Why feed trolls?

This is a serious question about message board psychology - not just SDMB, but applies to other boards, too.

A new poster (or at least a new SN) appears and after several posts is clearly recognized as a troll.

The troll is denounced and derided by many posters - some of whom then proceed to nourish the troll by feeding him/her responses. I’d expect that a troll starved for response will eventually search for other boards.

Just as I never understood the Scandinavian taste for Lutefisk (sp?), I don’t understand why trolls get fed.

Why bother? It seems like a waste of time. But I’d like to hear from people who enjoy working the trolls. Maybe I’m missing out on some fun.

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A troll can often make a good pet. If you feed it just barely enough to survive, it will always belong to you. If it becomes unruly and gets into the garbage, you can commence to beat on him and he will continue to cower up to you and lick your foot.

However, if it is allowed to grow too strong or confident, then the only course of action is to put your troll out of its misery. After all, it is just a dumb animal that is not capable of understanding its own existence.

As Mr. Spock once said, “The higher the intellect the more the need for play.” Now while we will all agree that the Net is full of stupid people the people who regularly participate in a message board are likely to be fairly intelligent, especially this one.

These intelligent souls are prone to ocasional fits of boredom. When this occurs something must happen to give them their play. A troll or a silly post is usually good enough. Some like to flame in their spare time, some like to flame all the time. Some like to poke gentle fun at others, some are sarcastic. Others do ignore these posts but those people are seldom very fun in the first place.

I believe that most people who feed these trolls are doing it as some sort of sport. It keeps their minds active, it lets them vent or have fun and it gives them something to do rather than building a bomb.

All in all I would say the world is a safer place due to the trolls and the people that flame them.


I think you’ve got a good handle on the situation, Divemaster.

A troll can often be a source of amusement.

The only drawback is, it quickly becomes tiresome if you play with it too long.

If you’re an optimist, you haven’t been paying attention.

I cant help myself…its like an addiction.

ChiefScott turned me on to it, and now I just cant stop…is there a 12 step program I can get?

Well Kelli, the trolls are non-fattening, and they keep you amused. The do not have any lasting side effects and cause virtually no dain bramage.

Play with them all you like. There is no need to get help.


Of whom do you speak? And if it’s me, please just leave me to wallow in my shame…


Thanks for the interesting replies. I never thought of it that way. Guess I had my fill of that sort of thing when my kids were teenagers.

Toying with them seems sorta cruel sometimes though - like my cats batting the poor mouse around after it is already mortally injured.

The difference between pets and pest is just the arrangement of the letters.

I just find the trolls irritating. You all just have more patience than I do.

Have fun.

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Inky, I have not seen anyone call you a troll…Dont worry about it.

I think we are refering to the Brithael-Pompador troll. (I am at least.)

"Aint’cha gonna eat me Wolfie?

"Aint got the time, Grandma!"

Sometimes it is fun but I find it gets old fast. Jerking someone around is fun for about 10 posts and then, like gum, it loses it’s flavor.

If there is a poster I really can’t stand for some reason like I think they are a Troll or they ask silly or stupid questions or can’t seem to put their brain in gear before they type I will usually bash them once and then walk away.

There are some posters out here that I dislike so much I won’t post to their topic even if I think it might be interesting. I just find them irritating and don’t feel the need to have that starch in my shorts, if you know what I mean.

Trolls are like TV; fun for about an hour.

There is also the fact that if you leave the troll’s nonsense alone, some innocent newbie may get into trouble by taking what the troll said seriously.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

I have a one word answer for you


In addition to the reasons given,

Because saying the monster’s True Name robs it of its power.