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What is a troll?

mdchachi

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I like this definition:
someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
 

Mark of Zorro

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with the primary intent of
This is the part of many definitions and laws that drives me nuts.....people thinking they can divine the intent of others. Heck, sometimes people are not even fully conscious of their own intents! There are lots of unintentional trolls out there who don't even realize they are just being a nuisance to satisfy some inner desire to be a nuisance.

someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages

Irrelevant and off-topic are okay, but seem to be adding more to the definition than is necessary. IMO

I have problems with controversial and inflammatory though. Adding that to the definition will make some people think legitimate postings of controversial topics is trolling. And Inflammatory is simply a matter of opinion.

As such I think its better to skip that part entirely for the definition.

That said I admit everything in there is commonly accepted (which is why I liked the post). I just think what is commonly accepted is rather unrefined.

I prefer to define a troll as someone who simply is posting but not contributing to the discussion or even actually trying learn from it, or making seriously disruptive, false, or crazy posts. Whether this is done through stupidity, conscious intent, complete ignorance of logic or discussion norms, or other, I simply don't care.

For example, if someone described all flat earthers as trolls, I think that's fair. Personally, I think maybe about a quarter are, and do not actually believe the earth is flat but simply get off on being contrarian. Ever argue with one? I recommend you don't except perhaps to confirm what I am saying.
 

Mark of Zorro

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Making definitions is a business filled with pitfalls. I need to fix my own definition to:

An internet troll is someone who is posting messages and memes but not generally contributing to the discussion or even actually trying to learn from it or help others learn, or is making seriously disruptive, false, or crazy posts.

And the above is just a more specific definition of someone who is a troll in general and in real life, which I would define as someone who makes unnecessary trouble for others, especially for their own amusement but also sometimes just out of habit, their intellectual level, or their character.

To flesh it out, a troll can be a troll through being stupid, ignorant, agenda pushing, evil, sadistic, actually mentally disturbed or other. I hardly care about their reasons though and its just what they do and how they do it that really counts in my opinion.
 
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