Definition of Trolling
Trolling is activity which annoys others but is nonetheless necessary. In general internet terms, trolling can be described as making an undefended and polarised statement, to stimulate a large and reactive response. However, what constitutes "undefended" is usually entirely up to the observer (see spun threat for a way in which this can be made obvious to third party observers).
Many believe that trolling is the main form of wiki governance - mostly consisting of resistance to bad wiki management decisions, e.g. Wikipedia Red Faction resistance against Wikimedia and GodKing. Some of these advocate a more formal faction system to organize trolls to reduce conflict between trolls, and focus more on defeating usurpers and martinets and the sysop power structure itself. All of this is about as complicated as politics as usual, so we focus on tactics and techniques:
A trollherd is someone whose activities or interests have a very high correlation with that of several trolls. This may or may not be a troll themselves, and they might even openly attack and abuse trolls. However, this could be a cover story to avoid being accused of causing the trolling, whether they approve of it or not. It's hard to tell.
- pointing out harassment
- advocating that bad sysops be driven off by trolls
- pointing out outing, framing, spun threat and other abuses of sysops
- reinstating legitimate contributions to undo ad hominem delete
- strongly defending the GFDL corpus and moving text between GFDL corpus access providers to ensure it remains visible, as the licenses seem to demand
- Humptydumptyism- arbitrary redefinitions of vocabulary
Established trolling techniques
- Typos or Tyops and even broken links to annoy the Lowest Troll since only correcting the typo and leaving the made statements "intact" will act as an seal of approval for the trolling.
- Grammatically dysfunctional pseudo-sentences that are complex to decypher what is supposed to be the "correct" sentence.
- Involving out-of-context rants within otherwise legitimate articles
- Provocative article naming
- Heavy linking to very trollish articles, e.g. critical analysis of serious mistakes made by enemy projects
All these techniques will be immensely useful when trying to bring attention to bad behaviour by corporations; Basically, we are all "trolling" corporations and governments and industries here at Consumerium, and some believe that the whole Internet only exists for purposes of "trolling" the real world. When Wikipedia was blocked in China, for instance, some said it was for "trolling" the Chinese government, i.e. stating things as facts that the Chinese government denied or simply did not want anyone to read.
Also, trolling helps to engage more people in examining their behaviour. Someone may be drawn into a debate simply because of trolling but, once in, may feel compelled to make moral and value systems decisions that will, ultimately, result in their applying stricter individual buying criteria.
- Trollish spelling of words with definitions quite contrary to their original meaning. See patroll and controll for examples
However, no one likes being forced to think: Those accused of deliberately using trolling tactics (not just accidently using some techniques in common) are called "trolls", usually by the sysop power structure to whom this means "person to be persecuted, outsider, not one of us." However, many political activists or freethinkers or heretics adopt this label as a term of pride and collective self-defense. Accordingly it is as meaningless as any other pop psychiatry label.
- "I have often wondered why trolling is seen as evil. What harm does it do? Spiteful trolling which sets out to show people up as stupid is obviously wrong. Or is it? What is the harm in showing up error or stupidity? When people show me I have been stupid I usually thank them, eventually."