The Thing about Trolls

The one thing we can all agree on is that trolls are annoying and a waste of space.

Since the release of the internet, trolls have slowly made their way in. Attaching themselves to forums and most recently social media and comment boards. Do trolls themselves have a certain set of personality traits that create this type of person? Why do they constantly seek to be cruel and hurt others? There are answers to everything and I’ll write about one now.

You see, trolls lie in what psychologists call the “Dark Tetrad.” You can think of it as a place where we toss our hate, cruelty, non-sensical thoughts, actions and ideas into. A clearer image would be a dumpster full of garbage. It has four main personality characteristics: narcissism, machiavellism, psychopathy and sadism.

  • Narcissism: erotic gratification of you own physical or mental self; like an infant with their fingers or toes.
  • Machiavellism: someone cunning, deceptive or dishonest.
  • Psychopathy: mental disorder where morals don’t exist, anti-social (not to be confused with introversion), lack of ability to love or have relationships.
  • Sadism: condition where pain or cruelty must be caused to be sexually gratified.

“Could we say all trolls possess these traits? Yes, we safely can.”

The findings of a Canadian research team found when testing trolls to find if the dark tetrad was their major personality traits found that it was. The result summaries are:

  • As they are online, they are in reality,
  • genuinely enjoy being cruel and causing pain,
  • have a high commenting frequency,
  • believe their online identity to be their ideal self,
  • mostly extraverted, with unagreeableness being high.

If you frequent comment boards you’ll likely see the trolls and move on because of the undeserved wisdom from others “don’t feed the trolls.” I call this undeserved because it doesn’t work in making them disappear. When you ignore a problem it gets bigger, it’s as simple as that.

“So why the slogan?”

Its in my opinion that it comes from those who have been soundly smothered by trolls. They failed to stop trolls and believe others shouldn’t even bother. This created a mob mentality. Trolls do not deserve a free pass to be endlessly cruel. Trolls are in fact an overly cruel, obnoxious minority on the internet.

“So what can be done with them?”

Well for one, knowing that your dealing with one is an absolute must. So you have to know the tells that are usually obvious. Some of them are: attempting to push your buttons to get a rise out of you, can only give an opinion rather than cite any fact without a credible source or my personal favourite, they attempt to use mountains of unrelated paragraphs to convince you they’re right when those paragraphs are meaningless to the context of the conversation. There are other tells but these are the easiest to see.

“So what specifically can be done about them?”

Trolls, because of their high correlation to the dark tetrad require that their attempts at trolling be met with some response or even a simple nod or thumbs up. When there is no reaction they either find another board and try there. This has the problem in my mind of being the same as giving a free pass to cruelty.

Another method is to not be provoked into a justified rage or go into an attempt at name calling, this is honestly the worst way to deal with them. Why is this the worst way? Because that is their goal. You enraged means they’ve achieved it and because they see that it works on you they’ll continue, most likely drawing in more victims or worse yet, more trolls.

I personally engage with them, but not in an emotional way. When I get trolled I use pure hard fact and logic on them refuting everything single one of their claims with pure fact. I leave and come back at least once a day and refute the next claim. This happens over several days but because I don’t let my day be consumed by this I can stay sane and sharp. Of course they continue on and on multiple times during those days trying to provoke and convince me their false ideas are rooted in truth.

I once engaged with a troll who started off by saying there is a “white” genocide happening right now because of a video that sang about loving one another whether white or brown (I dislike the term white because it is a false category). “How the troll interpreted the song as a genocide is beyond stupidity.” I brought statistics, facts, reasons from all countries I could think of (even the eastern countries). This led to the troll becoming obviously flustered and then resorting to saying “..your a socialist liberal left wing nut (a statement thrown out whenever someone defends democracy) who should look to Germany for the rise of the next Reich.” I’m sure by that statement you can guess what kind of person that is behind the words.

So in summary, not all trolls will troll about the same things and that old saying “don’t feed the trolls” is true but, the people who should follow that are quick tempered and easily riled. So if your not that kind of person, engage and bring cold hard facts to the table. Your guaranteed to feel angered or annoyed but don’t let that win. Even if the troll goes ballistic at least the people who have been reading will have some truth to follow instead of the willful stupidity blurted out by trolls.

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