The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

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The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby muni » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:48 am

The Psychology of Trolls.

Once upon a time, there existed creatures called Trolls, or so the legends and folktales say. According to my reference works on these subjects, Trolls of Scandinavian folklore are usually huge ogres with great strength and little wit. The most famous tales of them have them lurking under bridges to demand payment of those who would cross, killing those who would make the attempt without paying the toll. Later, so the texts say, the stories told that they shrank to a smaller, dwarfish folk who inhabited caves. Eventually, they apparently left our world altogether, and were never seen or heard from again.

But those reports are wrong, for Trolls do indeed exist, even today. They are alive and well and wreaking new havoc on the Internet.

Do you wish to enter a chatroom or participate on a message board? Beware the Trolls! They will appear when you least expect it, and demand a different kind of payment from you. They will assail you with insults, obscenities, and anything offensive they can think of to get you give them what they really want: attention. They will keep up these attacks to watch you cry out in protest and pain, and the more you do so, the more they will keep it up. That's what they really want, after all: a reaction, any reaction, for that is the coin by which they measure their success. The more they receive, the more they will continue the behavior that is giving them what they want. That it upsets others is of no concern to them -- or, rather, it is of primary concern for them, for upsetting people is their business.

Like the Trolls of old, they seem to have great strength, given the kinds of trouble they can cause; but ultimately, also like the Trolls of old, they have little wit. They all use the same tactics, and they all resort to the same ways of provoking people. First insult members of the chatroom or board by calling them names, ridiculing their comments and questioning their intelligence. Then start insulting the subject for which the board or chatroom was created. If that doesn't get enough reaction, start upping the ante by bringing in completely unrelated subjects. Tell the other participants that they (or the subject under discussion) are prejudiced racially, sexually, ethnically, religiously -- take your pick, they'll eventually hit 'em all, and then go for the jugular: doing all this while throwing in obscene language and casting other foul aspersions on anyone who happens to be within range. This is, of course, incredibly inflammatory behavior to any marginally civilized person, and a normal sense of justice and fair play naturally demands defense and protest.

Which is exactly what the Troll is hoping for, because they don't play fair. They don't care about the same things that brought the other participants to the site; they only want to get people riled up and see the trouble they created so they can feel big and strong and powerful because they created such a fuss. And while they're watching the outrage and anger fly, they're sitting under the bridge, laughing while they chew on the bones of their victims. All that public indignation has served only one purpose: it fed the Troll's hunger for power and made him happy. It certainly did nothing for the people who got upset.

Tales tell us that warning signs were put up near bridges where Trolls were believed to be living, to keep unsuspecting folk away so that they would not be robbed or killed. You could not cross that bridge without losing either your money or your life, so it was better to turn around and ignore that bridge. Not especially convenient if that was one of few bridges around and you needed to get to the other side, but eventually, the Troll would either starve to death or leave, and the bridge would be safe again. Until the next Troll moved in, and then the same warnings and behavior would apply.

Simply put, Trolls are bullies. They are at heart small and mean people who have a need to make themselves feel big and strong, and the easiest way they can find to do that is by mistreating other people and taking pleasure in their pain. It's not healthy, but it's also not something that will be made better by giving in to the bully. It is far better to walk away from him, to ignore him, and even suffer a few punches rather than give him what he wants by crying and begging for mercy or even fighting with him. If you are not a "good victim," he will look elsewhere to get what he wants. And ultimately, if direct action needs to be taken against any bully, it has to come from the proper authorities: in the case of school bullies, the administration and faculty, or even the police, in the case of Internet bullies, the persons on the site who have the power to block or remove their inflammatory and offensive remarks.

Because if you look closely at what these Internet Trolls say, you will eventually see the truth: They may look like big nasty ogres, but theyre really just sorry little people hiding in their dark caves, coming out to make mischief before running back into hiding where they can watch the trouble they made and laugh all alone in the dark. They're emotional terrorists. Ignoring them isn't easy because it hurts to see them say and do things designed to make people feel upset and angry, but it's the only thing that will make them go away. Ignoring them completely creates an environment that simply does not give them what they're looking for. It's like soaking the woodpile with water: when the match comes along looking for something to burn, it wont catch, so it must go elsewhere to have its fun. But everyone must turn their backs and not respond, or the Troll will have the hope that if he keeps at it and tries hard enough, he'll get a big enough reaction to start a real fire.

Be it a Troll under a bridge or a Troll on the Internet, the warning sign is the same:

DO NOT FEED THE TROLL.

http://www.mj-holmes.com/trolls.htm
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:15 am

I get accused of 'trolling' quite a bit muni.

Worries me a bit on a couple of counts; One being that I do fit the troll profile in as much as I am argumentative and I long since recognised that I do thrive on attention. T'other count being that 'troll hunts' and 'spot the troll' competitions are a popular way of stifling debate and discussion on genuine but contraversial view points.

Bit sensitive at the moment. Recently I have been subjected to several direct personal attacks on a forum with which this one has significant cross traffic.
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby muni » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:05 pm

Yes. The attitudes on Buddhist forums is regarding some study: intelligent way of talking, looking like knowing a lot of each tradition, bringing disharmony, turning the dialogues in absurd mixtures, looking very elaborated and clever with often some arrogance. Sometimes there is some form of kindness like a snake greeting with her tongue.

When we keep focus on own mind and own mind only; seeing the emotions inside are having no owner, like nobody is home. Then a troll is like a thief in an empty house where there is nothing to steal, as our emotions are recognized as empty or naturally free like wind passing along the branches of a tree. Compassion can be send. Hope this makes any sense.

Yes, accusing others.

There are in almost each university projects running like in the faculties Psychology and Criminology. One result:


Internet trolls have been described as "sad people, living their lonely lives vicariously through those they see as strong and successful." They typically possess a poorly developed set of social skills and have difficulty viewing their actions from the perspectives of their victims. They may be callous to the fact that they are harming real people, instead viewing Internet users as "digital abstractions". They may thus feel no remorse for harm they cause, and in fact may judge their own level of "success" by the amount of that harm. Most are impervious to rationale, mature arguments against their wares, and will protest that their right to free speech is being curtailed if ever there is an attempt to call them on their trolling.
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby plwk » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:22 pm

Time to get to know my inner troll..... :rolleye:
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby muni » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:42 pm

plwk wrote:Time to get to know my inner troll..... :rolleye:


When that one is dissolved as concept, what is there to harm, indeed.

Still by that we shouldn't push our head very peacefully in the sand without any form of protection which is a form of generosity. Here about I agreed to put a message.
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby BFS » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:11 pm

.
.
.
.
.


When I see or hear the word "Troll" - this type of image comes to my mind.

Image

There is nothing noble to be seen.

Fortunately that is just a cartoon image.
An inherently 'bad' person is never found upon examination. People, like myself, act on occasion under the influence of their own mental afflictions, but they are not those afflictions.

Indeed, recognize and deal with the negative where it is present, but recognize that a person is not identical to those negative qualities or behavior.

Troll or sentient being with buddhanature under the influence of mental afflications? What we emphasize becomes our reality.

May everyone be free of mental afflictions.
Last edited by BFS on Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:10 am

Greetings Clueless Git,

Clueless Git wrote:Bit sensitive at the moment. Recently I have been subjected to several direct personal attacks on a forum with which this one has significant cross traffic.


Here (or wherever else you might hypothetically be speaking of ;) ) feel free to use the site's Report Post function, which here is the exclamation mark in a square. Hypothetically, elsewhere... it may also be in a triangle.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby Clueless Git » Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:02 pm

'Lo Retro :)

Aye I know about the report post feature most estimable matey. Think I have used one of those once to report porn spamming of a site I used to belong to. 'Part from that never have done and never will do.

M'sensivity is two fold: First is that my clumsy attempts to share very simple things that I see quite clearly (how the food chain works, that two different things cannot be the same thing, that if one thing is more and another less then the two things cannot be equal) are giving me the appearance of being only interested in 'trolling'.

Second is that rallying calls for 'troll hunts' and 'spot the troll' competitions can be used as a means of silencing individuals who persist with otherwise unassailable arguments that, for one reason or another, are unpopular.

Think all I am saying is that recent attacks, and this topic, have reminded me that in terms of skilfullness in presenting the things I have to say that I have an awfull lot of work to do .. :toilet:
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby kirtu » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:46 am

muni wrote:The Psychology of Trolls.
... They will assail you with insults, obscenities, and anything offensive they can think of to get you give them what they really want: attention. ... That it upsets others is of no concern to them -- or, rather, it is of primary concern for them, for upsetting people is their business.


The behavior that you outline is basically high school student behavior.

I have been accused of being a troll many times. In every case I was serious and proposed (what were to me) serious questions, usually serious social questions.

For example I proposed around 1988 in a gay newsgroup on Usenet that US society was basically a kind of socially fascist society with respect to gay people (meaning that gay people were demonized, specifically identified as a source of serious social ills, were identified as a kind of enemy and as a legitimate target of violent activity, that this behavior was endemic to US society and that this set of beliefs was aggressively perpetuated as a core element in the society).

I was immediately dismissed as a troll. However I was dead serious and this is still a criticism I have of US society. But the dismissal made it virtually impossible to discuss this topic. This was after several reports from Gay and law enforcement organizations (including the FBI) identified an apparent rise in violence perpetuated against gay and lesbian people and has identified American attitudes toward gay and lesbian people as "virulent".

I had not been rude or aggressive in raising this topic but nonetheless it was immediately labeled and dismissed.

So another aspect to this in my experience is controlling discussing through dismissal or termination of discussion merely by applying the troll label to speech or ideas that people don't like.

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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby termite » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:02 am

One person's troll is another person's teacher. Years ago, I was active in the Beliefnet Buddhist discussion area, and we had a series of Christian proselytizers who teamed up to create havoc. It was usually shut down pretty quickly by the moderators.

On one occasion, I got caught up in flame-war with one young yahoo, and we managed to post back and forth several times, escalating the conflict, without moderators stepping in. I suddenly realized that my behavior was tied up with the "troll," and that he was finding my "buttons" to push. It was a revelation, one of the first times that I understood - really understood - the working of karma.

I thanked him for his teaching. :smile: The moderator probably deleted the discussion before the troll could read it, though...

Since then, I see conflict differently. There are teachers everywhere.

And trolls have mommas and uncles and little baby trolls at home under the bridge, and they should go back there. :rolling:
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby muni » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:16 am

Thanks all! :thanks:

Our own behaviour is the importance.
There is the internet playground from within the protecting walls around top enemy ego.


Kirt, indeed. Should ask about children, teenagers, how to protect them in that cyber world? As in trolling I see also bullying by all kind of forms they can get along the PC. There are many sad cases.
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby catmoon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:03 am

The troll can be quite a teacher. It's been said that he who gets your goat should be thanked for showing you where your goats are. I think most of us have a few sacred cows stashed away in the closet, just waiting for someone to open the door so they can moo. :pig:
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby Clueless Git » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:11 pm

catmoon wrote:It's been said that he who gets your goat should be thanked for showing you where your goats are.

I might be 'borrowing' that for my signature line Catmoon.
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby muni » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:28 pm

catmoon wrote: It's been said that he who gets your goat should be thanked for showing you where your goats are. :pig:


Does that also works for rabbits? White, hangears, brown eyes. Must find it back before darkness falls.
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:45 pm

Finding goats is good, but abuse is never okay.

My two cents here...

:namaste:
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby catmoon » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:24 pm

Then maybe your goat is abuse.
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby BFS » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:15 pm

Abuse is never ok.


:twothumbsup:


"True tolerance isn't a question of saying, ' Come on, do me some harm!' - It's neither submission nor resignation - it's accompanied by the courage, strength of mind and intelligence that keeps us from needless mental suffering and holds us back from falling into ill will." HH Dalai Lama
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Re: The Psychology of trolls by Holmes.

Postby muni » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:06 am

Maybe not from Holmes but just interrelated;

http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/61-d ... compassion

To watch own mind and compassion with skills toward victim, perpetuator: the two wings of Bodhichitta.
Internet, home, in the village...all same compassion.

May all people have a growing understanding of their interdependency and see there is no other joy then painful delusion by harming each other. There is no other joy than painful delusion by seeing my people are good and correct and the others not. There is no joy in duality.
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