Know the Troll

Know the Troll

In cyberspace, there is a term given to a person who creates problems on the Internet by trying to start arguments with the intent to upset people. How do you recognize a troll? Here are a few pointers[1].

·         A troll may be an individual or group of people who post a flood of comments with unintelligible messages within a short period of time and the victim finds difficulty in following the conversation.

·         They are people who attack reputed entities and individuals by posting derogatory messages that have no foundation in reality.

·         They post junk messages such as comments on articles, message boards, violating the personal information of anyone that clicks on the link they provide.

·         They are the same people who use different accounts posting the same messages and comments from multiple IP addresses.

·         They are considered as the internet’s version of playground bullies, they will intentionally create conflicts by stating random opinions and trying to deviate the discussion to an irrelevant subject.

·         They are people who often use curse words with alternate spellings such as #@$!, %^&* to get around the community safety guidelines.

·         They will intentionally take up an isolated stand by asking pseudo-naive questions. For example, it can be a question that is religiously sensitive and very apparently against what is the norm. This tactic is used primarily to deceive the group targeted and manipulates egos, sensitivities, morals and feelings of guilt, usually to trigger emotional responses.

·         Another troll behavior is misguiding others by giving wrong advice. This can be advice that encourages risky behavior. This may come across as “useful” help or advice while actually intended to cause confusion by tricking others to respond to false alarms to prevent harm.

Learning to recognize a troll is helpful to navigate cyberspace safely. You must be able to recognize what to respond to and what to ignore.

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