Next time you find yourself involved in an online flame war (over anything at all) and you want to know who’s the troll (you know, the really annoying guy who’s fueling the flames) here are the signs to look for:
- Real trolls don’t abuse you personally. They dig at you with subtle, yet insulting jibes. (You’ll never find a real troll directly calling you an idiot or a loser or anything as lame as that.)
- Real trolls have a touch of class and write in flawlessly grammatical English. (You’ll find it extremely hard to pick holes in their well-constructed, illogical arguments, yet you know that it infuriates you beyond all reason because you know it’s wrong.)
- Real trolls don’t get emotional or appear not to. (They’re pathetic human beings who enjoy winding you up and then getting you to abuse them – but they like to show themselves as extremely reasonable.)
- Real trolls don’t respond to real logic. (They’ll just target the weak retorts and then disappear into the cave they came from. It’s the amateurish trolls who get caught up in a flame war and tie themselves into knots doing so.)
- Real trolls aren’t worth fighting. (Because their sole purpose is not to win or lose a debate but to get you to look stupid.)
- Real trolls know which topics to avoid and which topics to raise. (They’ll go after the weakest spot.)
Yes, avoid trolls like hell. Internet communities are full of them and so much of time and energy is wasted in countering them.
Admin Note: Please do NOT feed the trolls.
Hari writes about a wide variety of topics on his own blog, including “Humour, comics, tech, software, reviews, essays, articles and HOWTOs intermingled with random philosophy now and then”.