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Internet troll

Internet troll

Internet troll definition

Internet users who communicate using off-topic or inflammatory messages to enrage individuals or groups and start an online war. Some trolls wander the web alone, looking for a fight to pick, while others storm forums and social media services in packs to disrupt conversations and push their agendas. Internet trolls don’t have a single modus operandi. They’ll attack a person no matter who they are, just for the sake of creating an argument, whether it’s on Twitter or during a Q&A session at an online conference.

How to spot an internet troll

  • They go off topic. Their main goal is often simple disruption. Deliberately posting irrelevant arguments and facts is a straightforward way to annoy people.
  • They refuse to acknowledge facts and evidence. When someone wants to argue just for the sake of it, they will ignore all facts and evidence and instead focus on emotions.
  • Their profile is obviously fake. It’s either completely new, has no picture, or uses one that's obviously taken from the internet or doesn’t show a face.
  • They comment on everything. It’s not a person with actual interests — they simply intend to inflame an argument. So they don’t care what band’s music video, political tweet, or subreddit they are commenting on — as long as it’s annoying other people.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security