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what is a troll?

Apr 02, 2002 06:32 AM
by Eldon B Tucker

Bart forwarded to me the following examples
of what a troll is, and what a troll does to
destroy a mailing list. He had previously
posted it on theos-l. It may be of interest
for this list as well.

-- Eldon

Stupid Troll Tricks

--> 1. The Blitzkreig Trick: attempting to take over a newsgroup
through sheer volume of posting. Note the troll is in many cases simply
posting articles copied from news sources, or spending his/her time
attacking others instead of discussing issues pertaining to the

--> 1a. The Ad Hominem Blitzkreig Trick: posting a series of messages
with his/her target's name in the subject line, together with
name-calling or accusations questioning their credibility or mental

--> 2. The Mirror Trick. Notice how the troll will fire back an
accusation that his opponent has accused him/her of.

--> 2a. The Copycat Trick. This is when the troll mimics any
accusation, insult, method of argument, etc. his/her opponent uses
against him.

--> 3. The Hypocrisy Trick. The troll is deliberately hypocritical in
order to draw out a continued response from his/her target.

--> 4. The Substantiation Trick. This is where the troll will demand
that the poster "provide evidence for their claims" (often unspecified)
even if the poster is merely expressing an opinion; formulating a
hypothesis; if the "evidence" is difficult to produce over Usenet,
etc. The troll will usually do this to disrupt discussion as opposed to
contributing any further discussion or information that could be useful.

--> 5. The Semantics Trick. Taking advantage of the informal nature of
Usenet, the troll will attempt to find minor errors or differences in
semantics in order to denigrate his/her opponent.

--> 6. The Formal Debate Trick. Taking advantage of the informal nature
of Usenet, the troll will attempt to discredit or denigrate his opponent
by referring to "The Logical Fallacies" or rules of formal debate.

--> 6a. Note, however, that the troll will abandon these rules at the
drop of a hat whenever it suits him/her.

--> 7. Guilt By Association Trick. "You are not arguing with all these
others; therefore, you are in league with them."

--> 8. The Character Assassination Trick. This is where the troll will
purposely try to denigrate his/her opponent through campaigns of lies,
half-truths, magnification and even outright libel.

--> 8a. The Libelous Propaganda Trick. This is where the troll
repeatedly lies about his/her target.

--> 9. The Achilles Heel Trick. This is where the troll will target
aspects of his opponent's ego, personal information, level of knowledge,
opinions or beliefs, etc.

--> 9a. The Achilles Heel Libel Trick. This is where the troll tries
to paint his/her target as being the complete opposite of what they
stand for.

--> 10. The Schoolyard Bully Trick. Here is where the troll
demonstrates to what unsavory levels he/she will sink to by using
personal information to attack the opponent.

--> 10a. The Psychological Vampire Trick. This is where the troll tries
to psychoanalyze his/her target, play on their emotions, etc.

--> 10b. The Catty Schoolgirl Trick. This is where the troll sounds
like a taunting schoolgirl, baiting with loaded insults.

--> 11. The Magnification/Slippery Slope Trick. This is where the troll
zeroes in on something he/she knows about the opponent and blows it all
out of proportion.

--> 12. The Pretend I Didn't See That Trick. This is when the troll
purposely ignores information that would refute his/her argument.

--> 12a. The Endless Loop Trick. "Post your evidence." [Evidence is
posted]. "This is not evidence." [Evidence is Posted]. "You have
failed to provide evidence for your claims. You have failed the burden
of proof." [ nauseum...]

--> 12b. The Snipperoo Trick. The troll snips relevant or damning
information in his response posts.

--> 12c. The Misattribution Trick. The troll attributes the
words/opinions/claims of an author to the poster who has merely provided
a link to the article in question.

--> 13. The Smooth Talker Trick. This is where the troll starts asking
his/her opponent personal questions in order to access some background
information on them. Often he/she will initially appear to be polite
and charming.

--> 14. The Switcheroo Trick. The troll switches the meaning of the
opponent's intentions/statements/opinions/beliefs to make it seem like
they meant something else.

--> 15. The Logic vs. Emotions Trick. This is where the troll will use
loaded language in order to draw an emotional response from his/her

--> 16. The Troll Is The Authority Trick. The Troll comes to a group
devoted to the discussion ABOUT a topic and decides that discussion is
only going to be about one side of that topic.

--> 17. The Scapegoat Trick. This is where the troll blames his current
target for possibly unrelated occurrences (such as being forged, etc.)

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