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Monday, April 10, 2006

PROFILES IN COMMENTING

At irregular intervals, I'll be giving different categories and types of comments that can be found on message boards and blog comment sections. These categories describe not the person making the entry, but rather the content and style of the actual entry. Many of them will be familiar and instantly recognized by anyone who has read even few comments, and especially the first few are old familiar labels to anyone who has been browsing the internet for a while. So without further ado:

Comment Type #1: The Troll
The Troll is not named after the fellow that lives under bridges and charges money to pass, nor the brutes turned to stone in the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. They are named after a kind of fishing, where one slowly moves in a boat, dragging bait on a fishing line behind in the water. As the bait moves, it attracts attention from the local critters, and hopefully one will be fool enough to bite and be yanked into the boat by it's jaw.

A Troll post is one designed not to educate, enlighten, entertain, answer, or to be thoughtful or constructive in any way. It is designed and intended to be so infuriating and objectionable that people cannot help but respond. There are two reasons for a Troll Comment:
  1. The person posting is a pathetic individual with a deep need for attention. This is the most common type, posting only in the hopes that someone will respond. Any kind of response is acceptible, especially negative.
  2. The person posting is upset at the blog, the writers, or the topic and wants to stir up trouble. This is often done when the discussion is covering an area they particularly dislike or want people to stop talking about.
Troll posts are universally disliked by the internet community because of their disruptive, childish, and offensive nature. On some websites, trolling is grounds for being banned instantly from that site. However, due to the offensive, striking nature of a Troll Post, it can be difficult not to respond to such an idiotic or patently false statement. Here is an example of a troll post:
I don't think there is an easier way to provoke a conservative nitwit than show the red white and blue.
by jacob

As you can see, this adds nothing to the conversation, is deliberately offensive, and is designed solely to get a reaction. Ad Hominem attacks are common for this kind of comment. The most effective Troll comment is so offensive or obnoxious that you feel honor bound to correct this person lest it infect anyone reading or mislead people.
A troll feeds on responses and reactions, and will return only if they get this food. Do your blogger and yourself a favor: do not feed the troll.

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