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How would you define a troll?


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#1 la_jeune_mariée

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:28 PM

I've recently seen the term 'Internet troll' appear more and more commonly in the mainstream media. There seems to be a groundswell of interest in the phenomenon. Recently, SBS insight covered the topic and the host spent some time attempting to pin down a definition for 'troll'. There appeared to be as many definitions as there are Internet users. SBS Insight 'Trolls'

To me, trolling is distinct from abuse in that it involves an element of deceit. I would consider those I've come across over the years who invent a fake life to attract the sympathy (and too often the cash!) of trusting users to be trolls. Those who invent fake usernames and/or trawl the Internet looking for 'victims' with the sole intent of inflaming tensions for their own amusement to be trolls. Those who commit crimminal fraud are trolls.

I don't consider someone who invents a username to say something they are to afraid to say under their usual pseudonym to be a troll, just a coward. I don't consider someone who says something offensive to be a troll, just an idiot. I'm not sure Charlotte Dawson was trolled so much as bullied although I do believe that some of her bullies were trolls iykwim.

What's your definition?

ETA: On second thought I don't necessarily think someone who commits criminal fraud online is a troll as there are scammers operating via phone and mail. I only believe that a person is trolling if they use the unique environment provided by the Internet to deceive others.
"The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause." - Eric Hoffer


#2 drom

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 08:31 PM

The way I see it ..... a bully is a bully, a criminal is a criminal and a troll is someone with too much time on their hands who gets off (harmlessly) winding up random strangers on the internet with ridiculous or antagonising statements.

Anyone who takes it to the next level where it isn't harmless and results in personal harm to another or breaks the law. Isn't a troll in my view, but a criminal using the internet as a vehicle to commit a crime.

There's a very big difference to me re trolls and criminals. I've always defined trolling as an annoying but harmless activity. Definately not one that commits a crime, de-frauds or harms others. But, that is just my view.



#3 la_jeune_mariée

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:15 PM

QUOTE(Puggie @ Oct 20 2012, 10:58 PM) View Post

To me a troll is someone who exists (in an online sense) solely to cause dissent.
I don't consider an anon to be a coward, or someone who speaks contrary to popular opinion to be an idiot. And neither are trolls IMO.


An anon to me is someone who is seeking an opinion/ input, not someone who invents a username to provide input or opinions that they don't have the stones to stand accountable for. A counterpoint is hardly offensive in and of itself unless it is accompanied by willful ignorance and/ or hate speech in which case I'd consider the speaker to be an idiot.
"The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause." - Eric Hoffer





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