Trolls are that post inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums anonymously…Cowards. Hiding behind a screen name or just words is still a form of cowardliness.
A troll is not a new concept, it’s the equivalent of some one talking crap through the grapevine or mailing a letter with no return address. It is the need to express yourself negatively and to get others on the band wagon. Which seems to have worked with groups of trolls guiding each other to the next bash fest.
Trolling is not just a group of meanies with the goal of hurting and disrupting online communities, but they have rules and their own lingo. One term that stood out is the plural of lol, LULZ, which is ‘ the joy of disrupting another’s emotional equilibrium’, also its a way for trolls to keep score. One rule is ‘the game is never over until all the lulz have been had.
They have created web communities of their own. These sites allow trolls access to what they normally couldn’t and so trolls can see what others trolls are loling about. Some sites are 4chan.org and encyclopediadramatica.se, whose slogan is ‘In Lulz we trust’.
A lot of these trolls are normal people we encounter everyday. Our professors, pastors, gas station clerk, etc are leading double lives as trolls . Earlier in the semester we read about true online identity, but trolls cause us to ask about the true identities offline. Jason Fortuny is one of those people. A freelance web designer and programmer who describes himself as a ‘normal person who does insane things online’.
Trolls hide behind the mask of anonymity ready to pounce on the next picture, video or tragedy that appears on their screen. They lay in wait for the next vulnerable situation and then attack. So with the uncertainty of who these trolls are, does it cause us to question the true identities of those around us offline?