I have an image in my head of a troll being a small, malevolent man with a white beard who lives under a bridge and leaps out at goats as they wander past, scaring them and generally vexing them at every turn.
A modern troll looks different than that, but the same behaviour applies.
Just visit any comments section or forum, or Facebook page, or in some unfortunate cases, your own email account and you’ll see what I mean.
How does one, and more interestingly, why does one become a troller?
This much I know: trollers are bullies. Don’t even get me started on the topic of bullying. The word is literally thrown around at random, and takes the modern meaning of:
someone looked at me the wrong way once.
As we all know, bullying implies a sustained effort on the part of one party to disrupt another’s life. The keyword here is ‘effort’. A person having a bad day who says something in regretful haste, is not a bully.
A bully makes the initial contact with their victim, perhaps daily, and uses threats and aggressive discourse to attempt to achieve their goal.
But let’s cut all that stuff aside. How do you become a troller?
1. get yourself a portable internet-capable device. That way you can troll from your ride
2. get yourself learned up real good in IP addresses, and ensure yours is not set to ‘static’. Ask Jason Ede to come around and show you the ropes
3. make up a few other names to go by
4. set up a Disqus account
5. set up a fake Twitter and Facebook account
Ok, so that’s the technology side of things covered. But what about your personality? There’s a few seismic shifts needed to fit the profile:
1. go out and purchase a massive chip for your shoulder
2. develop a sense of outward blame, in that everything in life that goes wrong is someone else’s fault
3. develop a strange sense of entitlement, as if you are allowed to behave this way, and anyone who questions you needs to be ‘taken down’
4. ensure you have no real honest friendships, only ‘allies’ who you show private information to about other people
5. spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet; from the moment you wake, until the moment you fall asleep, at 4am
So, with all of that taken care of, what’s the next step? Well, ask yourself, what irks you? Spend some of that 20-hour period of awake time finding something to hate, be it the people off The Block New Zealand, be it your ex’s Facebook profile or be it successful people.
Or even, keep it simple and just attach yourself to columns in the Herald and make hatred.
It’s actually very simple. Get started today, and join the throngs of New Zealanders enjoying the feeling of power and perhaps even driving someone to consider suicide!*
Phew! Glad that’s off my chest.
Next time on The Sane Companion: The Worst Ad in New Zealand History: Part Three. You won’t believe what’s coming under scrutiny up in here etc. etc.
*It is best not to feed the Troll. Do not feed the Troll.