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Trolls!

When we were kids, we didn’t have computers and the Internet, Xbox and Game Boy. We had hockey sticks, balls, trucks and books of fairy tales by people like Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. Those books were full of mystical stories about wonderous creatures that included sorcerers, fairies, elves, unicorns, giants and…….trolls.

Trolls were ugly little creatures that, for the most part, lived under bridges and in caves. They were dangerous and at six years old, we were rightly frightened of them.

Later, I would learn that the mythology of trolls originated in the Scandanavian countries, primarily Denmark where originally they were considered to be the spirits that lived inside rocks and other inanimate objects. Later, they would evolve to take on a human-like form. Usually they were ugly creatures although in some tales, they were not.

I still remember those old stories somewhat wistfully because we lose that sense of wonder and the ability to believe in things that are magically, even if they are a little scary. All too soon, I became aware that fairies and elves, unicorns and sorcerers don’t exist but trolls do.

Trolls are real. They walk among us and can be found all over the Internet.

Internet trolls are the ones who post highly inflammatory (and usually incorrect) messages across social media and in chat rooms. They surf the web looking for memorial sites where they can leave hateful, spiteful messages that denigrate the deceased and which are designed to hurt those who mourn.

Internet trolls frequently jump into conversations which are none of their business, hurl insults at one or another in the conversation until it becomes impossible for the original participants to continue. They act alone and they act in groups. They are cowards, bullies and lack any standard of recognizable values.

Some think these trolls exist primarily because the anonymity the Internet provides allows trolls to bring out the worst in themselves. But I think it is something else that causes people to become trolls.

I believe trolls are insecure people with small, petty lives in the real world. They are lonely nobodies crying out for attention in any way they can get it. They are ill-informed on most issues, have little interest in becoming informed and their self-esteem is so low that they are threatened by anyone who challenges their shallow beliefs and opinions.

I get accosted by one or more trolls every day. I don’t take it all that seriously because I see them for what they are; sad, pathetic people with pathetic lives but others, most of whom are more sensitive than I am, often take these troll attacks to heart and are either intimidated or hurt by them.

I have had friends on Twitter who have been bullied to the point of closing their account and for no other reason than because trolls decided to make them a target.

I’ve seen trolls attack families grieving for the loss of a child, gather together to encourage someone to commit suicide online for their entertainment and other trolls flock to web sites that pay homage to serial killers, racists and homophobes.

They offer nothing of value and their ideas and as much as they are hurtful, their words are silly and the comments absurd.

Trolls are everywhere and at some point virtually everyone who uses social media on the Internet, on a regular basis, will encounter one or more of them. When that happens remember this. Trolls can only hurt you if you allow them to hurt you. Block them, report them or ignore them. They crave attention. It is how they validate their pathetic little lives. Don’t give it to them. Instead, see them for what they are and simply move on. Their words can’t hurt you and they have nothing but hurtful words to throw at you.

Trolls are people who have accomplished nothing and so look for ways to undermine the accomplishments of others. They have no values so they look for ways to undermine the values of others. Don’t allow it. They are lower than spammers and scammers, they are the Internet’s bottom feeders sharing more in common with pedophiles and racists than any other group who uses social media.

Soon enough, just as it was when we grew up and fairy tales lost their magic, the Internet too will mature and grow up and trolls will fade away into the sewers from which they came. It can’t come soon enough for most of us but regardless of how long it takes, it is coming.
Until then, just remember that trolls are sleazy little imaginary creatures not worth concerning yourself over.

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© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16564199754847966303 Grumpyelder

    Someday I’ll tell you about Yugo Mary– In fact someday I may write a blog about her, she was the best troll I’ve ever seen.

    She was a conservative troll, on a liberal MSM site that had a bad habit of accidentally deleting conservative posts. To make it even better she knew how the Media website worked better than the site’s media editor. She never actually hacked their system, but she could insert code into comments that would make a single comment take up 3 and 4 entire comment pages. She went trough 50 or 60 disposable aliases a month- she called them dirty socks. She could get past IP blocks like they didn’t exist. I’ve seen her hijack a post by having 5-6 of her aliases get into a comment fight. Once she even used several of the editors avatars and a slight variation of their usernames, then made it look like they were screaming at each other about a news article-in the comment section.

    She disappeared one day- just vanished, I got one email from her afterwards…

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I’m not so sure Mary was a troll. Sounds more to me like she was striking a blow for fairness. I tend to think of trolls as mean little folks who have few values and even fewer capabilities. They contribute nothing except anger and sometimes hurt feelings. I think Mary, with her tech savvy sounds like she knew how to balance unfair bias and that doesn’t sound too troll-like to me.

      It’s too bad you don’t still have contact with her, I could use someone who could help me figure out some of the tech issues I keep bumping into on this blog.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16564199754847966303 Grumpyelder

      You and me both–

      I know several people she traded emails with- some got one or two emails after she vanished- some heard nothing at all

      Send me an email about the issues– I am/was fairly comfortable with blogger. Really glad I went self hosted. If I have a problem or a question I can pick up the phone and within minutes I’m talking to someone who speaks English and has answers. It’s worth 120 bucks a year,

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16564199754847966303 Grumpyelder

    Toady must not be much of a troll, — or that’s a new alias..not even a mention on Google

    I think I’d have done what you did- leave the post up to be laughed at

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      Don’t be too hard on him. He did the best he could with the limited intellectual ability he had available to him.

  • DavidA

    I troll libtards all day. Just deny AGW, say guns are awesome, life begins at conception, etc. and watch ’em spin out into apoplectic fits. Rinse and repeat when they start to calm down and you can keep ’em going all day.

    Lefties are the easiest to troll because they are generally hot-headed children who always take the bait. Milking a lulz-cow has never been easier.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      Personally, I have better things to do than go looking for trolls. They seem to find me quite easily. I don’t mind them taking a run at me, I’m not as old as the twit above thinks and I’m not intimidated by adolescent petulance. I think that leaving hate messages on memorial sites and bullying people on social media just because they have an opinion and dared to actually share it gets a bit much.

      Trolls are the ones who abuse the concept of free speech, not by what they say but because they have no respect for the right of others to that same right. They have no respect for the feelings of others and are pathetic little people with little lives. Real people don’t need to get their jollies like this.

  • Toad the Troll

    For right wing dicks like you, a troll is anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe and says so.

    It’s a brave new world out here in the wilds of the intertoobz old man. If you can’t hack, fuck off.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I think you just proved my point although I’m pretty sure you’re too stupid to realize it.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09322114598054835243 pumabydesign001

      Unsurprisingly, it did not take you long at all to prove your point. Indeed, there is no shortage of loons on the internet.

      God bless you patriot. You get a AAAAA+ for your assessment.