A troll is a mythical creature, like a giant but mostly portrayed as a dwarf.
In modern usage, it refers to someone who acts in a way to disrupt or disparage others, often to attract attention to the troll. As a verb, it means commenting in an unproductive way to spark a reaction.
Jesus explains the existence of trolls in the parable of the tares in Matthew 13:24-30, specifically verse 25: "But while everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds in the middle of the wheat, and then left."
A troll, in Internet parlance, is an entity or character that purposely disrupts a conversation via discussion forum or email, a comment thread on a blog, or another sort of website. For example, on Wikis, users who purposely make disruptive edits are considered trolls. Many people consider this type of activity to be merely childish, while others consider it symptomatic of deviant minds of opposition whereby infiltration by deceit is normal practice. Trolls pretend to be of common thinking, at the same time plotting anti-social crimes. The troll can otherwise be known as a frenemy or as a hoax plant lurking for an opportunity to create trouble.
The term originated in the early 1990s, an abbreviation of the term "trolling for suckers" (trolling being an angling technique to seek fish). An Internet troll will lock their target, bait the line and spread the net to catch their goal (unwitting victim). Sites such as YouTube, Yahoo! and the Internet Movie Database (prior to the latter's shutdown of its message boards on February 20, 2017) are known for their lax (laid back) and sometimes negative enforcement of community guidelines on their forums and comment sections. The effects of trolling on children who use the internet have been linked to a number of well documented suicides among youth in years past. The reason most trolls act the way they do online is because they either have nothing better to do, suffer from low self-esteem as a result of a number of factors, or are anonymous children who have been, or are being bullied in real life and turn to the Internet to vent their anger. Many users have been banned from web forums or social networking sites as a result of using foul language or abusive replies to defend themselves against trolls, mostly due to corrupt and one-sided web masters. This is the basis that most trolls operate on. Luring their victims in, getting them stirred up, and then using their reactions against them and pretending that the victim is the bad guy. Anybody who expresses their viewpoints freely and/or touches on divisive and/or sensitive issues is a potential target for trolls. Trolling is a common weapon used against conservative speech in feeble attempts at silencing them. Most trolls are kids between the ages of 10 and 16 who have no other agenda than amusing themselves with other people's frustration, who show up to get into mischief and stir up trouble on comment sites because they most often are not being supervised online by their parents.
Do not feed the troll
Do Not Feed the Troll, or DNFT is a common internet term for ignoring trolls, and allowing them to become bored. The same tactic can be used on liberals and atheists, for different reasons. Generally, it is seen as the best way to deal with trolls. The key motive behind trolling is to cause a reaction. Trolls do not care how well reasoned your argument is, they simply want you to react. By failing to give them a response, they will get bored, and leave.
- Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists, Psychology Today
- Troll—Dictionary definition
- Beware The Troll
- Recognising and Dealing with Trolls
- Why Online Comments Are So Toxic