Understanding the underlying psychological problems of those who Troll.
A Troll is a person who visits websites to attack other posters. S/he has no position, not political,
not social; in short s/he has no ‘point’.
It is attack for attack sake.
In early days Trolls were often pre-pubescent high school boys. Powerless, cowards, the Internet
became their psychodrama where they could act out.
Those who moderated message boards would ban them, delete their posts, and so their victory
Where the school boy may mature into a responsible individual, the adult Troll has deep seated
The adult who feels powerless grasps the opportunity to use the anonymity of the Internet to
create an all powerful avatar who can attack others with impunity.
With very low self images, Trolls experience that rush of control when they, who are afraid to tell
their neighbor to turn down his radio, can spew invective with impunity.
Trolls post insulting comments hoping another poster will respond. When there is a response this
provides reinforcement of their behaviour.
As passive-aggressive mentalities who can not express hostility in direct ways, the Internet
allows them the perfect venue to vent.
As they desire attention they will join sites, for example, Triond, where instead of posting
submissions, they lurk in the unmoderated forum feeding their pathetic egos with each
response they receive.
No matter what the response, it is a response. One can be more insulting, threatening, it doesn’t
matter. The response, any response is what their pathology requires.
As Trolls are cowards, they run in packs. It is rare to see a single troll. They take strength from
each other. They delude themselves into believing they are in the majority and their views are
shared by ’everyone’.
Where average people may be proud of an achievement, trolls exalt over their ‘kills’; that is
persons they have ‘run off’ the forum, or message boards they have caused to close.
When users cease to post, that is Stop Feeding the Trolls, the forum becomes moribund. Trolls
have nothing to say. Once there is no one to attack they may begin flaming each other, then
cease to log on to the site.
Trolling is the sad attempt at self validation, just as taking drugs, trolling demands more and
more to feed the addiction that props up low self-esteem.
‘Deindividualization’ is a term social psychologists use to explain the reduction in the sense of
one’s own identity. In online communication the Troll is distant from the victim and prone to
Behind the nickname used by the Troll is a pathetic individual who feels helpless. Having to bottle
hostility due to physical/intellectual/ emotional weakness. They can not distinguish between positive attention, praise, approval, affection and negative attention, criticism, hatred, disapproval.
All Attention = Good.
There is some amount of sadism in the psyche of Trolls and that hint of Asperger’s syndrome,
where they can not feel remorse for their actions.
Experienced moderators recognise that no matter how one humiliates a Troll s/he can never believe
s/he ‘lost’. The viable method is to ’suck up’ to the Trolls, gain their trust, at such time they become
quite easy to smack down.