Tag Archives: Internet forum

Shame and Internet Trolling

Check out my newly published eBook entitled Shame and Internet Trolling.

“Shame and Internet Trolling” is about my life journey through shame and how it led to me becoming an internet troll. The book is divided into three parts. In part one I discuss my life history up until I began trolling as it relates to my experience of shame. In part two I discuss my experience trolling, how it felt and the methods I employed. In part three I discuss the series of experiences that brought me out of shame and internet trolling.

 

SHAME AND INTERNET TROLLING 1562 x 2500 pixels

3 Comments

Filed under Shame, Trolling

Once a Troll, Always a Troll

I felt like trolling was a waste of time but I was compelled to do it.  That is why I had to get myself banned from the message board.  There should be a rehab for trolling just as is for drug addiction.  In reality internet trolling is every bit addicting as drugs are.  Sometimes I think of all the trolls who cannot force themselves to stop.  It is probably ruining their lives because getting back at these people who wronged them on the message board is all that a troll can think about.  When I trolled I constantly and compulsively checked the board for a response to my posts and fearing a response to my posts at the same time.  It became incredibly draining emotionally and at the same time it took top priority in my life.

I remember being really angry when another poster got the better of me but I tried hard not to let that show.  I am sure Admiralbill was doing that as well but he had a very thin skin so he was not very successful.  I remember how fun it was (and depressing) to get him to blow up.  This point must be emphasized: a troll has to put forth the image that nothing affects him and that he thinks it is funny how his victims cannot control their emotions.  Meanwhile, the troll is a simmering volcano.  So on the one hand there is this aspect of a troll’s personality that really gets off on making other people angry (the limbic system / ego I suppose) then there is this other aspect that tells the troll this is wrong (the prefrontal cortex / super ego).  Meanwhile the troll’s true-self sleeps in the background somewhere.  The deeper a troll gets into trolling (or any addiction) the deeper his true-self sinks into sleep and the harder it will be to eventually wake him up.

I remember being infuriated when someone did not respond to a bait.  At the same time I knew my targets well and was confident they would take the bait eventually.  In fact, that was how they became targets in the first place.  They were so reliable.  I knew Admiralbill was a Republican, ex-navy guy, from Texas.  So I knew that posting any article on any of those subjects would get him going especially if they made any of those institutions look even remotely bad.  The Republican thing was easy because there was always an article on global warming, President Bush, the wars, the economy, the debt etc.  If I was advising a neophyte troll I would suggest he read a prospective victim’s posts and find out the things that define this victim.  Then post an article that puts any one of those things in a bad light.  When they react stick with the issues in the article until they get personal.  When this happens, claim only to want to stick to the issues rather than debase yourself by getting personal.  Of course making things personal is precisely the point but this can never be admitted.  It is totally passive aggressive and dishonest.  It is claiming not to be doing what is obviously being done.  This is the essence of shame-based behavior.

I did relapse a couple of times after I was banned from Sistertrek.  Once I came back with the handle “The Gnostic” but everyone on the message board knew it was me immediately.  They let me stay (I think because I made things interesting) until I got banned a second time.  Every now and then I feel the urge to go back but I think I have got it pretty well under control at this point.  I can see myself easily falling back into that behavior so now when I feel the urge I can usually talk myself out of it.  I am sure one day I will relapse again.  Once a troll, always a troll.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

1 Comment

Filed under Shame, Trolling

The Psychology of a Troll

I spent quite a bit of time baiting Admiralbill.  I think it was more than five years before I was banned from the website.  By the time that happened I wanted to be banned.  I needed to end the endless cycle.  It drained my energy.  I was constantly thinking of new ways to piss him off.  To this day part of me still hates how mean and self-righteous he was.  It is enough motivation for me to vote Democrat knowing that in some small way it gets back at him.

There is definitely an addictive cycle when it comes to trolling.  First there is the exhilaration of making a smart post that proves my enemy wrong or makes him look foolish.  Next, and this is usually after he responds with something I did not expect or perhaps a thread has gone on too long and both of us look foolish, self-loathing kicks in.  Self-loathing, of course does not feel good.  It inspired in me a new resolve never to take part in these foolish exchanges again.  Then slowly the compulsion to get back in the game reemerges.  All it would take was a Paul Krugman article that I found particularly persuasive and I was back in.  The exhilaration is the drug that for a moment takes away the pain I feel during the 90% of the rest of the addictive cycle.

I can really only speak for myself but I am pretty sure all internet trolls share a common personality type.  They probably work jobs or live lives that are in someway unsatisfying.  They want to feel special and crave attention and respect.  They are highly dependent on the opinions of other people.  When other people ganged up on Admiralbill I felt vindicated and victorious.  When they ganged up on me I felt defeated and humiliated.  And this is really at the heart of the matter, a message board troll feels intense shame.  It is shame that motivates him to shame others.

My original goal as a troll was to get Admiralbill angry and responding to me.  My secondary goal was to get other people to take my side.  On some level I was operating under the delusion that if I said the right thing, made the strategic argument he would admit he was wrong.  He was probably operating under the same premise.

There are three possible outcomes to any message board debate.  One, the other person concedes defeat.  This never happens but I suppose it is possible.  The closest thing to this is that you get the last word in that digs at them and they do not respond.  Two, you get ganged up on by everyone else and your allies run for cover.  This is defeat, although a true troll will never admit this and will argue that he is being treated unfairly or is misunderstood in some fashion.  Three, the moderator steps in and shuts the thread down.  This is actually a relief sometimes.  When this happens the troll can say to himself that he never gave up and fought the good fight (force majeure).  If I got the last word in before the thread was shut down and before he got a chance to respond, it felt as good as any victory.  If my adversary got the last word in, it stung but I could still say it was out of my hands.

As I said earlier when I got banned from Sistertrek I wanted to get banned.  I could not simply walk away and never post again.  My addiction was too strong.  So I dug at the moderators until they banned me.  It worked and that was a few years ago.  To this day I still think about it and hate Admiralbill.  But every day I do not participate in Sistertrek the hatred goes away a little bit more.  I actually logged on to Sistertrek anonymously to see what was going on not too long ago.  The website is basically run by conservatives and they kicked off all the liberals some time ago.  It is a shell of the community it once was.  There are no longer any lively debates as far as I can tell.  This sort of makes me nostalgic for the good old days.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Shame, Trolling

Trolling Methods

Admiralbill (my nemesis on the Sistertrek message board) had many, easy buttons I knew how to push that would easily bait him into an argument.  All of his buttons revolved around the fact that he was a rabid, George W. Bush defending, Fox News watching, Rush Limbaugh listening, conservative Republican.  The following is a list of those buttons:

1.         I would post a news article that tended to put the Republican / Conservatives in a bad light.  I would add no comments but simply sit back and watch the debate unfold.  This was obviously intended to push Admiralbill’s buttons but I could always argue that I thought the article was interesting and might stimulate a healthy political discussion.  It had the effect of putting him on the defense because he felt compelled to respond to it.

2.         I would then keep him tired and on the defensive.  I did this by responding quickly and concisely.  In general (not just with Admiralbill) when I did post commentary I would keep it short and only address one particular point.  I always found it funny when other posters got so worked up over something and took the time to write a long drawn out diatribe responding to every single point in a previous post.  I would just choose one point to refute or agree with.  This had the effect negating all the work the diatribe attempted to make.  I conserved my energy with small posts that took me ten minutes to craft they exhausted themselves with long ones that took an hour.  The longer they take to respond, the more rest I have and the more agitation they felt to get a response out.

3.         I usually asked questions in my responses.  This also put Admiralbill on the defensive because he felt compelled to respond to a direct question and the question framed his response.  Thus he never set the tone because he was always responding to the tone I set.  These questions also had the effect of pissing him off.  I naturally asked questions to begin with not thinking this was strategy but once I realized he did not like it I did it more.

4.         If Admiralbill accused me of baiting or trolling I would always deny, deny, deny.  This is probably the most important tip for any would be troll out there.  Nothing angers other posters more than when someone refuses to recognize the obvious.  Instead, I would argue that I had no intent to bait but rather to stimulate interesting and civil debate which he was ruining by resorting to personal attacks rather than addressing the issues.  I also specifically stated at times that I did not want Admiralbill to respond in specific threads to avoid conflict.  Of course this had the intended opposite effect.

5.         I definitely had my share of enemies who sided with Admiralbill or saw me as a trouble-maker but I also cultivated allies on the board who could take some heat off me if I was boxed into a corner.  Then when Admiralbill focused on the other guy I could attack back and undermine him.  Even if a person has the moral high ground, it is difficult to get frustrated if two or more people are against that person on a message board.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Shame, Trolling

Internet Trolling is Addictive

I have an addictive personality.  I think this is common among people who have shame-based personalities because to a shame-based person there is generally no escape from shame.  In the shame-based mind there exists a constant criticizing voice.  This criticizer (the super ego) criticizes both the self and the outside world. To the shame-based person these two aspects of the criticizer seem separate.  In fact, they are one and the same.  The self is constantly at fault and the world is constantly acting against the self.  With shame, the self criticizes the self as an attempt to align the self with the outside world in order to be accepted.  Ironically, this self-criticism only perpetuates the self’s isolation and alienation from the outside world.  This dynamic also demonstrates the fractured and conflicted nature of the shame-based mind.  The shame-based mind hates itself for being flawed.  It also hates the outside world for shaming it.  At the same time it wishes to be accepted and loved by the outside world even though it feels unjustly persecuted by the outside world.

This isolation and self-criticism feels bad both mentally and physically.  It can manifest itself in anxiety, depression, irritation, a lack of energy and a general dissatisfaction with life.  In the moment this feeling can only be tolerated for so long before the self (the ego and the limbic system) seeks to shelter itself.  This is where addictions fit in.  Drugs, alcohol, skin picking, pornography, masturbation and internet trolling all act to distract the self from the psychological pain caused by shame and self-criticism.  This distraction is a short-term fix but while the fix is working it works well.  Soon after, however, the criticizer reemerges and now has something new with which to criticize the self.  This time the criticism is shame for giving into addiction.  And so the cycle continues.  The shame builds up until it is intolerable and the mind seeks its addictions to quell the shame and so on.

Because the internet troll is shame-based, he takes particular delight in shaming other people.  This is his revenge against the world that has unjustly persecuted him.  He criticizes other people for their religion, their politics or personal habits.  At least in part, the troll sees himself as being in the right because to a shame-based person civilization is upheld through shame because in his way of thinking, shame is the only thing that will cause a bad person to act lawfully and appropriately.  When a troll lobs an effective zing that shames another person there is a moment of exhilaration.  This is the payoff but this is typically followed by shame for being a troll and not being able to control his behavior (giving in to addiction).  Often other people on the message board or comment section gang up on the troll.  This exacerbates the troll’s feeling of shame.  At this point the troll will swear off trolling in his mind but eventually the urge to troll will reemerge and the addictive cycle repeats itself.  It is important to note that the troll will often talk as if his point of view is very well thought out and he is crusading for the truth or some such.  In fact, the motivation to troll is only the addictive, short-term rush he gets from shaming another person.  The troll’s personal beliefs are ultimately secondary.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

1 Comment

Filed under Shame, Trolling

How My Shame Journey Opened the Door to Trolling

One day the partner in charge of the document archive called a meeting of the entire staff in the conference room.  This included the Staff Attorneys, the paralegals and the secretaries.  He announced that the document archive would be closing by the end of the year.  I remember he had a smile on his face perhaps expressing that this burden he had been assigned was finally over.  For the Staff Attorneys this was a chilling message.  We all knew these jobs were not career path jobs and the tobacco litigation would end at some point.  On the other hand we had settled in to our well paid, low stress positions.  Because we had been only performing document review we had no real attorney skills.  So, any attempt to transition into another “real attorney” job at a different firm would be difficult.  The prospect of unemployment scared me.

Fortunately the partner who ran the document archive advocated for the Staff Attorneys to other partners at the firm.  One partner for the New York office needed a staff to draft answers for litigation involving a well known pharmaceutical company that had made a drug that allegedly caused heart attacks and strokes.  The New York partner was a bit of a marshmallow in stature from too many years sitting behind a desk and eating at high end restaurants.  His personality, however, was direct and to the point.  There were thousands of plaintiffs filing suit against this pharmaceutical company all across the country and each of these suits required a document called an “Answer” responding to all the points in the “Complaint”.  What this meant for me was not that I would be using my legal skills to draft these answers.  It meant I would be looking at the form answer drafted by one of the associates.  The form answer contained different ways of denying every point on the complaint.  Even simple factual points such as the pharmaceutical company was located in a particular state.  I would be cutting and pasting answers from the form into the new answer I was drafting.

The work was mindless and at a certain point there was not enough work to go around.  I remember billing an entire day to draft an answer that probably took me fifteen minutes to complete.  I did not like being in this situation.  The law firm required me to bill a certain number of hours per year but then did not provide me with enough work to meet that billable requirement.  Nor would they allow me to perform real attorney work because I was a Staff Attorney.  As such, I could be honest, bill a few hours and be fired or I could be dishonest and pad my hours, keep my job but feel guilty about it.  I wanted to work but I wasn’t allowed to.  It was the lawn mower issue all over again.

I became anxious and depressed.  My marriage suffered.  I spent my days arguing with a co-worker through long email chains about whether God was real or not.  I surfed the web.  It was there and then that I discovered a certain website called StarTrek.com.  I start posting on the message board and became a member of the community.  When the members migrated over to another website called SisterTrek.net, I did too.  And so began my foray into the world of internet trolling.  I had a shame-based personality.  I was anxious and depressed because of my job.  I felt overpaid, useless and stuck.  Finally, I had unlimited access to the internet.  That combination of situations made it impossible for me not to troll.

Leave a comment

Filed under Shame

I Have Darkness and Light

Inside me there is both darkness and light.  It is the darkness that gets joy out of fucking with people on message boards and it is the light that has compassion for my children (for example).  After I fuck with people on message boards I feel bad.  It might be tempting to say it is the light that is making me feel bad for doing wrong.  That is morality.  But really this is my darkness now turned on me.  My darkness loves to fuck with people even if (or even especially when) that person is me.  Fucking with someone in this context means deriving pleasure by making another person feel bad.

The darkness is cowardly, dishonest and hides itself because it feels ashamed at its core.  It makes sense that darkness thrives on the anonymity of the internet.  To alleviate the pain of shame it acts out on other people, deriving pleasure by making them feel bad.  The darkness pretends to be the light by espousing morality and punishing immorality but what it is really doing is shaming other people and deriving pleasure from it.

By contrast, the light has compassion, forgiveness and acts wholeheartedly.  Several Bible verses come to mind. In Genesis the first thing God says is, “let there be light.” (Gen 1:3).  Then God separated the light from the darkness.  (Gen 1:4).  In John, Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  (John 8:12).  Paul speaks of love but I suspect love in this context is the same thing as light.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

It might be tempting to say that labling the good part light and the bad part dark is a way of avoiding blame.  It is a way of saying that I am not responsible for my bad actions but rather the fault belongs with the darkness.  I think this is a message from the darkness which tries to shame and cast blame.  I think recognizing and accepting the darkness inside me is recognizing the truth and thus embracing the light.  When I recognize the darkness and how it acts inside me I am better able to stop myself before I act out and act from a place of honesty and light rather than shame and darkness.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Trolling

10 Topics That Anger Right-Wing, Conservative Republicans on Message Boards

I have argued with many right-wing, conservative Republicans and Tea Party members on the internet over the years.  Most notably on a Star Trek message board called Sistertrek.  For some reason this message board had a very active politics section and most of the members of the board were conservative.  When I joined the board I tended conservative politically but not over the top.  I voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election because I was turned off by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  I supported the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq initially after September 11.  I began to get turned off to the Republican / conservative movement after it was discovered that the justification for the invasion of Iraq was based on a false premise.  When I started voicing this opinion on the message board the neocons attacked.  I was taken off guard by how nasty they became. My many battles with conservatives have taught me their many buttons to push to make them angry.  The following is a list of ten that come to mind.  Note: I will use the term “conservative” hereinafter to generally refer to anyone who is right-wing, Republican, conservative or a Tea Party member.

1.  Liberal Media Bias With conservatives all arguments begin with the assumption that the “mainstream media” is biased in favor of the liberals and against the conservatives.  This is how they justify denying facts and reality.  If the credibility of the source of facts is undermined then nothing is factual and anything can be factual.  Conservatives will choose media that tells them what they want to hear calling it “fair and balanced” and dismiss media that tells them what they do not want to hear calling it “mainstream”.  I have found that questioning of this concept is viciously attacked by conservatives and justifiably so.  Undermining this argument undermines most other arguments conservatives cling to.

2.  Global Warming Even though there is general scientific consensus that global warming exists and is caused in part by man-made activities most conservatives will deny it.  They base this denial on “junk science” promoted by the liberal media to undermine the fossil fuel industry or some such.  Anytime global warming is brought up in a conversation from a perspective that assumes it exists will irk most conservatives.

3.  Criticism of George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan Conservatives are generally protective of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.  They tend to overlook that both presidents relied on deficit spending to finance their agendas, were heavily influenced by big business, the defense industry and served the interests generally of the wealthiest at the expense of the poor and middle class.  Conservatives also overlook the fact that George W. Bush was a horrible public speaker, often appeared foolish, invaded Iraq on a false premise and spent billions of dollars and American lives in the process.  The mere mentioning of any of these points will make a conservative defensive.

4.  Praise for Barack Obama or Bill Clinton By contrast praise for Presidents Obama or Clinton will draw the anger of conservatives.  They will deny that Bill Clinton balanced the budget (they will say that claim is based on false numbers), that Obama ended the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (Bush was already doing that).  They will blame the economy on Obama even though he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression largely caused by the deregulation pursued since Reagan but continued through George W. Bush.

5.  Moral Relativism  Conservatives hate “moral relativism” even though none of them seem to use the term in the same way.  Like “liberal media bias”, “moral relativism” is a conservative boogeyman that can mean whatever a conservative wants it to mean depending on the situation.   Any attempt to get a conservative to define or pin down these definitions will most likely be met by personal attacks.  You will be called a troll, stalker or trouble maker.  Conservatives do not like strict definitions or interpretations even though conservatives do claim to want the US Constitution interpreted strictly (unless it undermines their arguments).  Again, the truth is mailable when the credibility of the sources of facts are undermined by calling them liberally biased (e.g., media, universities, legal scholars or scholars of any kind).

6.  Separation of Church and State I have seen conservatives actually argue that there is no separation of church and state in the US Constitution.  They generally base this on “activist judges” who have “interpreted” the Constitution.  Judicial review of laws (i.e., the interpretation of the Constitution) is something that has been enshrined in our legal system since the case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803.  What is behind this is the increased diversification of the American population.  Basically we are no longer an overwhelmingly white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant nation the way we were since the founding to about 1960.  Long story short, question whether the “War on Christmas” is a real thing and conservatives will get pissed off.

7.  Gun Control Gun control is an example where conservatives do not want the constitution strictly interpreted.  The 2nd Amendment talks about well-regulated militias.  Make this point and enjoy the fireworks.

8.  Implying conservatives get their ideas from Rush Limbaugh Without exception, conservatives become angry and embarrassed when Rush Limbaugh is mentioned by a non conservative.  They do not like the implication that their ideas somehow originate with him and that many conservatives merely parrot what Rush says.  They want to think that their ideas come from the strength of their convictions.  Point this out and engage a conservative’s fight or flight response.

9.  Taxes To a conservative all taxes are bad and so is deficit spending.  As such deficits can only be cured through spending cuts.  Any reasoned argument that a mixture of both spending cuts and tax increases are needed are met with scorn and personal attacks.

10.  Military / Patriotism Conservatives also seem to think they have a monopoly on patriotism and support for the military.  They assume that non conservatives are unpatriotic and have contempt for the military.  There is also an assumption that Republican presidents have a better record on military issues despite the fact that Woodrow Wilson and FDR successfully led the country during World Wars I and II arguably the two most successful military actions by the US in the modern era.  According to conservatives Reagan and George W. Bush are better commanders in chief.  Question this and they will surely respond. At this point I am beyond who is right and wrong.  I try not to judge.  Inside me there is lightness and dark.  The dark in me enjoys making conservatives angry.  Why?  Two reasons.  Because they annoy me and it is so easy.  The light inside me realizes there are better ways to spend my time.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Trolling

I Got Banned From Another Message Board

I have been banned from two message boards.  Sistertrek (a Star Trek message board where I went by the names Gvok and later The Gnostic) banned me a few years ago and Redlettermedia (a movie message board where I went by the name Gelthor) banned me more recently.  I did not set out to be the message board criminal but somehow the dynamics of message boards consistently make it easier for me to fall into that role than not.  I have to take some of the blame for this.  I clearly did something to make people angry with me and then when they got angry with me I fought back. There is something about my personality that consistently leads me in that direction.  But there is something about them too.  They are quick to anger and downright  annoying and deserved whatever it was I did to them.

The most annoying poster I ever encountered was Fesarius the Christian on Sistertrek.  He was not annoying because he was a Christian.  I am a Christian (Roman Catholic).  But he made Christians looked bad.  He talked about holding sabbath on Saturday because he could find no biblical justification for having it on Sunday.  He argued with atheists that the bible itself was proof of God’s existence because it was so elaborate and symbolic that “it just didn’t add up” to say humans wrote it free of divine inspiration.  He claimed he did not fear the terrorists because the worst they can do is kill him and he did not fear death.  All of that would have been fine if they were not been combined with his two other annoying qualities.  The two most annoying aspects about him were his smugness (masquerading as sincerity and non-judgmentality) and the fact that the vast majority of his posts had no substance.  Typically, he would publish one or two-word  posts until his post count reached an a milestone.  These milestones were nice round numbers.  It got annoying. I pointed it out, said if he would write substantive posts that would be fine but he was just posting in order to get his post count up.  He stopped responding to me.  If I asked him direct question he would write a post directed to another person.  Other people agreed with me and then he went into full-scale drama mode saying good-bye to everyone, telling them how nice it was to know them as if he would never communicate with them again.  He was back the next week.

There was Grendel’s Dad.  He had the highest post count on the Redlettermedia message board which of course reminded me of the douche bag Fesarius.  Grendel’s Dad hailed from Australia and called me an asshole for not knowing that fact.  I don’t take shit from the established members and if they give me shit I give it right back.  This turned out to be a bad strategy on Redlettermedia because the established members there like to dominate the new ones.  Because Redlettermedia had little oversight from the moderators it developed a wolf pack ethic.  In this pack mentality the established members considered it their due to dominate the new ones.  I guess if I submitted I would still be a member on that message board but I got off on the wrong foot and got labeled as a troll early on.

There was Minuet on Sistertrek.  She moderated a few of the topics and was pretty close with the administrator named Wichita.  She was Jewish and was always accusing other members of being antisemitic and then became offended when I pointed out that she over used this accusation.  She argued with Wichita incessantly.  These argument threads went on and on quibbling and counter-quibbling about the minutest points.  She hated when I asked questions of other members.  Apparently proper message board etiquette is to post your opinions but not ask questions of other members or at least not do it to the extent I did.

There was Action Jeans on Redlettermedia who was Grendel’s Dad’s lackey.  For some reason he found it incredibly rude of me that I asked a question that had been asked a year ago in another thread.  He claimed I should have researched this question by reading all the previous posts on the website before asking it.  After asking this question Action Jeans would hound and harass me whenever I posted anything else.  When I called him on this he called me a stalker.

There was my arch-nemesis Admiralbill  on Sistertrek.  He was a textbook Conservative “Ditto Head” from Texas.  He supported everything George W. Bush did and criticized everything about Barack Obama.  To him, the “mainstream media” has a liberal bias but Fox News is fair and balanced.  I liked to post news articles on global warming just to get him riled up.  He was always accusing me of “baiting” him.  In my defense there was so much that baited him it was hard not to.  That said, I did bait him because he was an angry, insulting asshole and it amused me to make him angry.

Currently I am not a member on any message board.  The pattern is clear to me.  It was fun for a while to battle these people but eventually the negative energy caught up with me and I started feeling angry.  So I got myself banned.  On Sistertrek I pushed it until they banned me.  On Redlettermedia I asked to be banned.  They ignored this request for a while so then I pushed it and then they banned me.  (I wonder if they would have banned me if I never asked for it.)  For years after being banned from Sistertrek I thought about those people with anger and shame.  But eventually it faded.  After being banned from Redletter media I did not feel much of anything except relief that I did not get as addicted to baiting the bullies there as I did on Sistertrek.

What can I say?  I like to see reactions to my posts.  Maybe that was the reason the people on message boards always hate me.  I always assumed everyone else has the same motivation but now I am not so sure.  Maybe the others just post and do not care how other people react.  I find that mindset hard to fathom though (and maybe that is another symptom of the underlying problem).  What ever it is, the other members seem to be able to pick up on my energy and it irritates them.  That is some of them anyway, the ones who are not like me.

If there is one piece of advice I can give to a person in a similar situation, it is never apologize.  I think apologizing is a good thing (ethically), especially if in the wrong.  But I never encountered a message board accuser who has ever had an iota of compassion.  I tried to extend olive branches to Admiralbill and Grendel’s Dad and both times they used it against me as evidence of my guilt.  I think it has to do with anonymity on message boards.  People are cruel and unforgiving when they are anonymous.  Who knows if they also lack empathy in real life.  The best thing to do is what I did.  Get yourself banned and walk away.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Trolling

Four Reasons To Troll Message Boards

A message board troll deliberately makes inflammatory posts in order to get a reaction from some one or to get other message board members to argue.  I have certainly fit in this category in the past.  At this point I am pretty much a recovered troll, however, as they say in AA once an addict always an addict.  In other words although I no longer actively troll it would be very easy for me to fall back in the habit because trolling is very much an addiction (more later in this post).  From my own experience there are four reasons someone would actively troll a message board.

First Reason – It Is The Other Members’ Fault

I have been a member of a few message board communities over the years.  I can honestly say I never became a member with the intention to troll from the get go.  Usually my behavior shifts in that direction based on the behavior of other members of the community.  This happens because message boards have established communities (unless you join when the board first starts).  Acceptance into the community requires new members to be humble at first.  If a new member is not humble and talks back to the more established members when confronted, that new member will typically be accused of trolling.  Often the established members suspect the new member of being a troll who had been previously harassed off the board and has returned under a new avatar.  If they do not out right accuse the new member of operating a “sock puppet” they will say he is just like every other troll who has been run off the board in the past.  The new member will quickly paint himself into a corner by continuing to defend himself and being a troll will become his identity. From that position he can either stick it out and hope that with good behavior over time the label will go away or he can leave.  That is the goal of the established members.  If he has allies (other members who stick up for him) then he can fight the good fight.  If he is all by himself he may choose to relish in the troll identity.  This is usually done without admitting to the fact that he is a troll and usually results in ostracization or outright banning if the moderators are strict.

This reason (trolling is the fault of the other members) is hard to justify mostly because the troll will never convince the other members.  It is also hard to justify because all the evidence is stacked against him.  I suspect most trolls feel that the other members are to blame in their hearts but that is probably because they don’t want to look at the real reasons they troll (Reasons 2, 3 and 4).

Second Reason – The Troll Seeks Attention And Recognition

I was accused once by a message board member that I was looking for attention and recognition.  That stung and my immediate reaction was to deny it, but upon further self-reflection I realized the accuser was right.  I see this in the way I behave and the way I react emotionally to the behavior of others.  After I post a message I am compelled to keep looking to see if anyone responded.  If my post was intended to bait another member the urge to look to see if a response was made is heightened.  It feels good to see a lot of people respond to a thread I started.  It feels good to have people agree with me.  It does not feel good (shameful) to have people accuse me of trolling or looking for attention.

Third Reason – The Troll Likes To Fuck With People

Trolls like to fuck with people.  They enjoy getting other people angry and seeing them react.  This motivation comes from old bonding, probably because someone did it to them and it was probably one of the troll’s parents.  Without getting too into the Gestalt psychology of it, children bond to the energy of their parents because they need their parents to survive.  Even if the energy is negative, bonding to that is better than the alternative which is death.  When they bond to that energy, as they mature they act out that energy on others including their children.  See My Experience With Gestalt Therapy.  They are also more apt to act out that energy in anonymous situations like message boards where their true identity will not be exposed.

Fourth Reason – The Troll Is Addicted

Trolling is an addiction.  When I actively trolled I worked a boring job I hated sitting in a cubicle all day.  At the same time I had access to the internet.  When I posted an inflammatory post I would experience a rush.  If the post produced the reaction I was looking for (pissing someone off or making them look foolish) I got an even bigger rush.  I have been told this is the same sort of reward that addicts experience when they partake in their addiction of choice (be it drugs, alcohol, porn, food etc.).

I suppose the take home message is that there is more to a message board troll than meets the eye.  Certainly it is not my intention to defend this type of behavior because the truth of the matter is that trolls enjoy making other people feel bad.  They get off on it.  On the other hand, the reason for this behavior exists is probably because the troll is experiencing a great deal of psychological pain that he is not yet ready to face , not that a troll would ever admit to that.

 

Read my ebook Shame and Internet Trolling. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

5 Comments

Filed under Trolling