Is Trolling Just A Form Of Practical Jokes?

from the it's-all-fun-and-games-until-the-rickrolls-begin dept

As the news of 4chan hitting 1 billion posts has come out, it only seems appropriate that the Surprisingly Free podcast has a fascinating discussion with Stefan Krappitz, the author of the book Troll Culture: A Comprehensive Guide, in which Krappitz tries to suggest that the common view of trolling as being a negative thing is mostly inaccurate. Instead, he suggests, trolling is more a form of practical joking -- "disrupting people for personal amusement." He even suggests that Socrates may have been an original troll, baiting people with silly questions and then mocking them. The overall discussion is quite interesting, even if it seems to underestimate the collateral damage that trolling can cause at times. Still, it does raise some good points, that certainly counter the more common view of completely condemning trolling.

Filed Under: practical jokes, trolling


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2012 @ 7:12am

    As has been already proposed, there are several different flavors of trolling. In a sense, trolling is a supercategory that simply never got enough attention to merit its own word.

    The Devil's Advocate is a form of trolling - you present an unpopular opinion and defend it even if it seems logically untenable.
    Pranks and practical jokes are a form of trolling - you perform the unexpected and convince poeple of things that aren't true, forcing victims to wake up and pay closer attention to everything around them.
    The Gadfly is a form of trolling - you challenge assumptions and force people to actually think about what they believe.
    Baiting is a form of trolling - you poke at peoples' sensitivities, forcing them to defend themselves over their very real insecurities.

    The guy from Twelve Angry Men is a troll. Heath Ledger's Joker is a troll. Socrates is a troll. Voltaire is a troll. Nietzsche is probably a troll. Atticus Finch is a troll. Arius is a troll. Martin Luther is a troll. Martin Luther King Junior is a troll. James Madison is a troll. Thomas Jefferson is a troll.

    The list goes on and on. Hosting a prank reality show is trolling. Starting a broad politicla movement is trolling. Redefining philosophy is trolling.

    Trolling is poking things that don't like to be poked. Sometimes it's for lulz, sometimes there's a deeper goal.

    You can respond to a lulztroll with anger, or with self-examination. You can respond to a legittroll with anger, or with self-examination.

    Regardless of the intention, effective trolls hit a nerve. Better to learn a lesson from NarutoGoku69 than to dismiss MLK Jr. as a malicious rabble-rouser.

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