Search This Blog

De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Trolls Live in Caves, and That's Where They Belong

By Rich Kozlovich

There was a time I used to enjoy engaging internet trolls because they're always wrong.  Some probably are truly stupid, but I'm convinced most of them intelligent, most are farm trolls, but all have serious psychological issues.    

What's a "farm troll"?  These are people who've been specifically trained, and paid, to spend an inordinate amount of time spewing out logical fallacies, misdirection, out right lies, and projection on news sites all over the world.  Then there are some who I think are simply self funding trolls, but the patterns are always the same.  

Should we engage trolls?  I've gotten tired of that because they're enormous time wasters. Their offerings are always full of red herring fallacies and cherry picked information, and make no mistake, you cannot win with these people because they have no solid moral foundation, so they merely alter their "arguments" just enough so you don't realize they're not staying on point in order to throw you off and have you going around in circles, and they truly take a sadistic delight in that.  They're not honorable people who simply have different views. They're viperous. 

The Pew Research Center claims 60% of people ignore trolls, and Popular Science removed their comments section several years ago, finding that “a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story, and that's their goal, at least one of them.  They desire to attract attention, and disrupt conversations.  The more people say to them or engage with them, the more clabber they will spew out, like cobras spitting venom.  Shaming, hate, ridicule, harassment, arrogance, they represent a unending drain on readers emotional energy and time.  They frame the discussion to suit themselves, slightly altering the issue.  If you choose to engage them, never fail to force them to stay on point.  I recommend taking some time and reading about red herring fallacies, and projection. 

What kind of people engage in trolling?   We can start by asking why don't they use their real names, and it's clear they keep changing the name they're using?   Why?  What are they hiding?   A 2014 study claimed they're characterized by traits that are called the Dark Tetrad, or Dark Triad, willing to manipulate and deceive others.  Narcissism, egotism, self obsession, psychopathy, a lack of empathy for others or remorse for their vile practices.  And finely, sadists that feed on the impotent rage of those who engage them.   All very Machiavellian. 

What works?  For me, I try to ignore them, block them when I can, laugh at them, demand they tell us their real names, and ask if they're paid trolls or self funding trolls.  Call them a troll and when they respond saying name calling is a sign of weak character and intellect. I point out I'm not name calling, it's a matter of definition.    If I call  murderers, murderers, it's because they really murderers.   If I call thieves, thieves, it's because they're thieves.  So if I call a troll a troll, it's because they really are trolls.  
Understand engaging trolls is a massive waste of time and emotional energy,  you can't win them over, you can't change their minds.  Accept that these are people in serious need of psychological help, whether they're paid jerks or self funding jerks.  Would you engage a certifiable loon in person?  Probably not, so if the answer is no, then why engage with them online?  

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! You ought to submit your essay to AT. I determined most of what you write a long time ago, very seldom engaged with these sick, twisted individuals, and encouraged others not to do so either. It is utterly impossible to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man, change the mind of a fool, OR raise the level of discussion with someone who is determined to pull it down, and keep it there. I don't pay to participate on threads which promised to cull the trolls. If I felt the need to have my intelligence insulted, that "service" is available for free everywhere.