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Anatomy of Troll

Updated on February 8, 2015

How It Happens

You are on a message board, in a forum, even a writing site. Suddenly you're being attacked in the most vicious manner by someone you never knew was alive.

You may respond in kind, you may be shocked to the core, you may even become so insulted you pack up and go. But what you should never do is take anything posted seriously.

The deindividualisation of the Internet has led to the birth of the Troll. This is a pathetic person who believes the anonymity of cyberspace not merely protects him/her/it but endows them with the powers and abilities they are denied in Real Life.

Creating an all powerful avatar, hiding behind a nickname, these people attack for attack sake. They have no point, they are simply 'acting out' as a two year old flinging himself to the floor, shouting; "I hate you!"


In the 1980s, as summer vacation arrived, Bulletin Boards would be saturated by schoolers trying to outdo each other in filth and viciousness.

Those which had active Moderators or Sysops would be deleting with both hands, then blocking the phone number, (in some places, calling the parents) to protect their BBS.

Those which had inactive Mods or Sysops turned into cesspools real users abandoned. Hence, the 'death' of a BBS usually took place in the summer.

With the commercial availability of the Internet, the first venue for Trolls was IRC . People from all over the world would get into real time chat and of course, so would a Troll.

However, in those days many geeks were in IRC and it was not unusual for a Troll to be quickly bounced, sometimes with damage to his Operating System.

As time passed, the creation of Message Boards, the 'Human face of the Internet' arose. And this was the milieu of the Troll.

Firstly, MBs were so enticing, each had to have a number of full time Mods to prevent Trolls from destroying their little chatland. Many MBs destroyed themselves by having so many rules and needing every comment scrutinised before posting it became ridiculous.

Many MBs descended from discussing a topic to having flame wars. Serious people packed up and left.

Other MBs had various mechanisms in which the Mod could delete or change a post made by a Troll so it was worked to drivel. But again, this was work, and free work at that. Unless one was being paid to monitor the MB, and alert to what was happening, the MB became a desert.


Secondly, the ability to create Duals made every troll a Repulsion, (my term for a group of trolls).

One pathetic loser could create twelve or more different nicknames, logging in, either from one IP or via a number of Proxies so it seemed there were a dozen persons attacking one, when it was a single Troll using different names.

Delphiforums became the proving ground. Anyone could create a forum, anyone could create a number of accounts. Going from forum to forum attacking, spewing invective, was the joy of those who in Real Life couldn't stand up to an angry ten year old.

Wise Mods learned syntax, able to discern that Diggadog and Sickgrrls and Kiata and Serena, were one person. Astute Mods would catch the potential troll at first post, and bounce them, and keep banning.

As time passed just about every site included a feedback section. These were often unmoderated. The mentality of the owners was, in many cases, 'you come here to post your writing, (for example) you don't have to go to the discussion section'.

As soon as it became common knowledge that X site had an unmoderated forum, Trolls raced in trying to outdo themselves in attacks on hapless posters.

Some posters avoided this section once it became clear that there was no 'protection'. Others honed they skills at troll baiting and bashing.

But the fact is, any response is a response. Hence; "Do Not Feed The Trolls" became the motto.

Response or Not

On Triond, there was a Forum so infested with Trolls there was no sense in posting. The Trolls, many of whom haven't (or can't) write a shopping list, squatted in the discussion area, attacking others, , creating threads, using sewer language, because there was no 'mommy & daddy' to discipline them.

This situation continued until a Magog arrived and destroyed the forum, then destroyed the comment section under the advisory (which had become a Troll Toilet).

A Magog is totally different than a Troll. A Magog does not communicate. A Magog simply destroys. If a Magog reaches a Forum, he/she/it will so fill it with meaningless symbols that it no longer exists. Hence there are no topics, there are no comments. There is just screen upon screen of symbols.


On most Writing sites, the writer has the pleasure of deleting comments. Wise writers policed their work, deleting inappropriate comments.

Xomba had a menagerie of those who believe they have 'entitlement' and will swarm on any hapless writer who is chosen as 'comment of the day'.

It doesn't matter what one writes about, if one is chosen for this honour, the Trolls descend trying to make one feel unworthy of such an accolade. Although using academic language and behaving ever so aloof, these are trolls with table manners.

On Hubpages one has the immediate 'approve' 'deny' so it makes no sense for a Troll to waste a keystroke trying to trash your work, because it will never see the light of day.

Wikinut belatedly gave the power to delete to writers. One aging Troll didn't seem to get the fact that everything he wrote was deleted, and kept commenting, sending hits through the roof, so that Trolls do provide some monetary benefit .

If one likes mixing it up with Trolls, take a glance at Trollkingdom and site created for these kinds of miscreants. One will appreciate that outside of a few moments of triumph, the truth is, answering a Troll always results in a victory for the Troll.

Best Practice

Ignore the Troll.
Skip over its comments, respond to someone else.
Delete where you can delete, block where you can block.
Never take anything posted by a Troll to heart.

On writing sites, where you are the author of the piece, you can trick a Troll
into filling your pocket by getting it to keep posting.

Practice retrograde delete. The Troll posts, you comment. The Troll posts again, you comment and delete his first post. You keep going to entice him to keep posting. Eventually, depending on how stupid the Troll is, it will find that it has made over thirty comments, but only this last one exists.

Remember, Trolls have no life, so for it to make ten posts a day for thirty days
is a low average.

If you belong to a message board or forum that has no intrinsic value, as soon
as it becomes a cesspool, leave. If the message area is attached to a site you
want to belong to, just don't enter the sewer.

The worst things posted about you will eventually go down the bunghole.
No one will remember it, if anyone even reads it.

Many years ago, a columnist wrote a very nasty piece about a particular person.
The media began calling the person for her response.
She replied; "I don't read that columnist."

That is the greatest insult one can ever pay.
Hence exercise your freedom of reading.

Remember, you have freedom of speech, I have freedom of hearing.
I don't want to hear you.
You can write whatever you want.
That is your right.
I have the right to not read you.


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    • qeyler profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      What I have found in life is that whee someone thinks you are powerless they will step all over you. When they think you have power they are ever so nice. I also try to outdo in the polite department, which I think is the most effective

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 

      6 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Trolls do not appear exclusively on the Internet. Having directed fair sized schools for 22 years, I can say they exist amongst parents, students, and also a few teachers. I think it is some sort of a disease, and sometimes it results in a contagion. The best way to handle real life trolls face to face, is to keep your cool, always be very, very polite, and then erase them from your mind! Congratulations! Very well written Hub. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • qeyler profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      I was on a Forum and this moron wrote some nasty crap, I responded, and the moron went back, edited her post so that it looked like I was the Troll. And when you're on a lot of sites you have this kind of't she post xyz? Of course...the edited posted showed...(edited at 4:13). What really is effective is if you..(or you and your long as no one knows that's you're dual...have a

      Post 12 you wrote yzzz

      Post 13 Troll Attack

      Post 14 Troll attack

      Post 15 Dual responds to yzzz

      Post 16 Troll attack

      Post 17 You respond to dual about yzzz

      Post 18 Dual responds to you...

      Hence the trolls are talking to themselves.

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Qeyler, where were you when I needed you! I was being told I was the troll! I almost had a nervous breakdown, lol. It makes me feel so good whenever I read your hubs. Your extensive experience on writing sites makes it ever a pleasure to read. Thank you, I will remember not to respond, and that it's my right not to listen. I have been avoiding forums for months.


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