A Nature Documentary

Observe quietly as we watch the Hateful Troll in its natural environment, the internet.

It is not possible to place a sex on these usually rational creatures, because they may take either form. Nobody has ever got quite close enough to one to find out and their particular breed of camouflage – called a ‘monitor’ – means that unless you actually turn up on their doorstep, you are unlikely ever to know the truth. Rumour suggests that statistically, these Hateful Trolls are male, but there are plenty of females in the mix and females can be much nastier.

See now as the Hateful Troll ambles its way across the rolling internet savannah, searching for its next victim. Their hunting methods are strange; most of the time they seek their prey by themselves, but under the right circumstances, they form tight-knit groups, known by the decent folk of the internet as ‘fuckwitteries’ and engage in a brutal take-down.

There! See! Our Hateful Troll has spied its prey! See how it gently taunts the unfortunate victim, pushing at a number of buttons in an effort to get a reaction. See how, when the victim does the right thing and simply ignores it, the poking gets harder. Nastier. More spiteful. Until… yes! The Hateful Troll launches into a complete state of abusive, threatening behaviour which it somehow believes is perfectly acceptable in a social situation.

Observe how the Hateful Troll stands triumphant over its victim, crowing about its victory and how ‘it knows better’. It truly is an ugly beast, rarely breeding due to a lack of social graces that means its living habitat tends to be indoors. Hateful Trolls do not mix well in social groups.

The species has several sub breeds.

Here, we see the Forum Troll. The Forum Troll stalks innocent topics, inserting inflammatory or contradictory statements designed to ‘show its superiority’, but which generally only succeed in ‘showing its malicious streak’. Forum Trolls do not take well to moderation, often bleating, in their pathetic little voices about unfair treatment. They do not understand irony.

Several paces behind the Forum Troll comes the Social Media Troll. This evil creature hides behind its monitor camouflage, safe and secure in the knowledge that nobody is ever going to know what it really is. This breed is possibly the nastiest of all. This is the breed that thinks it’s perfectly OK to send death threats to people whose beliefs or opinions somehow enrage its delicate little sensibilities. These creatures need to be taken to task most severely.

A rarer breed is the Journalist Troll. These strange creatures put up articles that are specifically designed to attract other Hateful Trolls. A penis-waving contest then appears to ensue as the Trolls battle for supremacy. Nobody yet understands much about this breed other than it’s plainly odd.

It has been said that some males of the breed state that ‘women on the internet are fair game’ for such threats and suggestions of violence. Vets should be sent in as clearly these creatures require a check up from the neck up.

The game wardens of the Twitter National Park have installed a ‘report’ button so that tourists wandering their grounds and who encounter and/or suffer at the hands of Hateful Trolls can alert them to it. The true test will be whether the game wardens actively do anything with that process. Scepticism remains.

The Hateful Troll is retreating now, slinking back to its Troll Cave (usually located beneath a bridge). It will go into a state of slimy hibernation until its next opportunity to strike arises. We leave it now, curled up on a bed of cheap pornography, dreaming of the day when everyone acknowledges how awesome it truly is.

* * *

tl;dr? Bullying is wrong in every single form and via every single medium. The installation of a ‘Report Abuse’ option on Twitter is a step in the right direction – it’s what is done with those reports that matters. Nobody should be subjected to threats of violence, whether it’s intended or not. Not ever.

3 thoughts on “A Nature Documentary

  1. Tony Lane says:

    Back in my UO days I took over guild leadership for a thousand member strong EU guild. The way people talk to or at each other online has always been shocking. I always had a zero tolerance to grief of any kind. A one week ban for a first offence and repeat offences got you kicked out and hunted in game for a week. Online moderation is a hard a thankless job. That’s why GW stopped their forums. It was too hard to maintain the dignity they needed to fulfill their goal of being inclusive.

    These days I don’t have any direct involvement in anything but I will stop using a forum or stop following on twitter or even un-friend on facebook if I don’t like what somebody says. There is no excuse for this behaviour online or in person and it lessens all of us not just those doing the trolling.

  2. Narry says:

    ‘Check up from the neck up.’ In my head David Attenborough’s voice momentarily slipped into rap.

  3. John says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings from The Trenches and commented:
    Yet more awesomeness from Sarah Cawkwell’s blog.

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