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Encyclopedia > Troll (Internet)

An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response[1] or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.[2] Internet slang, Internet language, Netspeak, Chat Room Shorthand, Computer Language, Tech-Talk (as used by some chatroom users) or Nu English is slang that Internet users have coined and promulgated. ... A typical Internet forum discussion, with common elements such as quotes and spoiler brackets A page from a forum showcasing emoticons and Internet slang An Internet forum is a web application for holding discussions and posting user generated content. ... A chat room or chatroom is a term used primarily by mass media to describe any form of synchronous conferencing, occasionally even asynchronous conferencing. ... On the Internet, baiting is similar to trolling, in that baiters, like trolls, try to elicit a response from other users. ...

Contents

Etymology

The contemporary use of the term first appeared on Usenet groups in the late 1980s. It is thought to be a truncation of the phrase trolling for suckers, itself derived from the fishing technique known as trolling.[3] The word likely gained currency because of its apt second meaning, drawn from the trolls portrayed in Scandinavian folklore and children's tales; they are often ugly, obnoxious creatures bent on mischief and wickedness. Usenet (USEr NETwork) is a global, decentralized, distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name. ... Genera See text Catostomidae is the sucker fish family of the Cypriniformes order. ... For the computer security term, see Phishing. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Troll (disambiguation). ... Scandinavian folklore is the folklore of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and the Swedish speaking parts of Finland. ...


The word occurs also in John Awdeley’s Fraternity of Vagabonds (1561) to characterize the first four of twenty-five types of disobedient male servants or "knaves." The first entrant in Awdeley's list is particularly illustrative, although no provenance has ever been demonstrated to connect it with the modern usage: A journeyman is a tradesman or craftsman who may well have completed an apprenticeship but is not yet able to set up their own workshop as a master. ...

Troll and Troll by is he that setteth naught by no man, nor no man by him. This is he that would bear rule in a place and hath no authority nor thanks, and at last is thrust out of the door like a knave.[4]

Early history

Prior to DejaNews's archiving of Usenet, accounts of trolling were sketchy, there being little evidence to sort through. After that time, however, the huge archives were available for researchers. The most likely derivation of the word troll can be found in the phrase "trolling for newbies," popularized in the early 1990s in the Usenet group, alt.folklore.urban (AFU).[5][6] Commonly, what is meant is a relatively gentle inside joke by veteran users, presenting questions or topics that had been so overdone that only a new user would respond to them earnestly. For example, a veteran of the group might make a post on the common misconception that glass flows over time. Long-time readers would both recognize the poster's name and know that the topic had been done to death already, but new subscribers to the group would not realise, and would thus respond. These types of trolls served as a Shibboleth to identify group insiders. This definition of trolling, considerably narrower than the modern understanding of the term, was considered a positive contribution.[7][5] One of the most notorious AFU trollers, Snopes,[5] went on to create his eponymous urban folklore website. The Deja News logo as it appeared in 1997. ... Usenet (USEr NETwork) is a global, decentralized, distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name. ... This article is about the material. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Snopes, also known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is a website dedicated to determining the truth about many urban legends, Internet rumors, email forwards, and other such stories of uncertain or questionable origin. ...


By the late 1990s, alt.folklore.urban had such heavy traffic and participation that trolling of this sort was frowned upon. Others expanded the term to include the practice of playing a seriously misinformed or deluded user, even in newsgroups where one was not a regular; these were often attempts at humor rather than provocation. In such contexts, the noun troll usually referred to an act of trolling, rather than to the author. A newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users at different locations. ...


Identity trolling

In academic literature, the practice was first documented by Judith Donath (1999), who used several anecdotal examples from various Usenet newsgroups in her discussion. Donath's paper outlines the ambiguity of identity in a disembodied "virtual community":[8] This article is about (usually written) works. ... Judith Donath is a well-known professor at MITs Media Lab, and heads the Labs Sociable Media group. ... An anecdote is a short tale narrating an interesting or amusing biographical incident. ... A virtual community, e-community or online community is a group of people that primarily interact via communication media such as letters, telephone, email or Usenet rather than face to face. ...

In the physical world there is an inherent unity to the self, for the body provides a compelling and convenient definition of identity. The norm is: one body, one identity. ... The virtual world is different. It is composed of information rather than matter.

Donath provides a concise overview of identity deception games which trade on the confusion between physical and epistemic community: Online identity deception games include activities such as trolling, where one tries to alter the perception of ones identity by others. ... An epistemic community may consist of those who accept one version of a story, or one version of validating a story. ...

Trolling is a game about identity deception, albeit one that is played without the consent of most of the players. The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group's common interests and concerns; the newsgroups members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings, and upon judging a poster a troll, make the offending poster leave the group. Their success at the former depends on how well they — and the troll — understand identity cues; their success at the latter depends on whether the troll's enjoyment is sufficiently diminished or outweighed by the costs imposed by the group.

Trolls can be costly in several ways. A troll can disrupt the discussion on a newsgroup, disseminate bad advice, and damage the feeling of trust in the newsgroup community. Furthermore, in a group that has become sensitized to trolling — where the rate of deception is high — many honestly naïve questions may be quickly rejected as trollings. This can be quite off-putting to the new user who upon venturing a first posting is immediately bombarded with angry accusations. Even if the accusation is unfounded, being branded a troll is quite damaging to one's online reputation." (Donath, 1999, p. 45)[1] Ones online reputation is similar to the conventional concept of reputation, but in cyberspace. ...

Usage

The term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often used to discredit an opposing position, or its proponent, by argument fallacy ad hominem. Look up ad hominem in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Often, calling someone a troll makes assumptions about a writer's motives. Regardless of the circumstances, controversial posts may attract a particularly strong response from those unfamiliar with the robust dialogue found in some online, rather than physical, communities. Experienced participants in online forums know that the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore him or her, because responding tends to encourage trolls to continue disruptive posts — hence the often-seen warning: "Please do not feed the trolls".[9]


Frequently, someone who has been labelled a troll by a group may seek to redeem their reputation by discrediting their opponents, for example by claiming that other members of the group are closed-minded, conspirators, or trolls themselves.


Concern troll

A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose point of view is opposed to the one that the user's sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.[10] False colors redirects here. ... Perspective in theory of cognition is the choice of a context or a reference (or the result of this choice) from which to sense, categorize, measure or codify experience, cohesively forming a coherent belief, typically for comparing with another. ... A sock puppet, after which Internet sock puppets are named. ... Ingroup bias is the preferential treatment people give to whom they perceive to be members of their own groups. ... Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a sales or marketing strategy of disseminating negative (and vague) information on a competitors product. ...


For example, in 2006 a top staffer for then-Congressman Charlie Bass (R-NH) was caught posing as a "concerned" supporter of Bass's opponent, Democrat Paul Hodes, on several liberal New Hampshire blogs, using the pseudonyms "IndieNH" or "IndyNH." "IndyNH" expressed concern that Democrats might just be wasting their time or money on Hodes, because Bass was unbeatable.[11] Charles Foster Bass (born January 8, 1952) is a member of the United States House of Representatives for the second district of New Hampshire. ... GOP redirects here. ... For other uses, see New Hampshire (disambiguation). ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  Politics Portal      Further information: Politics of the United States#Organization of American political parties The Democratic... Paul Hodes is an attorney from the state of New Hampshire who formerly served at the Shaheen & Gordon Law Firm. ... For other uses, see New Hampshire (disambiguation). ...


A recently declassified World War II manual on sabotage recommends such techniques to derail any effective action: "Advocate 'caution.' Be 'reasonable' and urge your fellow-conferees to be 'reasonable' and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on... Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon." OSS Simple Sabotage Manual, pdf Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...


Although the term "concern troll" originated in discussions of online behavior, it now sees increasing use to describe similar behaviors that take place offline.


For example, James Wolcott in Vanity Fair [12] accused a conservative Daily News columnist of "concern troll" behavior in his efforts to downplay the Mark Foley scandal. Wolcott links what he calls concern trolls to Saul Alinsky's "Do-Nothings," giving a long quote from Alinsky on the Do-Nothing's method and effects: Daily News is the name of two major newspapers in the United States: Los Angeles Daily News New York Daily News This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Mark Foley The Mark Foley scandal, which broke in late September 2006, centers on soliciting e-mails and sexually explicit instant messages sent by Mark Foley, a Republican Congressman from Florida, to teenaged boys who had formerly served as congressional pages. ... Saul Alinsky off the cover of Let Them Call Me Rebel: Saul Alinsky, His Life and Legacy by Sanford D. Horwitt. ...

These Do-Nothings profess a commitment to social change for ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity, and then abstain from and discourage all effective action for change. They are known by their brand, 'I agree with your ends but not your means.'

In a more recent example, The Hill published an op-ed piece titled "Dems: Ignore 'Concern Trolls'." Again, the concern trolls in question were not Internet participants; they were Republicans offering public advice and warnings to the Democrats. The author defines "concern trolling" as "offering a poisoned apple in the form of advice to political opponents that, if taken, would harm the recipient." [13] . The Hill is a mostly Italian-American neighborhood within Saint Louis, Missouri, located on high ground south of the River des Peres and Interstate 44. ...


See also

For the artificial grass, see AstroTurf. ... On the Internet, baiting is similar to trolling, in that baiters, like trolls, try to elicit a response from other users. ... In the field of social psychology, a breaching experiment is an experiment that seeks to examine peoples reactions to violations of commonly accepted social rules or norms. ... For other uses, see Gadfly. ... A griefer is a slang term used to describe a player in an online video game who plays the game simply to cause grief to other players through harassment. ... Hit-and-run posting refers to a tactic were a poster at an internet forum enters, makes a post, only to disappear immediately after. ... In Internet culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing or other interactive system, but rarely participates. ... Pieces of broken pottery as voting tokens. ... Look up Schadenfreude in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A sock puppet, after which Internet sock puppets are named. ... A virtual community, e-community or online community is a group of people that primarily interact via communication media such as letters, telephone, email or Usenet rather than face to face. ...

References

  1. ^ trolling definition from PC Magazine Retrieved on 28 May 2007.
  2. ^ "What is a troll?" - Indiana University Knowledge Base
  3. ^ Usenet Newsgroup misc.invest.options 1997
  4. ^ Kinney, Arthur F., ed. Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990. p. 98
  5. ^ a b c See Michele Tepper, "Usenet Communities and the Cultural Politics of Information" in David Porter, ed., Internet Culture (1997) at 48 ("[T]he two most notorious trollers in AFU, Ted Frank and snopes, are also two of the most consistent posters of serious research.").
  6. ^ One early reference to troll found in the Google Usenet archive was by user "Mark Miller," directed toward the user "Tad," on February 8, 1990, saying "Just go die in your sleep you mindless flatulent troll." However, it is unclear if this instance represents a usage of "troll" as it is known today, or if it was simply a chance choice of epithet.
  7. ^ Cecil Adams (2000-05-14). The Straight Dope. Retrieved on 2007-08-26. “To be fair, not all trolls are slimeballs. On some message boards, veteran posters with a mischievous bent occasionally go "newbie trolling.”
  8. ^ Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community
  9. ^ Example of a warning to blog participants about trolls: "do not feed the trolls." golo historians_13th's blog. Retrieved on: April 10, 2008.
  10. ^ Cox, Ana Marie. "Making Mischief on the Web", Time, 2006-12-16. Retrieved on 2007-03-30. 
  11. ^ Saunders, Anne. "Bass aide resigns after posing as opponent's supporter online", Boston Globe, Associated Press, 2006-09-26. Retrieved on 2007-03-30. 
  12. ^ Wolcott, James. "Political Pieties From a Post-Nasal Drip", Vanity Fair, 2006-10-8. Retrieved on 2008-05-26. 
  13. ^ Moulitsas, Markos. "Dems: Ignore 'Concern Trolls'.", The Hill, 2008-1-9. Retrieved on 2008-05-26. 

Ted Frank is Resident Fellow and Director of the AEI Liability Project at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. ... Snopes, also known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is a website dedicated to determining the truth about many urban legends, Internet rumors, email forwards, and other such stories of uncertain or questionable origin. ... Google Groups is a free groups and mailing list service from Google. ... is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year. ... Look up epithet in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Cecil Adams is a name, generally assumed to be a pseudonym, which designates the unknown author or authors of The Straight Dope, a popular question and answer column published in The Chicago Reader since 1973. ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... is the 134th day of the year (135th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 238th day of the year (239th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 100th day of the year (101st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... Ana Marie Cox (born September 23, 1972, in San Juan, Puerto Rico) is an American author and blogger, who was the founding editor of the political blog Wonkette, and widely considered synonymous with the title. ... TIME redirects here. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 89th day of the year (90th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Boston Globe is the most widely-circulated daily newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts and in the greater New England region. ... The Associated Press, or AP, is an American news agency, the worlds largest such organization. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 89th day of the year (90th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... American actress Demi Moore, on a typical Vanity Fair cover (August, 1991) Vanity Fair is a glossy American glamour magazine monthly that offers a mixture of articles based on sensational exaggerations, jet-set and entertainment-business personalities, politics, and lies. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 146th day of the year (147th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... . The Hill is a mostly Italian-American neighborhood within Saint Louis, Missouri, located on high ground south of the River des Peres and Interstate 44. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 146th day of the year (147th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

Look up troll in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... The Straight Dope is a popular question and answer newspaper column published in the Chicago Reader (an alternative weekly), syndicated in thirty newspapers in the United States and Canada, and available online. ...

Troll FAQs

MeatballWiki is a wiki dedicated to online communities, culture and hypermedia. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Troll - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (5084 words)
In Sweden, trolls adopted many of the traits of the land-wights (vättar, compare Icelandic landvættir) and thus came to be inclined to thieving and the abduction and consumption of humans which, in the case of infant abductees, was substituted with a changeling.
Female trolls may conspire to force the prince to marry their daughters, as in East of the Sun and West of the Moon, or practice witchcraft, as in The Witch in the Stone Boat, where a troll usurps a queen's place, or The Twelve Wild Ducks, where she turns twelve princes into wild ducks.
The green Forest Trolls of Zul'Aman (the Hinterlands), the icy blue Ice Trolls of Northrend and Khaz Modan, the large Dark Trolls of Ashenvale, the mysterious Desert Trolls of Tanaris, and the numerous Jungle Trolls.
Internet troll - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (6360 words)
Skillful trolls know that an easy way to upset the person is to falsely claim that they are a "troll." In forums where most users are similar to each other, outsiders may be perceived as trolls simply because they do not fit into the social norms of that group.
The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group's common interests and concerns; the newsgroups members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings, and upon judging a poster a troll, make the offending poster leave the group.
Trolling can be described as a breaching experiment, originally conceived of by sociologist Harold Garfinkel, which, because of the use of an alternate persona, allows for normal social boundaries and rules of etiquette to be tested or otherwise broken, without serious consequences.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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