There are many trolls out there on the internet, from a Hater Troll to a Holy Cause Troll, all with their own unique characteristics. Here is a line-up of all the prominent troll types and most importantly, how to fight them.
1. ‘Concerned’ Troll
You can find them lurking in groups where members of minority groups try and organise to fight for their rights. A ‘concerned’ troll will pretend to be willing to agree with you, if you would just answer their simple concerns. The problem is, these concerns are never ending, and the troll cannot be convinced. He will keep demanding your energy and time, by repeating the same question over and over again and will never be satisfied with your answer. When you patience is worn out, , they will call you an hysterical extremist and happily crawl back to their cave, until they find a new victim.
How to fight this troll? It’s hard to distinguish between a ‘concerned’ troll and someone genuinely curious at first. (actually sometimes critics will have the same questions as a ‘concerned’ troll). Answer at first but if you notice the person is draining your energy away and you feel like you are chasing your own tail, disengage. You are under no obligation to provide anyone with a free education.
2. Hater Troll
According to this troll, everything you do sucks. You suck, your memes suck, your house and dog and that essay you wrote in primary school also suck.
How to fight this troll? Don’t engage; remind yourself that you don’t need to get validation by making other people feel bad, and recognize you have already won for that reason. Then report the troll if you can, because trolls that feed on the misery of others can wreak havoc in some people's lives.
3. Tl;Dr Troll
Tl;Dr is an abbreviation meaning “too long, didn’t read”. You don’t need to search for this troll, this one will find you when you least expect it. The Tl;Dr troll is the bane of every social media manager’s existence, a troll who hasn’t actually read what you’ve posted, but still has a Super Important and Nuanced Opinion. In reality, this person just likes the sound of their own voice and there is not much meaningful interaction to be had. How to fight it? Don’t point out they’re failing to read or understand what is actually being said, but don’t go summing up the information either – they will just start attacking every ambiguity and claim you’re the one who actually “doesn’t get it”.
4. Baiter Troll
Baiter trolls consider themselves artists. They will hide in the shadows, observe, gather information, and wait for their opportunity. Then he’ll conduct a stealth attack on a conversation, leaving an inflammatory comment and scurry back to the shadows, to observe the chaos left behind.
How to fight this troll? By using their own weapons, stealth and information gathering, against them. People who are interested in a conversation will participate in it. A troll will repeatedly attack it only to leave it once your conversation is left in ruins.
5. Spellchecker Troll
The fact that you’ve written a nuanced argument filled with verified scientific facts and loaded with evidence is irrelevant, because you’ve written unrelevant instead of irrelevant. HAHA, clearly all of your content is wrong.
How to fight this troll? Ignore it. Or better still, go all Oscar Wilde in talks to his editors on them, ““I’ll leave you to tidy up the woulds and shoulds, wills and shalls, thats and whiches &c.”
6. Holy Cause Troll
The Holy Cause troll will sniff out any opportunity to derail a conversation onto its pet topic. This troll has decided that its life mission is to tell everyone that unicorns suck, and my goodness will use every opportunity to do so. You’ve shared a picture of yourself with friends on an outing “Let’s see how nice this park will be in 5 years when the Unicorns take over hee hee”. Tagged in an image with a friend of yours? “I would never take you for a unicorn lover but I’m glad your true colours are showing!” Posted a link about bees dying out? “TOO BAD THE UNICORNS ARE TOO CONCERNED ABOUT THEMSELVES TO SAVE THE PLANET!”
How do you fight this troll? Block and Ignore. This person is not interested in you, or your opinion, and for them you are a wall to write their own message on. That is their prerogative, but you have no obligation to be anyone’s non-consenting messenger.
7. Vulgar Troll
Has all the vocabulary of George Carlin but none of the humour. This troll’s contribution to the conversation is one or more swear words that seem to have no purpose other than using profanities as generously as possible.
How to fight this troll? Block and report. Or don’t, I guess, if you don’t mind a potty-mouth.