Mikes Rant – The Over and Misuse Of The Word Troll
Mike Sanders / 12 months ago
Mikes Rant 2 – The Over and Misuse of the term ‘Troll’
Before I start, I think I should qualify that people being horrible to others is clearly not a nice thing to do. When it comes to the widespread media, however, I do have an axe to grind when it comes to the use of the word ‘troll‘ or, more accurately, what I feel is the misuse.
In a statement that will surprise many (and others who know me not so much), I do consider myself a troll. That being said, I do, however, quantify that within certain terms I will endeavor below to explain. In those terms, I will state my case for why I feel that the term is not always negative, but despite that, is overused by the media as a blanket term for anyone on the internet who cites criticism at another.
Those who are not trolls!
There are a number of people, who through the anonymity of the internet, like nothing more than to spread their bile as far and wide as possible. Be it through a tirade of 1-star reviews or posting hateful comments on social media. I would, however, from this, like to draw the line in the sand.
Anyone who feels the need to be nasty; those types of people are not trolls. They are best described using 4-letter words my editors probably wouldn’t allow me to write in this article.
It does, however, annoy me beyond belief when anyone on the internet who uses sarcasm, jokes or pointed comments are thrown under the bus with these people. There is a difference!
Internet trolls, I feel have been banded together with these so-called ‘people’ making any type of criticism on the internet automatically deemed as ‘trolling’.
For example, you will see in the media, at least once a day, a story of a celebrity who was ‘trolled’. Usually, because they posted something ridiculous online and people decided to comment on it. Firstly, I have always had the opinion that you shouldn’t put yourself out there if you can’t handle the idiots out there. I also concede that, as above, some people are just nasty and there is no excuse for that. In some instances, however, the criticism is entirely justified, but wait, no it’s not, you’re a troll! Shame! Shame!
Ten years ago, some of these comments would have been called witty or at the least, sarcastic. These days, you’re a vile troll!
My case for the eloquent troll
When people call me a troll, I rarely disagree, but feel it necessary to add the word ‘eloquent’ to it. You see, whatever trolling I involve myself in it not malicious. I do it in the same spirit that I might make a comment when a co-worker has a questionable haircut or when playing with friends online they manage to just scape to a 3 in 15 K/D ratio (which happens often). It’s not meant with any ill-intent, it’s simply what would (and should) be called ‘banter’.
I would also make the case for the tactical troll. Now, I know that Jeff Kaplan of Overwatch wants to remove all toxic behavior from the game, and that’s a noble pursuit, but it’s completely misreading the nature of online gaming.
I have, on more than one occasion, proposed the usefulness of a ‘tactical troll’. By which, you make a comment about your opponent to disrupt their play. Be it through their anger or frustration. It is the equivalent of playing Mario Kart and giving your neighbor an ‘accidental’ shove off the sofa. Does it work? Not always, but sometimes yes.
Is that malicious trolling? In my opinion no, it’s good tactics.
As I stated above, the line of distinction I draw is the intent beyond the troll. If it is malicious, then they are not trolls, they’re idiots. If the comment has humor, sarcasm or a point, then it is what I would consider trolling. In those terms, does the word really sound so bad?
I think it’s about time we internet trolls united and took our word back. We shouldn’t be ashamed to call ourselves this and in addition, we shouldn’t allow a bunch of bile spewing idiots to spoil it for everyone.
Lest we forget, if it hadn’t been for trolls, internet memes wouldn’t exist!
A good example of the eloquent troll
One of the best personal examples I ever had in the eloquent troll was an e-mail which was sent to me, to which I clearly wasn’t the intended recipient.
My personal e-mail address is fairly generic, it’s a first name, last name, at something dot com. As such, I do occasionally get e-mails which are not for me. In this one particular instance though, it was from a mother enquiring how her sons holiday was going (with me being her son).
Rather than disappoint her, I decided to respond saying that I had had a great holiday, but alas, the food had given me and my partner diarrhea. My temporary mother was saddened to hear about my problems downstairs but was perhaps more surprised to hear that I had a girlfriend. I went on to explain that I’d met this girl at a local ‘adults dancing studio’, that she was Russian, we were engaged, and that I was planning on bringing her home with me
My new mother…
As you can imagine, I got a rather lengthy e-mail back from ‘mom’. In it, she said how I was being an idiot and throwing my life away. She didn’t really love me (the girlfriend) and that she was only using me for money, to get into this country or likely both. I replied back shocked. How could my mother say such things? She clearly had never been in love and was just jealous that I had found the perfect partner in Vladlena (the name of my Russian wife-to-be).
I let this go back and forth for around 5-6 e-mails before she finally caught on. Yes, the penny dropped that she was talking to the wrong person. She sent me one final e-mail that wasn’t entirely flattering to me or herself. In it, however, she understood that she had been trolled and more importantly saw the funny side of it. That, is surely the important factor!
The only malicious trolling I engage in
I must admit though, there is one form of trolling I am malicious in and I make no apologies for it. That is with scammers.
I would happily invite anyone reading this, should you get one of these unsolicited e-mails, engage them in conversation. There was an instance where I had been exchanging e-mails with a scammer over the course of a month. During this time I kept providing him with contradictory information, such as changing my name on at least 4 occasions (and my sex 3 times) before he finally caught on.
At this point, some of you may be wondering ‘wow, that guy doesn’t have anything better to spend his time on’ and yes, I do. My Steam library will attest to that. The point is though that if you do have the time, please do it. Every minute of time you waste for these scammers is one less minute in which they might find a genuine target to exploit.
My final thoughts…
If at this point, you are still a little confused about what I’m trying to say here, I would invite you to watch the video below of the brilliant Ken M.
He is a self-confessed troll as well as myself, but uses the terminology that he brings ‘a banana to a gunfight’. I can entirely relate to that. Give it a watch. I daresay even those of you ready to give me both barrels in the comment section might change your mind.
I, therefore, call on all trolls to unite. Say what you are. Admit it with pride, and don’t let the media misuse of the word put you off from being your beautiful selves!
What do you think? Is Mike Right? Does the media misuse the word troll? Should we put him back in his cage? – Let us know in the comments!
Mikes Rant does not necessarily reflect the opinion of eTeknix as a whole. They are always written in a semi-serious semi-joke manner. If you can’t tell the difference than Mike will probably write about you soon. While Mike may be a troll, we at eTeknix only hired him to stop him posting comments on our articles.
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