My Personal Experience with Trolls, Trolling and Magog
Way back in 1990, before Jamaica had commercial Internet connectivity, before we had a copyright law, we had BBS; Bulletin Board Systems. One would connect to the Internet via a phone jack and a modem using a dial-up.
The computer dialed a number, one gained the 'handshaking response' one logged in, and then could send messages to other users, post in public discussions, upload/download files, play games.
The population of users was small and everyone knew each other. Personally.
Hence I could just as easily have lunch with Forge, Bladerunner, Banker, or
Roger as I could send them an 'email' or respond to a comment made on a BBS Forum.
One didn't say anything to Dynomax on COLIS that one wouldn't say to his face, because his face, and his body could be walking to your door. One didn't insult Airdog, because he knew who Sithu was, he'd seen E.T. at a PCJAM meeting, and knew where Sadam Sysop lived.
Then came summer break when a pile of High School Boys surged onto the Free MBs attacking everyone they saw, leaving remarks to other posts, and hiding behind their Nicknames.
Shock & Awe & Disgust
Those who were the recipents of the vicious attacks by these Schoolers were shocked and disgusted, and some complained to the Sysop (System Operator) or Mod (Moderator).
Where the schoolers were banned/gagged and their comments deleted, (and a big and unpleasant looking chap arrived on their doorstep) the BBS continued.
However , a few users who had been insulted did delete their accounts. Many ceased to participate in intra-personal discussions.
Where nothing was done, where the insulting posts remained and/or increased, and the School boys grabbed their absolute license to post anything to anyone, the BBS soon was empty save for the the Schoolers.
Driving on the Cyber Highway
When the Internet became commercially available in 1995 only about
19% of the population of Jamaica participated.
Most people were computer illiterate and resistant. That big old Seletric Typewriter was 'state of the art' in most offices.
Those who cut their teeth on BBS drove onto the Highway. They jumped onto Message Boards and Fora to do the "Hi, I'm from Jamaica!" waving the flag as at the Olympics and Usain Bolt on the Track.
It didn't take many posts to run into that denizen of Social Networking; The Troll.
Trolls are those who overdose on the
deindividualisation of the Internet.
What this term means is that where
in RL (Real Life) I can get a phone
number, do a reverse check, and
find out that Jam Hut is a horrid
little School Boy attending Jamaica
College who lives on this particular
street with Mommy and Daddy, so
can satisfy my revenge genes,
I don't know who or what Drew
Diligent is, where s/he/it lives and
how to fix its little red wagon.
In RL, Drew Diligent is one of those ugly guys who buys sex in toilets and can't tell his neighbours to turn down their television. He holds a menial job where everyone on Earth can push him around.
On the Internet, Drew is 7 feet tall, 500 pounds of solid muscle who can kick the Hulk to Antarctica, who knows everything, and can attack anyone with impunity.
In simple language. Drew is a Troll who gets orgasm by insulting others and believing he is sacrosanct.
The First Attack
Usually, the first time one is attacked by a Troll they betray their self-image.
Those who are shy and withdrawn, questioning their own self worth might immediately disappear.
Some victims will delete their accounts and race into their bedrooms to wrap in their security blanket, crying themselves to sleep.
Those who are kick ass in R.L. will respond in what will be called a flame war, giving as good as they get.
Some will complain to a moderator, some will make a "goodbye cruel message board", post. Some will spend the next few minutes writing books on how they were attacked, which, of course, only encourages a Troll.
The Second Attack
Where the poster 'disappears'
the Troll will be last to know.
It will continue attacks.
After maybe ten posts which receive
no response, the Troll will move on to someone else.
Where there is a 'flame war' the Troll will sprain his fingers answering, and if the target proves to be better at the insults then he is, he will disappear, either permanently or temporaily, and/or return with another Nick as a 'dual'.
Duals are secondary, tertiary, ad infinitum accounts created by the Troll. Duals are used to back up the Troll, add to his attacks, and create the impression that there is an entire army against the target.
Attacks by Sickgrrl against Sunnydaye are not as powerful as attacks by Charlie, Kiata, Crazyg, Serena, Blue, against Sunnydaye.
All of these attackers on Sunnydaye are done by One Person who uses a number of nicknames to create a Repulsion of Trolls.
This is unknown to neutral members.
As most people are sheep they assume Sunnydaye is the evil one as 'so many' others have been offended by her.
In many cases, the Mod, who is probably a Troll herself, may ban Sunnydaye as punishment.
Sunnydaye, who may have joined 'Women with Superpowers' or 'Fab Feminists' to exchange ideas has been pulled off the path into a Flame War by the Troll.
Whatever she had planned to type was diverted into a back and forth with unsavoury pathetic characters, who being Trolls, take joy at getting a response; any response is a response.
The Nature of Trolling
That is why they join Message Boards .
That is why they leave comments.
They have nothing to say, they just
want Attention and All Attention is good.
They travel from one Network to another in a constant quest for attention.
They may congregate on Reddit where they can vote down every thing submitted by their Victim. They get nothing for it.
The poster may be trying to get a few hits for an article on Hubpages, the Trolls on Reddit are just there to vote down and make sure no one reads the article on Hubpages.
As Trolls have no life they can spend all day and half a night attacking, and sometimes they follow a victim from site to site.
Their purpose in life is to try to make other people feel as crappy as they do, and gain some kind of attention.
A new species, the Magog, evolved
from those who suffered Trolling.
The Magog is no longer interested in
posting to the Forum or Message Board.
Their decision is to destroy that venue.
Depending on its nature, they use various tactics.
Magog may make endless posts of a single letter. Hence, logging on to a forum one will see the first post of 'q' repeated. Scrolling down continues to expose that single letter.
Most people may scroll once or twice, then log off.
The Magog may create hundreds of threads of a single letter, so that looking into the column of topics one finds dozens of that one letter, and of course, log off.
Where they can send trojans, malware, etc. they do.
When that Message Board/Forum does go down, their work is done.
Magog hold no conversations, make no responses.
They 'eat' forums and message boards and move on.
Over the years, having been subject to Troll attacks I have tried every method. A few, (very few) Moderators will step in at the first Troll-like post and gag/ban the user so that 99% of members do not even know it existed.
Most Mods are stupid functionaries easily dazzled by 'Freedom of Speech' barks from the Troll, so allow the M.B. to become a parish of Trollkingdom. This results in 99% of all users leaving. The 1% remaining is made up of the Troll and his duals.
Trying to ignore the Troll is only useful when one has their own Duals so can keep up a running discussion skipping the Troll Post.
Hence Me1 is discussing Klingon culture with five other users, when the Troll makes a post. I log in via a proxy as Me2 and skipping the Troll post respond to Me1. Me1 adds to what Me2 says, and hopefully none of those five other users will pay any attention to Troll post and reply to Me1 or Me2.
In Other cases I will give as good as I get, speind hours in this pointless back and forth until I have something else to do.
Of course, that was then. This is now.
Now I leave.
I don't make any fanfare I just log out and don't come back.
I have no vested interested in keeping a Message Board/Forum alive. Just like most people, it isn't important to me. It's just one site out of millions.
When I am on a writing site which pays, and a Troll takes set on an item I've posted, (especially where I have the power to delete) I celebrate.
I can eat lunch from the coin his hits will bring. That's one thing about Trolls; they're stupid. They think they are 'hurting' you by leaving negative comments beneath your article. They forget you get paid for hits, comments, attention.
You can answer the Troll's comment with a deflection. This will provoke the Troll to post again.
Once you have a running commentary with the Troll you can start to delete their earlier posts. In this way the 'hit' counts.
Most Trolls will keep coming back. Many unaware you deleted a post at first, then, when they see their 'deathless prose' is gone, they become angry. They are angry that you've deleted their post and --- I am NOT making this up -- Post Again!!
They can spent 1 hour writing their crap. I spend 1 second deleting it and write a 'bait' post. The Troll must respond to the 'bait' so posts Again.
He doesn't seem to 'get' that I control the delete key, he doesn't.
Comment Trolls have their use. Many people have collected a lot of coin from the views and comments of Trolls.
That is probably their only use.