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 @ 7:54am

    I've seen a few "creative trolls" on Wikipedia, and they are a major pain to have to deal with. They seem intent on pushing the rules just to the limit, trying to interpret rules in other contexts besides those they were intended to address and screaming unfair when called out on it. In one discussion about whether to block one such troll, it was suggested that a good way for him to demonstrate good faith would be stay well within the rules for a period of time, going the extra mile to not even come close to limits. He absolutely bristled at the idea, openly hostile to the idea that he wouldn't be allowed to behave right up to the limit of what the rules allow. I might add that this person's pattern of behavior was one of making edits that were just barely plausible and just within the rules, but which had a good chance of stirring up drama and discord. It didn't matter whether he actually believed the edits he was trying to make; what mattered was how many people he could piss off with them.

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