What is a troll?

The word “troll” is used to describe someone who intentionally posts controversial or contrary messages in an on-line community such as an online discussion forum or group with the intention of baiting users into an argumentative response.

Common examples of the techniques used by trolls include:

  • flooding by excessive meaningless posting
  • attacking regulars in a group
  • attempting to “divide and conquer”
  • making themselves the savior of the group
  • trying to impress others with their knowledge, but ultimately only showing their ignorance of a subject
  • childish name calling
  • threatening people
  • violating newsgroup policies
  • posting under an alias (especially after getting kicked of for one or more of the above)

Trolls often have serious personal issues and will usually focus their attacks and aggressions on one or a few more active or long time members of the group. They will also be paranoid about other group members and/or administrators “ganging up on them” in support of the long time users, or when they are reprimanded (or even banned) for breaking the rules.
The word troll has gained popularity in internet communities because of its apt second meaning, drawn from the trolls portrayed in children’s tales; they are often ugly, obnoxious creatures bent on mischief an wickedness.

The best way to deal with a Troll is to completely ignore them.