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culture valkyrie: trolling is an art, the history of the internet menace

Depending on which generation you are from, (Y, X, Boomer) you’ll most likely recognise a troll as one of the following: a fuzzy-headed nudist with an outie; the arch-nemesis of David the Gnome; or an arsehole under a bridge with a penchant for goat-meat.

However, if you’re of the nebulous Z Generation (sometimes called the Internet Generation, pathetically) you’ll recognise trolls as a different beast entirely. Yes, they are arseholes. Any self-respecting Gnome would most likely take an aversion. And yes, oftentimes they are probably completely naked, as being a keyboard warrior requires neither cape nor special shoes.

Herein lies the problem. No cape. No shoes. No fluorescent mop-top. In fact, just a lone mortal in front of a luminous computer screen, fly in various states of undone, being a general public nuisance with their idiotic comments.

And this is what sets the troll of today apart from its predecessors. Trolls are pervasive. They’re in your classroom. They’re in your workplace. Your place of worship. And they’re usually anonymous, which is the real kicker. You can’t fight a troll – it’s food to them. Ignore them and they think they’ve won. Track them down in their homes – that’s illegal.

So how does one conquer an internet troll? My ugly childhood troll doll ended up in a second hand bin with Barbie and a half eaten sausage. David fought valiantly against the dim witted forest dwellers. The billy goats gruff got their come-uppance, somehow, depending which version you follow.

The first step is to know your enemy – not an easy task. Trolls in virtual spaces can be hard to spot. Watch out for obvious grammatical and/or spelling errors, faux-cern, tangential gibberish, oblique commentary, angry diatribes, mindless repetition, derailing, and word vomit. Woops, did I just describe the whole internet? No. I did not. That’s something a troll would say. See?

To boil it all down like a rich goat-meat stew, an internet troll is basically someone who, in real life (IRL) you would readily identify as a dickhead. Belligerently irrelevant. A real pain in the tail.

I’m saddened that I have no steadfast advice to give you, dear reader, in how best to battle a troll. All I can say is: find your groove. Follow your bliss. Post recipes for banana cake, type feminist rants powerful enough to change cyberspace to cyb-herspace, share your secrets and live out your dreams! If someone challenges something you believe in with something inane, idiotic or asinine, well, they’re just a troll.

And to the trolls we say: Come at me, bro.

(Image credit: 1.)

One thought on “culture valkyrie: trolling is an art, the history of the internet menace

  1. I think it’s time we called trolls what they are – bullies. Only unlike bullies in “real life”, this lot are extra cowardly, because they do it anonymously or under a pseudonym.

    I think this is another form of bullying we need to stand up against and not fight back per se, but speak out against and demand that internet services take seriously and take steps to prevent. I think we need to out these trolls and make them identifiable to the people in their lives. Because I’m quite sure they wouldn’t be proud if their families or friends (if they have any) knew of their behaviour.

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