Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trolling for Love

Why do people post stuff on the net that is solely aimed to blow things up?  Perhaps trolls are even more narcissistic than me, which is hard to imagine.  But the good news is that we now have some social science that recommends the following:
"Trolling can (1) be frustrated if users correctly interpret an intent to troll, but are not provoked into responding, (2) be thwarted if users correctly interpret an intent to troll, but counter in such a way as to curtail or neutralise the success of the troller, (3) fail if users do not correctly interpret an intent to troll and are not provoked by the troller, or, (4) succeed if users are deceived into believing the troller's pseudo-intention(s), and are provoked into responding sincerely. Finally, users can mock troll. That is, they may undertake what appears to be trolling with the aim of enhancing or increasing effect, or group cohesion. "
What is your strategy?  I tend to respond because I feel a compulsion to try to provide clarity and truth, to de-myth.  Probably causes more trouble than it solves.  Not a problem here since I could moderate the comments and because trolls seem not to have found me.  Folks who disagree with me have, but I have no problem with good intentioned-debate.  However, elsewhere on the magical web, trolls have pushed my buttons.  I don't always respond, but sometimes I cannot help myself.  Am I a masochist or just a narcissist?  Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

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