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
    llortamai, 10 Aug 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rules for Life

    Alright, I'll play nice. You'd be surprised at how nice I can actually be (mostly brought on by the fact that you collected yourself after what I saw as a little tantrum....it appears I was wrong about that).

    First, it was meant as a joke. I use llortamai when I want people to know that a troll is coming (read it backwards). When I want to do some serious, more subtle trolling I pick something else or go AC. What you see above is not my usual MO. I do introduce others to trolling, and I do go on the occasional 'bully' kick, but on the whole I just look for the active trolls in a community that get people's panties in a bunch, copy their style, and add something so far out there that no one is sure if I'm a troll or deep cover. I have a fantastic time doing it too. I'm not one of those sad sacks that sits on the internet all day looking for someone to troll. I come out twice a week or so during breaks from work or while I'm waiting on my wife to get home. It's a hobby, the same way some people build model airplanes or play an instrument.

    I actually enjoyed your list comparing my original list with bullying. I don't agree with all points, but there were some very good, thoughtful responses there that we should debate sometime. Here and now is not the place, but I'm sure if you keep coming here you'll see me again.

    As far as your comment about me being a 12 year old: For someone who claims to be a bit of a troll whisperer ("downing" them) I'm surprised you went there. That usually just enrages people or sends them to troll under a different name. They aren't taken down, they're momentarily displaced. Once in a while you'll find one that will point out that just because that's the way that you choose to live your life doesn't mean it is the way the rest of us live. Sometimes you'll even find one that is gracious enough to apologize for any noises you might have heard last night (although not the really deviant ones that make the weirdest noises).

    What might really surprise you about someone like me is that while this list was a joke, I live by rule number 11. I give to charity, volunteer, and I am generally very kind in real life.

    I'm sorry if you are butthurt over a list buddy. However, it just proves that it did its job. It was a blatant, ham-fisted way to troll and by feeding me you got caught up in it. The only way to really kill off a troll for good is to ignore them entirely. Debating someone who has no skin in the game doesn't make a bit of difference. Sad attempts at making fun of someone who doesn't know you and doesn't care about your opinion of them isn't downing one. Eventually we just get bored and walk away to troll someone else.

    I've kept this (mostly) civil to educate you on the real way to down a troll, and to show you that you are so very, very wrong in so many ways. I wasn't kidding when I said I'd like to have an actual debate on the list sometime. You seem like you are a really smart dude when you're not hurling infantile insults like a 5 year old whose feelings were hurt.

    Remember, there is no actual debate with someone who is in troll mode. There is no shutting them down with reason and logic. Frothing at the mouth and hurling insults just makes me feel that I've done my job in riling someone up. The only way to shut them down is to get a large enough portion of a community to ignore them long enough so that they lose interest and walk away.

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