. The politics of the epithet. The ultimatum. The Blacklist.

Why don't your rewrite the whole thing and start with the aboriginal, Troll as a mythical character, instead of the newspeak Troll as as weaponword.

        Why not? Because this page isnt "Troll," it's "Troll (internet)"

Oh yeah?! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:06, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Trolling is good

This is totally not neutral POV. What about the trolls? Ever think of them?! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:52, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Well, you got a point. Why do people troll anyway? What's their objective? And what exact trolling do they? Questions that could be asked. We should focus on the people who troll. If that's just for tease or if that is on some purpose they have in mind. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:04, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Trolling vs. Trawling

I'm not entirely sure that image of a boat "trolling" for fish is an apt example. I have to wonder if the original contributor might've heard of trawling for fish and thought it work here. Then again, I suppose "trawling" an internet forum or mailing list is functionally the same as "trolling"

...or I'm reading into some kind of double-entendre that isn't really there. :| —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:16, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

I had wondered about this myself, but it turns out that trolling and trawling describe different ways of fishing -- the former trying to lure fish by trailing a bait, and the latter dragging a big net so that fish get caught up in it. Also, "troll" comes from old French "troller", which is a hunting technique where you wander around looking for prey [12] while "trawl" comes from a old German word "traghelen" meaning to drag. [13]. betsythedevine (talk) 20:14, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Troll image

Should this article have an illustration, and if so, which image? The knitted puppet under current dispute adds nothing to the article, IMO. Only its caption identifies it as a troll and nothing at all relates it to the internet. There have also been other images here in the past, including Wikipedia troll at play sign (which I created, so my judgment may not be objective!) and "Do Not Feed Troll" sign. The knitted puppet using a handpuppet over at Sockpuppet (Internet), is useful and illustrative. Can somebody suggest a better image for this article? betsythedevine (talk) 16:35, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Please mention

Please mention how the term is very often incorrectly used simply to avoid a debate between 2 conflicting points of view.

Please mention also cranks which are similar (different?) to trolls. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Porton (talkcontribs) 15:45, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Cranks don't belong in an article on trolls, but for misuse of the term, see the section on "Usage." betsythedevine (talk) 19:06, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Is the picture of the fishing boat necessary?

It just seems totally out of place, and well this is part of the word's etymology I am not sure a picture of it belongs in this article. Is there any precedence for this in other articles(links please)? Anyone else have thoughts on this? Daniel J Simanek (talk) 08:52, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

On Troll being an outsider

Couldn't a troll being an existing member of a forum, who, when conditions change within the forums or society, becomes a troll? I do not like the requirement of a troll to be an outsider.

I don't think conditions even need to change. A troll could be a longstanding member of a forum who just likes to see people tick. (talk) 14:38, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Top most trolled sites

I think that would be a good category Liquidblue8388 (talk) 20:11, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Special sites for trolls

This seems to be the topic of some debate and has resulted in a bit of minor edit warring so I propose we talk about this. This [14] seems to have come up recently in a different form, although the content was still the same ([15]). Here is my ten cents on the content:

  • None of the citations provided have said anything about trolling being encouraged on 4chan. Remember, "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth." I understand there is a lot of trolls on 4chan but I have yet to see a source that says trolling is encouraged there, and until one is found that content should not be included in the article.
  • I think meets WP:V per this quote on their homepage: "Whether you are a troll, flamer, douche bag or just extremely opinionated, here we believe that forums exist for their members, ..."
  • The text as it is currently written does not sound encyclopedic, and should be re-written so it has a more formal tone.

As I said, this seems to be a point of contention so keep it civil and let's get a solution hammered out that improves the article. Daniel J Simanek (talk) 22:10, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

First of all, the name of the article section is "Special sites for trolls," not "Sites that encourage trolling." For verifiable, encyclopedia-quality info on trolls at 4chan/b/, see recent NYT article by Matathias Schwartz, already cited in this article.
Is there some verifiable third-party source about sites that encourage trolling, or is creating a section about it basically original research? To quote WP:V, "Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." I did a quick Google search for "theybannedme" and could not find any indication in the first five pages that this site has been talked about in articles on (for example) CNET or Wired. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it looks like a non-notable and/or fringe phenomenon. betsythedevine (talk) 15:35, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
First off, sorry about the section title. I was using the old wording, which has come up several times in the past([16], [17] [18], and a few more I don't feel like linking right now). Secondly, when you're talking about theybannedme, are you saying the site isn't notable? My Google search also did not yield any secondary sources, and I really have no idea about the site itself, other than it has been included in this article a few times and then subsequently reverted.
As for the bit about 4chan: I am not talking about 4chan having trolls, and I am sure that's easy enough to verify. I am talking about 4chan actively encouraging trolls, which I have not seen anywhere. I guess you could take the logical progression from posting anonymously to encouraging trolls, but I don't think we're allowed to do that. Daniel J Simanek (talk) 17:48, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I know there have been previous efforts to have a section about sites that encourage trolling. IMO (and in the opinion of others, since this section keeps getting deleted) troll-friendly sites are a non-notable phenomenon until and unless somebody other than us says that they are important enough to write about. Creating a section for them gives undue weight to this fringe activity. Also, in the absence of any third-party reliable source writing about sites that encourage trolling, such a section violates WP:NOR.
As for 4chan, there is good evidence for their inclusion in a section called something like "Special sites for trolls," a section this Wikipedia article currently has, and which, so far, nobody has deleted. As for, is there any reliable third-party source that mentions them at all? I did try to find one but couldn't. betsythedevine (talk) 18:38, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
So we agree that the bit about theybannedme should be removed and 4chan (what about the other chan's?) should be added as a notable site with 'highly active' trolls, and not as a site that encourages them? Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Because two people does not a consensus make.
Also, I think the section needs a new title. 'Special sites for trolls' just makes it seem like the people of the Internet put all of the trolls in the Internet version of the playpen for a timeout. Maybe something like 'Commonly trolled sites' or 'Sites with active trolling'. I really don't like either of those that much, but they're better than 'Special sites for trolls'. Daniel J Simanek (talk) 00:39, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
"Troll sites"? It seems to me that in the dim, distant past this article had a section of, basically, external links to sites where people could go to observe trolls in action. Not that I want to see that ever-expanding link list re-born. The NY Times article cited also mentions Encyclopedia Dramatica as "an online compendium of troll humor and troll online troll archive." There's a second reliable source mention of 4chan/b/ in a recent Telegraph: betsythedevine (talk) 01:46, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

"Compelling Civility in a Caustic 'Community'" has discussed as THE site for trolls. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:44, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

A blog is not a reliable source. See WP:SPS. Daniel J Simanek (talk) 23:48, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your insight above Daniel J. Simanek. Betsy, who runs a very liberal blog decided to block any and all attempts to talk about the Internet's premier and only site for trolls that other sites have banned (that's what happens to trolls) because of one small pro-Bush editorial appears on the front page. She has made it her mission to systematically eliminate conservative viewpoints on Wikipedia for years now (a fact she brags about on her blog linked to her bio--she talks about edit warring the Swift Boat article). She also apparently believes that because her blog links to this article, she owns it. Despite the fact that numerous people over the past month have tried to get a reference to this site in the article, Betsy, armed with her E-Mail alerts, rushes in immediately to edit it back, now resorting to calling good faith edits "vandalism." Just because you have disagreed with the same person several times, my dear, doesn't mean you can just decree someone else's edits are "vandalism." Additionally, Wikipedia's policy requires all viewpoints to be given equal attention and, as her blog makes clear, Betsy is decidedly anti-troll. She talks about troll as "cyber bullies" (Stereotypical and reactionary much? The fact that you think all trolls are boogeymen displays your naivete on the subject and disqualification to edit out these facts.) and writes articles about how to eradicate them (you'd think she would appreciate a site that attempts to quarantine the 'Nets trolls together, rather than allow them wreck havoc elsewhere). There is no pro-troll point of view on this article as Betsy has systematically maintained careful proximity to her laptop to ensure that such a viewpoint could not be discussed. Betsy claims to be an expert on "geek" culture but I do not know a single troll who self-identifies as a "geek." We are a different breed entirely and like hackers, there are black hats and white hats. Betsy is not an authority on either and certainly cannot speak for the troll community when it comes to deciding whether or not a site is "verifiable" within the troll community which I can assure you, is (forgive us for not writing newspaper articles to cite to about our activities--that NY Times article is a freaking joke in the community, it's a profile of a "reformed troll." Haha, as if trolling is a drug addiction). It's funny though, she only allows one cite in the troll websites section (which took me days to finally convince her to add) because she has no idea how trolling works. Usually, trolls operate from a temporary website that is used and then discarded when discovered. is quite unique in that it has existed for a year. Betsy should stick to what she knows best, pro-Obama blogging and telling us about how she's so enlightened that she didn't own a TV for 10 whole years(!) as she is no expert on the substance of this article that would allow her opinion to override that of multiple others and dismiss our good faith edits as "vandalism" simply because she is frustrated that others disagree with her. Dare I say it, but Betsy is in fact displaying several trolling behaviors in editing this article. (said (talk)

The question here is purely whether or not there are reliable sources that talk about "" Until such a source is found, the website doesn't belong in this article. Wikipedia policy does *NOT* require that non-notable "fringe" groups and/or opinions get "equal attention." That's a matter of Wikipedia policy, not anyone's leftwing-v-rightwing or "anti-troll." If tomorrow morning somebody finds an article on Wired or CNET saying that is an example of something interesting, then I for one will be happy to see it get a mention in this article. But I don't WP:OWN the article, and I am not the only person who sees the Wikipedia policy problems with this material at the moment. I don't consider myself a troll expert or even an expert on geeks, despite my own all-too-frequent proximity to this computer. And I hope nobody will try to figure out my character and motivation from your annoyance with me.
Tthere are some pro-troll viewpoints expressed in the NYT article, e.g. “/[Trolling/] allows me to find people who do stupid things and turn them around...It’s not that I do this because I hate them. I do this because I’m trying to save them.” Are you thinking about a section with a name something like "Trolls defend trolling"? That would be a good addition to the article, assuming we can find stuff from reliable sources.betsythedevine (talk) 21:09, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
We are all a lot of things, but we are all still neutral on Wikipedia. I happen to be a moderate conservative but hell, that really doesn't matter here. I agree with Betsy, in that there are not enough reliable third-party sources to warrant inclusion. Daniel J Simanek (talk) 03:57, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Troll Face or "LOL I TROLL U"

The is the Troll mascot on 4chan especially the two most popular boards /v/ and /b/. Should we add it? File:Tollface.jpg —Preceding unsigned comment added by Barakeh (talkcontribs) 09:48, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Better main definition needed

The definition of a troll needs to be changed. The current definition found at the top is too limited. It focuses only on "bad" trolls, while the article repeatedly discusses "good" trolls.

This sounds like an interesting direction for research - does anyone know of any scholarship done on the benefits of trolls and/or trolling? I've not come across anything yet, but I'm new to the topic.Penguinstypmanum (talk) 20:24, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Most troll infested sites

I think it's better to post some of most popular troll infested sites like: stormfront and sites. forum site is full of trolls.--Korsentry 00:44, 13 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by KoreanSentry (talkcontribs)

Trolling and specialized online communities

I haven't seen mention of this in the article's talk area yet (if it's been said, by all means point me to it!) but it would be nice to see a section on trolling and certain online communities, eg feminist spaces, GLBTQ spaces, race or ethnicity-specific spaces - perhaps with focus on community response/mechanisms for "troll control", or the problems with a free-speech space and the user's desire to keep trollers out of it. If anyone's had thoughts along these lines, I'd like to hear them.Penguinstypmanum (talk) 20:29, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Trolling trollers or Trolling trolls?

(1)Shouldn't a person who commits "trolling" - writes a "troll" - be referred to as a "troller" (a certain kind of fisherman), and not a "troll" (a creature of norse mythology)? (2)Yes, that's right, and further evidence that the term is undesirable, thinly disguised racism.

Sign your posts. I'd answer your questions but I don't really know if it's worth the effort. Thus, I'll mention WP:NOTFORUM and be on my way.  Aar  ►  00:03, 14 May 2009 (UTC)


That first topic really irritates me, and for one reason - the trolls have, like so many groups over the years, convinced themselves that what they're doing is right.

I earnestly admit that society is, to be blunt, stupid. And I also earnestly agree that something needs to be done to give society a wake-up call. but random insults aren't the way to go about doing it! Calling someone gay, to ignore the more obvious point of using discrimination to turn the word into an insult, will not make someone think. It will just make them angry and make them call the moderators of whatever forum or game you're on.

The simple idea that a troll - and it very much was a troll who posted the first topic here, as, if the "gay niggers" comment at the end wasn't enough giveaway, only a "troll", that is, one who does the things described in the article, would defend said activities. Calling people "gay niggers" over and over has absolutely no value, on the internet or in real life. All it does is suggest that people of other races and other orientations are inferior. and if you honestly believe that, well... if you're so much better, how come you're wasting time on acts of trolling?

WP:NOTFORUM, also sign your posts.  Aar  ►  00:05, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Definition of trolling too vague, in my opinion

Posting controversial information with the primary intent to provoke an emotional reaction is always trolling? What if the intended reaction is positive or helpful? Shouldn't we face controversial issues with bravery instead of hurling insults ('troll' being one of them)?

I think you should change that. (talk) 20:23, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

When you do so, you post controversial information with the primary intent to tell a truth or help people. Emotial reactions are not part of the intent but known to be inevitable. Troll have the primary intent to provoke emotional reaction (and had often no secondary intent of any kind). The definition is correct like this. I think. Lacrymocéphale 17:21, 6 May 2009 (UTC)


Nice to see that internet slander term gets 42-kilobyte article with pictures and freakin' examples.

Isn't it?

Plus a politically biased set of examples. You, author/s, can't come up with a single example of a liberal-left troll? Ah, well, just go back to James Wolcott and see what he can come up with. Sean Smith —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:48, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Trolling is relative

There I said it. (talk) 08:13, 18 June 2009 (UTC)


The present usage 'trolling' as explained upon the page is a typical example of the low level of literacy found among people on the net. In the article, we see 'trolling for fish'. No, you TRAWL for fish. A troll (scandinavian mythical figure) does not trawl and trawlers (ships which are used to trawl for fish by dragging a net behind them) are not 'trollers'.

I guess this post makes me a bit of a troll...

Except that it's not off-point, just trying to clear up a misapprehension.

abenfield (talk) 13:37, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Trolling? - addendum

Just realised that what I wrote above was complete crap. Please ignore it abenfield (talk) 13:42, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Great lead paragraph on the article

This is a great edit to the lead. The best lead paragraph I have seen in years, on this article! diff Igor Berger (talk) 09:29, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. However, I would put the last 2 sentences under 'usage' since they explain that you should not 'use' the term 'troll' since trolls themselves often try to label their opponents as 'trolls'. Also the third to last sentence already exists elsewhere in the article. Lemmiwinks2 (talk) 00:26, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
The version of the lead paragraph you are praising would be fine in a personal essay on internet trolls. But check Wikipedia's policy on "original research" to understand why sentence after sentence expressing the personal experience and opinion of its creator is not appropriate in article space. betsythedevine (talk) 02:58, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I did not make the edit personally, but I believe it is a good edit. If we can wikify and reference the lead it would be great. So is it possible to do so? Igor Berger (talk) 03:02, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I would also like to point out, that in addition to not meeting WP:NOR, this lead also violates WP:NOTHOW. Whether it's "how to deal with a troll" or "how to use the word 'troll,'" it's just not encyclopedic. Daniel J Simanek (talk) 08:25, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Well sometimes you WP:IAR and use common sense. Not saying this is the place or the time, each individual decides for themselves. Still Wikipedia is a great twilight zone, if you know what I mean. It is all relative in catch-22 You guys can decide what is best. I said my piece. Thank you very much, Igor Berger (talk) 08:40, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
While more or less ok as something to read, that lead is indeed mostly original research and how-to, essay-like, not encyclopedic. Gwen Gale (talk) 13:42, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Neutrality problem?

The concern troll section is marked as have disputed neutrality. However, there is no discussion here. I'm just really concerned that this might go unnoticed for a while and lower the overall quality of the article. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Socratic method

I think trolling has very much to do with the so-called Socratic method of coaxing feedback from the discussion environment by inquiries. A subtle and successful troll can be as much profit as fun; it can have an enlightening effect on discussion.

Of course, typically what people understand by "trolling" is wreaking havoc a la rec.pets.cats. --Sigmundur (talk) 17:27, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

History of the term "Troll"

I have an issue with this line "It is thought to be a truncation of the phrase trolling for suckers, itself derived from the fishing technique of slowly dragging a bait through water, known as trolling." While it is true that this explanation is fairly common online, knowing the tendencies and recreational habits of the Sys-ops, BBS denizens and code-monkeys of the time, I find it highly unlikely that they would use an out-door recreational term. When I first began to test the waters of Usenet groups, I was given to understand that the term had its origins in the trolls of J.R.R. Tolken Hobbit series as well as other "fantasy" or "sword and sorcery" tales or the game “Dungeons & Dragons”. As I was also a devote of this genre, this made sense to me. A troll was nasty troublesome creature given to dark places, sudden ambush and Tolkien's writings they are portrayed as evil, stupid, with crude habits, although still intelligent enough to communicate with a known language which pretty much describes Internet trolls.

Instead of “reeling in suckers that they have “baited (as the current naming explanation implies), Internet trolls jump out of nowhere, raise a bit of mayhem then run and hide when exposed to light. Internet Trolls have more in common with middle earth trolls than they do with fishermen.

Any thoughts on this theory? (talk) 21:18, 10 September 2009 (UTC)BigWhiteDog