If you spend much time online,
especially on social networking sites,
you’ll get a chance to meet a troll.
Okay, not a “real” troll. But in truth,
you may never get to know their real
identity, because trolls like to hide in
the dark a lot. Evidently coming out
into the light is what kills them.
Fairy Tale Trolls
For a long time, the only trolls I knew
about were from an old fairy tale I’d
read as a child called The Three Billy
Goats Gruff. As you know, the things
in fairy tales are never what they seem.
Everything means something else.
Trolls Symbolize Trouble
I found this written about the meaning of the
troll in Uncle Thor’s Magazine:
“Trolls symbolize trouble. They are lurking
troubles that appear unexpectedly. A troll
can turn otherwise safe circumstances into
danger. Most trolls are brutal and stupid,
like a blind force or random event.
A troll portends unexpected trouble.’
On the internet, a troll is someone who starts
arguments or posts things to be deliberately
disruptive, inflammatory, or harassing.
The intent of the troll under the bridge in the
fairy tale was clear. He said he was going to
“gobble up” the goats.
The intent of the online troll may not always
be clear, but it is to gobble up any chance
for intelligent discussion, sticking to the
topic at hand, and feeling respected, safe,
and secure on the internet.
Brutal and Smart
Unlike the description of the fairy tale troll
as “brutal and stupid,” sometimes the online
troll is brutal and smart. They can be intelligent,
shrewd, resourceful, with an uncanny ability
to know exactly what to say to “get your goat,”
so to speak.
The Troll’s Food Source
Trolls are so crafty and have an almost
inexhaustible amount of energy to cause
chaos. Well, actually, it is exhaustible.
They feed on attention. Your attention.
Once it becomes clear through interacting
with someone online that the person is
less interested in hearing what you have to
say and responding to it, but rather more
interested in baiting you and escalating the
discussion to the point of ridiculousness,
you have identified a troll and you must
starve it. Immediately.
How To Starve A Troll
Cut off all contact. Do not respond to
any more (probably inflammatory and
accusatory) requests for contact.
One of two things will happen when you
starve a troll.
Either it will weaken and go away for
awhile or possibly forever (unlikely that).
Or it will get so hungry for attention, it
will come out into the light and die.
Online trolls who don’t get attention
eventually need it so much they risk
being seen for who they truly are
and in doing so, commit online suicide.
You can sit back and watch it happen,
although it’s kind of gruesome and very
sad, actually, I’m not going to lie.
Troll = Never Having to Say “I’m Sorry”
Real human beings aren’t perfect. They sometimes
offend without meaning to, and when informed
of this respectfully, they will respond by apologizing
and saying they didn’t mean to and they’ll certainly
try not to do that in the future.
Trolls won’t. Trolls will tell you that they weren’t
being offensive, if you were offended it is because
of some major flaw you own, and they’ll never,
ever say they are sorry for anything.
Please Feed The Humans!
Don’t let the fact that there are some
trolls out there on the internet deter you
from interacting with the great human beings
with whom you can have wonderful, intelligent,
respectful, safe interactions.
It can be difficult sometimes to bridge the
chasm between genders, cultures, races,
religious beliefs, sexual orientations, and
a host of other ways we are different from
But human beings can do this.
Trolls are not interested in bridging the gap.
They want to knock you off of the bridge.