dreamsofthewyrd (dreamsofthewyrd) wrote,

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After the recent accusations being flung at myself and some of my friends, I was suddenly faced with the fact that I had no clear definition as to what a "troll" is. I knew that I wasn't one, but I wasn't sure what I wasn't. :-)

So I've been looking online, particularly at Wikipedia on the subject. Apparently I am not alone in my confusion. There are some characterstics for trolls, but the exact definiton is broad. The beginning of the article states:

In Internet terminology, a troll is someone who comes into an established community such as an online discussion forum, and posts inflammatory, rude, repetitive or offensive messages designed intentionally to annoy or antagonize the existing members or disrupt the flow of discussion, including the personal attack of calling others trolls.

The problem with this definition is pointed out later in the article:

Precise definitions of "troll" have been difficult because such definitions rely on assumptions about internal motivation, which have been difficult to conclusively prove.

So the only way to determine trolldom is to know the inner workings of the troll in question? How do you determine someone's purpose? I know there are times when it is simply obvious that someone is trying to provoke a response. However, how do you tell the difference between that and someone who is simply socially inept to begin with and another layer of anonymity just gives them more room to screw up?

Ad hominem attacks are universally seen as a troll tactic. However, that is also just an asshole technique. Not to mention that there are many people out there that can not understand what an ad hominem attack is. Calling people names is not ad hominem. Avoiding answering an argument by attacking the person who put forth the statement to begin with is ad hominem.

I guess the conclusion I've come to is that not only am I not a troll, but I can't determine if anyone else is either.

So now I just need to come up with a term for someone who wishes great ill on myself and my friends that is more eloquent than common vulgarities. Or maybe it isn't worth my time. Probably the latter.
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