Monday, August 1, 2011

What the...?

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.


  1. LMFAO! This is great!

  2. good morning :-)

    something like with death, cancer or demons: it never affects US....until it does.

    who knows in what context you and I might become a troll ourselves. you never know. (....never say never....)

    And then other people will feel the same way about us. ;)

  3. Here little troll. Come out, come out wherever you are. I got a little something for you.

    Shaking a can of Troll B Gone.

    That's awesome dude! Where's the Troll B Gone when you need it? LOL!

  4. @Anti-Troll: Thanks!

    @sorei: Hmmm...I don't know. I honestly can't imagine myself being angry enough at somebody to want to wreak vengeance on them, and then cowardly enough to do it anonymously. If I wanted to get back at somebody, I'd want them to know it was me.

    I've always thought trolls know what they're doing is wrong, otherwise they wouldn't care if people knew their real name. People who are proud of what they've done don't hide. Or deny what they've done. (Unless they're Zorro or The Lone Ranger.)

    IMHO ;-)

  5. I think you're right @Steven. You aren't a troll by accident. Maybe I'm wrong @sorei but that's what I think you're saying. Trolls know what they're doing. They do it on purpose just to be jerks.

  6. @Night Owl: Dude! I was writing to @sorei when you posted and missed you.

    I think @sorei might be saying that we never know if we may find ourselves in a situation, somehow, someday, where we become the troll; some weird, unexpected situation or situation.

    BUT I think you're right. It ain't no accident. You don't get forced into indentured trollitude. You choose to be a troll because you don't have anything better to do in the real world.

    @sorei: BTW - Guten morgen, to you too! :-)

  7. Indentured trollitude was done away with years ago wasn't it? LOL!

    I wonder what kind of weirdo chooses to be a troll. Sicko. Sorry if that offends a troll but trolls offend me.

  8. So what you are saying as long as put our name on it we own it and we agree with your blog topic we are fine!! Fanstastic!! I am still new to the blog world.

  9. @steven & @Night Owl


    I have done and said things that I proclaimed (before) I would never do or say.
    I hope I will not mutate into a troll someday, of course ;)

  10. I've had a few trolls here and there on my blogs. Sometimes I like to publicly humiliate them by giving them their own blog post.

    Not long ago, I had a very clever troll who seemed to change IP addresses each time he posted (I'm pretty sure I know the identity of this particular troll), so I switched to Disqus commenting, which records the specific IP for each comment so I could ban them if I wanted. That solved the problem.

  11. @Night Owl: LMAO! Yeah, I think it was abolished in the dark ages. Y'know, back in the 90s. LOL!

    When I was writing this post, I was trying to figure out why someone chooses to become a troll, but I honestly still don't get it.

    @Kathy: Well, almost, but not quite. ;-)

    On my blog (and I think on most), I welcome debate! I don't mind if someone disagrees with me – or anyone else – as long as they state their counterpoint respectfully. You know, no personal attacks, insults, that sort of thing.

    And no, a name isn't necessary. I'd rather have someone post a relevant comment anonymously than not all. But a name helps because it can get confusing trying to respond to lots of different anonymouses (anonymi?).

    Hope that clears it up a bit. :-)

    @sorei: Well, when you put it that way! Yeah there a, um, one or two itty-bitty things I've done or said that I never thought I'd say or do. (I'm being sarcastic - there are quite a few! lol!)

    But I'm gonna stick to my guns on the troll thing. Even if it was a tit-for-tat situation, i.e. I knew who the troll on my blog was and I knew where their blog was, I still wouldn't bomb them back. It would feel too much like sinking to their level. I'd probably just write a post about it instead. ;-p

  12. @theminx: Look at you! Getting all medieval on troll a*s! LOL! Seriously, it's very cool that you figured out how the vanquish the troll with more than just harsh words. It's amazing that someone would go to all the trouble of changing IP addresses just to harass someone.

    So did you know this person? I mean, in the real world? Or was it just a virtual acquaintance?

  13. @Steven, do you remember the Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids trading cards from when we were kids? That is what your new creative ad reminds me of. Fantastic job on all points, but then again, we wouldn't expect anything less from the creative, artistic, eloquent mind that is you!
    @Kathy, I am new to the blog world too but this particular one thrives on difference of opinion and explores all sides of a situation. That is why it receives so many posts and is so great.
    It amazes me how @Steven has gotten followers, some strangers, some friends, from all over the world to voice their opinions and concerns with one another and formed this great group of people to interact with one another.
    Now getting to the topic at hand. I have found myself in several situations where I was so furious and hurt that I wanted the other person to feel the same way. I never acted because then I would be stooping to their level. Every one has angry thoughts now and then but I don't know what possesses a person to actually follow through with them.
    I could never be a troll, I don't look good in green.

  14. @woodysgirl64 LMAO! I don't look good in green either.

    It's hard to understand why people want to ruin something fun. Are you that miserable Mr. or Ms, Troll? It's frustrating.

    Love the ad for Troll B Gone!

  15. @woodysgirl64: I totally remember Wacky Packages! I had a bunch of em (wish I still did). Thanks for the compliment, on all counts. :-) And LMAO at the green comment!! I happen to like green, but I picture troll green to be kinda snot colored. LOL!

    @Shay: Yay! Glad you like the ad. Christy and I both worked on it via Skype. We had a ball! Shame Troll-B-Gone doesn't actually exist. ;(

    @All: FYI - I meant to mention this in the post; if you click on the ad, you can see it bigger. :-) (That's a not-so-subtle hint to click on it! *lol*)

  16. I figured it out. :-) great little hidden stuff you can't see until it's big. You and @Christy are talented!

  17. @Shay: Oh good. I didn't know if it was obvious to people in-the-know. And thanks! Christy's the real writer, so she helped with a lot of it. I just made it look cool. ;-p

  18. @Steven: So, see if Wacky Packages are still in production and submit your graphics!
    It couldn't hoyt! (she says with her accentuated Brooklyn Jewish accent)

  19. @woodysgirl64: OMG, they couldn't possibly still be around! Could they...? I'll Google it. :-) Love the Brooklyn Jew accent. LOL!

    @Shay: Ack! That was supposed to say "...obvious to those not in-the-know."

  20. @Shay: You too? LOL
    I picture a neon/snot green similar to @Steven.
    @Steven: Don't forget to give 1/2 credit to your better 1/2 if the company still exists. (and me too for the idea - he he)

  21. @Steven, where do I get my can??..I could use it on my neighbor kids when I want the to home...LOL!! Great idea!

  22. @Amanda: LMAO! The neighbor kids are trolls! LOL! And thanks! ;-)

    @woodysgirl64: Holy crap! Wacky Packages does still exist, since 1967. I remember now -- I had cards AND stickers. They only spoof real products though. Maybe I can send our idea to Raid® and see if they can do something with it... LOL!

  23. @Steven, they are trolls when they won't go home after 5 or 6 hours and it's 9:00 p.m. or they show up at your door at 9:30 p.m. wanting to hang out with your teenager. They are trolls in a different way if you know what I am saying, maybe pests would be a better word...LOL!!

  24. @Amanda: Troll, pest; tomato,'s all the same. This is why I have cats! LOL!

  25. @sorei, we've all said, at one time or another, "I'd never do (fill-in-the-blank)", but then have found ourselves doing that very thing. But I really can't imagine myself engaging in trollish behavior. I'd rather confront the person I'm having an issue with head-on. Plus, like @woodysgirl64, Trollish Green doesn't look good on me.

    @Shay, thanks for the compliment, but Steven is being modest. I helped him tweak the ad, but it's really all his talent. I think he's amazing!

    @woodysgirl64, thanks for looking out for me on getting Wacky Package credit! Of course you would have to have credit too for thinking of submitting it. Btw, ah jest luuuv yer Brooklyn/Jewish accee-unt (said with my best overdone Texas drawl - no, I don't really speak like that). ;-)

    @theminx, I read your blog post dedicated to your troll, and I loved it! Excellent! I really wonder what is wrong with people.

    @Amanda, my mom and stepdad had little trolls of the non-online variety living next door to them for a while. Fortunately the trolls moved. Maybe yours will relocate too...or graduate. ;-)

    @Steven, "Moles and trolls, moles and trolls, work, work, work, work, work. We never see the light of day." ;-)

  26. @Steven, the troll to whom I dedicated the blog post is likely someone I know IRL, but casually. The writing style gives it away...that person is also a food blogger. As for the IP-switching troll, he is another blogger, whom I have met, but have never considered a friend.

  27. @theminx: i read your link; very nice! Sad that it as a "real" person. Isn't it funny how trolls never seem to be very good writers? *lol*

    Reading your thing made me wonder what's worse: random trolls or trolls who are people we know. I say the latter. It's more insidious and pathetic when it turns out to be someone we know.

    @Christy: Note to self: No Trollish Green anything for Christmas this year!

  28. I get hives from trolls. Thanks for letting me know about Troll B Gone! ;-)

  29. I just realized how similar those words are:


    s-trolling (around)


    I like green. Vulcan blood is green. ;)

  30. LMAO! That's so funny!

  31. Interesting. I know it's only like day 2 of this post, but it's been surprisingly troll free. This is very nice! :-)

  32. Anita said...Wow...I must have missed something! But I still wanted to comment because I know all about trolls from being a regular daily junkie/poster on AOL Boards for many many years. It seems that people with intelligent posts are a target for trolls who want to be as intelligent as the author but will never be...So they inject your blogs with poison just to get your attention by trying to embarass or degrade your views. These people(often living in the basements of their grandparents because mom and dad refuse to pay their way anymore) just like to upset a conversation for the pleasure and enjoyment of getting people upset. Plus they have nothing truly intelligent to blog on their own. Harrassing people through their posts/blogs are the high lights of their pitiful days.
    I have to admit that I love a friendly exchange of polite, albeit, heated banter and have no problem agreeing to disagree (strongly sometimes too!). But trolls once they lock onto someone that fascinates them they can be like stalkers...I know about those too! I can't tell you how to get rid of them forever...but I can tell you what I learned from them...I learned about MYSELF!
    I learned to grow a thick skin so their words would not cut me so deeply...I learned to think long and hard about things I wanted to say, because it's not always about having everyone agree with you or even LIKE you, but knowing who you are and not being a walking contradiction of ideas and thoughts...You learn to speak with conviction and even trolls can't touch that. So believe in yourself and what you say...I mean TRULY believe or they will make minced meat of you!
    Believe it or not, they make you think about the flaws in your views, making you dig deeper into yourself each time you write...After a while your views, beliefs and conviction are melded and flawless.
    If they are just challenging your ideas, it could be worth a little banter...BUT...If they are being jackasses...the best thing you can do to really get to them is ignore them completely! Eventually they get bored and find someone else whose feathers they CAN ruffle...
    Hope that helps...

  33. @Jana: LOL! Hives cracked me up! They give me headaches sometimes, same difference. ;-p

    @sorei: (s)trolling - acute observation who doesn't speak English as a first language. ;-)

    @Freely Zooming: Glad you got a chuckle! Nice to see you. :-)

    @Anita: At one point when I was reading your comment, I heard in my head, "Now click your heels three times and say 'There's no place like home'." *lol*

    Seriously, what you had to say was spot on. Honestly, nothing a troll has said on here has gotten under my skin or made me doubt myself or my views.

    You didn't really "miss anything", per se. Christy and I were just going over some of the comments on both of our blogs this weekend and noticed that we've both had one troll in particular that's repeatedly posted under a variety a names. It was weird because we're pretty sure we know this person and can't figure out why they bother coming in here when they have better things to do with their time.

    Christy and I came to part of same conclusion you did: they don't have anything relevant to blog about themselves so they pop in here and try to stir the pot with dumb, poorly written comments. Most of the people that visit here regularly have learned to ignore that person (in all his/her different incarnations), so it all seems to work out. But it's still kinda sad and creepy. If our theory's correct, this person has a family, yet spends an inordinate amount of time trolling our blogs, trying to cause trouble. @Tom was the first person to tell me about "Don't Feed the Troll" and it was some of the best advice I've gotten since I started this thing. (Thanks, @Tom!)

    Thank you for what you said. I'd like to think my thoughts and ideas are intelligently stated, along with a lot of the responses from the folks that come here. I love hearing alternate/counter points of view – spirited debate, as long as it's respectful and productive. It's the off-topic, rude sh*t that's annoying. But what're ya gonna do? ;-p

  34. @Anita I think you hit the nail on the head with this - "It seems that people with intelligent posts are a target for trolls who want to be as intelligent as the author but will never be...So they inject your blogs with poison just to get your attention by trying to embarass or degrade your views."

    And this - "If they are being jackasses...the best thing you can do to really get to them is ignore them completely!"

    @Steven I'm sorry both you and @Christy have a troll bothering you AND that it may be somebody you know. I've seen some ugly comments on your blogs over the months. Yeah that is sad and creepy. The person should focus on his or her own family. Or maybe that's the problem. They don't really have a good family life. I feel pity for someone like that.

    Like @Anita I've been on boards and forums for a long time and I've seen my share of trolls. She's right. They usually do target someone and become obsessive. It's scary. I hope things work out and your troll stops or gets help.

    I'm always for a good debate and differing ideas and opinions. It keeps things interesting and sometimes I learn something and change my view. But there's a difference between that and someone swooping in just to poop on your blog. If what the person has to say is mean spirited or doesn't have anything to do with the topic of discussion, they're a troll and should be ignored.

    Love the ad btw! Very cool!

  35. @Ally Cat, @Anita, and @Steven trolls are simply being bullies when they target somebody. Anonymous bullies. I think that's very cowardly.

  36. @Ally Cat: Nice to see you! :-) And your comment was well stated. (As usual.) @Jana just reminded me of what I think is the creepiest thing about a troll that you know (that's kinda catchy, no?). It's the anonymity of the comments. I would almost (almost say that if someone has something ugly to share, a lot of us would take it more seriously, give it more credence if the person fessed up to it and signed their name. I mean, if someone truly believes what their saying is legit, why hide behind an alias?

    Goodness. I'm ranting.

  37. @Everyone:
    This is completely off-topic and a long-shot at best, but has anyone heard from @Sarah? Maybe via email or somewhere else? She hasn't been around for...well, I don't know how long exactly, but it seems like a while.

  38. @Ally: And thanks for the kudos on the ad! ;-)

  39. @Steven! I'm here! LOL! I sent you an email explaining where I've been.

    I love the can of Troll B Gone! Where was that when that ugly little troll was saying mean and nasty things? I'm really sorry it's somebody you and @Christy know. That's just low and they should be ashamed. I hope they've apologized. I feel sorry for them that they feel like they have to stoop so low.

    You and @Christy are so nice. I know I've told everybody this before but you two have really helped me a lot. I appreciate the way you've both been there for me when I needed to tell somebody what I was feeling or experiencing. It helped.

  40. I had a blog a couple of years ago. I thought it would be a fun thing to do in my spare time. Then my ex found it and began posting hateful comments under different names. I knew it was him because he said things that only he knew and he used the same kind of language over and over for the different names. It was really obvious. My friends and family read what he wrote and they knew it was him too, but it was still embarrassing and scared me.

    If he was willing to spend hours of his time reading my blog and comments, and posting stuff like that, what else was he willing to do? It's crazy behavior.

    I closed my blog and moved. He tried to find me but no one would tell him where I was. Now I'm married and happy. I hope my crazy ex has forgotten about me. He was the ultimate troll. Sounds like you and @Christy have the same problem. I'm feel for you both.

  41. @Sarah: Phew! Glad you're okay. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you after I was the one looking for you!

    I don't know how often trolls apologize, but ours hasn't. But who knows? Maybe someday...

    I'm glad Christy and I were able to help you out a bit when you needed it. You sound lots better! :-)

    @Michelle: Ya got me beat. Our troll has been malicious and persistent...and completely harmless, as least to Christy and I. This person's hurt other people though and I think they either don't realize it or don't care. Shame.

    Your ex is a piece of work. I hope that doesn't sound too casual, because I don't mean it to. What he did was malicious and scary. Thank goodness you've found the happiness he probably never will. What you said makes me wonder if trolling ever does escalate to threats. Hopefully, none of us will ever find out. I suspect that most if not all of them are too cowardly to confront us directly.

    It's a shame you had to close your blog; I'd be interested in reading your thoughts. ;-) But I sure am glad you're here. :-)

  42. LMFAO! Great can! I hate trolls. They ruin good conversations are just evil little beasts. I think people who do this type of thing are mentally unstable and need help.

    Like your blog btw.

    1. HA! Glad you liked my little doodle. ;-) I was...shall we say, inspired. We had a persistent troll (neé stalker) for a while, but she seems to have gotten a life, or at least another victim.

      I really don't get small-minded people that have so little else to do.

      Glad you're diggin' the blog! I hope you'll come back and share. :-)

  43. Holy wow! I had a hard time finding this post. You should have named it something that had troll in the title. I looked in your archive and had to open a lot of your posts just to find this one. Do you have a suggestion box? Make the titles sound like what the post is about so we can find them easier later. :)

    So the reason I wanted to find this post is because I read this article and thought about your troll post. Arizona wants to make being a troll online illegal so they can prosecute people. YES!

    I'd be OK with them making it illegal. Imagine if you could have pressed charges against whoever was trolling your blog for a while @Steven! That probably would have stopped it. When you think about it it's bullying and it's ugly.

    1. It never occurred to me that anyone would bother looking at my older posts. LOL! I'm always too busy trying to come up with clever titles that are relevant at that very moment, and not a moment longer. ;-P

      It'll probably be a hard sell since the law is so far behind the eight ball on cyber-related crimes, but it would be awesome if trolling could become a prosecutable offense. And, yeah, it is bullying. It's offensive, disruptive, and could even be psychologically damaging if the wrong person was harassed too much.

      And it turns out the biggest, most prolific troll on my site was a family member. Go figure. I don't know if she's since gotten a life, but at least she's not hanging around here any more.

      Thanks for taking the time to find this so you could post the link to that article! I'm gonna go check it out now...

      P.S. And I'll work on making my old stuff a little easier to find. ;-)

    2. Ok, I'm back, and I read the article. But I got distracted to a link about a documentary called 'Bully'. It's about 5 teens who've been ceaselessly harassed in school and what's being done (or not done) about it.

      I'm not sure I'll ever understand the mindset of someone feels the need to launch an unprovoked, and sustained, attack on someone else. What I don't find surprising is that bullies – i.e. trolls – usually aren't very smart. They also don't seem to be very happy.

    3. Oops. Make that "distracted BY a link..." ;-P