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Internet Trolls are Assholes

Science once again proves what we already knew. A psychological study of self-identified internet trolls shows that they are sadists, narcissists, and psychopaths. Or as Psychology Today put it:

So next time you encounter a troll online, remember a few things. (1) These trolls are some truly messed up people and (2) it is your suffering that brings them pleasure, so the best thing you can do is ignore them.




  1. Arthanyel wrote:

    As the dearly departed Chick Hearn would have said, “That’s no bulletin.”

    Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  2. westomoon wrote:

    Thanks for the links, IK! I loved being introduced to the concept of the Dark Tetrad of personality: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadistic personality. Of course, this is also an explanation of Rush Limbaugh, the late Andrew Breitbart, and all they have spawned.

    Since a troll is so much like a dittohead who’s volunteered to enter a field of debate, I sometimes find it good exercise to engage them. And like the old analogy of where pearls come from, I have done some of my best writing and/or research while backing a persistent troll into a corner.

    You can’t change a troll’s mind, of course, (though there’s the rare treat when you can get them to say “uncle” or get them so snarled in their own rhetoric that they end up espousing the factual viewpoint by accident) but you can educate other people through the exchange — and since trolls so often find RWNM memes so pleasing, it’s a way to battle the meme itself.

    And on-line comment is one arena where who can talk louder or faster, or what’s known as the “Gish Gallop” are futile. The fact that it’s a bulletin-board-style forum lets every lie get debunked, if you have the time and patience. [The Urban Dictionary defines the Gish Gallop as a technique that “involves spewing so much bullshit in such a short span on that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it.”]

    Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    There have been a number of times where trolls attacked this blog. But the regular readers responded in a calm way, explaining that they must be new around here and that they would be welcome to join in if they turn down the rhetoric a bit (rather than engaging them directly in an argument). Often they just leave since there doesn’t appear to be anyone here to torture), but there have been a few times when they did change, engaged in a positive manner, and became regular contributors.

    It is one of the things that keeps me doing this blog.

    Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
  4. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    Thank you IK. That same calm assertive energy works in person as well. Unless their drunk of course, which come to think of it may explain some of their erratic postings…hmmm

    Monday, September 22, 2014 at 6:10 am | Permalink