Saturday, October 8, 2011

A companion field guide to trolls

Chapter two
Genus: Troll
Species: provocare
Common name: The provocative troll... otherwise known as the huffy troll.

Preferring groups that are slightly homogenised or with a purpose, this troll likes nothing more than coming in and contributing to/ starting threads with views that are just slightly off topic or not in the remit of the group. Generally it is more attractive to those with an equally contentious voice and as a rule most of its friends are from other groups that it has passed through. In many ways it attracts them rather than rather than the other way around... rather like the Remora fish they attach themselves as the provocative troll passes by. In turn the provocative troll provides both shelter and transport to new grounds... 'cos it is always on the move.

Life cycle:
Stage one:
Finding a suitable group the provocative troll joins in, giving its opinions and at the first opportunity it launches with its agenda. This is usually something slightly to the left of what people are discussing and when asked to cease and desist it keeps pushing the envelope. Usually it employs imperative language and a manner guaranteed to get other group members hackles up; telling people they are wrong, while never conceding a point. It will stick to its beliefs regardless of any data or evidence presented, provided it is enjoying the argument.  

Stage two:
Adult developmental stage:
Tiring of the fun it will eventually abandon the thread, and often the group as well. Of course it doesn't leave quietly... at heart it is a show pony. It usually leaves while hurling final insults at members and those it perceives as in power, like group owners and moderators.  In fact it will often use words like censorship and claim to have been removed, while in fact it left a free agent. As evidenced by the fact that it often slips back in when no one is looking, to make a quick raid on a thread before leaving again.

Stage three:
The provocative troll, unlike most of its cousins, will often stomp off to form its own group. It usually cites censorship as its major reason for being forced to take this step and it will try to come off as the reasonable one who was trying to make the group a better, more open place. Often the provocative troll will found the group on the principles of free speech, as it makes for a more fun place for it, and claim that there will be no censorship. That last one usually goes by the way side as it gets bigger and harder to control... but it usually waits until the dust has settled before is slips back in to do any adjustments needed to make its self look better.

Spotting the troll:
Probably one of the easier trolls to spot as it makes a name for itself by being in the centre of any dustups... usually the more contentious ones... and never backing off from an argument. Often it will start a barrage of new topics (which is completely opposite to the familiar troll who rarely starts them). In the beginning it is often just chalked up to an unfortunate style, but after a while a distinct pattern appears... seriously all those groups can't be wrong. It also exhibits a need to be seen as not only the voice of reason, but usually exhibits a slight persecution complex in the process. Its last words are usually in the theme of I'm being forced to do this by the unreasonableness of others...

Control and eradication:
Actually the provocative troll is one of the easiest trolls to get rid of. In a group it will always get pissed off by some perceived slight and leave. Now it may come back, but it rarely repeats the original performance, usually containing itself to viper raids, until a mod is around to ban it forever. Which means all you have to do is not join its group... unless you like a laugh with your uncensored blood bath. 


Unknown said...


I shot coffee out my nose.

agog said...

I laughed so hard at this! I was actually making a list in my head of some people I'd like to send a link to and see if they realize it's about them :P