Are you narcissistic, machiavellian, psychopathic and sadistic? You might be a troll.

A study of personality characteristics of internet trolls has come out. The results are as you might expect.

"Online trolls have serious personality issues such as Machiavellianism, one of the biggest studies into trolling has found.

Researchers say that online commenters display traits that are Narcissistic, psychopathic, and sadistic and the worse the problems, the longer the person spent online."

The word “obvious” springs to mind.

Hey, that sounds neat! I gotta read that study so I can learn to be like that too!

“Machiavellian?” I’ve never encountered a troll smart enough to be Machiavellian.

Ah, no doubt that’s where the delusions of grandeur come in.

Agreed. I think most online trolls like to imagine they’re Machiavellian (as well as imagining they’re narcissistic, psychopathic, and sadistic). But briefly annoying a few random strangers doesn’t make you a criminal mastermind.

I have. At the old Cyber Soap Box forums there was a character known as Jay who was quite intelligent, who dropped by regularly to shit in our sandbox. The CSB was dedicated to free speech, and he tested the limits of everyone’s patience. The memory of him makes me appreciate the usually even-handed moderation we have here.

I should have put this in The Pit.

I can guess what is meant by “Machiavellian,” but there is a school of thought that Machiavelli is an early troll. In short, some think he wrote a Poe’s law-worthy parody of state building. In short, he didn’t believe in being a tool any more than Swift believed in eating babies.

I’m not sure I ever want to eat Swift’s Premium link sausages anymore! :eek:

Former forum troll (who has met many other trolls) reporting. Maybe some extreme cases are pathological. But most run-of-the-mill trolls are just lonely, bored, and attention-seeking. They have learned to shrug off meanness through the internet because “it’s just the internet, lighten up!” This degree of disengagement allows them to be rude and mean online to people who are more engaged, in ways they would never attempt in real life.

I outgrew it, but I think it’s fair to say that a significant percentage of young people will go through this phase at some point. Oh, and the only antidote to a troll is to refrain from providing it with *any *attention. It won’t stop them from trolling, but they will go somewhere else if they don’t get a response from you/your forum.