Troll (n): One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup, message board or other forum with the express intent of causing maximum disruption and argument.
Trolls...trolls...trolls. They're like traffic: a sad fact of life that we bitch about but can't really do anything about.
Most of us who have spent any time at all on a public forum, blog or in any open online community have had to suffer a troll. Our coping mechanisms in dealing with these digital degenerates has ranged from open, bald-faced hostility ("WTF? What a f*ckin' loser!"), to confusion ("I wonder if...? Are they in the right place?"), revenge ("I wonder how hard it is to actually develop and send a virus?"), frustration ("What the...?"), derision ("Get a LIFE!"), and finally to resignation ("Crap. Here we go again...").
I didn't really know what to expect when I began this blog. I mean, I know what I hoped for: a place to voice my thoughts about this and that. And, maybe if I was lucky, a place to share those thoughts and ideas if anybody bothered to show up. The one thing that never really occurred to me was that, along with you all, the trolls would show up. We engage in discourse — sometimes heated, often funny, always enlightening — and like silent flatulence in a crowded room, they show up and stink up the room. And no matter how much hand-fanning and breath-holding we engage in, we can't ignore them. We just have to wait patiently until the air clears and we can breathe free again.
But who are these people? Who are these Dandies of Dumb who insinuate themselves upon us with virtual impunity? And why do they do it? Well. We all know who they are. These people are morons with too much time, too little sense and questionable hygiene. Losers who don't have much of a real life that entertain their fevered yet smallish minds by swooping into random blogs, puking on said blog, and swooping back out, giggling maniacally to no one but themselves.
But recently I've discovered that, though this theory may be true for some, it is not true for others. I've discovered that some trolls are wives and husbands, aunts and uncles, brothers- and sisters-in-law, co-workers, even friends. My goodness, some of them are seemingly normal people! Surprising? Yes. Disturbing? You betcha. Fascinating. Yeah, well, that too. It fascinates me that folks that ought to have something better to do choose to waste time trying to bug strangers or even people they know when they ought to be spending time with family and friends.
The only remedy I've found for these...people is something I heard right here: "Don't Feed the Troll". It seems apparent that ignoring them is the best way to get rid of them, at least temporarily. Of course (as Christy ironically noted), by posting this discourse I've just given them far more attention than they deserve. But what the hell – f*ck em.