The term internet troll 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. Trolls are commonplace on any website open for comment by the public, and studies have even been done about how unhappy trolls are themselves. Trolling can also be online bullying, or cyberbullying.
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."
Some entire websites such as Reddit and comment sections on newspapers serve as flypaper for trolls, attracting and keeping them away from littering more productive sites on the internet. Another example is Twitter, which has become an echo chamber for leftists who lack the ability to spend time productively and instead recycle agitprop over and over.
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 and on wikis because they most often are not being supervised online by their parents. Such trolls often venture to the comment sections of conservative news sites to gloat obnoxiously whenever misfortune or reversals get dealt to conservative individuals or groups in the public eye, delighting in the trouble they cause when they gleefully and immaturely mock and ridicule said entities.
Some of the more outrageous trolls who show up on comment sections of websites have been known to use multiple accounts dishonestly to pretend more "support" for their viewpoints than they really have, and they also often tend to show their age, mentality and lack of intelligence by posting comments containing vulgar and foul language, acting contrary to reality and the truth and acting in an immature, childish and narcissistic manner to provoke anger and reactions from the targeted and other commenters; such comments by those trolls, if made against the same people they target face-to-face and not online from behind the safety of their keyboards, would not be tolerated by the troll's victims and would not end well for the troll.
Do not feed the trolls
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.
RationalWiki.org, internet trolls, the Kiwi Farms website and individuals going to RationalWiki.org to troll politically left-leaning atheists
According to an article published in the Los Angeles Times in 2007, RationalWiki members "by their own admission" vandalize Conservapedia. At the same time, RationalWiki.org is currently experiencing a significant amount of trolling and vandalism.
As can be seen in the graphic above from SimilarWeb.com, the 5th most similar website audience in terms of RationalWiki.org is Kiwifarms.net.
At the Kiwi Farms website, there is currently 136 pages of discussion pages at the Kiwi Farms website dealing with RationalWiki and much of it is of a disparaging nature. A discussion thread about RationalWiki at the Kiwi Farms website describes RationalWiki as a "Whiny hugbox for spergs and a cluster**** of neverending drama on a rapidly declining website." Atheists have a reputation for having poor social skills (see: Atheism and social/interpersonal intelligence). In recent years, the website RationalWiki has seen an enormous loss of web traffic (see: RationalWiki and web traffic). Apparently, the web visitors of Kiwi Farms consider RationalWikians to be gullible "lolcows" who are easily upset (see also: Atheism and gullibility).
Both atheists and Muslims have developed a reputation of being thin-skinned (and for wanting to impose their ideology on others). It has been quipped that "Atheism is the easiest religion to troll". Internet trolls often actively pursue trolling atheists due to their penchant of being so proud and so easily angered.
In 2012, The Guardian published an article entitled Limmy's Show: Confessions of an internet troll which had the subtitle There's a witch-hunt going on against internet trolls right now. But, argues Scots funnyman Limmy, randomly goading atheists, jocks and non-existent techno geeks can be fun. And of course, being thin-skinned is symptomatic of having excessive pride.
Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, a self-described provocateur, indicates "the reason I have a go at atheists is that it's fun. They are so thin-skinned. They are like libertarians, or...they are like liberal Democrats in the UK or..feminists in fact. They are so easy to wind up... They are so touchy."
Atheists have reputation for being arrogant (see: Atheism and arrogance). Most people and cultures take a very dim view of proud people and some cultures are known for actively engaging humbling successful people and/or proud people (Several Anglosphere nations are known for having tall poppy syndrome and Filipinos are known for having a "crab culture". Crabs in a bucket of water will pull down crabs trying to escape from the bucket).
As can be seen by the below screenshots, RationalWiki is currently attracting a lot of trolls and vandals.
RationalWiki and concern trolling
According to Dictionary.com a concerning troll is: "Concern trolling involves someone opposing an idea or viewpoint, yet acting like they’re an advocate for the cause. A concern troll offers undermining criticisms under the guise of concern. Their goal is to sabotage the cause being discussed, and to inspire doubt among group members. This occurs in groups rallied around a particular issue, especially in political parties, and the goal of concern trolling is to cause dissent within a community."
Given the many problems of atheist worldview (see: Rebuttals to atheist arguments), the decline of the secular left, atheist hypocrisy, global desecularization and the many problems Democrats and American leftists are experiencing under the Biden Administration, RationalWikians especially dislike concern trolling. It raises questions that cause cognitive dissonance within RationalWikians and it also undermines group cohesiveness (see also: Atheism and groupthink). It also makes the secular leftists depressed and many secular leftists are prone to depression and depression regarding political events unfavorable to secular leftism (see: Atheism and depression and Secular leftists and psychogenic illness). The website Marketwatch reported concerning the aftermath of the 2016 presidential race: Donald Trump’s win is causing a surge in demand for mental health services.
RationalWiki's Saloon Bar (a general discussion area at RationalWiki ) and article/user talk pages are especially prone to concerning trolling. RationalWikians have become very angry and have displayed such behavior as using profanity and angrily typing in all cap letters when their ideas are questioned by others and/or concern trolls (see: Atheism and intolerance and Atheism and anger and Atheism and dogmatism and Atheism and profanity).
|“|| Some atheists have become rather dogmatic. Terribly certain in their conviction that there is no God and anyone who thinks there is is a deluded and dangerous fool. ...atheists are becoming as intransigent about their own views as the people they so despise.
Atheism is becoming a religion of its own. It already has its gurus and its revered sacred texts... It has its magnificent temples within which lie mysteries and unknowable truths.
RationalWiki has created an entire article devoted to concern trolling.
RationalWiki, its Discord discussion servers and its fear of transparency/trolls
RationalWiki has two Discord discussion servers which are given below:
- RationalWiki Support Chat — Support server, it's focused on wiki-related issues and moderation issues
RationalWiki.org puts requirements on its Discord servers in terms of joining in terms of a certain amount of edits to RationalWiki.org due to its fear of trolls and transparency.
SimilarWeb data for RationalWiki as of January 9, 2021: On January 9, 2022, SimilarWeb indicated that RataionalWiki.org was losing its ranking relative to other websites when it comes to web traffic.
See also: RationalWiki and web traffic
Websites that are under troll and vandal attacks often take a bunker mentality and become preoccupied with fighting trolls and vandals. This bunker mentality is especially prevalent for websites that wish to defend a narrow-minded political/ideological narrative that poorly reflects reality such as RationalWiki. As a result, they often become unwelcoming websites to a large portion of the public.
Furthermore, because the individuals involved in the website are bogged down fighting trolls and vandals instead of creating new content, often this is a contributing factor to the websites losing global marketshare, Google rankings and web traffic in general.
As can be seen below, the website RationalWiki is currently losing global market share. See also: RationalWiki and web traffic
Web marketing is often a relative strength game. Just because a website is gaining content or links does not mean that its competitors are not moving faster.
Biblical advice in dealing with trolls
|“||Stop giving holy things to the dogs, and throwing your pearls in front of pigs, if you don't want them to trample them underfoot, and turn against you and tear you apart.||”|
|“||"Every plant that My heavenly Father has not planted will be torn up by its roots. Let them be. They are the blind leading the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch."||”|
(see also: Proverbs 1:15-19)
- Most parents allow unsupervised internet access to children at age 8
- How to deal with trolling, bots and fake accounts?
- Feminist Perspectives on Sex Markets, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, October 6, 2020
- RationalWiki - Feminism
- Simon, Stephanie (June 19, 2007). "A conservative's answer to Wikipedia". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 5, 2019.
- Kiwi Farms - RationalWiki discussion pages
- Kiwi Farms - RationalWiki discussion pages
- "Martin Wefail" on Twitter
- Atheism is the easiest religion to troll
- Limmy's Show: Confessions of an internet troll, The Guardian, Brian Limond The Guardian, Friday 9 November 2012 10.00 EST
- Milo Yiannopoulos vs Atheism
- Christian Philosopher Explores Causes of Atheism
- Concern troll
- Trump’s win is causing a surge in demand for mental health services, Marketwatch 2016
- RationalWiki Saloon Bar archives
- BBC Documentary The Trouble With Atheism BBC Horizon Documentary
- RationalWiki - Concern Troll
- 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