Beware the Troll

Trolling is like playing chess – there is a point to the game, and that point is
to win. Unlike chess, though, there are various ways of winning for the internet
troll. These might include:

  • gaining credence for false and invidious ideas
  • driving bona fide list members, and/or particular groups, out of the mailing

  • dominating the list with messages/posts that they have generated
  • gaining recognition or an award for their trolling from fellow trollers
  • getting reprimanded by individuals, list managers or internet authorities
  • gaining the confidence, trust and support of bona fide list members
  • distracting list members from their own bona fide discussions or objectives.
  • gaining attention that they cannot get using their real personalities

Sometimes trolls operate alone, and sometimes they operate in groups,
but for all of them trolling is a game.
Beware the Troll (Team Technology)

One of my first experiences with Usenet involved being baited by a troll. I had just written a paper on some subject that was being discussed on a group, and I posted a general inquiry asking whether it would be appropriate to post a paper of X length on the site. I was probably too timid about mentioning the length, because a troll replied with, “sure,” and then promptly attacked me for posting “lengthy bullshit.” I was very new to newsgroup culture, and it was years before I realized I had been trolled.