3 Characteristics of a Troll
Have you ever been watching a YouTube video and continued to post a comment only to be greeted by someone who has seemingly started an argument with you for absolutely no reason? Congratulations(!) You have met a troll.
In Internet slang, a troll is defined as:
“a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”
But why would an individual act in such a way? You may feel that your opinion is worthless, or perhaps the way you look in your profile photo is to blame for the attack.
Scientists disagree. Researchers suggest that there are 3 key attributes in the trolls’ personality that makes them act the way they do:
Ø They have an inability to function in a civilised or pro-social way. They were found to be more likely to be manipulative, psychopathic and sadist than normal people.
Ø Anonymity. The internet can provide an individual with an easy way to disguise themselves and it is this deindividuation that can bring out the worst in a person even if they are not naturally this way.
Ø Status-enhancement. The ability to spark outrage and the gaining of people’s attention can make the troll feel more important, perhaps more important than they do outside of their cyber life.
Trolls are difficult to deal with due to the fact that displaying ignorance towards them is not seen as a public humiliation to them as very often they are hiding behind a separate identity.
But with the points above in mind, ignoring trolls is the best way to combat them!