My first experience as a troll was on a Star Trek message board called www.sistertrek.net. Trolls rarely admit they are wrong and I was no exception. I started out as a member in good standing but was then converted into a troll by a board bully named Admiralbill. Before Sistertrek I had been a regular poster on the www.startrek.com message board with the handle Gvok but there were a lot of trolls and spammers there. Like everyone else I found them to be annoying and could not understand their motivation. Eventually the spamming and trolling became so bad that a female named Buckeyerose created the Sistertrek message board as an alternative and many posters from startrek.com migrated there. I followed the crowd there too.
Overtime Sistertrek developed a lively politics forum and at the time I joined I sided with the conservatives politically but was not a diehard. This was all pre 9/11 so the stakes were not as high as they would later become. I had voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election because I was disgusted with Bill Clinton about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. By the time the Iraq war began I sort of soured on the whole Republican party. I spent a long time defending the war but eventually I found it more and more difficult to swim against the current. I did not really consider myself a Democrat but the Republicans of the Bush administration were a bit too extreme for me.
Now Admiralbill was a staunch Republican, a real ditto head, ex-navy guy from Texas. He vehemently attacked anyone who remotely espoused a liberal viewpoint. After it was determined that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the whole basis on the invasion was based upon a false premise I began to have my doubts about conservatism. Voicing this opinion brought me into the cross hairs of Admiralbill. After a few times being attacked by him and observing him attack others I decided to attack back. I mention all this is to show that, I at the time, I thought my motives were pure. I saw myself as a protector of those liberals on the board who were too timid or inarticulate to make their points against Admiralbill.
As I look back on it I can see that Admiralbill was a shame-based personality like me. He was so critical of anyone who espoused a remotely “liberal” point of view and attacked them with viciousness. I imagine he had that sort of criticism focused on him at some point in his life, most likely from one of his primary care givers. I am sure he passed it on to his son whom he often referred to on the message board as “the demon seed”. I am also pretty sure he focuses that same criticism on himself. Neither his criticism nor my criticism of him had anything to do with conservative or liberal politics. It had everything to do with shame and the need to pass the shame along to provide a short-term feeling of relief.
Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.