|This essay is incomplete. This essay may not represent widespread norms. Consider these views with discretion. Essays are not Wikipedia policies.|
I've been lurking on some discussions here for quite awhile and I've noticed a weird trend occurring on Wiki community and also the rest of the internet community for that matter. It's the misuse — or rather abuse — of the word troll! So I've taken it upon myself to inform what it is and is not.
Hence it should be absolutely clear by now that labeling people as "troll" can be considered offensive by some.
What "troll" insinuates
Presently, in online discussions of various communities, troll implies someone who attempts to lure others into combative argument for purposes of personal entertainment and/or gratuitous disruption.
In common sense, trolling means needless focus on inflammatory, extraneous, disruptive or off-topic discussions.
What "troll" doesn't mean
Troll is not necessarily someone
- who is asking for honest advice on an appropriate page (e.g. talk page of a relevant article, user talk page of an associated editor)
- who is persistent, or passionate about certain topics.
- who is asking hard questions or making retorts to your jibes.[note 1]
- whose opinions you consider to be trash or nonsense.
- who you think is a troll.[note 2]
Then why do people abuse it?
- Honestly, sometimes I think people don't really understand certain slang/lingo/insults but they use them in order fit in.
- Maybe troll has just become that "cool" word to use when people can't constructively contribute to a discussion or can't rebut certain points that are being raised (not to mention - stridently).
- It's possible that some people disagree with their opponent and then spout “omg troll!!” because they have nothing else to say. It's extremely fallacious (i.e. ad hominem, red herring) to belittle a person in stead of politely refuting his/her claims.
- Perhaps those who misuse the word "troll", do so because they know deep down inside they are themselves quintessential examples of "trolls" that they are so ostentatiously ruthless in loathing.
Troll and assuming good faith
As is probably evident that trolling has something to do with insincerity and malevolent intentions. But the thing is, we are not a psychic-pedia. Hence, we should not accuse someone of being a troll based on our own conjectures and preconceptions. If anything, that's a serious violation of WP:AGF. Now, we might already be feeding ourselves many ideas to circumvent what this essay has delivered so far and justify our inherent penchant for being abrasive to others, but it's futile to show others how big a dick we can be when met with witty retorts.
Effects of calling somebody a troll
As mentioned above, not all unhelpful edits are intentional or equivalent to trolling. Caution should be used before making assumptions. And since the judgment that someone is a troll is subjective, it is always possible that someone will be misidentified as a troll due to his/her behavior.
You may irk or antagonize other editors with your unnecessary personal attacks and that's not constructive approach in itself, or is it? Wikipedia is a collaborative process and not an inherently eliminative one.
It may be considered biting or baiting and you may be regarded with contempt, who knows?
Am I a Troll?
I know I might have just set myself up for the “LOL UR A TROLL” thread, but I've already braced myself for it.
Watch your back first
So next time you just wanna blurt out troll whenever there is a post you just don't like, think twice before you make a spectacle of yourself. Anything that is non-constructive in the discussion doesn't necessarily make your opponent a troll, sometimes it's you.
- My other essays
- Policies and guidelines
Reference and notes
- It's possible for someone to be uncivil while not being a troll.
- Maybe it's you who is a troll but not honestly admitting it.
- "Definition of 'Troll'". Collins Online Dictionary. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
Must say, while reading this essay, I was thinking to myself: He knows quite alot about how trolls and people who claim others trolls, could he be one?
Though you bring up great info and make quite alot of statements I can agree on, most people will still label you as a troll but, I've noticed that most people who are right are claimed to be trolls. I'm quite disgusted with most people but can normally get along with some, have a good day and may you stay safe.