Thu 21 November 2019
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Seven types of troll: a spotter's guide
James Delingpole on those who posts inflammatory extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog

As we all know just because you’re away on holiday doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about the nasty things in life. That’s why I’m dedicating this post to the menagerie – or, if you will, infestation – of trolls which lurk below this blog and who seem to have grown even more active in my absence.

There’s an argument which goes that we bloggers need our pet trolls almost as much as they need us. I’m not sure I value them that highly myself but I do find them a fascinating case study. What intrigues me is their psychopathology. I mean, it takes a certain sort of mentality actively to seek out columnists with whom you disagree and lurk below their blog being spiteful and angry and disruptive. Maybe I’d respect them more if they weren’t cowering behind the mask of anonymity, or if ever for once in their sad, deficient lives they actually strove to engage with the arguments made. But they never do, for such is the nature of trolling.

In the early days, I admit, I used to get quite upset by the horrid things trolls said about me. I mean, I’m just a blogger making a case. It’s not like I’m misusing public money in the manner of, say, a UEA “climate scientist”; it’s not like I’m a politician making bad laws or some rent-seeking landowner blighting my neighbours’ views with wind farms. But it’s OK, I’m over it now. What I’ve since learned to appreciate is that the problem with trolls is not my problem: it’s theirs. These are psychologically damaged creatures, eaten up with an awful lot of rage and sense of their own inadequacies. Below are some the varieties of troll I have identified. I’m sure you’ll have fun deciding which avatars best fit into which category.

1. 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 is about, or indeed what 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”. [Yeah, like you're in a position to complain when you read the stuff for free online] Or they’ll have a go at you for writing in too casual a style, or for promoting your books, or for not writing about the subject they wanted you to write – or at least not in the way they would have done it had THEY been writing the piece. That’s why they’re called Just Don’t Get It Trolls: because they Just Don’t Get It.

For more trolls

The Telegraph


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