Anyone who has visited blogs or web-based articles and scrolled to the comments section is now well aware of the existence of an increasingly influential life-form: the troll. This (presumably) carbon-based organism was mislabeled a “flamer” in early internet society and was relegated to myth, fairy-tale and legend until recently.
Since the increased use of comment sections in internet communications, these mysterious creatures have become bolder in their public appearances. However, they remain on the outskirts of formal anthropological or sociological study.
A cousin to the bridge troll, the internet troll (ad hominem sapiens) prefers to present itself in forums with topics that polarize people, such as politics, religion, and celebrity bashing. More recently, however, trolls have been spotted in heretofore neutral or noncontroversial blogs.
Weather.com was shut down briefly a few weeks ago because of the heated exchanges about the polar vortex. The post believed to have started the ruckus was: “The poler [sic] vortex is cleerly [sic] a ploy by Barack Osama-bama to raise money for climate change posers [sic] in support of the biomedical complex. Anyone who beleives [sic] that is a pompus [sic] A**HOLE!!!”
The impetus for scholarly troll studies (“trollogy”) was driven in part by the weather.com imbroglio. “We need to better understand the motivations of this invasive species so we can protect innocent web users,” reported Dr. Zoey Wood, the director of the new program at Bosco College. “There were reports of increased violence that directly correlates with the exchange. ‘Don’t Feed The Trolls’ signs have demonstrated decreasing efficacy over time.”
Some scholars believe that the trolls are actually professionals who hide behind the anonymity of the internet to create drama for their own sick purposes. However, this represents a minority opinion in the growing trollogy community.
“Who said that?” said Wood, “Did they say it was me? I dare them to prove it!”