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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
    Pinstar, 9 Aug 2012 @ 8:06am

    Agreeing that Socrates was history's first recorded troll. Trolling, like any form of humor, can be applied in many different ways that make it anything from useful to hateful and everything in between.

    Example:
    In College, my Philosophy professor was a massive troll, an intellectual troll. He did many things to our class but the biggest one was on the subject of race and equality. He (An african american) setup a debate where the class must choose two sides in the topic "Are black people inferior to white people". One side debating in favor of it, and one against it.

    Keep in mind that most of our class (myself included) were liberal, white and very PC individuals who were horrified at the prospect of arguing that any race was inferior to another.

    To up the trolling a notch, he allowed students to pick sides freely... and the side that won the debate would get a 10 point bonus to their next exam. He also picked a side himself. Being a master at these types of discussion, he placed himself on the side arguing that black people were inferior...and that side eventually won that particular debate. Mainly because the students on the "black and whites are equals" side relied too much on emotional arguments that didn't hold up to further scrutiny. That and due to the fact that most of the class was on that side, there wasn't much focus in their debate strategy.

    Most trolling is not like this, but it is an example of how trolling can be used for intellectual and educational purposes...in addition to amusement for the troll.

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