Psychological Profile Of An Internet Troll

I was at Mr. Steves blog today, he has a post on the mass murder in Christchurch NZ. I read his post, wanted to comment, but really could find nothing good to say. This being such a human tragedy it is difficult to find words of wisdom, or words that do come seem to somehow only fall short of a proper comment. But lo and behold there was the troll.

The troll had nothing to say about the post except that for him it was an act of evil, but for us silly secularists, and this was the implication of his comment, “Oh woe is me, how on earth would an ignorant secularist be able to identify evil without a god?” Such an imbecilic question only meant to rile up the posters there.

And it worked, to a degree, I responded. And true to an internet troll the prods and pokes, and the sickening fascination with the back and forth volley of words began. Well I played for a minute, then I quit. You know why? Because I know the secret to a troll. They want no intellectual discourse. They want no friendly conversation. They only live for the fight. They get some sort of momentary satisfaction from their perceived perch of justifiable confrontation. They wander around the internet plying their trade, hopeless little dopamine junkies looking for a fix. Nothing leaves the troll more deflated than someone just walking away. So when I encounter this situation, it is what I try to do, just because I know that is the deepest cut you can give a nasty troll.

Now I’m no psychological expert. I was married to a gal for over 10 years though, who had a slew of personality disorders. (we were young when we got together and things developed as we moved along, I was 2 kids and a mortgage deep before the full realization set in) She was eventually diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder. Which is a panoply of several differing disorders ranging from bi polar, to depression, to schizophrenia, to delusions, and who know what all else. Needless to say I have experienced the entire deck of cards, and I know when my buttons are being pushed. This is the trolls calling card. Pushing buttons just for the sake of eliciting a response. I won’t go so far to say that all trolls have personality disorders, but I’ll bet you a buck fifty it damn well helps. Don’t give them the satisfaction of giving them the sort of engagement they desire ūüôā

I have already admitted I’m no expert on the matter. I wonder what say the experts? I’m pasting an entire page here with the link to follow. Please note to access the study you have to at least create an account, which I have no interest in doing, only to probably find out it’s behind a paywall… if someone else decides to pursue the study I’d like to hear what you ran into.

“In this month’s issue of¬†Personality¬†and Individual Differences,¬†a study was published¬†that confirms what we all suspected: Internet trolls are horrible people.

Let’s start by getting our definitions straight: An Internet troll is someone who comes into a discussion and posts comments designed to upset or disrupt the conversation. Often, in fact, it seems like there is no real purpose behind their comments¬†except¬†to upset everyone else involved. Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response.

What kind of person would do this? Some Canadian researchers decided to find out.

They conducted two online studies with over 1,200 people, giving personality tests to each subject along with a survey about their Internet commenting behavior. They were looking for evidence that linked trolling with the “Dark Tetrad” of personality traits:¬†narcissism, Machiavellianism,¬†psychopathy, and sadism.

They found that Dark Tetrad scores were highest among people who said trolling was their favorite Internet activity. To get an idea of how much more prevalent these traits were among Internet trolls, see this figure from the paper:

Look at how low the Dark Tetrad scores are for everyone except the trolls! Their scores for all four traits soar on the chart. The relationship between trolling and the Dark Tetrad is so significant that the authors write in their paper:

“… the associations between sadism and GAIT (Global Assessment of Internet Trolling) scores were so¬†strong that it might be said that online trolls are¬†prototypical everyday sadists.”¬†[emphasis added]

Trolls truly enjoy making you feel bad. To quote the authors once more (because this is a truly quotable article):¬†“Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress¬†of others. Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their¬†playground!”

The next time you encounter a troll online, remember:

  1. These trolls are some truly difficult people.
  2. It is your suffering that brings them pleasure, so the best thing you can do is ignore them. ”¬† ¬† END QUOTE

Yep, I’m no expert, but I can’t argue with that. Link:

An excerpt from another site:

“Trolls glorify in their own worldview. As such, they bait others of different bends on social media in order to mock and abuse them. They’re motivated by a need for attention, by boredom, by a flash of excitement due to causing others pain, or by exacting revenge.”¬† I could have sworn I pretty much just said that. Maybe I am an expert ūüėȬ† ¬† ¬†Link:

Any good guesses who the troll is? Im sure some of you know ūüôā