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An internet troll is a modern slang term for someone that starts an argument or trouble online in social media networks, forums, or blogs.
You may have heard the expression “stop trolling”, or “you are a troll” and had no idea what it meant. Early on in the history of the internet, the words “troll” or “trolling” had an entirely different meaning and meant a “misinformed internet user”. However, the word troll has now picked up an alternative definition on the internet.
What Is an Internet Troll?
Internet trolls deliberately try to disrupt, attack, offend, or cause trouble by posting negative comments, photos, videos and/or generally being disruptive (known as trolling). You will find trolls all over the internet, on message boards, Facebook, dating sites, in blogs and everywhere that has an open area where people can freely post.
Trolls can be difficult to control when there are a lot of community members, but the most common ways to combat trolling include banning/blocking individual sever accounts, reporting them to the site/ authorities, or closing off comments sections for a blog posts, video pages, or topic threads.
How to Identify a Troll
The next question is, how do I identify an internet troll? Trolls have distinct features and characteristics on the internet but may be confused with regular people. Please read below to see the traits of the most common types of internet trolls.
The Insult Troll
This troll is a hater. They don’t even really need a reason to hate or insult someone. These trolls often attack everyone and everything. This type of troll can become so antagonistic and severe that it can be considered cyberbullying.
The Debate Toll
This troll loves a good argument and will debate to the end. They will challenge even the most verified facts. They are always right and everyone else is wrong. They will go on and on, leaving extremely long threads to prove their point until the other party is exhausted and eventually gives up… just to be away from their negativity.
The Grammar and Spellcheck Troll
These are the trolls that must point out other’s misspelled words and grammar mistakes. These trolls use a users’ spelling or grammatical mistakes as an excuse to insult them.
The Forever Offended Troll
They are experts at purposely misrepresenting what another person says. They take humorous pieces of content and turn it into arguments, often through playing the victim. People get upset by some of the strangest things that are said online.
The Show-Off, Know It All Troll
Very similar to the debate troll, the show off troll is a person who doesn’t like to participate in arguments but loves to share their opinion. They might do so in extreme detail, to the point of spreading rumors (or secrets in some cases). They love to and go on and on with lots of long paragraphs about what they know, even if no one reads or responds to them.
The Profanity and All Caps Troll
This troll is the guy who has nothing of value to add to the discussion. He or she might drop F-bombs or other curse words in all CAPS.
The One Word Only Troll
This is the “lol” or “K” or “yes” or “no” person. This is far from the worst of the trolls online. Their one-word replies are more of a nuisance than anything else.
The Exaggeration Troll
This troll can be a combination of know-it-alls and debate trolls. They take any topic and blow it out of proportion. They are generally annoying and don’t contribute any real value and bring up unrelated issues.
The Off Topic Troll
This guy posts something entirely off topic in any social community discussion. This person succeeds in shifting the issue, and everyone ends up talking about whatever irrelevant thing that he posted.
The Greedy Spammer Troll
Last but not least, there’s the dreaded spammer troll. This is the troll who could not care less about your post or discussion and only posts to benefit himself. He wants you to check out his page, buy from his line, use his coupon code or download his free eBook. They post “follow me” on all social networks.