Social Question

Sillyish's avatar

What makes internet trolls tick?

Asked by Sillyish (98points) September 19th, 2009

What do you think they’re like in real life (are they the same way? Because it SEEMS like there are more outrageously rude people onine than off!), and what motivates them to be rude/intentionally cause trouble on the Internet?

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21 Answers

laureth's avatar


teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

I think they’re all just cowards. They’re too much of a pussy to say things in real life, so they just resort to trolling on the internet where they can hide behind a monitor.

Dog's avatar

I think they are petty little people who are nothing in the world with no control in their lives who are afraid to speak up in real life so they come to the internet to bully others so they can feel that they have power.

Jayne's avatar

They’re just putting on their troll face.

five99one's avatar

I agree with @laureth, they feed off of attention.

benjaminlevi's avatar

My old roomate said he did it when he was younger, only because he was bored.

dpworkin's avatar

I checked the DSM IV TR, and found an entry for Assholery Not Otherwise Specified.

Jeruba's avatar

There is also the fact that it is without any real consequences. You can’t behave that way toward people in real life (never mind the fact that the opportunities are of a different nature) because people will either call you on it or shun you. Your worst nightmare of a troll could be the friendly neighbor who walks his dog around your block, the receptionist at your dentist’s office, the cubicle chum who chats with you in the elevator. Maybe they are so pleasant because they take out all their aggressions as h4XX0RbL4d3 in your onscreen life.

kyanblue's avatar

Quite a few factors. I never trolled forums, but (oddly enough) I became close to someone who did, and these seem to be her reasons (which actually overlap quite a bit):

1. It’s the internet. Anonymity allows you to do lots of things you wouldn’t otherwise—maybe you’re trying to get your anger out, or you really feel the need to get under people’s skin. Many people are also a little too proud of how ‘brutually honest’ they are, to the point of cruelty.

2. You might just want to point out or show how easily a certain internet community can get worked up, over the silliest things. People on the internet, it seems, are more quick to anger, and sometimes a troll can provoke others to say the most insensible and illogical things in an involuntary response. You could think of a troll that works under this as a satirist.

3. For fun. Sometimes it’s amusing to see how people can get worked up over the smallest, most insignificant things. I know many forum denizens, even if they don’t actively participate in or against trolling, enjoy reading the threads it happens in. It’s some kind of voyeuristic instinct to watch an argument slowly build to its conclusion.

4. Attention. If a troll doesn’t get a response a first time, he or she will try again. If you leave a troll be, the ones that are doing it for attention can often be seen making increasingly desperate attempts to get attention. I think this is the main reason for many trolls…one internet community I participated in eventually broke into three sects because of extreme trolling: the trolls, people who hated the trolls and actively campaigned against them, and people who admired the trolls (this bit is a little hard to explain, but it happened).

loser's avatar

Bordom, evil, lack of a life; probably a cry for help and a great need for medication.

sandystrachan's avatar

Attention seeking morons , bordom or mummy didn’t wash their special pants .
The all want my pizza tho , to cause an argument is what they do its what they try and get people to rise to

YARNLADY's avatar

I just assumed it was a variety of humor that I simply just don’t get.

Kraigmo's avatar

They have good vocabularies, so they get on the internet and flame. A small part of them is searching for more answers, so they subconsciously can justify it to themselves. The main reason as everyone knows is attention and ego fuel.

If they were thuggish or stupid, then instead, they’d go outside and slowly cross the street, with their head in the air, while traffic waits.

Jeruba's avatar

@Kraigmo, I think they would also abandon their garbage for other people to pick up and leave restrooms without flushing the toilet. And they would threaten to sue their neighbors whenever there’s a problem and spread rumors that harm people’s reputations.

Zen's avatar

Welcome to the jellysea @Sillyish – I liked your q.

I’d say attention is the reason why, and that they are probably not exactly as outrageous, rude, nazi-like and trollish in the real word. Bullies are really cowards deep down.

Zen's avatar

@loser Couldn’t help notice your avatar, as well as someone else’s with a diet coke. Gave me an idea for a start up: avatar ads for cash. Fluther has x amount of members, who will view your avatar x amount of times. Should be worth something if you’re gonna advertise it anyway, no?

:-) @Jeruba What do you think?

Jeruba's avatar

@Zen, makes me think of the proposal to sell advertising space on U.S. postage stamps. And of a guy I knew who offered to rent promotional space on his bald head. I had a similar idea that was much less socially acceptable. I think your idea is a brilliant one that we should stomp out as quickly as possible and forget we ever heard of it.

Zen's avatar

@Jeruba Thanks for the brilliant remark… btw, I’m on my third daily poem.


Zen's avatar

@Kraigmo Ego fuel. Likes it!

mattbrowne's avatar

Lack of self-esteem or suffering from sadistic personality disorder.

Kraigmo's avatar

@jeruba, you’re right about that… they also talk too much during concerts

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