The Troll & Types of Internet Troll
Troll, a one word term defining a highly dysfunctional online user who targets others using cyber harassment, internet defamation, online deception, cyberstalking, disinformation, extortion, duplicity and cyberbullying when the assailant and target are minors. The Internet Troll and their Troll clones inhabit cyberspace like, “cockroaches hiding behind refrigerators waiting for the lights to be turned off“. It’s time for Information Age society to exterminate these parasites, preventing them from replicating. The Troll is the subject of this paper and this writer has compiled an abundant amount of information for the reader describing the Internet Troll, types of Troll and the Internet Troll’s relationship to this writer’s iPredator and Dark Psychology constructs.
As a forensic psychologist having spent the last 30+ years working with criminal, addicted, psychopathological and cybercriminal minds, the Internet Troll is a unique and complex profile. Trolls (aka, Internet Trolls) and the characters they assume, are driven by primitive psychodynamic themes. One does not have to be a forensic psychologist or criminal profiler to understand how deeply disturbed they are. The Troll relies upon a fragmented unconscious and lives within a fantasy world of being powerful, in control and envied by all others.
In reality, they feel completely opposite of what is portrayed to others. From an intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics standpoint, Trolls are plagued by immense feelings of inferiority, isolation, rage, paranoia and jealousy for peers. Instead of getting professional help or support from loved ones, Trolls prefer their insignificant virtual world fueled by grandiosity fantasies.
Internet Troll Defined
Internet Troll: An Internet Troll is a colloquial expression used to define an online user who uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to purposely and actively provoke, defame, anger, tease, flame, or incite other online users. More often than not, the Internet Troll does not know the target recipient(s) of their vitriolic statements and behaviors. Internet Trolls regularly appear in all forms of online mediums ranging from online video gaming gatherings to chatroom and forum discussions.
When the Internet Troll’s inflammatory statements and actions do not include a direct or implied physical threat to the target(s), their behavior is categorizes as cyber harassment. If the Troll’s verbal assaults include direct or implied physical threats to their target(s), their actions are then defined as cyberstalking.
The motivations for an Internet Troll’s provocative, and often times, bizarre behaviors are numerous. Despite the variations in modus operandi, the vast majority of Trolls are seeking attention, recognition, stimulation pseudo-notoriety and retribution for some unknown perceived injustice. Although there is no hard evidence or clinical research validating the psychology of the Internet Troll, it is commonly believed that the “Veil of Anonymity” afforded to every online user inspires some to engage in egregious behaviors.
Those who have begun to investigate the etiology of the Troll suggest that the anonymity of the internet contributes to what has been called, disinhibition effect. It has been postulated that internet anonymity leads some to behave in asocial ways coupled with a lack of guilt or remorse for the harm they cause not being in the target’s physical presence or even knowing their identity.
Trollosphere: The Trollosphere is the sum total of Internet Trolls using cyberspace and digital devices to provoke, judge and defame others. Trollosphere represents all troll typologies, their jargon and cyber attack patterns. Just as the Blogosphere is segmented into blogger niches, the Trollosphere has targets and online environments favored by Trolls. Trollosphere also includes the thoughts, feelings and perceptions online users’ experience, when alone or in groups, who share similar Troll definitions.
Internet Troll Profile
- Most often gender male.
- Spends long periods of time online and likely internet addicted or at risk for becoming internet dependent.
- Meets all three criteria for being categorized as an iPredator.
- A self-awareness of causing harm to others, directly or indirectly, using ICT.
- The usage of ICT to obtain, tamper with, exchange and deliver harmful information.
- A general understanding of Cyberstealth used to engage in criminal or deviant activities or to profile, identify, locate, stalk and engage a target.
- Tends to have few offline friends and online friends often engage in the same type of online harassment.
- Highly susceptible to the states of de-individuation and the disinhibition effect experienced, to some degree, by all online users. For Internet Trolls, these states are highly influential in their online lives.
- They are psychopathological in experiencing power and control online fueled by their offline reality of being insignificant, angry and alone.
- The severity and magnitude of psychological abuse they inflict upon their online targets is directly correlated to their probability of suffering from an Axis I, Axis II or Dual Diagnose mental illness.
- When online, exhibit a lack of empathy, have minimal capacity to experience shame or guilt and behaves with callousness and a grandiose sense of self.
- From a psychodynamic standpoint, Internet Trolls create and sustain an intra-psychic myth of power, greatness and domination. Although all humanity is guided through life by internal myths and archetypes, the Internet Troll’s myths and archetypes are highly distorted.
- They are developmentally immature, tend to be chronically isolated and have had minimal to no intimate relationships.
Types of Troll
- Affected Profundity Troll:“A mutant subspecies of Sophist Trolls, Affected Profundity Trolls post endless pages of pretentious drivel that is intended to appear wise, but which generally makes little sense (if any). Affected Profundity Trolls enjoy asking themselves questions, sometimes answering them and sometimes leaving them hanging, for they believe this looks intelligent and lends an aura of mystery to their incoherent ramblings.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Agenda Troll:“Agenda trolls are those participants who join a forum specifically to pursue an agenda of their own, often a feud or grudge with another member, or perhaps a dispute with some party not participating in that forum. When a flame war erupts on another board, for example, Agenda Trolls will follow their opponents to other forums in order to continue the spat.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Amazon Trolls: “Posts something negative, be it about the story, the writing or even the grammar, whilst the natural instinct is to respond, it is imperative that you avoid the temptation and instead, face the situation and take it on the chin. If you don’t, you potentially open yourself up to a world of pain. For the forums are also home to all kinds of trolls. And literary trolls like nothing than a sniff of a stroppy author. As a result, before you know it you could find yourself under attack and those attacks can be very personal indeed. They can also be relentless as literary trolls hunt in packs.” Doug Brinson, (2013)
- Artistic Troll: “A higher species of Classic Troll, Artistic Trolls are intelligent individuals who understand the subtle art of trolling, and who do what they do specifically to make others look foolish. Often employing the techniques of Deceptive Trolls, Artistics will string forumites along until some point in time designated by their own desires, at which point they will reveal the ploy, admit that it was a ploy, and laugh at everyone for being stupid enough to fall for it.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Back-Stalker: “This Internet Troll will pour through your archives until he or she finds something you wrote that contradicts something you’ve written more recently. It will be pointed out. Every time you write anything.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Baiter: “A special place in hell could be reserved for The Baiter. This troll has a serious case of superiority, and always an ulterior motive. Whether posting one-off comments or engaging in back-and-forth, the Baiter always wants to bring the discussion back to their wheelhouse. A Political Baiter, such as, will always turn the discussion back to politics, even if the original post is about pandas or the trials of wearing socks with sandals. It could be anything benign, and The Political Baiter will make comments about the “liberal media” or “liberal elite” or “anti-intellectual conservatism” that take the original content to a different (often inappropriate) contextual level.” (Criminal Justice Degree Guide)
- Bar Friend: “How many times have you met someone who is a friend of a friend at a bar or party, only to come home and see a Facebook friend request sitting in your in-box? You probably don’t remember their name, and the conversation you had with them was superficial at best. It’s obvious they just want to add you to their growing list of friends and you honestly believe you’ll never see them again.” Don Reisinger, CNET (2008)
- Big Man: “Driven by ‘Order’ forces. A Big Man does trolling by posting something pleasing to others to support their world view.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Bitter Troll:“Bitter Trolls are a curious cross-species. They can be trolls of any breed in their larval stages but become Bitters after their earlier activities are seen for what they were. What sets these trolls apart from other classifications is their behavior after they have been spotted and labeled as trolls. Angry, frustrated, and resentful about being “outed,” the Bitter Troll will wage a campaign of indignant complaints intended to focus attention away from the troll and on whomever is responsible for identifying the creature.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Boomerang: “Different name but posts sound familiar? This troll sets up new accounts to keep posting when blocked.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Bored Hater: “This guy loves to make problems, usually out of sheer boredom. His posts are vile and hideous for no other reason than riling up total strangers. His arsenal includes racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Bustr:“Bustrs are obsessive Bitters by whom you could practically set your watch. A Bustr never forgets, never forgives, and holds a grudge until the day it dies. Also a variant of Agenda trolls, Bustrs typically move from forum to forum complaining about the objects of their ire, often cutting and pasting age-old diatribes that have little meaning to most of their audiences. Most Busters are relatively incoherent, though a few of the more lucid ones are potentially dangerous stalkers.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Cannibal Trolls: “A troll that spends it’s time troll baiting other trolls. Wasting the time of those most intent of wasting the time of others. For instance, a Cannibal Troll could post something like this (“Hi. Does anyone know if it’s possible to use a background that would essentially turn my computer monitor into a mirror? Scanning a mirror doesn’t work”) He would do this purposely to attract trolls and feed of their negative comments. For every troll that pays attention to a Cannibal Troll another innocent bystander go’s unmolested.” (Urban Dictionary)
- Chatroom Bob: “Driven by ‘Existential’ forces. A chatroom bob takes part in trolling to gain the trust of other members in order to exploit them.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Comment Trolls: “We’ve all met the Internet Comment Troll. The delightful little creature who somehow always shows up in the comments section of blogs, websites, and social media services to show off his superior intellect and set the world straight. The Internet Comment Troll is an expert in all matters and always takes pains to spread his wisdom. He particularly loves to dwell in tech-related realms, where he enlightens reviewers and enhances their work with his insights. Were it not for the Internet Comment Troll, online comment sections might actually be a place for meaningful.” JR Raphael, (2014)
- Concern Troll: “A person who posts on a blog thread, in the guise of “concern,” to disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be getting themselves in trouble, usually with an authority or power. They point out problems that don’t really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending. The VineYard, (2007)
- Connoisseur Troll: “The Connoisseur Troll is so full of himself that his head is lodged up his ass. A movie critic whose only credential is that he watched Citizen Kane once, a friend who considers himself a wine aficionado for being able to discern the difference between a Franzia Cabernet and a Mike’s Hard Lemonade and the guy who takes it upon himself to note when you mistakenly use “good” instead of “well” in a sentence are all examples of the Connoisseur. The troll will use his supposed “area of expertise” as a weapon to disagree with anyone’s opinion.” Josh Gross (2013)
- Contrarian Troll: “A sophisticated breed, Contrarian Trolls frequent boards whose main opinions are contrary to their own. A forum dominated by those who support firearms and knife rights, such as, will invariably be visited by Contrarian Trolls espousing their beliefs in the benefits of gun control.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Copyright Trolls: “A pejorative term for a party that enforces copyrights it owns for purposes of making money through litigation, in a manner considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic, generally without producing or licensing the works it owns for paid distribution. Critics object to the activity because they believe it does not encourage the production of creative works, but instead makes money through the inequities and unintended consequences of high statutory damages provisions in copyright laws intended to encourage creation of such works.” (Wikipedia)
- Crazy Troll: “This guy just makes no sense. You post something about gardening and he claims that all gardeners are women and all women are soul-sucking incubus. Incubi? Who are only out to lure men into bed so they can marry them, then divorce them and take all their money to buy more tomato plants and meth.” Kristen Lamb (2012)
- Crybaby: “If someone says something mean to the Crybaby, she’ll become hysterical and swear she’s never coming back to the board. Of course, you’ll see her three days later when she slinks back for more abuse. The Crybaby often tells on you to the mods and swears she’s going to get you banned.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Crybaby: “This Internet Troll likes to take everything anyone says super-seriously and ends discussions by flouncing off. Despite promises he or she will not return, this troll always comes back.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Cryer: “They tend to take everything as a personal assault, and love nothing more than feeling offended. And if they can’t feel offended directly, they also love being offended on other people’s behalves.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Cuckoo Troll: “Like most trolls, cuckoo trolls are tortured by a terrible nagging fear that no one will ever take what they have to say very seriously. This fear is well justified. Cuckoo trolls try to get around this by mimicking the values of their host community. So, for example, they will seek to mislead with comments like “What makes you think I’m a Labor voter?” or “Actually I’m very open-minded on the subject of climate science.” James Delingpole (2011)
- Dead Kid Troll: “Prior to the Internet, “troll” garnered images of the Scandinavian mythological creature, a garish monster that lives under bridges and bothers the Billy Goats Gruff. And if you’ve heard of The Dead Kid Trolls, it’s not hard to see why the name fits. Alexis Pilkington was a high school girl that committed suicide in 2010, and she was cyberbullied after her death. Friends and relatives had to see comments like, “[s]he was obviously a stupid depressed, who deserved to kill herself. she got what she wanted. These types of trolls are certainly the worst; they’re extremely unsettling and counter to any healthy grieving process for a lost friend or child. Of the wretched trolls, these are the worst.” (Criminal Justice Degree Guide)
- Debbie Downer Troll: “This type of Internet Troll likes to showcase his or her unhappiness with the world by bringing you down.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Deceptive or “Classic” Troll:“More sophisticated but often easily identified and exposed, the Classic Troll gratifies his ego by pretending to be someone or something he or she is not. Classics make up elaborate stories about themselves, sometimes weaving some amounts of truth into their lies. As a web of lies is difficult to build with consistency, however, Classics are often “outed” by other forumites.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Domination Trolls: “This is where the trollers’ strategy extends to the creation and running of apparently bona-fide mailing lists.” Team Technology (Beware the Troll)
- Domination Trolls: “This is where the troller’s strategy extends to the creation and running of apparently bona-fide mailing lists.” (Net Lingo)
- Don King Troll:“Related to Affected Profundity Trolls, Don King Trolls spout gibberish in the hope that they’ll either bore or confuse to death those with whom they disagree. The average Don King Troll is “a pursuitist who gromulates his adversarial computerists with height defining formulations to the disinterestingest adjunct.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Done-It-All: “These trolls know and have experienced everything. Their knowledge is paramount and they will drown you in facts and anecdotes until you give up.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Downer: “This troll complains about everything: too much information, not enough information, boring posts, it was better last year, someone else does it better and no one listens.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Elder: “Driven by ‘Escape’ forces. An Elder is an out bound member of the community, often engaging in “trolling for newbies”, where they wind up the newer members often without questioning from other members.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Emotionally-Charged Troll: “These Internet Mole People pop up, usually in the form of some other type of troll, to make you feel bad by playing on your emotions.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- E-Venger: “Driven by ‘Vengeance’ forces. An E-Venger does trolls in order to trip someone up so that their ‘true colors’ are revealed.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Expert: “The Expert knows everything about everything and loves to share his knowledge. He’s a lawyer, a doctor, a senator, a pro-ball player, a historian, an engineer … in reality, of course, he’s an unemployed temp living with his mom.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Failoblog Troll: “Failoblog troll’s dream is to have a blog as successful as the one he trolls. Unfortunately – as you can see for yourself if you’re foolish enough to follow the link he provides to his tragically unread blog, he is incapable of expressing himself coherently, interestingly, or amusingly. His tone is bitter, thwarted, envious: like Iago, only without the quick-wittedness or charm.” James Delingpole (2011)
- Flamer: “Has no interest in the topics discussed but just wants to cause trouble for their own amusement to lift daily grind boredom.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Flamer: “This Internet Troll likes to cause trouble. Anywhere. With anyone. For any reason. If there’s no trouble to be had? This Troll will cause some. This type of troll is especially fond of using words that aren’t considered PC.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Flirt: “Driven by ‘Social’ forces. A Flirt takes part in trolling to help others be sociable, including through light ’teasing’.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Flooder: “The Flooder tries to break forums by posting the same lame thing (LOL! ROTFL!) over and over and over and over and over and over…” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Forum Cultist:“Forum cultists are extremely proud of the incredible Internet communities to which they belong. They pride themselves on the exclusivity of those communities and actually believe that “it can’t happen to them”, “it, ” of course, being their own banishment. Forum cultists place a very high premium on groupthink and generally react to differing opinions with outrage, banning all who dare to speak them.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Fraud Troll: “This person, who claims any number of things to gain the sympathy of the world, has none of the problems he or she claims to have.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Fraud: “Also known as the Romance Scammer or the Deposed Nigerian Prince, the fraud takes pleasure in robbing people of their cash or self-respect. If your friends warn you that something seems hinky, PAY ATTENTION!” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Frost Troll: “Like an infantile child who proudly sits in his own shit, the Frost Troll’s social ineptitude makes it nearly invulnerable to any criticism. Its Achilles heel is the rejection it faced as a youth. Maybe it was that rather unfortunately timed “cold sore” outbreak which was forever memorialized in the high school yearbook or that embarrassing first-time experience with the poor girl’s armpit.” Josh Gross (2013)
- Frost Troll: “Taking its name from the loathsome Skyrim creature, you should tread carefully with the Frost Troll. These are the sort of guys who have convinced themselves that being an asshole qualifies as a legitimate sense of humor. The breed consists of those who blow cigarette smoke into a cancer survivor’s face, or who, even more offensively, wear an Ed Hardy V-neck.
- Genuinely Funny Troll: “The concept of trolling isn’t necessarily wrong. Sometimes people say stupid things, and they deserve to be gently ribbed. Occasionally you’ll see someone write something you don’t agree with, and of course you have the right to reply. Keep your tongue in your cheek, don’t be cruel, and wonderful things can happen.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Ghost: “Once you’ve become friends with people on Facebook, I think you enter into an agreement of sorts: you both decide to interact with each other and, most importantly, you both decide to use the service. They don’t have a profile picture and the only information that’s filled out in their profile is their name and birth date. They’re a member, but not really.” Don Reisinger, CNET (2008)
- Grammar Hag: “This Internet Troll chooses only to pop in and out of your life to point out when you’ve misused a particular word, phrase, or used the wrong context. This troll always does so with a very satisfying flourish.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Grammar Nazi: “They’re physically unable to not point out any and every spelling mistake or grammatical error they find on the internet and are under the impression that such mistakes instantly discredit what the writer was trying to say. Basically, their dicks.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Griefers: “A common type of troll found on forums and on online games, where they take on very different meanings. Griefers exist to cause problems and delight in stirring up large-scale “flame wars” – Griefers are also (though not always) rude, abusive and sometimes downright cruel: many Griefers do this to provoke their victims into a response.” (Villains Wikia)
- Harasser: “Cross this troll and they will find and post your address, weight and financial information on every platform in existence.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Hate Monger: “One of the most nauseating types of Internet trolls is The Hate Monger. This commenter blasts the Internet, and otherwise civil discussion, with hate speech. Be it sexist, racist, homophobic (“GAY!” is an oft-used trolling one-off), or otherwise, the Hate Monger reflects the ignorant dregs of humanity. You’ll see them everywhere, but particularly virulent is their presence on forums that children can easily read and those aimed at politico/societal discussion.” (Criminal Justice Degree Guide)
- Hater: “They don’t need a motive, they just move from victim to victim saying not very nice things and making you feel like you’ve done something to deserve it. Which is nice.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Holy Misroller (HM):“Holy Misrollers are those online forum participants who give Christians (or other religious adherents) a bad name. The HM believes himself or herself to be a Christian (etc.) and will generally tell anyone who’ll listen about his or her faith in God and in Jesus. At the same time, however, the HM will display decidedly un-Christian behavior, often making an *** out of him/herself. The HM is often characterized by a great deal of anger and hostility.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Honorable Nitwit:“Honorable Nitwits absolutely love to speak about honor. This breed invokes the concepts of honor, integrity, humility, and other traits straight from the Boy Scout Oath more often than a Klingon warrior on anti-depressants. Honorable nitwits are convinced that everyone around them suffers from a lack of honor, an idea they thoroughly fail to understand in attempting to use its lack to smear others.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Humor Trolls: “One of the more common types of trolls and although often destructive they also tend to be mischievous rather than outright malicious (exceptions do exist). Humor Trolls believe that the act of trolling is comedy and indeed some Humor Trolls can be funny to certain people, the major problem with this troll is the comedy is not always welcome and often disrupts the normal flow of online communities.” (Villains Wikia)
- I’m Better Than You and You’re a Moron Troll: “This type of troll isn’t out-of-control-crazy, just more condescending and smugger. This troll looks for picky things to criticize as justification for why you are an idiot with the mental capacity of a sea cucumber. These trolls will also take time to spell out specific reasons why they are too good/talented/smart to listen to you.” Kristen Lamb (2012)
- Iconoclast: “Driven by ‘Destructive’ forces. An Iconoclast takes part in trolling to help others discover ‘the truth’, often by telling them things completely factual, but which may drive them into a state of consternation. They may post links to content that contradicts the worldview of their target.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Idiot Troll: “This Internet Troll responds to every post you write with things a blithering idiot (or teenager) would say.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Idiot: “You haven’t seen them since you were 14, and you’re suddenly wondering why you accepted their Facebook friend request. They comment on your pictures of the Eiffel Tower telling you how much they love Blackpool. Hmm. Robin Edds (2013)
- Internet Radio/Media Trolls: “Internet Radio Troll Formal Definition: A variant of Internet Troll describing internet radio show hosts, their networks and listeners who use online media platforms and social sites to defame & humiliate a person, group, cause or belief. Unique to their profile is how they provoke and encourage their listeners to engage in the same vitriolic behaviors. Unlike Internet Trolls who act alone or in small groups, Internet Radio Trolls manipulate as many listeners as possible to join in their cyber-attacks.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. (2014)
- Internet Troll: “An Internet Troll is a colloquial expression used to define an online user who uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to purposely and actively provoke, defame, anger, tease, flame, or incite other online users. Often, the Internet Troll does not know the target recipient(s) of their vitriolic statements and behaviors. Internet Trolls regularly appear in all forms of online mediums ranging from online video gaming gatherings to chatroom and forum discussions.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. (2013)
- IRL Troll: “The IRL (that stands for In Real Life to all you AFK people) Troll is the type of person that acts like an Internet bottom-feeder in everyday life. It’s someone that spends too much time in front of a glowing screen, or perhaps it’s just someone who burned their mother’s copy of Emily Post. These are the people that you’re not entirely sure should be at every single dinner party that you go to, and it’s getting a little strange that they’re always there.” (Criminal Justice Degree Guide)
- “I didn’t read what you said but here’s what I think” Troll. “He doesn’t read your piece. He doesn’t need to: he knows what he thinks already and what he knows is, he hates everything you stand for and you’re wrong and he’s going to say so, every column you write, regardless of the fact that the paucity of recommends he gets prove him to be a total Billy No Mates.” James Delingpole (2011)
- Just Don’t Get It Troll: “Just Don’t Get It Troll is the feeblest form of troll life. In fact, he hardly qualifies as a troll at all because he doesn’t understand what proper trolling what is about, or indeed the interweb thing is really for, or anything. He’ll often begin his rants with “I can’t believe you get paid for writing this rubbish” or “How disgraceful that a fine newspaper like the Telegraph should allow its reputation to be sullied by such bilge”.” James Delingpole (2011)
- Know-it-all: “Whatever you know, they know more. They spend a lot of their time attempting to discredit every Guardian article ever written, whilst still claiming it’s their favorite newspaper.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Lame Teenager: “The Lame Teenager responds with clever sayings like, “I know you are, but what am I ?” and “I’m rubber and you’re glue…” Warning: Sometimes the Lame Teenager is really a 40-year-old guy who can’t think of anything better to say.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Let-Me-Hijack-Your-Post-To-Tell-My-Horrible-Story Internet Troll: “These Internet Mole People almost always leave you wondering why they left you the comment at all, except that you’re now probably feeling guilty for being upset about anything, ever.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Liar: “The Liar is the most common troll. He loves to lure in brainless high-school girls by pretending he’s a romantic 20-year-old sensitive poet. The Liar is fairly harmless—as long as you don’t set up an IRL meet-up.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Line Crosser: “In the words of Joey Tribbiani, “You’re so far past the line, you can’t even see the line. The line is a dot to you!”. They hide behind their online persona and think this means the usual rules of society don’t apply.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Lurker: “Driven by ‘Surveillance’ forces. Lurkers make silent calls by accident, etc., clicking on adverts or ‘like’ buttons, using ’referrer spoofers’, reporting posts, modifying opinion polls or user kudos scores.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Marketing Genius:“A Marketing Genius is absolutely convinced that you are profiting from your participation in an Internet forum. If you have a link or a graphic block in your signature, the Marketing Genius just knows that this is your subtle attempt to assert your hypnotic powers on other bulletin board participants, luring them with the siren song of your complex and inscrutable advertising of your site.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums , Trolls)
- Meh Troll: “Easily identified by its complete absence of originality and creativity, the Meh Troll is a common, but minor threat. It relies upon the beating of dead horses and archaic stereotypes when attempting comedy. Consider the guy who cannot help but offer grape soda to his black friend or who depends upon making fun of Justin Bieber and you’ll get the idea. At best, he’ll get a few nervous chuckles.” Josh Gross (2013)
- MHBFYJenny: “Driven by ‘Forgiveness forces’. A MHBFY Jenny takes part in trolling to help people see the lighter side of life and to help others come to terms with their concerns.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Mutt: “Alternatively known as Dogs or Yapping Dogs. Mutts are pack animals characterized by their loud barking – vociferous, repetitive, usually ignorant, and irrational criticism of anything and anyone they do not like. Mutts often become obsessed with a few or even a single poster with whom they disagree, often for purely personal reasons. Like a dog gnawing at a bone, the Mutt will attack the object of its ire over and over, making a fool of itself in the eyes of those who understand such childish behavior for what it is.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Nellie McNeggerson: “Nellie likes to show her displeasure by negging every craigslist post you make, regardless of its content. If you say, “cool!” she’ll neg you. If you say “thanks!” she’ll neg you. She might even create multiple accounts so she can neg you four or five times.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Never-Give-Up, Never-Surrender Troll: “This troll is ALWAYS right and will battle to the death to prove it. There is no point in trying to fight her. If she can’t back something up with reality, she’ll make something up, just to show you how wrong you are.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Never-Gonna-Give-You-Up-Troll: “This Internet Troll is right. Always. And this troll will never, ever, stop telling you why. It doesn’t matter how many times you argue; this troll is right.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- New Service Addict: “They became a friend of yours on MySpace, or maybe even followed you on LiveJournal, and ever since then, they’ve wanted to be your friend on every social network known to man. Sometimes you catch a serious one who signs up for all the newest services before anyone, and they immediately send out invites like they’re passing out candy to kids on Halloween.” Don Reisinger, CNET (2008)
- Not A Troll, Trolls: “Not everyone expressing a dissenting opinion on your website is an Internet Mole Person.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Off-Topic Trolls: “Unclear as to whether these trolls are actually people or simply spam-bots.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Old Warrior:“The Old Warrior has been there and done that. He has little time to spare for those who have not been there and done that. The Old Warrior has been there and done that to such an extent, in fact, that he is always right. Anyone who disagrees with him, therefore, is wrong by definition and should shut the hell up. Old Warriors place a very high premium on one’s credentials relevant to the subject matter discussed, failing to understand the logical fallacy of appeals to authority.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Old-time Nobody: “Social networks provide a slew of opportunities to connect with old friends, but that doesn’t mean you need to befriend your third-grade buddy Bill, whom you haven’t had a discussion with in 20 years. Usually they mention a time in your life the two of you shared when you were kids. Maybe it’s not the end of the world, but it does get a bit awkward when they remember that time and you don’t.” Don Reisinger, CNET (2008)
- Overtly Reflective Troll: “If you’ve ever known some tool (usually armed with an acoustic guitar) who speaks in an unnecessarily soft tone and refuses to use any other adjective but “deep” or “meta”, you are familiar with the Overtly Reflective Troll. It will tirelessly comment on the state of our existence and leave your nostrils with the overpowering stench of an overcrowded, but well-fed bullpen. The Overtly Reflective Troll doesn’t really believe its drivel, but just wants to make you look bad in front of the ladies.” Josh Gross (2013)
- Patent Trolls: “A patent troll uses patents as legal weapons, instead of actually creating any new products or coming up with new ideas. Instead, trolls are in the business of litigation (or even just threatening litigation). They often buy up patents cheaply from companies down on their luck who are looking to monetize what resources they have left, such as patents.” (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
- Peacemaker: “Arguing with a troll is a dangerous game, but it turns out that some internet commenters are in fact normal people with unprecedented levels of common sense.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Pedant Troll: “In his imagination, pedant troll is the very exemplar of reason, balance and moderation. He feels effortlessly superior to the ridiculous, extremist, purblind fool whose blog he haunts, and whom he likes to put down with his killer sarcasm, weapons-grade pedantry and niggling little quibbles masquerading as constructive criticism. If he were really as brilliant as he thinks he is, he would at the very least have a major blog of his own by now, and more likely be King of the World. Strangely, he has yet to achieve either of these things.” James Delingpole (2011)
- Pedant: “This troll will refuse to listen if “there” and “their” is misused or there is a typo – mistakes automatically invalidate arguments.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Playtime Trolls: “An individual plays a simple, short game. Such trolls are relatively easy to spot because their attack or provocation is fairly blatant, and the persona is fairly two-dimensional.” Team Technology (Beware the Troll)
- Playtime Trolls: “An individual plays a simple, short game. Such trolls are relatively easy to spot because their attack or provocation is fairly blatant, and the persona is fairly two-dimensional.” (Net Lingo)
- Point Misser: “The Point Misser lacks the part of the brain that detects humor and loves nothing more than complaining about TV shows they haven’t even seen.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Political Commentator: “Imaginative use of swear words and an ability to twist everything into an argument about misspending the taxpayer’s money is a must.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Preacher: “Whatever the topic, they’ll find some way of turning it into a great theological debate. And all you wanted to do was Instagram a picture of your dinner.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Pretend-novice: “Has an agenda to push but pretends to not to understand arguments against said agenda in order to push the agenda further. By appearing to be a new user, she can get away with combativeness without appearing aggressive or hostile and can always excuse any poor arguments as ignorance or genuine inquiry.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Priggish Grammar Troll: “No matter what the discussion is about, the Priggish Grammar Troll will ignore the argument and pick on the one word you used incorrectly, like “alot” or misuses of “they’re,” “their” and “there.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Profane Screamer: “If someone says something even remotely critical of the Profane Screamer, he’ll TYPE IN ALL CAPS, telling you what a @#$# you are and insulting your mom. The Profane Screamer is often a noob and often turns into The Crybaby.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Psycho Trolls: “These trolls have an unconscious psychological need to feel good by making others feel bad. Such people may use their real names on the internet, and they may not even realize that they are “trolling”. Team Technology (Beware the Troll)
- Rabid Flamer: “This guy likes to make trouble for his own amusement. If nothing particularly nasty is going on, he’ll whip out his flamethrower and burn everyone in his path, especially denizens of parenting or pets chat rooms.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Ranting Troll: “Ranting troll has an ax to grind and his preferred place to do this is on your blog or in a review of your book. Like Crazy Troll, Ranting Troll makes some sense, though his argument might be very tangential.” Kristen Lamb (2012)
- Religious Trolls: “These trolls use Bible Verses and religious scripture to justify being mean to others for no real reason.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Rent-A-Mob: “This troll will bring a like-minded troll army with them to fight the cause. Be warned, the army could be just one person in disguise.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Retroactive Stalker: “The Retroactive Stalker will go back in time to find every craigslist post you ever made until he finds something embarrassing you said, even if you posted it three years ago. After that, whenever you post anything new, the Retroactive Stalker will link to the old post(s) in an effort to discredit you.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Ripper: “Driven by ‘Thanatotic’ forces. A Ripper takes part in self-deprecating trolling in order to build a false sense of empathy from others.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Self-Feeding Troll: “This guy likes to argue, even when everyone else in the fold tells him he’s wrong. Without support from his nonexistent friends, he changes handles or makes up new ones to show the fold how loved he is.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Serial Leaver: “If they can’t get their own way, they threaten to leave forever because of the vile bullying and then return a few days later. Repeat.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Sharing Troll: “Also known as the TOU Violator, this psycho will find out your personal information and post it on message boards when you anger him. For example, when he’s being an ass to someone and you step in to tell him to knock it off, he’ll use your real name or post your address.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Shock Trolls: “Shock Trolls are arguably one of the more malicious trolls and are fairly common in some parts of the internet, Shock Trolls delight in causing offensive and may infect computers with malware “for fun” or hack into sites and vandalize them. Shock Troll tactics often involve the use of disgusting, perverted or controversial imagery or texts and much like the Griefer Shock Trolls may find the resulting chaos to be amusing.” (Villains Wikia)
- Shouter: “They’re angry. So, so angry. They’re angered by happy people, sad people, other angry people, cats, badgers, themselves, politicians and humus.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Snert: “Driven by ‘Anti-social’ forces. A Snert takes part in trolling to harm others for their own sick entertainment.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Snob: “This troll will just post *yawn*, *slow hand clap* or a rolling eye gif after every post they deem below par.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Sock Puppeteer: “If you’ve got any concept of ROI, you’re clearly not a Sock Puppeteer. These people can’t actually have paying jobs. They’re entirely too busy ruining everyone’s Internet fun and potentially having an extremely odd personality disorder. The Sock Puppeteer is a curious type of troll who creates several alternate, additional accounts on a commenting forum to flank their original trolling comment or argument with support.” (Criminal Justice Degree Guide)
- Sophist Troll:“Sophist Trolls, or “philotrolls,” fancy themselves Enlightened Philosophers or Learned Experts of the highest order. Often well educated, Philotrolls are capable of speaking intelligently on a number of topics, and when the spirit moves them, they can be worthwhile forum participants. Unfortunately, Sophist Trolls are an extremely hostile and intolerant species.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- Spam Troll: “When internet trolls put links into their already annoying long winded posts.
- Spambot Troll: “Spambot troll is on a mission – quite possibly a paid-for mission to judge by the frequency with which he posts. His job is to sabotage the comments section by filling it with cut-and-paste postings of little relevance to the debate in hand. He was probably sent straight here from CACC – which also sums up the quality of the stuff he writes.” James Delingpole (2011)
- Spambot Trolls: “Spambot Trolls might not even be people, but they crud up comments of otherwise civil discussions and they do so all over the Internet. They paste text and links into comments that often lead to data mining bugs or dead-ends, and there’s not much rhyme or reason to their names, words, or links. The Spambot Troll is like an automated Baiter; they just waste energy and space, and sometimes provoke a reaction, though it’s hard to imagine that anyone takes their bait.” (Criminal Justice Degree Guide)
- Spoiler: “The Spoiler likes to ruin people’s days. On the film fo, he gives away endings (“He was dead the whole time!”). On sports sites, he posts the final scores.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Stalker Troll: “It takes a fairly sick mentality to want to be a troll. If you were in any way healthy, you would prefer to hang out the blogs of people you agree with, rather than maliciously setting out to disrupt those of people you hate. Stalker troll is the sickest of the lot. He becomes obsessed with every detail of life of the person whose blog he infests, in the hope of gleaning titbits, which he can use against his nemesis. For example, one of the regular trolls on this blog makes frequent sneery references to the fact that I suffer from depression. This is bizarre.” James Delingpole (2011)
- STD Troll: “As many of you know, a sexually transmitted disease is hard to kick, just like this troll. Even when you think you’ve lost it for good, it comes back for another round. Unless you are a Zen monk, you’ll quickly lose patience with this cretin and reward it with the desired reaction. The best way to fight this troll off is by doing something counterintuitive: agreeing with it (please keep in mind this philosophy only applies to STD trolls, you should really just stick with a good antibiotic for an actual STD). I refer to this as the “roll with the troll” defense.” Josh Gross (2013)
- Stranger: “It happens to all of us: someone we don’t know tries to be our friend on Facebook. Their profile claims they graduated from the same college and they live in your general area. You know you’ve never met the person and even if you did, it was for a fleeting second and you don’t remember them at all.” Don Reisinger, CNET (2008)
- Strategic Trolls: “A very serious form of game, involving the production of an overall strategy that can take months or years to develop. It can also involve a number of people acting together in order to invade a list.” (Net Lingo)
- Strategic Trolls: A very serious form of game, involving the production of an overall strategy that can take months or years to develop. It can also involve a number of people acting together in order to invade a list.” Team Technology (Beware the Troll)
- Swearer: “If anyone dares to disagree with them, this troll will reply IN CAPS AND WITH LOTS OF SWEARING *@!&. They will also tell you how ugly you and your mum are.” Emily Turner, (2013)
- Tactical Trolls: “This is where the troller takes the game more seriously, creates a credible persona to gain confidence of others, and provokes strife in a subtle and invidious way.” Team Technology (Beware the Troll)
- “This Is My CAUSE” Internet Troll (Internet Mole Person): “Person who defines themselves solely by their “cause,” and spends countless hours blathering on and on about it to anyone on The Twitter, The Facebook and blogs. They have a Google search set and hours each day to devote to blogs and they do that to leave comments about their “cause.” Which no one cares that much about. Or is a one-sided thing and almost always involves emotional manipulation and impassioned catch-phrases to get the very annoying point across.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Troll Behind A Troll Behind A Troll: “This Internet Troll, when he or she cannot summon up the support of others, will invent new screen names, logins, and profiles in order to support him or herself and his or her argument.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Troll: “Driven by ‘Chaos’ forces. A Troll takes part in trolling to entertain others, bringing some fun and mischief to an online community. (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- Twister: “They take everything you say out of context and use it to make you sound like a douche. The tabloid journalists of the trolling world.” Robin Edds (2013)
- Vengeful Troll: “The minute you anger the Vengeful Troll, he or she posts your personal information everywhere.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- Vulgar Troll: “These, the crudest of all trolls, make no attempt to hide their species. Often, they make racist comments, or they may post porn and other spam. Vulgars usually confine their comments merely to primitive, profane, off-topic observations. When you log into the Really Profound Serious Philosophical Discussions board and see the post, “I smell my farts,” you’ve spotted the Vulgar Troll. Other species of troll sometimes revert to this form when cornered.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- White Knight: “If the White Knight thinks someone hurts someone’s feelings, he’ll put on his shiny armor and joust for honor and goodness … even if the “attacked” person tells him to shut up.” Tamar Love Grande (2010)
- Wizard: “Driven by ‘Creative’ forces. A Wizard does trolling through making up and sharing content that has humorous effect.” (Crocels Trolling Academy)
- “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN” Pseudo-Concern Trolls: “These Internet Trolls are precisely as you’d imagine. They take any instance where there might be an issue of perceived impropriety and exploit it.” (The Band Back Together Project)
- YerATroll:“YerATrolls are those whining forumites who devote a tremendous amount of time and energy complaining about the tremendous amount of time an energy expended by Troll Bashers and Angry Forumites on the practice of troll-hunting. A self-righteous and hypocritical breed, YerATrolls spend all their time pointing fingers at everyone but trolls, petulantly demanding that their opinions be granted the significance the YerATroll believes they deserve.” (2006 Ubuntu Forums, Trolls)
- YouTube Commenter: “Are you having a great day? Well, we’ve got the solution for you. YouTube.com is the web’s leading video sharing site and has become a hugely popular search engine. Comments on the videos are those of an open forum, with very little moderation (especially in the pre-YouTube-by-Google days), and are generally a web junkie’s daily reminder that everyone on the Internet (so, pretty much everyone in the world) is grossly ignorant, contributing to global idiocy in scads, and generally sucks really, really hard.” (Criminal Justice Degree Guide)
“Most writers have a fear of trolls. It is embedded deep within the collective subconscious to fear these nasty creatures of spite and hate. But, I hope, with some proper preparation, you can resume zipping down the digital highway unafraid…though I do advise you to stop at a later point to hose the trolls out of your grill.” Kristen Lamb (2011)
Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), Narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), Psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and Sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).
E.E. Buckels et al, “Trolls just want to have fun,” Personality and Individual Differences, 2014.
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. is a NYS licensed psychologist and cyber criminology consultant. He completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Adler University in 1994. In 2010, Dr. Nuccitelli authored the dark side of cyberspace concept known as “iPredator.” In November 2011, he established iPredator Inc., offering educational, investigative, and advisory services involving criminal psychology, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, online predators, internet trolls, the dark side of cyberspace and internet safety. Dr. Nuccitelli has worked in the mental health field over the last thirty-plus years and has volunteered his time helping cyber-attacked victims since 2010. His goal is to reduce victimization, theft, and disparagement from iPredators.
In addition to aiding citizens & disseminating educational content, Dr. Nuccitelli’s mission is to initiate a sustained national educational and awareness internet safety campaign with the help of private, state, and federal agencies. He is always available, at no cost, to interact with online users, professionals, and the media. To invite Dr. Nuccitelli to conduct training, media engagements, educational services, or consultation, please call him at (347) 871-2416 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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