The Tao of Troll Kune Do
Today, I have come to share with all of you the secrets of something I have long since mastered. The art of trolling is an incredibly refined craft in which one must have patience, discipline, and the resolve to destroy any and all enemies. For years I have taken to various online games, chat services, social networking sites, and forum threads in order to do one thing:
correct any and all necessary errors that people have made, point out logical fallacies, and utterly disintegrate the value of an individual. I suppose that makes me a
fucking disgusting delightful person, but it’s wonderful fun. It’s also only fun if you target those who have already done it to others first. Those who have humiliated, abused, or thrown out personal attacks to others void themselves of the right to respect, and can be trolled at will. But, enough about “why”. I’m here today to clarify the “who” on this topic.
In any open forum, there can be only three types of trolls. While many traits of any one troll can fit well into more than one category, a few distinctive features regarding their persona, vocabulary, and methodology distinguish them from one another. We’ll begin with the most obvious:
“The Lennie”: The reason I’ve titled this troll category as such is simple. Every single trait they possess is derived from John Steinbeck’s famous character “Lennie Small”, of his literary classic Of Mice and Men. These trolls are known for their idiocy, and extreme strength through little effort. Without hardly knowing their abilities, they unleash the wrath of entire servers, and forum members alike. Within their arsenal lies a mixture of overtly nonsensical statements, ranging from oxymorons, easily-disprovable assertions, and anti-intellectual phrases designed merely to catch unsuspecting bystanders off-guard. Their blatantly unintelligent nature, while justly believable, is usually a facade crafted to trick those who are quick to snap at public imbeciles. The mockery at their expense is what they crave, and in order to maintain their grasp on the world’s attention they follow each stab at their uneducated demeanor with further one-liners, purposefully aimed at drawing the target further into their clutches. Throwing out fundamental typography lessons, as well as any form of etiquette that comes with informed debate, they strike; the results, a painful to dissect block of run-on sentences and fragments, carefully arranged to captivate their audience into a state of utter disbelief and amusement at this village idiot before them.
Some of their lines include such overused, and easy to detect catchphrases such as, but not limited to:
1) “Why do they call it an Xbox 360? Coz you turn 360 degrees and walk away”
2) “I h8 legend of zelda cuz zelda is a stupid boy name”
3) “(insert game here) sucks!!! COD is way better!!!!!!”
4) “you mad bro”
5) “nerd rage”
6) “get @ me”
While a “Lennie” undoubtedly seems like the quickest go-to archetype for your average troll, it couldn’t hurt to remember one thing:
Some people are just hilariously stupid.
Our second example is not only the most hated troll, they’re also the only one that I believe deserves the contempt they receive:
“The Derailer”: Appropriately titled after the device named for turning trains on their side in a wave of destruction, these trolls are all about the shock value of what they say. Anything, and everything can be used against their victims. Nothing is sacred, and all is fair so long as it achieves the desired effect: RAGE. They are well-known for their consistent use of profanity, and when the occasion calls for it, racist, sexist, and ageist remarks. While these may be an easily distinguishable aspect, one must also determine the level of insensitivity to their comments. A Derailer isn’t bound by the moral inhibitions that keep most people in PG-13 mode wherever they visit. They take any topic, regardless of how recent, or how tragic the occurrence was, and turn it into sadistic humor or a personal attack. This is commonly met with a reaction of absolutely inconsolable, incoherent malice, or bewilderment. The Derailer is incredibly effective, and usually the most difficult to contain troll because of their innate ability to turn an entire community into a riot. Certain remarks have been known to throw certain cliques, or groups into disarray; the reason being is that varying tolerance levels within groups cause a sort of schism to form between those who are entertained by the troll, and those who abhor them.
Many a time I’ve
instigated witnessed a conflict within a game, or on a YouTube comment section arise merely out of a single line that was both cruel, and oblivious to the fragile sensibilities of those who were watching. The result was a battleground, where well-articulated debaters turned on one another in a bloodbath of profanity-laden, racially-charged aggression formed effortlessly out of the insecurities of individuals who thought no one would ever tread where eagles dare. Their restraints lifted, these once-peaceful users viciously tore each other apart due to the clever, and devious manipulation of a Derailer. In a territory where anonymity is your most powerful ally, they prey on the hypersensitive, superstitious, and ignorant as they prove every day who should, and should not be socially involved on the internet.
Lastly, I have saved our final troll for the conclusion, as they don’t truly belong in this world. Their tactics, while some may believe to be inconsiderate, are also their greatest weapon:
“The Intellectual”: Unfortunately, this lovely group of bright human beings have made their way onto the list for one reason. No one likes a smart-ass. In the digital realm where whoever speaks the loudest wins, the person who wields the most cunning wit becomes a beacon. Ironically, that beacon is that of the gigantic red bulls-eye on their forehead, and these people are usually targeted as outsiders in the same way antibiotics hone in on a virus. The intellectual, in an effort to genuinely make a point, or correct the errors of others, is immediately ostracized by the community. Preemptively labeled as a villain, the intellectual is harassed before their stances are even heard, creating a frustrating wall between facts, and the argument they’re trying to improve. Countless times I’ve been on various social networking sites, games, or even amongst friends, when someone states something that others nod their head at, (usually out of a lack of concern) and a clever soul has stepped forth to provide contradicting evidence to their claim. This unfailingly triggers a defense mechanism in the first speaker, causing them to react with profound hostility towards the other person. They then begin to rant about being attacked, and why they believe the intellectual to be an aggressor. What they never seem to understand, is that this “troll” simply did not want their point to go unchallenged, especially if what they said could be proven to be false. Defeated, and desperate the first speaker lashes out repeatedly at the intellectual, attempting to discredit them through an assortment of fallacies and defamatory statements.
The intellectual, left with one of two options, must now choose how to end the debate;
they can either…
A) switch position to a Derailer, in which they condescend and ridicule the person in a ruthless fashion until they concede defeat by way of rage-quit, block/ignore, or public opinion swaying their direction,
or B) take the high-road by recognizing a lost cause, ending with a ‘final word’ statement and withdrawing from the forum, hoping the person will come to see the error(s) of their previous claim in time.
<There is also an option “C”, which would be fluidly carrying on the debate in a one-sided, Socratic fashion until the other party eventually turns neutral or gives into reason. This, however, is so rare I’ve only ever seen it accomplished by a handful of individuals, such as the notable user “Godless Spellchecker“, on Twitter. Most people don’t have the patience for this outcome>
With all of this new information, I sincerely hope you will be well-armed for your next encounter with a troll of the world wide web. They come in many shapes, and perform in various manners, so you should be wary of their tricks. However, if your better judgment tells you that you’re not dealing with a troll, but an intellectual, it’s probably best to make friends with them, for your sake.