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Have you ever found yourself getting upset at someone online?
Let us begin by defining what a troll is, and what a troll is not!
An internet troll is a person, who finds great pleasure in upsetting other people online, and does so intentionally.
However, unlike an ignorant person, who resorts to abusive behavior when somebody "makes them" upset, an internet troll has no emotional context to the conversation, and only out of pure entertainment.
|Internet Fact #1: Nobody cares.|
So, you might ask, what is the actual difference?
A troll is not upset. An asshole is upset.
The troll is having fun, at someone's expense, and so at no point in the conversation will they hold a grudge towards you, or anybody else.
Reversely, a douchebag is abusing people exactly because they are upset, and want to make everybody else just as miserable. The douchebag will hold a grudge, usually, even long after the conversation.
Are all trolls evil then?
Human societies are composed of many different individuals, and supposedly, each and every one has a natural function that helps balance the group.
|Internet Fact #2: Comments are easy.|
Surprisingly, when asked, many trolls will admit to trolling. They might say, "I am just trolling lol", and expect other people to realize that they had played a sort of clownish devil's advocate role.
Comedy is one of those grey social areas. A phrase can be funny today, and utterly offensive tomorrow. One joker can be fun & friendly, while another can be abusive & bullying.
Wait a second... Then how can I tell whether a troll is a good guy or a bad guy?
You see, trolling is an artform. Trolling is not a sadist hobby, unless that troll is also a sadist. Many trolls are definitely not sadists, even if they do sometimes cross the line of inconsideration.
|Internet Fact #3: Everything online is true.|
The answer is simple, really. A good guy will be honest about trolling, even as soon as they begin trolling. Otherwise, you can just ask them, and clarify their intentions; whether they are being serious, or just having hazardous fun in a fragile situation.
Other than that, there really is no important difference between an honest idiot who will abuse you, and a witty troll who abuses you maliciously. In both cases, that other person is a douchebag, and better be avoided.
I want to thank all the good fellows over at the Freedomain Radio community, for inspiring me to write about these personal experiences. :=}