What is "Trolling?"

Over in the Great Debates forum, someone posted a response which consisted of the single word “TROLL,” and other people made a fairly big deal out of it, saying it was rude, and uncalled for, and whatnot.

What’s that all about?


Trolling is the practice of posting insulting and or inflammatory remarks solely for the purpose of eliciting outraged responses. A troll is one who does this.

Basically going around (particularly on message boards) pissing people off one way or another. You said that they made a fairly big deal about it. That is generally the wrong way to handle it. Normally what you should do is ignore the troll compleatly. The troll acomplished his/her mission if they stirred up a lot of conversation.

Thanks for the quick answers, Ringo and Joey P.

For further details, you can see the Staff Report answering the question What is a Troll?

E.g., posting to Cafe Society that Bladerunner is an overrated movie because it isn’t in the right genre! (The most obvious troll I’ve seen lately.)

They weren’t making a big deal about a troll. They were making a big deal about someone else accusing someone of being a troll with no evidence stated.

Trolling is a bannable offense on this message board and therefore a very serious accusation. It is against board policy to make such an allegation against another member in good standing. If you suspect that someone is trolling, the proper procedure is to e-mail a moderator, or use the “report this post to a moderator” function, and let the administration handle it.

FWIW, the term “Trolling” comes not from the little ogres that hide under bridges, but to the fishing practice of just throwing a huge net overboard and draging it along the ground to catch whatever you can.

Very nearly, Muad’Dib, but if you’re using a net that would be trawling. Trolling is dragging a line with a baited hook or hooks.

Or not necessarily a net, Muad - I troll a worm harness with a chartruse blade for walleye. But basically, the idea’s the same - you drag it around for a while, and see if you get any bites.

Not at all a net. See my previous post and use Merriam-Webster if necessary.

I love this board. Where else could a discussion of posting etiquette be hijacked by a debate on the correct use of a fishing term? Things like this just make me come back day after day. Thank you all.

Aren’t trawling and trolling basically the same damn word? Use Merriam-Webster yourself, for crying out loud, if you’re going to play the semantics game.

Main Entry: 1trawl
Pronunciation: 'trol
Function: verb
Etymology: probably from obsolete Dutch tragelen
Date: 1561
intransitive senses
1 : to fish with a trawl
2 : TROLL 2
transitive senses : to catch (fish) with a trawl

chikki, you are now my Official Board Crush.

And I used my triple-digit post to tell you that.

** racinchikki**, yes.

But now that I think about - and this has no bearing on 'net usage - I’ve never trolled with a net; a net’s something I associate with trawling.

Egad! Somebody let me out of this thread!

Aww. :slight_smile:

From the same dictionary (m-w.com) I find the following:

So both are fishing terms, but refer to different methods. The Internet trolls use bait to lure unsuspecting posters, so “trolling” is more appropriate than “trawling.” Although the section racinchikki quoted indicates that traw is sometimes used as a synonym for troll, but it’s not the primary usage.

Either way, I like to imagine a message-board troll as the cyber-version of a little gruesome creature that sits under a bridge and irritates people.

Wow, I came into this thread hoping it was about fishing, it wasn’t, but then it was! How great is that?!