“Freedom of Speech does NOT mean Freedom to abuse people. People who ‘Troll’ online are in effect guilty of Cyber-bullying, and we believe should face the same punishment as the crime of Cyber-stalking. This is why we are campaigning to have Trolling or Cyber-bullying re-classified, so that it can carry the same punishment as Cyber-stalking. We hope to have Trolling included in the The current US Federal Anti-Cyber-Stalking law, and have that law updated to suit as such.” 
 – Colin J Todd 2010
A ‘Troll’ is a person who posts a deliberately provocative or abusive message to a newsgroup or message board, with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.   
These people are essentially a type of ‘Cyber-bully’, who get off on other people’s pain or distress.   
That is why many of us hardcore Anti-Troll campaigners are campaigning to have Trolling or Cyber-bullying re-classified, so that it can carry the same punishment as Cyber-stalking. We hope to have Trolling included in the The current US Federal Anti-Cyber-Stalking law, and have that law updated to suit as such.  
We classify Trolling the same as Cyber-stalking, because lets face the facts - Trolling is exactly the same as cyber-stalking, though with a limited timespan.   
While cyber-stalkers concentrate on only one target, the Troll can have up to 100 targets (the number of victims in the forum he posts) per day, and can move from group to group creating more and more victims.

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From the anti-troll.org site:

To understand why people 'troll' you first have to understand mental illness. Trolling is a sign of someone who is mentally ill, or who is emotionally unbalanced and angry at normal people for some reason or other. 

Isn't it ironic that such a website would contain such trollish information?  Give me a break - people who troll are mentally ill?  How about people who are overly sensitive to criticism are mentally ill.  I can agree that cyber bullying and personally threatening someone on line could, and more often than not should, be considered as an anger management issue, but "troll" has become the new word for "contrarian".  I've been called a troll by people simply because I found their opinion on something to be entirely ridiculous and self serving.  Atheists run into this kind of attitude all the time from theists who use their theology to jusify their support for discrimination of homosexuals, getting their religion into classrooms, getting scripture into courthouses, etc. 


I don't agree with everything stated on that page. Yes, you have a good point. I listen to that music that the site list and I am also a loner. So, I don't agree with all those statements. There's probably a better website I could have used.

Sorry if that sounded a little mean spirited, but I'm tired of hearing the word "troll" being used as an shield for people don't respond well to criticism.  A good head butting on the internet can lead to both sides of an argument learning something useful about the world around them, by using their mental muscles instead of their physical ones.  That's why it's best to stay as anonymous as possible on the internet.

... people who are overly sensitive to criticism are mentally ill.

This sounds to me like something a bully would say, Future. There is such a thing as separating the person's worth from a criticism of their behavior. You put down victims twice here by judging them as inadequate. It would be far more helpful to specify particular behaviors you dislike in others and say what behaviors you would prefer, still treating the persons with respect.

Note that your statement is a double-edged sword. If you feel hurt by what I say here or by what  theists say, you too could be subjected to blanket judgments if this claim were legitimate. I would rather not presume to judge you.

It was said only to illustrate, by counter-example, how absurd the original accusation was.  I'm not sure why you would think I would be hurt by your criticism, since my point is that contrarian views should be met and debated, not immediately shunned because they don't align themselves with your feelings.  The only thing to be learned in an echo chamber is what one already knows.

Oh hey Future - yes, I understand exactly what you  are saying. And I did say earlier that I agreed with you. I wish I could have helped to write that webpage - I would edit so many things on it. It's not the best website - I can say that. I don't like that they blanket all "trolls" a certain way or try to explain their behavior by saying they listen to a certain type of music or have a certain personality.

And I would not consider you a troll Future - I like people who speak their mind and say it like it is. I appreciate honesty. That's a good thing. So, you keep doing what you are doing. You are fine.

Thanks Steph - I don't consider myself a troll either, I'm just not afraid to be confrontational when the need arises.  However, now days being confrontational will get you labeled a troll.

The sad thing is that the word "troll" used to mean something very different.  In fact, while trolling someone wasn't particularly friendly, it wasn't necessarily intended to be hurtful either.  It originated more as a joke that may have involve more than one individual conspiring to make another person lose their shit by writing blatently false material in a discussion.  For instance, one person in a chat room honestly writes something virtuous about a former president, and a couple of others in the chat room make up false facts about that president and sit back and watch while the unsuspecting person goes nuts refuting their claims.  It's kind of silly, and probably done out of boredom, but it's quite different than the psycho that death wishes, or mocks horrible events, etc.

Most people are probably familiar by now with another innocent type of trolling - the occasional article that pops up warning the public of the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide.  It's just fun to pile on in the fun and add examples about how flagrantly this "pollutant" is released into the environment, and watch as others are immediately concerned, but slowly come to the realization that dihydrogen monoxide is just a scary sounding word for water (H2O).

The word "troll" has now definitely taken on a negative connotation.  I guess there needs to be a word for the type of person that uses the internet for harrassment and saying horrible things to someone else, but I hate to see it being used to describe someone who simply disagrees.  Being an atheist in a world bent on religion, it is easy to find yourself being labeled a troll.

Intention will be hard to prove.


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